*The year 2020 is not over, but between COVID-19 and the global protests for systemic change in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, it will go down as a watershed in world history, a wake-up call for humanity when complacency was shattered and sitting on the sidelines was not an option for socially conscious people.
An ever-evolving artist and musical voice of extraordinary depth and insight, Darrell Kelley has forcefully met many of these moments by speaking truth (and truth to power) with an ongoing array of worldwide hit singles addressing key issues – including “The Coronavirus,” “Ahmaud” and “Police Brutality.” While these and other politically charged songs – including the fiery title track and “Vote Him Out,” both critical takedowns of Donald Trump – form the core of The Audacity, the Atlanta based singer/songwriter’s latest full-length album, Darrell balances them with songs about love, hope and unity that offer a constructive way forward beyond these anxious and challenging times.
“To be honest, until someone pointed out how many songs I had that addressed socially relevant issues, I never saw myself as that kind of artist,” Darrell says. “I grew up listening to great artists who wrote important message songs like The Staples Singers, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen, and feel there aren’t enough of them now. But this was never a conscious intention for me. I’m just a guy who has definite opinions about what’s right and wrong in our lives. If I see something wrong, it shouldn’t go unnoticed.
“When people listen to The Audacity,” he adds, “I want them to get a very strong message that as taxpaying Americans, we the people are the ones who run our country. Our vote is what empowers us. You have to realize the power you have and not let the system play tricks on you. There are very serious things going on in our lives here in 2020, and we have the ability to be the change we seek.”
Speaking provocative truth to power from the get go via its title track, The Audacity finds Darrell addressing Trump directly, singing (over a seductive, hypnotic groove) lines like, “You have the audacity to tell us to open up the country/Especially when we don’t have the things we need like vaccine. . .I know our life’s more important than the stock market or economy. . .How in the world can you protect us if you can’t protect yourself. . .You have the audacity to disrespect reporters. . .” Later in the tracking, on the incisive “Vote Him Out,” he calls out Trump on his lies and makes clear the importance of going out and standing up for what we believe in by voting “that sucker out.”