Interview Transcript of Black Music Matters and The Black Messiah Album

An Interview with Adrian Dunn


  • Adrian Dunn Chicago College of Performing Arts, Roosevelt University, USA
  • Leah Gipson Art Therapy & Counseling, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, USA
  • Marisol Norris Creative Arts Therapies & Counseling, Drexel University, USA



The Black Messiah Album, Adrian Dunn, The Adrian Dunn Singers, Black Music Matters


In an audio interview, Adrian Dunn, discusses his album, The Black Messiah, with Leah Gipson and Marisol Norris. As a commentary on religious life in the U.S., the music was initially performed the year that Donald Trump was elected president in resistance to dominant, white Christian nationalism and hate speech. Dunn sought to preserve this history in an album. Dunn explains that The Black Messiah affirms Black liberation and justice, and situates responsibility with all persons as the work of a shared humanity. The discussion reflects on American musical traditions, narratives, Black spirituality, and an integral relationship between music and freedom.

Author Biographies

Adrian Dunn, Chicago College of Performing Arts, Roosevelt University, USA

Adrian Dunn is an accomplished singer, songwriter, and producer. Dunn holds a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degree in Voice from The Music Conservatory at Roosevelt University with additional musical studies in opera at The Sibelius Academy of Music in Finland. Dunn is faculty at Roosevelt University, and Advisor for Racial Equity and Minority Student Success in the Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA. He has sung with the Chicago Symphony Chorus, Grant Park Symphony Chorus, Blossom Festival Chorus, and as a soloist with the North Shore Choral Society. Dunn has sung in the CCM Spoleto Opera Festival in Spoleto, Italy and is a frequent soloist in Handel’s Messiah. He served as the opera chorus master for the midwest premiere of the opera Harriet Tubman – When I Crossed That Line to Freedom (2016) with the South Shore Opera Company of Chicago, and sang the lead role in the Chicago premiere of the Paul Laurence Dunbar opera The Poet (2017).

Leah Gipson, Art Therapy & Counseling, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, USA

Leah Gipson is Assistant Professor in the Art Therapy and Counseling Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). She is a registered and board-certified art therapist (ATR-BC), and a licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC) in Illinois, with a Master of Theological Studies. Leah is a board member for A Long Walk Home, an organization that uses the arts to empower young people to end violence against girls and women. She is also a board member of Praxis, an organization that provides affordable, democratically managed housing to individuals and families involved in social justice movement building. She is a co-founder of the BIPOC Student Fund by Black Arts Therapy Educators and an organizing member of the Critical Pedagogy in the Arts Therapies Alliance, formed in 2018.

Marisol Norris, Creative Arts Therapies & Counseling, Drexel University, USA

Marisol Norris, PhD, is a music therapist, critical arts therapies educator, cultural worker, and founder of the Black Music Therapy Network, Inc. Her music therapy practice and supervisory experience have spanned medical and community health settings and include music therapy with adolescents experiencing housing insecurity, adults with psychiatric and dual diagnoses, families within the city court system and medically fragile children. These experiences have profoundly contributed to her multicultural relational lens and her dedication to fostering culturally sustaining, liberatory frameworks in music therapy education and practice. Her teaching and cultural work is an extension of a broader commitment to healing justice and dismantling relational and structural violence through community-based advocacy, education, and action.

Photo of Adrian Dunn, Leah Gipson and Marisol Norris



How to Cite

Dunn, A., Gipson, L., & Norris, M. (2021). Interview Transcript of Black Music Matters and The Black Messiah Album: An Interview with Adrian Dunn. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 21(1).