4 questions with Black Violin before their string hip-hop show in Dayton

It’s a hectic time for Black Violin, performing at the Schuster Center in Dayton on Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Despite a full day of activities before an evening performance in Pittsburgh, violinist Kevin “Kev Marcus” Sylvester called recently to chat about the current tour and new album, “Take the Stairs,” being released on Friday, Nov. 1.

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Since 2004, Sylvester has been blurring the lines between classical music and hip-hop with his musical partner Wil Baptiste (vocals, viola), better known as Wil B. The duo produced two self-released albums before signing a deal with Universal Music Group and releasing its major label debut, “Stereotypes,” in 2016. For the follow-up, “Take the Stairs,” Black Violin has once again taken the independent route.

What’s going on before you perform tonight?

As soon as we’re done, I have another phone call. We’re talking about wardrobe for a video we’re shooting this weekend for the song, ‘One Step,’ off the new album. I have to do soundcheck before 4. Then we’re doing a workshop with some kids on stage from 4 to 5. After that, we rehearse with them to play the end of our show tonight. Then iron my shirt and it’s show time.

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What was the mission statement for this album?

The thing we wrote on the studio wall was, “Hope.” Everything needed to either exude hope, come from it or explain why we should aspire to have it. All of our albums are hopeful but they all have a different focus and hope was sort of the tread throughout everything on this one.

You and Wil have worked with students since the beginning of your career. Why is that important?

We have this platform, so it’s our responsibility to not just come into the market and play a show — but we also want to be able to touch the community. When the kids come on stage at the end of the show and close out our show, it gives them a really awesome experience. It also gives everyone in the house that night an inspiring experience and, maybe, makes them want to donate to the arts and be active in arts enrichment in the community.

What’s the endgame?

Hopefully, we inspire them to chase their dreams, whether it’s musical, skateboarding, social media or English. We hope everyone, no matter what walk of life you’re in or how old you are, is inspired by the way we approach the violin, our music and our brand. Find what you’re passionate about and do it.

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What: Black Violin: Impossible Tour

When: Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Schuster Center

Cost: Tickets start at $28

More info: Website

Show length: 90 minutes (no intermission)

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