Art Terry is a songwriter/musician from Los Angeles. His songs explore sexuality, black politics and religion, through a lyrical fusion of psychedelic folk music and orchestrated funk. A singer and pianist, Art underpins deeply personal lyrics with dense melodic textures.
Brought up in the gospel tradition – from which he was ejected for singing wild salacious songs during Sunday service – Art evokes the figure of the robed and commanding preacher in his live performances. Whether playing solo or with his collective of talented musicians, the 10-piece Sex Madness Orchestra, Art’s live performances are theatrical and compelling.
Art’s forthcoming album is Sex Madness. He’ll be performing the album live in the UK, Europe and USA in 2019.
Art collaborates with Stew, who created the musical Passing Strange, exploring his and Art’s youthful experiences on the seamy streets of downtown Los Angeles and in Europe, living in squats and art collectives and surviving on a diet of shoplifted food, hashish and freaky music. Passing Strange was made into a film by Spike Lee. Art has been a keyboardist with Stew & the Negro Problem at the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC, Redcat in Los Angeles, the Harlem Stage and many other venues. The New York Times described Art’s playing as ‘terrific’.
‘The obvious – and – wrong comparison would be Prince. There’s the same confident multi-instrumentalism, preacherish wails, daringly blended back and white song traditions and, above all, the same sex obsession. But while there was something slightly remote and shiny about Prince’s use of innuendo, Los Angeles born Art Terry simply tells it like he see it, a folksy counsellor who comes on with style, and lays down some righteous detail about the sticky stuff. Sex Madness is an amazing album, all the more jaw-dropping for its deceptive simplicity and for the way it refuses to funk out a more obviously raunchy soundtrack. Terry is a precious beam of light in a confusing world.’ The Wire
'Art Terry's playing is terrific.' New York Times
‘Brings the questioning quirky funk of Sly Stone together with the provocative poetry of pathfinder Lou Reed.’ Resonance FM
‘For well over a decade Art Terry has been an irrepressibly original and dynamic presence on the British music scene. The wily Californian draws from a deep well of black music to wade into fresh waters that drown all stereotypes on the blues, gospel, soul, funk and rock. His music has a vivid element of meta-theatre as well as a broad sound palette, and he remains a genre all of his own.’ Kevin LeGendre, BBC Radio 3