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Masego talks performing live post-pandemic and the inspiration behind ‘Studying Abroad’

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Masego says he’s “appreciative” of fans who came to his first performance of the year during Crown Royal’s LIVE Generosity Hour after-party in Washington Heights, New York, last week.

“When I saw Black people, I got hyped,” Masego tells ABC Audio. “I just saw people kind of dancing; I got even hyper. So I think as the show goes on, I kind of got the rust off with performance. And so that’s the honest way of how I feel. Like, oh, this is lit.”

It was also the first time the Virginia native performed songs from his 2020 EP, Studying Abroad. He says it was created during the pandemic and inspired by the first time he visited his favorite destinations, including St. Lucia and South Africa.

“So Japan was a big deal to me because I’m like this anime nerd and all that,” Masego explains. “‘Passport‘ was just about me dreaming of going to Japan back when I was in Virginia. And then, I mean, “Silver-Tongued Devil” [featuring Shenseea]. I’m Jamaican. I’ve been in Jamaica mad times.”

The Jazz virtuoso added that Studying Abroad was also influenced by a trip to Lisbon, Portugal, where he says he performed at one of his “most diverse shows in Europe.” 

“I always play ‘find the Black person’ [game] everywhere I go. Like [in] Lisbon, it was kind of easy, at least at the show,” Masego shares. “I feel like those places were on my mind when I was making an album and just trying to put myself in a better place because it was like a little sad not being able to tour.”

“I made the album to…uplift my own spirit and hopefully other people’s as well,” he says. 

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