Native Music Rocks Records, a Hollywood, Florida-based company owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, is pleased to announce the release of the Battiest brothers’ debut single, “The Storm.” The song, a tribute to the Seminole Tribe, is the first release for the duo and will be available on iTunes and Amazon.com beginning March 8. The new song will be celebrated at a public release party to be held on March 10 at 1 p.m. at Seminole Star Search Theater located at 5710 Seminole Way (in Seminole Paradise, next to the Seminole Okalee Indian Village).
An homage to the Battiest’s parents, grandparents, and tribal leaders, “The Storm” incorporates a
love of the ancestry, tribal culture and personal insight of their upbringing. The stirring performance featuring the rhythmic rap of Doc (aka Zach Battiest) blended with the soulful blues melodies of his brother, Spencer, was self-written and produced in their Hollywood studio during a night-long session.
“The most memorable music is music with a purpose,” said 20-year-old Spencer, a veteran gospel/ R&B performer with a performance resume that dates from pre-school. “We’ve listened to the stories and songs of our Tribe since we were four or five years old. Our music pays reverence to the spirit they represent and we wanted to pass these cultural treasures along. We owe a debt of love to many.”
Spencer began performing with his brother, parents and grandparents in a touring gospel show when he was six years old. He graduated to the world stage with the John Robert Powers Talent Agency and was awarded “The Best Teen Male Artist” at the International Presentation of Performers (IPOP). He has since opened for such performers as Bruce Springsteen, Sting, The Police and other internationally acclaimed acts at Hard Rock Calling live concerts in London’s Hyde Park.
Doc, who took a hiatus in his teens from performing to concentrate on sports and lead a more “normal” life, returned to music with a vengeance at 16. Since then, he has been writing music, dancing, rapping, and attending to his first love, drumming and percussion.
“I still think of myself as a physical performer, a drummer,” he said. “I begin with a rhythm and wait for the words to come,” he said. “With ‘The Storm,’ everything fell into place. Spencer and I both came to the same place at the same time. We knew the stories; we felt the purpose.”
The song’s lyrics capture the Tribe’s emotional history with its trials and tribulations describing fights with encroaching armies to mothers filling the mouths of crying babies with mud to protect tribal campsites from marauding soldiers to Chief Osceola’s dramatic declaration of non-surrender. Key lines refute
the clichéd current public caricature of the Seminoles and assert power and unity.
“….Before the Rez before the rock before we had our money, We once was warriors fam keepers of the land, No weapon formed against us could ever withstand, They thought they had our number when they tried to wipe us out… and “…Since they couldn’t take us ‘way now here we stay, Standing strong with our heads up the Seminole way, Tradition flows like the blood in our veins, we’ll never forget from where we came, Unconquered even today…”
“The stereotypes deserve response,” Doc says. “We are musicians, but we are also storytellers, Seminoles. We owe much to our ancestors. We owe much to our children.”
Mitchell Cypress, chairman of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, is proud of the Tribe’s ongoing support of the brothers’ gifts. “These young men have written a beautiful and meaningful song that captures the culture, spirit and strength of the unconquered Seminoles,” he said. “I believe the music certainly entertains, but the lyrics have enormous value to the Tribe and to anyone interested in truth.”
Micki Free, Grammy Award-winning songwriter and vice president of Native Music Rocks Records, concurs. “Native Music Rocks is very proud of this release. When I joined the Seminole Tribe on its mission to introduce the world to Indian Country’s most talented performers through the Seminole Star Search Program, we had stiff criteria for supporting great music. This is a powerful and stellar debut song from the Battiests. It possesses a solid, gravelly bottom line wrapped in a gorgeous melody.”
Spencer says the duo does not define its music as “Indian music.” “We each have different influences and inspirations,” he explained. “But this was a labor of love and reflects an important part of both of us.”