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Backstage With Elias: Saint Opal

IMG_11721This past summer, some musician friends of mine were involved in a hip hop show, and called me to run the production for it. I had not worked with hip hop acts before, and really wasn’t sure what to expect. This turned out to be a series of shows called Anti Venue Tour, a concept dreamed up by Buffalo repat Shawn Patterson, and his organization, Haute La Vie. I ended up meeting some great people in the series, very ambitious kids, with the desire to entertain.

One of the entertainers on the bill, the first act up to be more precise, was Saint Opal. The first show was at 464 Gallery on Amherst Street. I was introduced to 19 year old Alexis Grey, also known as Saint Opal. She was with a group of friends, and she was speaking with a British accent. I automatically thought she was from the U.K. or something like that. I didn’t ask any questions, other than the usual technical stuff. When she went up to perform, her music sounded almost soundtrack-like, avant-garde, or any cool name to describe it. Definitely not hip hop, and certainly not from Buffalo, or so I thought. At the second event, I asked her where she was from, and she told me Buffalo. Made sense, since she then sounded like the rest of us, and told me she was just having fun with the accent the last time.

Born in Buffalo, Opal attended Buffalo Academy of Visual and Performing Arts, and majored in film. Before that, she was a dancer, for about 8 to 10 years. Singing is relatively new to her. “I was talking to my grandmother one day about what’s ahead, and she suggested singing lessons,” she says. So just last year, her grandmother paid for her singing lessons, she continued, “It was a very random thing, I was bored in college and looking for something interesting to do.”


Opal has since made a couple of recordings at GCR Records. She recently finished up a new recording called “Lilac Corona”, and will be hosting a viewing party this Friday, November 13 at Ashker’s, 1526 Main Street. DJ Milk and Black Sole will also be on the bill.

This event follows a string of shows Opal performed in support of Atlanta based hip hop artist Raury. They performed in Boston, then Toronto, with more dates to follow.

She is currently working on a 3 song ep. “I just started to work on it,” she says. “It’s based on the color oxwood – it represents ox blood, fashion, power, passion. I’m also doing a trilogy film for the songs.”

As a matter of fact, the work will be called “Oxwood”. It’s a combination of her passions coming together with this next recording. Film, dancing, and now singing and songwriting. From what I have heard and seen, I’m expecting this to be a dark, film noir-like recording, but also visually appealing. Whatever it is, I’m sure it will be entertaining. There is plenty of creativity within her just waiting to be unleashed.


Written by Elias Benavides

Elias Benavides

A goofy kid from Buffalo's lower west side who loved to play the guitar and loved live music. Has moved on to sound engineering, stage lighting, anything live music. Now he's writing about musicians on BR too. Why am I talking in the third person?

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