Kevin Saunderson: 'You feel like somebody is eliminating Black artists and producers from being part of the scene'

  • Share
  • The Detroit techno pioneer spoke to Billboard about the differences in US and European scenes, dismissive conversations with executives, goals for the industry and more.
  • Kevin Saunderson: 'You feel like somebody is eliminating Black artists and producers from being part of the scene' image
  • Kevin Saunderson has opened up about his experience, influence and perspective in the electronic music industry in a new interview with Billboard Dance. The Detroit techno pioneer discussed how he, Juan Atkins, Eddie Fowlkes, Derrick May, Blake Baxter and other originators fought against being siloed in R&B radio in the '80s, as well as the differences in the US and European electronic music scenes past and present. Saunderson also spoke about supporting current young Black artists, dismissive conversations he's had with corporate executives, the US EDM boom, what white people in the scene can do to be better allies, his goals for the industry and bookings and more. Here's what Saunderson had to say about the state of the US scene and its need to highlight more young Black talent.
    "It's been frustrating. I will say that it's improved over the last year, for me. I don't know if it's improved overall. I'm going to say overall it hasn't, because I haven't seen any of the young upcoming producers cracking through. I don't see Kyle Hall from Detroit playing that many American dates. I don't see my sons [DaMarii and Dantiez, AKA The Saunderson Brothers]. I can put them on shows, and I put them on some shows with me, but I don't want to over put them on shows. I want talent to shine through. You wonder like, 'They're making music. How come an agent won't or hasn't taken them on?' They are the future, and you have other people like them out here. We need the youth to continue the movement. I hate to say this, but you almost feel like somebody is basically eliminating Black artists and producers from participating and being part of the scene. So once I go off and die, and other people who've been around from the beginning are gone, who's left? We've been doing this 35 years. If there's talent, they should have the same opportunity or better opportunities."
    Read the full interview on Billboard. Listen back to a 2019 interview with Saunderson on the RA Exchange.
    And here's the newest edition of the Exchange featuring Eddie Fowlkes.