IU alumnus Elijah Pouges, stage name brz, will perform at 8 p.m., Jan. 5 at the Blockhouse Bar.
Pouges will be performing his new EP "Weekend in Toronto," which features his trademark contemporary hip-hop style.
In addition, Pouges will be joined on stage by Bloomington artist Rex Avant and his friend James Oakland, who will be performing with his band Risk Watch.
Pouges graduated in May 2018 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in music. Although he enjoys writing, he said he has had a passion for performing and music ever since he was 9 years old, when he played the cello in different orchestras.
Specifically, his interest in writing and hip-hop began four years later, when he started attending open mic nights in different places around Indianapolis and performing original hip-hop songs.
He continued in college and, to top off his college career, Pouges performed in the 32nd annual WIUX Culture Shock Music Festival in April, where the lineup included artists such as local DJ Luther Blissett and Los Angeles-based band Chicano Batman.
After his graduation in 2018, Pouges moved to Brooklyn, New York. He said he needed to place himself in an artistic environment where he could be surrounded by people with interests in music.
“There are many artists that I respect there, but nobody that I could grow around collaboratively,” said Pouges, explaining the reason he left Indiana.
Another reason Pouges decided to move to New York was because of the support expressed by his family and friends. He said he always knew that he was going to move away from Indiana, but their encouraging words were the final push.
“When the people around you that love you tell you do something, it is really validating,” Pouges said.
Right now, Pouges is attending Brooklyn College for a graduate program in sonic art, which he said is forcing him to expand his concept of sound. He is also collaborating with multiple artists in the area, just like he said he had hoped.
Although Pouges knew he needed to venture to a different location after graduation, he said he also knew he would eventually return to Bloomington and Indiana. He said that even though he felt the need to leave Indiana, it's his home. He said he's excited to return to Bloomington, as it was an important place for him artistically.
“It’s the place where I started to feel comfortable as an artist again," he said.
Pouges said he is ready to show people how his music has grown and changed in the past year.
“I encourage people to come and spend an evening with their favorite abstraction,” Pouges said.
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