April 2024 HHARP Residency: Tilla

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives (OMAI) welcomes musician and writer Taylor Scott from Monday, April 8th through Saturday, April 13th, as our final Hip-Hop Artist in Residency series, in partnership with UW-Madison Communication Arts Department, the African Studies Program, Latin American, Caribbean & Iberian Studies (LACIS), the Havens Wright Center for Social Justice of the Department of Sociology, Bolz Center for Arts Administration, Café  Coda, Middleton High School, Mt. Zion Baptist Church, and the Division of the Arts.

Following OMAI’s 2022-23 partnership with the Division of the Arts’ Interdisciplinary Artist Residency Program (IARP), the Division of Diversity, Equity and Educational Achievement (DDEEA) has continued support for a new initiative in celebration of Hip Hop’s 50th anniversary: the Hip Hop Arts Residency Program (HHARP)

HHARP will take place five (5) times per academic year, over the course of 4-10 days. Each residency will feature a professional artist whose work represents hip-hop and/or urban art culture, with notable accomplishments in their field nationally and internationally. All residencies center Hip Hop and urban arts through academic, campus, and community engagement, providing spaces for interdisciplinary and intergenerational interactions. The residencies will coincide with OMAI’s existing initiatives, such as Just Bust! Open Mic Series, Passing the Mic Intergenerational Hip Hop Theater Festival, Line Breaks Hip Hop Theater Festival, and others. This strategic scheduling will deepen the impact of OMAI’s visiting artists beyond the First Wave Program, offering high-impact engagement with campus and local partners.

OMAI is excited to welcome Tilla, a band led by UW-Madison and First Wave alumna of the 5th Cohort, Taylor C. Scott, as a part of the 17th Annual Line Breaks Hip Hop Theater Festival

“This residency feels like coming home,” shares Scott. “As a Louisiana-based artist, I am thankful that I get to share this experience with my artistic collaborators living in Madison. We get to bring months of intensive creative processes to the very community that has nurtured our collective growth.” 

“It is truly an exceptional opportunity for our students,” shares Professor McKinnon, Professor of Rhetoric, Politics & Culture in the Department of Communication Arts, and Faculty Director of Latin American, Caribbean & Iberian Studies. “I am asked frequently by graduate and undergraduate students about what it means to blend scholarship, art ,and activism in one’s work. No one does this better than Dr. Taylor Scott. Across an impressive array of modalities and genres, she captures clearly and communicates deeply about the affective dimensions of Black life and experience in the United States. Her scholarship does this, as does her poetry and music, and work in the community. As a bonus, Dr. Scott is a gifted instructor. UW-Madison students will benefit greatly from the mentorship and teaching she will provide on campus during this residency. Her time on campus will demonstrate the magic that can happen when impactful badgers return to their Madison home to foster the greatness of a new badger generation”

OMAI’s Line Breaks Hip Hop Theater Festival consists of performances, lectures and discussions by First Wave artist-scholars and invited professional artists engaging with the Madison community, on and off campus. Line Breaks brings the top new aesthetics in contemporary hip hop and interdisciplinary performance art to the UW–Madison campus and the surrounding community. It has evolved into a space for the investigation of contemporary American culture through the lens of hip hop performance. Line Breaks is now one of the largest hip hop-centered performance festivals in the Midwest and continues to be a space for the cultivation and presentation of independent and collaborative work by First Wave artist-scholars. 

Please join us at The 17th Annual Line Breaks Festival in Overture Center’s Promenade Hall as we host Taylor Scott and celebrate the students of the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives.  Sign up here to stay updated on UW-Madison’s inaugural short-term HHARP residencies – including information on the series artists, events, and campus engagements.

About the Artists

Taylor Scott is an artist-scholar born, raised, and currently living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In addition to being the lead singer for Tilla, Taylor currently serves as the 2023-2024 Poet Laureate for East Baton Rouge Parish. She is also an Assistant Professor of English at Southern University where she teaches African American Literature and Freshman Composition (I&II). In 2022, she graduated from Louisiana State University with her doctorate in English (specialty: Culture & Writing).

Eric Newble is a Multi-Disciplinary Artist and Creative Advisor. He is a Songwriter, Percussionist and Vocalist in Tilla.

Eric has been a resident of Madison, WI for the last decade and is a member of the 7th Cohort of First Wave.

Nate France is a saxophonist and producer from Madison, WI. As an instrumentalist he has toured nationally with Chicago R&B/Soul outfit Hollyy and Mexico City-based indie folk artist Boom Forest. He has recorded or produced for artists including Rich Robbins, Drew Banga, Slow Pulp, Mikos Da Gawd, Kenny Hoopla, Basi, Groupthink, Kingmakers of Oakland, and CRASHprez. He is currently the music director and saxophonist for Tilla and teaches at the Wilder Deitz School for Creative Music on the east side.

Morgan Ryser is the lead keyboardist for Tilla. While attending Milwaukee High School of the Arts, he began to perform in groups spanning various styles, including jazz, R&B, and hip-hop. He is a graduate of UW-Madison, where he performed in the UW Jazz Ensembles and multiple bands around campus. Morgan loves the collaborative artistry in music, and is excited to bring that spirit to the HHARP.

Andy Jones is a PhD student in UW’s Department of Geoscience studying climate science and glaciers; he also moonlights as a jazz bass player and is getting his doctoral minor in music under UW-Madison’s Professor of Double Bass, Peter Dominguez. After graduating from Boston College in 2015, Jones toured around the U.S. in a frenetic rock band, mostly playing in basements and lightly-attended venues. He has performed with the Voices of Imani gospel choir, played in wedding bands, and recorded a solo album under the moniker Candy Andy.

Evan Ryser is a pianist and vocalist from Milwaukee, WI. He started playing piano at the age of 5, and has always had a deep love for music. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Evan began to dedicate himself further into songwriting and music production, which have become strengths of his. He is a 2021 UW-Madison graduate.

Jalen McCullough of Madison, WI started playing drums at 6 years old at Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Jalen further developed his playing under the mentorship of Leotha Stanley. In high school, Jalen flourished while playing with various groups such as Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, Show Choir, and Black Music Ensemble. He went on to create an original band, SoulMen, which released several commercial records. He still enjoys playing at Mt. Zion Baptist Church and with various bands in the community, including Tilla.

Public Events

The following events are open to the public and all ages. 


Monday, April 8th
Welcome Reception at Cafe Coda
1224 Williamson St, Madison, WI
6:00-8:00 pm

Join us as we celebrate the beginning of Taylor Scott’s residency. The first 20 attendees will receive a drink ticket. Free refreshments. A cash bar will be available. 


Saturday, April 13, 2024
17th Annual Line Breaks Festival
Overture Center, Promenade Hall
6:30 pm

OMAI’s annual Line Breaks Hip Hop Theater Festival consists of performances, lectures and discussions by First Wave artist-scholars and invited professional artists engaging with the Madison community, on and off campus. Join us for the third evening showcase of the 2024 festival, headlined by Tilla. Tickets are free, all ages and open to the public – but we expect to reach venue capacity! Please reserve your seat by clicking here.


Tilla Show Description:
Heaven Inside is an original musical production written and performed by the Madison-based band Tilla. With poetic scenes, bluesy vocals, and a robust musical score, this 50-minute show is carefully curated to speak to the current moment. Tilla’s poignant lyricism encompasses themes of black identity and diaspora, existentialism, interpersonal relationships, and spirituality. Each song creates a distinct world and encourages listeners to reflect upon the interconnectedness of the human experience. Heaven Inside features performances from the legendary Kongolese percussionist Papa Titos Sompa and Mount Zion’s esteemed choir led by director and organist Leotha Stanley. Together their musical contributions help make this project as delightfully ethereal as it is grounding.


Private Events:

As a part of her residency, Dr. Taylor Scott will also connect with different groups of students and staff on campus in closed events as well as community engagements. These sessions will be by invitation only. 



Bolz Center for Masters in Arts Administration Class Interview- Taylor will be a guest speaker in Grainger Hall as part of a moderated discussion and presentation from a Bolz Center Arts Business candidate along with fellow Tilla member, Nathan France. 

Workshop with UW Communication Arts Students- Taylor will host Performance & Creative Expression for Social Justice Research & Teaching, a workshop featuring Papa Titos Sompa. This workshop comes with support from the African Studies Program, Latin American, Caribbean & Ibearian Studies (LACIS), The Havens Wright Center for Social Justice of the Department of Sociology, and the Department of Communication Arts . 

Connection with Local Elementary School Music Students- Taylor will meet with a local elementary school and its students to have a short performance with Tilla.

More HHARP Events

No events returned.