Cover photo by Jana Birchum / Design by Zeke Barbaro
How does a musical artist quantify success? In albums sold? Number of Spotify listeners? Or is it something less tangible? How do you measure the impact you have on a single listener? What about your peer community?
In this week’s cover story, Club Listings Editor Derek Udensi spotlights J Soulja, a longtime rapper from Austin who has released his eighth studio album, more than nothing, in autumn. In their interview, J Soulja speaks candidly about his struggle for recognition on the stage, the work he did to provide performance opportunities for other rappers, and the dark times he thought about quitting music. As Derek details in his story, 2022 is looking pretty promising for J Soulja. And on the recognition side? He is a finalist for the first time in the Best Hip-Hop/Rap category of the Austin ChronicleAnnual music survey. Check out the story here, and if you haven’t yet voted in the poll, you can do so until January 31 at vote.austinchronicle.com.
The government is mailing four free home COVID-19 tests per household in the United States, but you have to ask for them. Order online at covidtests.gov. Need a test right away? Find your nearest testing site at austintexas.gov/covid-testinfo.
Le Boeuf pop-up burger (Courtesy of Le Beef)
Online this week
Pop-up options for outdoor dining: Evan Rodriguez rounds up nine pop-up food people to follow.
Moontower Just for Laughs stars Nicole Byer from her Netflix special, BBW (Big Weird Beautiful) (Photo by Clifton Prescod/Netflix)
Line Up the Laughs: Dan Soder, Deon Cole, Marc Maron, Mark Normand, Michelle Buteau and Nicole Byer are just a few of the comics that will appear at the new Moontower Just for Laughs Austin festival from April 13-24.
End of the road: Texas songwriting legend Robert Earl Keen has announced he will be stepping down from touring in September.
Bird Bird Accolades: Austin’s Bird Bird Biscuit landed at No. 5 on Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in America, only one of two Texas restaurants to make the list. Check out our interview with owners Brian Batch and Ryan McElroy.
SXSW Conference Additions: The March festival added a third set of speakers, including musicians Jason Isbell and Linda Perry, Pfizer Chairman and CEO Dr. Albert Bourla, and spiritual thought leader/failed candidate Presidential Marianne Williamson.
Back in the Honky-Tonks by Leo Rondeau: The former country singer from Austin returns to Sam’s Town Point for a month.
Federal Music Industry Dollars: Applications are being accepted through Jan. 28 for Austin’s Music Disaster Relief Grants.
The Austin Chronicle Show on KOOP 91.7FM
This week, Kimberley Jones and Derek Udensi talk about this week’s J Soulja Profile, and Richard Whittaker and Joe Gross discuss an ambitious retrospective of filmmaker Bill Morrison’s entire body of work.
Tune in Fridays at 6 p.m. on KOOP community radio. Past episodes at austinchronicle.com/av.