Ann Delisi: BLKBOK shares inspiration behind his new album ‘9’

The critically-acclaimed Detroit artist’s sophomore album is available now.

BLKBOK sitting at a piano.


BLKBOK is a neoclassical pianist from right here in Detroit, whose career has taken him out on the road — performing on some of the biggest stages in the world with Rihanna, Justin Timberlake and John Mayer.

But during the pandemic, he went back to his roots composing classical solo piano pieces. He’s been touring the world on smaller and more intimate stages and has a brand new collection of songs, entitled 9, that pays homage to the Little Rock Nine — a group of nine Black students who enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957, previously an all-white school.

I had a great discussion with BLKBOK about the creative process behind 9.

Listen: Ann Delisi speaks to BLKBOK about his new album 9

“The inspiration is just to highlight the bravery of the Little Rock Nine, who were nine kids in Little Rock, Arkansas, [one of] the first to integrate public schools in America,” BLKBOK says. “And it was not an easy task. And it was definitely something that challenged who they were — mentally, spiritually, physically, all of the above. But their bravery is one of the things that I wanted to highlight with this album.”

Hear the entire interview using the media player above.

Listen to Ann Delisi’s Essential Music Saturdays from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. ET and Sundays 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET on 101.9 WDET and streaming on-demand.

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  • Ann Delisi
    Ann Delisi hosts Essential Music, the Essential Conversations podcast series and the Essential Cooking broadcast and podcast. Born and raised in the Motor City, Ann is a broadcaster, interviewer, producer, music host, storyteller and proud Detroiter.