This moment has been a long time coming for music director, artist, and producer Peter CottonTale.
“There’s been those types of songs you hold on to no matter what. And you’re like, this is so good, and I don’t know what to do with it,” CottonTale began. “If you can relate in that aspect, I took all those songs … and I just finished all of those.”
CottonTale is referring to his highly anticipated new full-length project, “Catch,” which the musician will release before the end of this year. But before that, longtime fans interested in hearing some of the Grammy-winning artist’s new music can attend “CatchPeter presents Praise Break by Peter CottonTale.”
The show is part of “Black Monastic,” a performance program examining the history of black sound and how it is present in today’s contemporary music. “Black Monastic” was created by celebrated local artist Theaster Gates and the Rebuild Foundation for the Red Bull Music Festival, running through the end of November. Extending the Rebuild Foundation’s practice of preserving black art, music, culture, and physical spaces, “Black Monastic” will also feature additional celebrated local artists like Ben Lamar Gay, Kiara Lanier, and Joshua Abrams.
Although CottonTale was first approached to collaborate with Red Bull earlier this year, songs for “Catch” were in the works long before then. “I’m religious, and I love the Lord, and I celebrate that with my music and my art and things like that,” he said.
CottonTale’s contemporary use of gospel is nothing new, said the artist. Many mainstream musicians — most notably Chicago-bred talent like Chance the Rapper and Kanye West — have incorporated elements of gospel into their music. “Even Drake’s big hit “God’s Plan” was a whole thing,” he added.
But rather than just utilize the sound for a song or two, CottonTale made gospel a driving force of his latest release. “This is kind of focusing in on that and focusing on the meaning and how it translates to the people I know or trials I’ve been through and lessons I’ve learned for people in my age range,” CottonTale said.
Another one of CottonTale’s aims is to lead by example. “A lot of people are very internal with their spirituality and internal with their struggle and their healing process,” CottonTale began. “I’ve learned visually and sonically by my surroundings. If people were to heal out in the open and explain what they were going through out in the open, for some people at that turning point, it could make a difference.” One may be going through a very specific situation that only a handful of people can relate to, but CottonTale believes even a sliver of one’s story could be helpful for thousands of additional people. “I’ve learned patience through communication and being able to relate my journey with other people,” he added.
In addition to CottonTale, “Praise Break” will feature a curated selection of young artists, including The Juju Exchange and a choir of young-ish musicians to be led by gospel artists Ron Poindexter and Tiff Joy. CottonTale promises a lively, perhaps even life-changing show. “I try to put on a great show, no matter what. That’s the standard,” he said.