SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — The music and art scene in Salt Lake City have seen everything from Ringo Starr to indie artists in coffee shops. For Black History Month, ABC4 is highlighting three Black performers in this majority-white state, who say they are bringing a unique take on music and art to Utah.
Local Black musician Liz Lambson moved to Salt Lake City in 2017. She performs as a string bassist in the Ballet West Orchestra and is also a children’s and indie singer-songwriter. She is currently pursuing film acting.
Lambson is part of Utah Black Artists Collective (UBLAC), which is a group of Black creatives, created to “spread Black joy.”
Lambson said that because less than 2% of Utah’s population is Black — those who are creatives of color have a unique opportunity to share their valuable perspectives, stories, and culture. She said the community can benefit greatly from this sharing of talents.
Lambson said that from an artist’s standpoint, one of the greatest challenges in Utah for Black creatives is to find receptive audiences.
“People who are willing to hear our voices, view our art, learn our histories, embrace our culture, and love our offerings without hesitation,” Lambson said.
Lambson said she would like to connect with more Black orchestral or classical performers in Utah. She said doesn’t think she has personally met any since moving here almost six years ago. She is performing in Ballet West’s production of Sleeping Beauty, which is running now through Saturday, Feb. 18th.
Her children’s music and movement program is called Yoga Storytime & Songs, under the alias Lizzy Luna. She just released her first personal single, “Never Too Soon.” You can follow her on Instagram, and listen to her music on Spotify, Apple Music, and other streaming services.
Another local Black musician is Marco Montfleury. He was born in Haiti, grew up in New York City and Connecticut, and moved to Utah in 2019. He started playing hand drums at six years old, both Haitian and African styles. At seven years old, he started playing guitar, singing, and songwriting.
Montfleury said that to be a Black artist in Utah means “destroying expectations and having an air of unpredictability.” He said this is especially important in a place that has a very rigid social system and set ideas of identity.
Montfleury’s next concert is with his band Gag Nancy, on Feb. 19th at the Black Lung Society in Salt Lake City, you can also follow him on Instagram. You can listen to his music on Spotify, Apple Music, and other streaming services.
Wynter Storm Morning is a poet, musician, author, and mother to “handsome baby boy” Amias. She is the CEO and Executive Director of UBLAC, which Lambson is also a part of. Morning moved from Illinois to Utah when she was young, but her family visits there often.
She is a drummer for the band Pepper and the Roses and said they will be performing live this summer. Morning is also a drummer and a spoken word artist for local artist AMEA’s live band — they were just considered for a Grammy on their song together.
Morning said she has been a poet and published author since she was eight years old. She said poetry was the first time she felt like she could express herself with meaning and purpose. She has won numerous awards for her poetry including being the UAF Indie Slam Champion in 2021 and winning the Ogden Pride Poetry Slam in 2018.
Morning said she wants to perform for everyone. She said she likes performing for Black people because they have similar feelings and understand the emotions behind her poetry, and some of the stories within her poetry. However, she also wants to perform for everyone else because others can also relate to her poetry, or appreciate the history lesson within it.
“I started writing poetry to help heal my pain and speak my truth, I started performing it to allow my truth to be heard in hopes it is helpful and healing to others, whomever that is.”
Morning will be performing as the Featured Artist for the Black History Program at Calvary Baptist Church on Feb. 25, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and again at 8 p.m. for her poetry. Morning is also putting on a production in partnership with Salt Lake Acting Company called Sanfoka, This Journey: Go Back and Get It, Mar. 24 through Mar. 26.
Morning hosts a monthly open mic night called Soul-2-Soul in Millcreek, March 18 is the next one. You can find information about both of these events on UBLAC’s Instagram. You can also meet Morning at the local Utah Black Chamber All-Star Event on Feb. 16.
Morning also wrote the books, A Glimpse into Surviving Wynters Storm, and Black Rainbow Layers which you can find at blurb.com, target.com, and Barnes & Noble.