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Pittsburgh Artist of the Week: Livefromthecity

Beth Barbis

Join us throughout February as we spotlight the work of local Black artists for Black History Month.

Jordan Howard is a Pittsburgh artist who records under the name Livefromthecity. A prominent figure in the Pittsburgh Hip-Hop community, Livefromthecity started making music in high school before cutting his teeth professionally at the Pittsburgh nonprofit 1Hood Media and eventually joining the roster at Jordan Montgomery’s Driving While Black Records. Livefromthecity recently spoke about his influences and his new song “Follow The Leader” with Morning Mix Host Joey Spehar.

This conversation may be lightly edited for content, clarity, or length.

What’s your musical history up to this point?

My musical history started when I was in grade school, I used to write songs and rap them for my mom. I picked up songwriting and producing in high school, and after graduating I met Paradise Gray and Jasiri X and joined 1Hood. That’s where I met Jordan Montgomery and eventually joined Driving While Black Records.

How do you describe your sound?

I would describe my sound as constant evolution. On my next album, “Larger Than Life,” I do a lot of genre-hopping. It’s very experimental for me.

Tell us more about the song “Follow The Leader.” What inspired you to write it? 

I made the beat for “Follow The Leader” and I really liked listening to it. Then one day, I was just in a really confident space, a great mood. I just went off of that. Just really being myself and being present in that moment.

What was the first album that really changed your life? 

The first album that changed my life was definitely “The College Dropout” by Kanye West. I think hearing him rap about making his own beats, and writing lyrics to them inspired me subconsciously to do the same.

Can you talk about what it means to be a Black artist in Pittsburgh?

Being a Black artist in Pittsburgh presents its challenges for sure, especially being a hip-hop artist. However, I do feel a sense of empowerment being able to use my platform to tell the story of my experience as a person in this region, and that’s what keeps me motivated.

Any other super interesting things about you we should know?

I think the most interesting things I could tell you as of right now are hidden in the lyrics on my next album *wink wink* “Larger Than Life,” coming soon!

Learn more about Livefromthecity:

Apple Music
Driving While Black Records

Check out previous Pittsburgh Artists of the Week here.

Joey Spehar is a Pittsburgh native who started as a volunteer D.J. at WYEP, fresh out of college in 2006. He took on any job they’d let him do like editing audio, engineering remote broadcasts, and shoveling snow.