GREEN BAY (WCWF) -- Ahead of the 2019 Mile of Music Festival taking place in Appleton, we wanted to meet some of the artists set to perform.
Natural Born Leaders (NBL) is an Asheville, North Carolina based band with alternative hip-hop with jazz and rock sensibilities.
Talking to Mike (lead singer/ lyricist/ rhythm guitarist), he shared a little bit about the band.
Creating the music for songs is a collaborative process. "We all kinda have a say in how it goes."
But Mike's inspiration for writing his lyrics?
"My lyrics are politically motivated a good amount of the time. So you know the current state of politics is a big influence on my lyrics. And also I'm a big fan of classic R&B, blues, jazz, so you know there's a lot of talk of love, loss and heartache."
The band listens to a broad array of music. From Black Sabbath to Willie Nelson, The Fugees and Wu-Tang Clan; but as a group the Beatles are their favorite.
This will be NBL's first time at Mile and in Wisconsin!
"We love adventure and it sounds like a great adventure."
Mike says they're looking forward to playing at Mile and being in that environment.
" I've never seen a Mile of Music before, I'm pretty excited about that. I've never actually witnessed something as such what Mile of Music seems like it's going to be. They're transforming an entire road for the purposes of music. And I really appreciate how Mile of Music seems to be very artist-focused, where they want people coming to the shows, to actually listen to the artists."
After the Mile, NBL says it's pretty likely they'll return to the state.
"Once we go someplace we usually try to go back 3-6 months after that. So you can definitely expect to see us back in Wisconsin after Mile of Music."
If you haven't heard NBL before, a song they suggest listening to is the single "Hell Raiser" that will be on their next unreleased (and currently unnamed) EP, coming out at the end of October.
"Hell Raiser to me is about a lot of my insecurities as a person and as an artist. And it's kinda like a conversation with myself. Like the first half of the song, I'm like pretty down on myself. And by the middle of the song I'm like- I can be anything I want to be and anybody could, if they really have that mindset to better themselves. And the chorus is kinda like me coming to terms- we're all the same we're all one thing, but we could be anything."
They plan to play some unreleased songs during their performances at the Mile. But what's their next for them?
"Our goal as a band is to keep playing music and be able to do it all over the place all over the country and spread our good joy. We're like Santa Clause of good music, trying to be at least. Spreading good cheer all over the country, or world eventually."
"They could expect a very thought-provoking experience. But at the same time, you can definitely expect to want to move."
If you haven't seen an NBL show, Mike says- expect the unexpected.
" I always feel like for people who have never heard us before- the first song is so confusing. But by the end of the show people can expect to have their fair share of thoughts running through their head, because subject matter is not easily digestible" Mike Said.
"I want them to go there and feel real feelings and feel real thoughts about things that aren't just surface matter things. "
FOX 11 and CW 14 are proud to be official media partners of Mile of Music. NBL is set to play five shows during the festival! For the schedule and a full lineup of artists, head to the Mile of Music website.