Carrying the Torch of Black Girl Magic | Su Preme

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Photo Credit: Isabelle De Leon aka @thedrummerdiva
       

Guitar Girl Magazine’s Diversity Editor, Gabriella “Guitar Gabby” Logan, sat down with some of her industry sisters to celebrate the cultural influence of Black history in music. This series highlights the amazing womxn that continue carrying the torch while using their platforms and music to spread positivity in a changing world.

What’s your name and pronouns, where are you from, and what instrument do you play?

My name is Su Preme; my pronouns are She/Her, and I am from the Atlanta, GA, area. I play drums and percussion.

How long have you been playing, and when did you know you wanted to be a musician?

I have been on this journey since the age of nine. At the time, I saw my father play around on a drum set in Guitar Center shortly after having just watched a Jeff Lorber piano session there. I saw my dad was having so much fun, and it was the most pleasant surprise as I had no idea before then that he had been a drummer! All I knew in that moment was that I was ready to learn how to play, too and have that same level of fun while doing so. My dad purchased a gold Pearl Piccolo snare drum for me the same day, where I would begin drumming in the school symphonic band shortly after. At the time, I did not know the extent of my musical journey or that I would play as an adult. Through the years, my passion ignited further, and I couldn’t help but fall deeply in love with playing drums and percussion.

What is the best part about being a musician?

It feels like I get the opportunity to connect to the core of who I am when I play music. It’s as if I get to communicate who I am in a different way than verbal speech. That connection and communication to self and in collaboration with other musicians makes me happy. 

What do you think of when you hear “Black History Month”?

When I hear it, I feel proud, but my mind usually reverts to the thought that, “We’re not done yet.” We as Black people should celebrate each day by being impactful as being our best selves in our blackness, whether that’s in innovation, creativity, leadership, or wherever our strength lies individually, big or small. Essentially it means we continue to be the Black history for the next generation.

Is there a specific Black creative that inspires you? Why?

Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman is a young woman who recently inspired me. Due to her level of passion, she took the time to work through challenges with an auditory/speech disorder to deliver her poetic work before the entire world. She delivered her message flawlessly to the extent that many people did not know of her challenges until after the inauguration. I greatly respect her drive, myself having experienced and overcome health challenges that affected my ability to drum at certain points in time. Her story inspires me on my continued wellness journey that contributes to my ability to play drums at my present capacity. Yellow being the choice of wardrobe color in my featured photos and upcoming music video collaboration with IZAFLO Band is my form of acknowledgment and respect for Amanda Gorman in her journey.

Why do you think it is important to pay homage to the Black creatives that came before us? Why do you think the world needs to learn about our Black History?

The Black creatives before us set a foundation that inspired us to make our own history. They set the bar high. Sure, creativity shows up differently in each era, but as most art is inspired by something or someone, I feel it’s important to acknowledge and pay respects for what came first.

What is your current studio and (when we get back to live shows) live performance set up? Is it any different? (Feel free to address one or both of your rig setups).

My “Su Preme Realm” percussion set up is my own world, where I allow the frequencies of the sound to resonate near and far. It is comprised of one high and one low-pitched Deccabon drums by DDrum, a gold shell Pearl Piccolo snare drum, mounted cowbells, a Mapex floor Tom (and a Zildjian crash-ride cymbal depending on the day). Plus, more often than not, a kitchen tool to strike, for what I call “spicing” the rhythm. 

What does it mean to be a Black womxn to you?

It means having passed societal tests and resting in satisfaction in that, but being mindful not to be desensitized to certain racial/generational traumas that have led to internalized/intragroup oppression. It means being rooted in how my blackness shows up so that other Black women (Black people in general) can be confident in however theirs shows up. 

What’s one piece of advice you would give to your eight-year-old self looking up to the adult version of you?

That it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them and allow them to build your character. I would tell her not to be as hard on herself and embrace more closely the things that make her unique.

 

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Gabriella “Guitar Gabby” Logan is an Atlanta Native and proud graduate of Spelman College and Vermont Law School. Her background in environmental and music law fueled her desire to start and manage the international all-women touring collective, TxLips Band, LLC. Logan believes it is important for artists to be well rounded and versed in many areas of the music business, thus inspiring women worldwide to be an unstoppable force. She is the Diversity Editor for Guitar Girl Magazine and the Board Chair for Girls Rock Asheville. http://www.txlips.com