Seven Local Acts to See at SXSW Music


Photo by Todd V. Wolfson

Seven Local Acts to See at SXSW Music

"It definitely feels like a compulsion, to me," says early thirtysomething genre-buster Mobley in a hushed tone barely audible over the country twang blaring out of the Companion event space on San Marcos Street. "When I first figured out this is what I was going to do, it didn't feel like a normal, healthy thing. I had all these ideas for where I thought my life was going, but I can't stop doing this thing and it just took over my life without me even realizing it at first.

"If I knew the answer, I'd probably find a way to get rid of whatever it was and do something else."

Mobley's quietness shouldn't be mistaken for aloof or secretive. Well-traveled and experienced through a Marine brat background and his own personal trials – in and out of the industry – the hyperaware pop and R&B singer born Anthony Watkins II may actually understand too much. As such, he doesn't offer many details about himself in his writing.

"It's just not my style right now," he explains. "Increasingly, over the past few years, I've found it pretty impossible not to write about the important things happening in the world, things that affect large swaths of people – things that keep people from being free in the world."

Mobley, named after former basketball star Cuttino Mobley, began as a group. Whittled to him and Tim Shelburne, the duo bubbled early with Let Slip and Young Adult Fiction. Now down to Watkins, Mobley continues to promulgate live wire shows and recordings, touching on serious topics while flipping metaphors in hooks. His mash-ups of electronics and soul result in melodies that would turn Ryan Tedder's head. An honesty in his textured vocals belies experiences held close to the vest, just off his sleeve.

His mash-ups of electronics and soul result in melodies that would turn Ryan Tedder’s head.

Latest EP Some Other Country never settles in one location sonically, and the meaning of the album is specific and far-reaching.

"As I've gotten older, I've bumped up against this idea that there is not just one country, not just one America," he analyzes, revealing himself for a moment. "Black people know that. You know people [police brutality] happened to. You know that.

"You saw it happen with your own eyes."


Wed., March 15 @ Austin Convention Cen­ter before keynote Nile Rodgers, 10:30am; Fri., March 17 @ Weather Up, 8pm

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More SXSW Music 2017
Playback – SXSW Recap: Love, Hate, Garth & Trump
Playback – SXSW Recap: Love, Hate, Garth & Trump
Final love / hate SXSW listicles

Kevin Curtin, March 24, 2017

Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom

Thomas Fawcett, March 17, 2017

More by Kahron Spearman
DAWA Announces a Historic Week of BIPOC-Led SXSW Programming
DAWA Announces a Historic Week of BIPOC-Led SXSW Programming
All-free Vision:8291 events kick off Tuesday at Stubb’s

March 6, 2023

The House That Built DJ Shani Hébert
The House That Built DJ Shani Hébert
Decades in the making, The Groove Temple arrives on KUTX

March 3, 2023


SXSW Music 2017, Mobley, Capyac, Hikes, Annabelle Chairlegs, Bonnie Whitmore, Dylan Cameron, Soaked

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle