So, How Was Your 2020? is a series in which our favorite entertainers answer our questionnaire about the music, culture and memorable moments that shaped their year. We’ll be rolling these pieces out throughout December.
2020 started off on a good note for Eric Burton of Black Pumas, as the Austin, Texas duo were nominated for Best New Artist at the 2020 Grammys. Then the Covid-19 pandemic happened, but that didn’t stop the band’s momentum: They’ve since been nominated for the 2021 Grammys’ Record of the Year for “Colors” off their 2019 self-titled debut, while a deluxe edition of Black Pumas is nominated for Album of the Year. Between award shows, Burton spent the year rediscovering Peggy Lee, bingeing on The Queen’s Gambit, filmmaking and getting the Black Pumas’ LP stage-ready for when live music does return.
The album I listened to the most in 2020 was:
Good God! Apocryphal Hymns. I stumbled across this album when Kanye West sampled “Can You Lose by Following God” on his Jesus Is King album. I really love the tracks on this album and it has stuck with me ever since.
My favorite TV show to stream during quarantine was:
The Queen’s Gambit. I really like that series. It was almost shot like a movie and I really appreciate the aspect of a woman overcoming the obstacles and taking over a masculine-dominated industry, especially during the time the show was set.
The song that will define “2020” for me is:
“Give Us Justice” by Thee Sacred Souls defined 2020 for me as an eerily relevant message for where we are socially and have been for a long time in America and around the world.
I’d define my current state of mind as:
Hopeful. I’m very hopeful for things to come regarding the industry, where humanity is heading and for the acknowledgments towards equality and for the things that most people take for granted as artists and as people.
The viral video I kept coming back to in quarantine was:
Victory Boyd doing a rendition of “I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired,” a song made famous by James Cleveland. When I listen to the cover it feels like a real warm coming home, it’s very grounding.
The old-favorite album I returned to for comfort this year was:
Peggy Lee — Is That All There Is? I love the inflection that Peggy Lee delivers, which is very bold and powerful yet warm with subtle softness. The song “Me and My Shadow” especially stands out for me.
The old-favorite movie I returned to for comfort this year was:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the original. I grew up in a household that champions old Hollywood and I love the simplicity of the production thereof, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was a childhood favorite.
A new hobby I picked up in quarantine was:
Filmmaking. I’m making my first short film called Dezexity with one of my best friends.
The celebrity I’d most want to quarantine with is:
Andre 3000 — I think he’s very brilliant and I would love to collaborate with him. We both took the same breath work class in Venice, California and ever since then, I’ve always wanted to work with him.
The most interesting thing I learned to cook during quarantine was:
The best book I read in quarantine was:
Dark Horse by Todd Rose and Ogi Ogas. It’s a book about achieving success by way of fulfillment.
Something positive that happened to me that nobody noticed was:
I’ve learned how to run a studio session as a producer.
The mistake I learned the most from this year was:
I’ve learned that it’s better to be thorough in delegating roles as it pertains to recording music before assuming that people know what I’m thinking.
The biggest hero of 2020 was:
My uncle Steven. Uncle Steve is the man. He helped my mother raise me and taught me to write music and songs. If it wasn’t for my uncle I would not have written “Colors.” He came bursting into my room one day and told me to put the guitar down and put the pen to the pad, so to speak.
A word or phrase I never want to hear again is:
Realistically you can do _____. – Fill in the blank.
The thing I’m least looking forward to in 2021 is:
Livestreaming. I’m ready to get back out on the road and play to a live audience again.
The thing I’m most looking forward to doing when the pandemic is over is:
Finishing and performing the new record live.
My biggest hope for 2021 is:
I hope that I’m able to launch a record label with a couple of my favorite artists.