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Unity in Music: Fortunate Youth

Perhaps the only thing better than seeing your favorite regional band get big is when they make the epic return to their home state for a major headlining slot. After finishing up the Intergalactic Tour this fall with Iration, Fortunate Youth will be throwing down at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz for NYE with special guests Iya Terra and Animo Cruz – and Rootfire is giving away a pair of tickets to the show.

We sat down with the boys of Fortunate Youth to talk about the show, multi-instrumentalism, and FY’s Music Unites Series.

Rootfire: You guys just finished up a huge national tour opening up for Iration. How was it hitting the road with those guys? Any shows that really stood out? Any good stories from the road?

Fortunate Youth: The Intergalactic Tour w/ Iration & Through The Roots was stellar! A lot of the venues were new spots for us so we were excited to jam! Shoutout to the Iration fans for accepting our music every night…the crowds were all epic! The shows that stood out were probably the 2 sold out nights at Jannus in St. Pete w/ Inner Circle… Steven “Cat” Coore (Third World) even sat in for a few tracks with them! (We’ll be back at Jannus 3/30 on our Wicked Awesome Spring Tour.) Georgia Theatre was also a memorable show because we survived to play it: our trailer hitch & ball ended up breaking off on Interstate 20 and proceeded to miraculously veer right into the guard rail and park itself 20 feet before it would have ended up in the ditch… We were fortunate to say the least.

RF: Talk to us about the Music Unites series, which helps children who have lost their school music programs due to funding cuts. How did this initiative get started, what has it accomplished, and what communities does it focus on?

FY: The Music Unites Compilations all started because of two major reasons: us wanting to connect the music community, both big and small, and help share everyone’s art to the world, and us believing that with so many bands and artists together, we can also really make a difference in this world, locally and globally.

So far we have released seven Music Unites compilations and have been lucky to have connected with some of the biggest and most talented reggae artists from throughout the world, which is helping us create a great network of artists, bands, and labels. Through all of this we have been lucky to have raised over 50k, which has been donated to Music Unites. One more thing to include about the Music Unites compilations that always makes us happy while we’re traveling across the country is how many new bands that this compilation has helped fans find and fall in love with.

Right now Music Unites focuses on Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago, but they’re always trying to create an awareness so that other cities and children can be looked out for.

RF: Big New Years’ show coming up for you guys at the Catalyst with Iya Terra and Animo Cruz. Do you guys have anything special in the works to make this show stand out?

FY: The NYE show at the Catalyst with Iya Terra & Animo Cruz should be a good one! We always got something up our sleeve to ring in the New Year so cruise out & enjoy the vibes! Get your ticket before it sells out!

RF: One of the most unique elements of Fortunate Youth’s live performance is the instrument swapping that happens throughout the set. I love how this highlights the versatility of the musicians in the band – was this something that was an idea from the outset of FY or did it just naturally take shape during the early years? Are there any particular instrumental lineups that you gravitate toward for different styles of songs?

FY: The switching of the instruments just naturally takes its own shape. There’s no real particular musical lineup we gravitate to for any particular style of song…everyone likes to jam so it just depends on when and where and who’s on what. If the music is contrived in that jam session then we usually just stick to whoever is playing what at the time vs. having someone teach the other person the lick they just came up with. It happens now and then but most of the time we just go with the flow.

RF: Fortunate Youth has been growing strong with a diehard fanbase. Anything you want to say to the fans?

FY: Stay Fortunate! We love you guys & hope to see you out at a show or festival near you! Check out our website for new merch & updates! 

NYE: Fortunate Youth, Iya Terra, Animo Cruz @ The Catalyst – Santa Cruz, CA


Brian Nelson a.k.a. Red Ninja is passionate about making music, making friends, experiencing life and living to tell the tale. Whether dropping heavy dub beats, cruising untouched Rocky Mountain powder, or talking shop about the music biz, Nelson’s approach is pure ninja.

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