Born and raised in Detroit, Vahn Black grew up surrounded by the sounds of Motown, Jazz, Techno, and Gospel music. This sonic melting pot aided in Black cultivating her sound, pulling inspiration from artists like Sarah Vaughn and J Dilla. Adult Swim bump beats produced by Flying Lotus would eventually inspire Black to explore music production on an Akai XR20 drum machine. From there, a sonic love affair began to bloom.
As a teenager, Black attended the Detroit School of Arts where she received both jazz and classical training. Black continued her music education at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, receiving a B.A. in classical music performance and modern composition.
Black's interest in music research, afrosurrealism and her passion for storytelling is at the center of her music. Her latest work centers stories of blues giant Gladys Bentley’s life and career as told in the 1952 Ebony magazine article I Am a Woman Again. Black’s work displays her efforts to preserve and uphold the stories and art of black musicians and the Black Forgotten––those whose stories have often been disregarded through prejudiced erasure or avoidance.
As a composer Black has lent her artistry to various art mediums from short films to interactive performance art. In 2014 Black placed runner-up in the Detroit Jazz Festival's Youth Vocal competition. She has also performed as an opening act for artists such as Anthony Hamilton, Chrisette Michelle, Elle Varner, and soul legends Frankie Beverly and Maze. In addition to performing center stage, Black has also supported jazz vocalist Kathleen Bertrand as a background singer.
Black released her self-produced debut Temporary Colors on June 19, 2020.
Additional information for all pieces here
GRANTS and fEllowshipS
2022 - National Black Arts Festival Grant Recipient
Luv n Chaos (2022)
"K-Town Funk" (featured artist)
"Foolish" (featured artist)
"Garden" by Flwr Chyld (2020)
Credit: featured artist
"Luvaroq" by Elujay ft. Serpentwithfeet (2021)
Credit: vocal production