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R&B reunion: Fly Moon Royalty returns for Pride in the Park

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Photo courtesy of Fly Moon Royalty
Photo courtesy of Fly Moon Royalty

Seattle's own Queer R&B duo Fly Moon Royalty will be headlining this year's Pride in the Park on Saturday, June 4, reuniting years after going their separate ways. They spoke with me in a Zoom call about the event, and what they've been up to since their last joint music release in 2016.

Like many others, vocalist Adra Boo and producer and DJ Mike Ilvester see the event (and Pride celebrations in general) as a kind of family reunion. For them, it's an especially apt comparison: their whole team is coming back together for the performance, including their dance troupe.

Beyond that, Ilvester said that he was excited to see Dark Smith, a Queer afropunk band. Boo said she was excited to see everybody, but Chaka Khan at the June 20 "Zoo Tunes" concert was high on her list, along with fresh artists like R&B singer-songwriter Morgan Britt.

Boo was proud to mention the curation work she had been doing for PrideFest and Wildrose Pride. "Curating is in my nature," she said. "I'm like an octopus."

As for what they had been up to since the band broke up, Boo said, "Real life has been happening to all of us." She did some vocal work with Hotels, a local band, and some contract work getting loans for organizations. Her main job now is at Rain City Rock Camp, a music program helping to empower marginalized people.

Ilvester, meanwhile, has been working hard on a degree in graphic design at the Seattle Central Design Academy. Although he has been a DJ for years, graphic design was part of his job with Fly Moon Royalty, so the academy was a natural choice.

Boo referred to Fly Moon Royalty as "nostalgia guests" of Pride in the Park, given their past appearances at events like it, but their live performance has been a long time coming. "This is the thing we were supposed to be doing in 2020," she said.

Back then, with the pandemic raging, they staged their concert in Ilvester's front yard. He recounted how delighted the neighbors were to come outside after months of isolation to hear Boo's singing voice.

Their set at Pride in the Park will have "random singles," they said, with plenty from their newest record. But they will also play a song exclusive to live audiences — one that needs the energy of the crowd to work.

When asked where their ideas come from, Boo said, "These ideas are from real-ass real life. If you hear it in our songs, I lived it, I watched it happen to somebody, it's a real story."

"Sometimes it's just talking shit," she added.

Both Boo and Ivester said they were happy to see all the other Pride celebrations as well, like Seattle Center and Latinx Pride.

As a preemptive message to the crowd, Boo encouraged everyone to be cautious about COVID-19,but to bring all their good energy anyway: "People got to memorize these songs and bring their Hi-C fruit punches."