Meet… Mama Duke
Native Texan Mama Duke has been writing music since the age of 14. “That is the age I remember starting to express myself creatively. Poetry turned into lyrics, which turned into song,” she says. “Ever since I can remember, I’ve indirectly pursued music, even though when I was growing up, I never knew music was something people could pursue in real life. I thought it was exclusively for people inside televisions and on the pages of magazines. I never connected that musicians were real people, and it was something I could obtain. In a weird way, looking back — I wanted it to be my career since I was 14. That was the golden age for me.”
Her work is shining now, and after calling Austin home for nearly a decade, she will be taking the stage during Weekend One of Austin City Limits. “I’m geeked,” she says, “This changes everything. Yesterday's price is not today’s price. Lol. But all jokes aside — you gotta respect me in a different way now. Respectfully.”
She claims she doesn’t get nervous before shows anymore – although she suffered from stage fright early on in her career - realizing what she used to perceive as nerves is just adrenaline. “It’s like a fighter before they fight. It’s like get me in the ring so I can fight already. I need all this energy to go somewhere!” Still, she preps properly before performing, making show days self-care days. “I get a massage, facial, lounge. I don’t talk to too many people, make sure my Sound Engineer has everything he needs… then coast all day until showtime,” she admits.
Mama Duke caught her lucky break opening for Naughty by Nature - in what was only her third live show. “That was a dream,” she says. “I like telling this story because you always hear horror stories about how artists have to hear a million people say no before they get that one yes. I feel like I was embraced in a weird way when I first started to touch the stage. That Naughty by Nature show wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for Lolo! She goes by YellaStud. She made that show happen for me.”
“There’s a lot of magic happening with this new album,” Mama Duke says of her next release, which is slated to be out before her ACL appearance. “It’s a pop/rap album and it’s going to blow people's minds when they hear the transition I’ve made as a singer/songwriter. I’m not just one thing.”
INSTAGRAM @mama.duke TWITTER: @MamaDukeTV
“You get to choose.” -JLH
- My nephew Prynce.
- I’m performing with in-ears now so I’m obsessed with sound in a new way.
- I’m super obsessed with my own happiness lately. Unlocking different levels of self-love is my passion right now. It’s beautiful.
People who influence your music
- Drake - for all four of my answers but let me give you a little range…
- Missy Elliot
- Anderson Paak
- Billie Eilish
Acts you’re excited to see at ACL?
- Tobe Nwigwe
- Lil Nas X
- Pink’s acrobatic
See Mama Duke perform Weekend 1 on the Barton Springs stage. 12:00-12:45pm – and that evening she’ll be on top of the Barton Springs Juiceland’s roof! “Imagine! All that traffic leaving Zilker Park will be met with a Mama Duke rooftop set.”