serpentwithfeet just released their new album soil. The R&B vocalist and performance artist, Josiah Wise’s refreshingly brazen debut professes his artistic journey, as it plays with his childhood curiosities while entering into the emotional depths of his present-day self.
“soil is about me returning home then realizing that I carry home with me daily.”
He embraces his identity as a black, queer artist using a hybridized, eclectic pop sound that expresses sentiments of love while breaking the conventions and narratives associated with heterosexual romance.
“I remember growing up there was language for how men and women interact. I don’t have a lot of examples of black gay men that are out here thriving. Because of social media we see more examples but at the time when I was thinking about this and dealing with my own relationship, I had difficulty articulating my feelings. I hate to say it, but I think there is still a lot of shame around two black men dating and loving on each other and I was very aware of that. While working on soil, I was exploring and trying to make sense of my needs and my love language.”
His songs articulate his relationship to love through a lens and language that is completely his own. He evokes themes of religious tradition through his anthemic and soulful voice while overriding expectations with his radical, innermost thoughts. His vulnerability pulses through his music videos in “bless ur heart”, “cherbim” and “seedless,” delivering a unique image of his roots while charting an entirely self-made path for his future. The explicit honesty that is evoked in soil creates a platform for Wise’s intimacy and those of other black, queer folks to be unapologetically expressed.
serpentwithfeet, soil, is out on Secretly Canadian
Written by Molly Simon