Although this is Muni Long’s first Essence Festival performance on the main stage, she’s no stranger to the Black joy the weekend event provides. “It’s so amazing just being around all that beautiful Blackness,” she told ESSENCE.
The singer-songwriter has been attending the cultural event since 2008, where she recalls memories of seeing Beyoncé headline and even sneaking into John Legend’s dressing room backstage to use the bathroom.
“It was so fun, being backstage and just wishing I wanted to be on that stage one day,” she said. “I always thought I would start on one of the lounges performing, but I skipped straight to the mainstage, which is amazing.”
The Florida native has been able to embrace the unique qualities New Orleans has to offer to festival goers. “Being in a predominantly Black city, where everybody feels like a distant cousin, you feel warm and taken care of,” she said.
What she’s looking forward to the most is the opportunity for her fans to connect with her on a deeper level on stage, where she can share her personality. “I’m not into people seeing me every day online, so I’m always looking forward to being on stage, talking to the audience, and making them laugh,” she said.
Regarding her festival prep, she takes her craft seriously by using her steamer to create the magic in her vocal cords with a bit of ginger on the side to curate the perfect show, especially in a space like Essence Festival.
“It’s important for Black people to have safe spaces to go and celebrate each other and fellowship,” she told ESSENCE. “Being in the city of New Orleans, it’s just like a celebration of Blackness and Black people deserve to have more spaces where we can just be ourselves.”
As we said, she’s an OG festival goer so she’s looking forward to the full NOLA experience from the classic charbroiled oysters to the vibes on Bourbon Street. Essence Festival weekend will serve as the kickoff to her new musical era as she gears up to release new music like her recent remix for “Hrs & Hrs” featuring Usher.
“I just love everything about being an artist,” she said. “I’m just excited to release new music and start promoting that next album.”
Make sure you check out Muni Long’s Essence Festival performance on July 2, 2o23 and get your vocals ready. For more information on all things festival click here: https://www.essence.com/essence-festival-2023-home/