ryndon Cook, who records as Starchild, describes his music as “Champion Music for the Heartbroken.” Drawing equally on electro and R&B, with silky sheets of synth cascading over rubbery bass lines, each song spikes lithe vocal melodies with an undeniable twinge of sadness.
Growing up in Prince Georges County, Maryland, Starchild was in the center of decades of music history. Growing up in the D.C./Maryland/Virginia area, you can harness a great depth of music—Go-Go, Soul, Hip Hop, R&B, Jazz and especially, Gospel. My roots, he says. Its the birthplace of everyone from Duke Ellington and Marvin Gaye to Mya, Dru Hill and D’Angelo. Starchilds name came from his time in the DMV—I grew up across the street from the NASA Headquarters on Copernicus Drive in Greenbelt, he explains. Thats one of the reasons I adopted the Starchild moniker. The other is George Clinton. When he moved to Atlanta with his family just before 9/11, he was introduced to even more music—it was the time of Usher’s Confessions, OutKast’s Speakerboxx/The Love Below and Ciara.
Starchild took the music he’d absorbed during his childhood when he left his home for New York—the first member of his family to do so. Though he was technically pursuing a BFA in acting, eventually his interest in music took over. “I was leaving for New York with a head full of Prince bootlegs and Sade records, basically,” he explains. “I took what I knew, applied it to things I learned at acting school, and started writing songs.”
Starchild’s music is an indication
of his deep knowledge and love of music. it moves from laid-back 70s-style funk ballads to woozy R&B to crackling dance music that recalls Ready For the World. Its also an indication of his experience: hes been a touring member of Solange Knowles band since his second year of college, and has performed with her at festivals around the world. Dev Hynes, with whom hed later collaborate, provided early encouragement. Dev never overthinks things in his approach to music, he says. Its great to see someone who, time and time again, can remind you of your ability to: let go. Hes also toured with Kindness, and has collaborated with Patrick Wimberly of Chairlift. “Patrick might have been the first person, outside of my family, to extend the same unconditional love and interest in my future,” he says. It was Wimberly who introduced Starchild to Solange, who instilled another valuable lesson. “She taught me that if you stay true to yourself, you can take all the time in the world to do one special thing, the right way.”
Starchild’s music is that special thing. Reflecting the omnivorousness of one of his heroes, Prince, (“I look at him as a genre. Within the genre of Prince, there is so much to discover”) it swings from sweet and soulful to loose and funky, with every note arranged and performed by Starchild himself. “I always appreciated music that lent a helping hand and said, ‘Hey, are you with me? Because I am with you,’” Starchild explains. “I hope I can do that for someone, somewhere. If I’m lucky.”