shirlette is a Durham, NC-based musician whose sophomore solo album, Language Barrier was co-released by SugarQube Records and Churchkey Records in February 2016. The album features guest appearances by The Indigo Girls, Meshell Ndegeocello, Amelia Meath (Sylvan Esso), Hiss Golden Messenger, Median (The Foreign Exchange), Heather McEntire (Mount Moriah), Phil Cook, and Jocelyn Ellis with musical compositions by Daniel Hart (St. Vincent, Broken Social Scene).

shirlette’s first solo album, Twilight For Gladys Bentley, was released in 2012 by Springstoff Records (Berlin, Germany) and is a ‘re-imagining,’ of 1920′s blues singer, Gladys Bentley. shirlette has toured throughout Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the US in support of the work. In 2012, shirlette travelled to Belgrade and Novi Sad, Serbia with Next Level Program, a collaborative international exchange program that engages underserved communities in various countries around the world and uses artistic collaboration and social engagement to enhance people-to-people diplomacy, especially among young audiences. Using multi-disciplinary hip hop collaborations, this unique arts-based exchange explores and addresses conflict resolution strategies by sending up to 20 American beat makers, DJs, B-Boys/B-Girls (or experts of other types of hip hop dance), or MCs in teams of 5 artists to lead four- to six-week exchange programs in various countries.

shirlette’s past works include a 2011 release with Chapel Hill based rock band, The Dynamite Brothers called And Lover’s Like. The album includes guest appearances from Justin Robinson (formerly of The Carolina Chocolate Drops), Kelly Crisp (The Rosebuds), Juan HuevosGreg HumphreysYahzarahJocelyn Ellis, and Pierce Freelon. Her most recent collection of poetry, Matching Skin featuring The John Anonymous EP was published by Carolina Wren Press in 2008. Shirlette’s first collection entitled Stumphole: Aunthology of Backwoods Blood was published by Big Drum Press in 2002. Her literary work has appeared in The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, What Your Momma Never Tod You: True Stories About Love and Sex, The Asheville Revielw and The Journal of the Academy of American Poets amongst other publications. She has recieved a John Hope Franklin Grant for Documentary Studies, The Ebony Harlem Award for Literary Achievement, as well as Emerging Artist Grants from the Durham Arts COuncil and the United Arts Council. She is also vocalist for the hip hop rock band Mosadi Music whose debut album, The Window, was released in 2006 and songwriter and vocalist for the fusion electronic duo, Jon Anonymous. As a freelance writer, Shirlette has contributed to The Independent Weekly and Duke Performance’s Blog, The ThreadShirlette resides and creates in Durham, North Carolina.

NEW MUSIC: via  


Check out shirlette’s new single Earth Intro featuring The Indigo Girls

Listen to the new single from North Carolina based poet and musician Shirlette Ammons, featuring rock duo Indigo Girls – ‘Earth Intro’. The track is the lead single from Ammons’ forthcoming album, ‘Language Barrier’; an album which features AFROPUNK Fest alum Meshell Ndegeocello. Shirlette says: “As a part of the whole Language Barrier concept, I wanted to write an album that explores the ways we love across imposed and implied barriers. In this sense, Language Barrier is an album about love as an act of resistance. I also wanted to approach genre as a ‘barrier’ then break it down.” The album seamlessly moves between indie and classic rock, hip hop and ambient soul. “To have an opportunity to work with Meshell, The Indigo Girls, Amelia, Hiss Golden Messenger—and all on one record—is a dream come true.” Stream below. By Alexander Aplerku, AFROPUNK Contributor



Shirlette’s Grip Tapes debut “re-imagines” Gladys Bentley,
Performs at  SxSW, Hopscotch Music Festival
Inline image 1

Award-winning, Durham, NC-based poet and musician Shirlette Ammons‘ debut solo album entitled “Twilight for Gladys Bentley” (T4GB) has been digitally released by independent record label Grip Tapes and is available for review. 

The album is a ‘re-imagining’ of 1920s  blues singer and ‘bulldagger’  Gladys Bentley, a forgotten musical icon whom Shirlette spent a year researching to create what has been called ‘her best album to date.’
In support of the release, Shirlette and Berlin, Germany’s rap “Quing” Sookee embarked on a 7-city Southeast U.S. Tour that began with a performance  Durham’s Pinhook  and  includes stops in Charleston, Atlanta, Austin’s SxSW Festival and concluded in New Orleans.
“Twilight for Gladys Bentley” (T4GB) features guest appearances from Sy Smith, W. Ellington Felton, Little Hollow and others.  The first single from the album entitled, “Take a Chance” was voted one of the best singles of 2012 by alternative weekly, The Indy. The album is a ‘re-imagining’ of 1920s blues singer and ‘bulldagger’ Gladys Bentley.
Watch “Take a Chance”

Shirlette’s most recently work includes a collaboration with The Dynamite Brothers (as heard on HBO’s Eastbound  and Down) called “And Lover’s Like,” which features guest appearances from Justin Robinson (of the Grammy award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops), Kelly Crisp (The Rosebuds), Yahzarah (Foreign Exchange) and others. Of T4GB, Shuffle Magazine says, “Ammons’ swagger is monstrous on this record….Whether she’s slinging playfully brutal battle raps, louche sex rhymes, or the occasional bout of introspection, she goes in hard, showing more verbal virtuosity than ever before.”

After opening for The Roots at last year’s Hopscotch Music Festival, she will be making her debut solo appearance at the 3-day event this September with assistance from her 3-piece band and very special guests.