At the Landmark Americana on Wednesday, March 22, the Rowan Music Group presented an album release concert for Mir Fontane. DJ ALOS, Woods the Mighty, Yung H, Wiseboy Jeremy and Royal-T all gave special and outstanding guest performances.
A performer that stood out was Wiseboy Jeremy, who got the crowd going and cheering by leaping on the speakers. Jamir Daaliya, better known by his stage name Mir Fontane, appeared as the concert’s headlining act, performing songs from his most recent album, “Clowns Don’t Cry,” and was unquestionably the night’s biggest star.
“I think [‘Clowns Don’t Cry’] is different and relatable, coming from a music student perspective or just a music lover, there’s not a lot of [musical] representation [from] this area,” said Gabriella Moore, who is part of the digital art team at Rowan Music Group. “I mean, if you think about it, we got Meek Mill [and] Lil Uzi, but we don’t have New Jersey people. So to hear him talk about Camden and all that stuff, I liked that. I can relate to that.”
Mir Fontane spoke about the release of his new album, his personal life and its influence on his music. Mir Fontane spent a lot of time painting and listening to a combination of ’90s R&B and classic hip-hop while growing up in Camden.
“I feel like everybody’s life is a movie and they are the main character in their movie,” he said. “So I just like making music for specific situations that everybody in life goes through whether it be relationships, losing a friend, feeling down about or doubts about your dreams, or whatever the case may be.”
The rapper and singer has called his music “music for people’s everyday lives” and believes that by listening to his music people can sense his presence in their lives. Prior to writing music, he wrote poetry and brief musical compositions but has always been passionate about language. He later switched to drawing, which he continues to do.
The concept for Mir Fontane’s album first emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic when he thought he was losing sight of who he was as a result of being unable to perform and go outside for gigs. Mir Fontane realized he was depressed when he was forced to spend all of his time alone inside thinking and having little to do.
“So when the world slowed down, [it] stopped me from being able to be on tour and pretty much do what damn near became my identity for the last few years,” he said. “It kind of made me stop and sit with myself. I didn’t realize I was depressed for so long, because I was so used to working. So when I stopped, I had to sit with myself and everything else that I was dealing with.”
Mir Fontane believes that many people simply come to enjoy amazing music and leave without really understanding the struggles the musician might be facing behind the scenes. In the end, “Clowns Don’t Cry,” his newest album, was inspired by this.
Although no one is strictly a clown, Mir Fontane claims that the “clown” in his album refers to the entertainer, and he thinks of the music business as a circus. The album discusses the challenges he’s faced and the victories he’s won throughout his life.
“So ‘Clowns Don’t Cry’ is pretty much when you look at a specific [entertainer,] you are not expecting them to show vulnerabilities [but] realize ‘this person is not larger than life,’” Mir Fontane said. “He’s a human being just like me [but] it’s like ‘yo, a clown is not supposed to break character.’”
Mir Fontane has been quite open about his mental battles and how they have affected his music. In an interview, he admitted that he first avoided writing and playing music when he realized he was depressed. Later on, he understood that the purpose of his music wasn’t just to entertain audiences, but also to create meaningful music for those in need.
“Once I realized that might be my purpose and why I got into this… it helped me cope as far as venting and being able to share that with my friends who understand,” Mir Fontane said.
The “Clowns Don’t Cry” album’s creative process was rather straightforward because Mir Fontane didn’t want to force anything and simply wanted to create music that expressed how he was feeling. He would try to transform each emotion he was experiencing into a song, weaving a clear narrative around the album. According to Mir Fontane, this was the most difficult aspect of making the album.
“I didn’t want to go too strategic like everything else was,” he said. “I just wanted to be pure for once, I didn’t want to overthink it. I just let everything flow the way it was supposed to and hopefully, I get my message across.”
Mir Fontane has worked with several other musicians for the album, including artists like CORE, 3Breezy, Frankie Hill, Dom and Kim.
Mir Fontane wants his listeners to understand that everyone is a human being and that it’s acceptable to experience human emotions. His album provides a voice for Black boys specifically who have felt pressured to maintain an image of stoicism and refrain from expressing their feelings.
“I’m always geared towards the younger version of myself, the little Black boy that was afraid to show emotions, free to cry, free to express that he was sad because you’re taught as a man to suck it up and deal with it yourself,” he said.
Mir Fontaine’s favorite song on the album is “Moving to Atlanta,” because of the uniqueness of its transitions from trap to Afro beats to reggae within a single song.
Jonathan Wigfall, president of Rowan Music Group, has been in charge of Mir Fontaine’s management so far. Mir Fontane is affiliated with Wigfall’s Black family-owned talent management company, Finding Joy Collective.
Mir Fontane stated that he occasionally still draws and that he is currently working on a children’s book based on his album. The plot centers on a group of young people who all aspire to be performers, whether it be through singing or acting. A group of Black youngsters and one child of mixed race discuss stories of abandonment, sexual and physical abuse and other traumatic experiences.
Those who didn’t attend the album release party missed a fantastic performance hosted by the Rowan Music Group. Fans and friends crowded the space, eager to hear the new song and experience Mir Fontane’s achievements.
The music and art of Mir Fontane convey a much-needed message of inspiration and hope. His album release celebration served as a testament to the ability of music to unite people, and his new album is expected to have a similar effect.
Mir Fontane and his crew are preparing to embark on a listening tour, visiting cities such as Atlanta, Los Angeles and New York City. To stay informed about Mir Fontane’s upcoming album “Clowns Don’t Cry” and the new EP he is working on, follow him on Instagram at @mirfontane.
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