Pierce Freelon

Pierce Freelon is an accomplished Hip Hop/soul/electronic musician and Emmy-award winning producer, director and professor from Durham, NC. For over 15 years Pierce has traveled the world teaching Hip Hop and music production to youth in community centers. He is the co-founder of Beat Making Lab, an Emmy Award winning PBS web-series, has taught in the departments of music and African American Studies at the University of NC at Chapel Hill and is the writer, composer and co-director of an animated series called History of White People in America, an official selection of the Tribeca Film Festival, which will premiere on PBS World this July.

Pierce is also the founder of Blackspace, a digital maker space where he has mentored dozens of youth, teaching digital storytelling through music and film. For over a decade, he has been the frontman of critically acclaimed Jazz/Hip Hop quartet The Beast and has toured internationally and released a series of albums, EPs, and mixtapes. He is the son of famed Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon, and the late preeminent architect of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Phil Freelon. Pierce lives in Durham with his wife and their two young children.


This summer Hip Hop, soul and electronic musician Pierce Freelon released his debut family album, D.a.D. a dynamic and genuine collection inspired by his journey through fatherhood. The eclectic recording is a family journal chronicling the life and times of a Black millennial father living in the South.

As a skilled beat maker, Freelon thrives in sampling sounds from his environment and incorporating it into his music. He used this technique to assemble D.a.D like a quilt, stitching it together by voice memo recordings of himself and his children along with melodies and beats that he enhanced with soulful arrangements and honest and playful lyrics. His messages and themes are relatable and universal but are delivered in a style unique to the artist and his diverse creative circle.

Freelon passionately and proudly shares his life experiences has a Black man and as a loving, caring, nurturing father. A very special presence on the album included in these sound bites is the voice of Pierce’s father, the late Phil Freelon, who remains a strong and positive influence on him. Phil expresses to his family the importance of the role of an artist in using their gifts to bring joy and beauty to the world for others to enjoy. As much as D.a.D is about Pierce’s life as young father, it is also an expression of his inheritance, the wonderful fatherly values that his dad passed on to him.


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