Photo by Mischa Richter
Born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in Jackson, Tennessee, Gil Scott-Heron got his start in music early, singing in the church choir with his grandma. As a young adult, he studied briefly in Pennsylvania before taking a year off to write books The Nigger Factory and The Vulture. He went on to earn a masters degree in Creative Writing from John Hopkins University.
His musical work features spoken word musings performed over music, and he's best known for his work from the Seventies and Eighties, which have been identified as the launch pad for African-American dominated genres like neo-soul and hip hop. After an extended break from producing new work, Scott-Heron now has a new album out, I'm New Here.