Bluesfest Headliner Defends Kendrick Lamar: "He's Very Blues"

27 October 2015 | 1:55 pm | Uppy Chatterjee

"If you can't see that Kendrick Lamar is a blues artist, who just happens to be rapping, then you don't know what you're talking about."

Kendrick Lamar, City & Colour

Kendrick Lamar, City & Colour

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In town last week for a short promotional tour in support of his fifth release, If I Should Go Before You, City & Colour's Dallas Green had some strong words to say about Byron Bay Bluesfest's recent announcement that rapper Kendrick Lamar would headline, leaving many wondering why he was on a blues and roots festival.

Speaking exclusively to, Green defended claims that Lamar isn't fitting of the festival with, "Oh, he's very blues. I think people have to realise that everything is the blues. Everything came from the blues. It's just interpreted different ways.

"If you can't see that Kendrick Lamar is a blues artist, who just happens to be rapping, then you don't know what you're talking about, so. That's my opinion." 

Green, who is also headlining Bluesfest next year alongside The National, Tom Jones and Noel Gallagher, also dished up some thoughts on the state of popular music today, pointing out that it's "garbage" that no one in the mainstream sings anymore.

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"Oh, I think it's [the music on the radio is] garbage … I don't know when the world shifted to people that are supposed to be singers, just stopped singing for real.

"I think that it's inevitable in that world because a lot of people get into that because they want to be the biggest thing in the world, you know what I mean? I hear Ed Sheeran talk about that where he says he wants to be the biggest thing, he wants to sell out stadiums, he wants to tell people he's gonna sell four million records, and I'm like, great. That will make you try and get all the super-producers. What you're doing then is you're trying to craft something to sell to people. And that's fine. But that's just not something I'm interested in."

Having recently worked with the talented Pink (Alecia Moore) on a new project, you+me, Green notes he's been much closer to the commercial world in recent days.

"After I did that thing with Alecia, I was arguably at the peak of my popularity and I probably, if I was smart, I probably should've tried to go in and use that to ask a super-producer or hire a team of writers to write me some hits... but instead I went the other way and made a record with my band and produced it myself. That's what I wanna do, I don't have goals of global domination, I just wanna write a song and sing it for somebody.

"The thing about Alecia to me is that as much as she is a pop star, I think she's completely different than all of those other ones. First of all, she can actually sing and she does actually sing, which for some reason is not normal."

For the full version of our interview with City & Colour, stay tuned to City & Colour has also announced a national tour next year, kicking off on 26 March.