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Fantastic Negrito is riding high these days after winning a Grammy Award for his 2016 contemporary blues album, The Last Days of Oakland.

The artist was signed to Interscope in the ’90s but was in a horrific car wreck that left him in a coma for weeks and without use of his arms for some time after. He was subsequently dropped by his label and walked away from music for several years.


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Photo: Courtesy BottleRock Napa Valley/Chris Carrasquillo

Fantastic Negrito

Fantastic Negrito picked up his guitar once more in 2013 and enlisted the support of Blackball Universe to start booking local gigs, festival slots and a trip to SXSW. Soon Fantastic Negrito was gaining momentum, winning NPR’s “Tiny Desk Contest” in 2015 and landing a number of tour dates with Chris Cornell in 2016.  

One of Fantastic Negrito’s managers, R. Field of Blackball Universe, said the artist is a “genius” singer/songwriter, but it was multiple treks with Cornell that gave him lessons on how to own the room.

“[Cornell] was an angel for us,” Field said. “Nobody had really heard of us and we're not in their lane. [Chris and Temple Of The Dog] let us open … including a sold-out Madison Square Garden and Forum.

 “We’re extremely grateful to Chris Cornell and his management for giving us the opportunity to share his audience. … Most of the time artists don’t want to share their fans with anybody.”


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Photo: John Davisson

Fantastic Negrito

Currently making the rounds on the European festival scene, Fantastic Negrito will open for Sturgill Simpson in the fall.

Field said Fantastic Negrito is a unique talent that brings the goods every night for the live show,

moving audience members to tears.

The team pushing Fantastic Negrito to the next level includes WME’s Don Muller, whom Field describes as “the best in the business,” alongside X-Ray’s Paul Bolton for worldwide booking. Field also gave special shout-outs to his co-manager Phil Green and creative collaborator/founding partner at Blackball Universe Malcolm Spellman, known for his work as a producer and writer for the show “Empire.”