By the time Xavier Dphrepaulezz, more famously known as Fantastic Negrito, was 20 he had taught himself to play every instrument within his grasp. He remembers the life and struggles of a busking musician. He remembers being told he didn’t fit into a genre box, he was too old, too something for anyone — that whatever it was he was doing simply would not work.
Fortunately for him, and the world, Negrito wasn’t hearing any of it. The inner fire and inner voice that drove him to a fruitful musical career is now inspiring him to create his own label. “I remember not caring what anyone said & deciding to be true to myself,” he said in a statement on his Facebook. Continuing, “This is my story. Always. This is the story of Storefront Records. BE you, do you, all the time.”
The decision to launch the Storefront Records label came on the heels of winning his third GRAMMY. Negrito wanted an Oakland-based label owned and operated by artists and musicians, in an area greatly in need of resources and opportunities. He believes in reinvesting his great success back into the local community in which he grew up. “I want to run a record label from an artist’s perspective. Storefront Records will be about collaborative works. There is so so much untapped talent in the Bay Area. I want to walk in the footsteps of the unique excellence of my Bay Area predecessors,” he said on the GoFundMe page.
Fantastic Negrito himself will be releasing his next album on this label. He will also be taking on more artists and eventually starting an internship program, providing opportunities for students and producing free events in West Oakland. This will generate revenue for small local businesses and bring a community together.