Alfred Howard knows what it’s like to perform in front of a rough crowd. The lyricist, percussionist and independent record label guru got his start performing spoken word in venue parking lots around San Diego, hoping to catch the attention of random patrons searching for their cars. But while most performers would struggle to find an audience in a dingy parking lot, Al thrived. His skillful wordplay quickly attracted musicians, poets, and fans alike, and Al became a sought-after lyricist and percussionist for bands around San Diego.
In 2015, he decided to take his passion for poetry and music to the next level, forming an independent record label collective called The Redwoods. The idea behind the label is simple: To bring together a core group of the best performers in San Diego and make amazing, vintage-inspired tunes. If The Redwoods are a body, then Alfred Howard is the brain — for the seven different bands on the label’s roster, he contributes lyrics or beats, playing to each performer’s strength and encouraging constant experimentation. The Redwoods’ music ranges from soul to psychedelic to spectral folk, and every musician brings a fresh perspective to these records. The result is an eclectic collective of bands that aren’t afraid to evolve and blend together unusual genres. Alfred has inspired a group of heavy hitting artists and in doing so, has lead The Redwoods to become San Diego’s musical lifeblood.
How we met:
Playing For Change was first introduced to Al Howard through our great fiends and founders of Guyaki and Come to Life, David Carr and Alex Pryor. They turned us on to his original version of “I Love America” and we knew he was the poet we had been searching for to contribute to our UN 75 Peace Through Music Event!