Tim Fite‘s a Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter and social commentator who’s proved his humor and fluency in a number of styles, from pop, to country, to rap.
He got onto my radar back in 2008 or so when he started performing in the persona of a well-groomed, seersucker-suit-wearing, bumpkin-ish country singer. His shows in the late ’00s usually featured backup videos layered with multiple versions of himself on various harmony vocals and instruments, sometimes including a backpacker guitar.
He expanded his shows in collaboration with a guy known as Sexy Leroy. Leroy’s true identity is unknown to me, but he and Fite continue to collaborate to this day.
Here’s a look at Sexy Leroy today:
Fite has been been toiling just on the edges of the limelight for years.
He’s put out a number of great albums, including three on respectable indie label ANTI-, along with a raft of self-released albums.
While I’ve known him more as a musical artist, Fite’s been producing visual art as well — for his T-shirts, for album covers, and as free-standing artwork.
His latest project may be his most ambitious.
He spent April in residency at the Beam Center, an art education workshop on Bergen Street near Smith Street. With the help of the center’s students, he transformed the center’s storefront window into a giant cellphone for performance. He also created The Phoney Store, a fictional shop for selling beautiful smartphone surrogates crafted from colored glass, along with painted wooden phoneys made by students.
Last Friday, he held a gala exhibition to showcase the work made during the residency.
It’s all part of a Kickstarter project to create an album and visual art to go along with it. He calls it I Been Hacked. He raised $18,050 in a planned $15,000 campaign to fund it.
The art was created to go with an album of the same name. Here’s a deliciously low-tech video of one of the songs, “Me So Selfie,” performed with Bonaparte:
Is Fite anti-technology, a Luddite?
Hardly. But this project, like most of his work, comments on social norms by subverting them.
While it’s too late to support Fite’s Kickstarter, and all the Phoneys are sold, keep your eyes peeled for the album release later this year. It’ll be a delight.