Colorado Creatives

100 Colorado Creatives 4.0: Musa Bailey

Artist Scot Lefavor and Musa Bailey say goodbye to Cold Crush.
Artist Scot Lefavor and Musa Bailey say goodbye to Cold Crush. Paul August Winner
#64: Musa Bailey

Musa Bailey galvanized an old-school spirit in rapidly gentrifying RiNo with music, style, spins and street art as the creative wing and artist liaison of the Cold Crush ownership — and hopes to continue that work when the legendary hip-hop club safely lands in a new location after being shut down by the city in 2017. In the meantime, Bailey has other community projects up his sleeve, as you’ll learn from his answers to the 100CC questionnaire.

click to enlarge COURTESY OF MUSA BAILEY
Courtesy of Musa Bailey
Westword: What (or who) is your creative muse?

Musa Bailey: That changes a lot for me. It depends on what kind of project I'm engaged in. Sometimes it's music or books or visual art. Sometimes it's a place or a thing. Right now it's my three-and-a-half-year-old son, Glen.


Which three people, dead or alive, would you like to invite to your next party, and why?

Jimi Hendrix, just because he would be incredible to just hang out and party with. He was probably hilarious.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, for pretty much the same reason as Jimi.

Prince, just because he's Prince. All my heroes are pretty much dead.

What’s the best thing about the local creative community in your field — and the worst?

The best thing to me is how close some of the people in the art scene here in Denver are. I'm really lucky to know and be good friends with so many amazing artists in so many different disciplines. There's a lot of really good collaborating going on. The worst thing I think is that it's harder for artists to live off of just their art here than in bigger cities.

click to enlarge Musa Bailey and friends at the Ink! Coffee protest. - COURTESY OF MUSA BAILEY
Musa Bailey and friends at the Ink! Coffee protest.
Courtesy of Musa Bailey
What first drew you to work with and promote Denver's music and art communities?

I started out deejaying, so that kinda injected me into the music scene right away. And then when we opened Cold Crush, it was great, because we could really curate the DJs and the music, and we had a lot of amazing people play there. As far as visual art goes, I used to curate a sneaker-themed art show called Shoe Shine. It was a great experience, because I got to meet and work with some of the best artists in Denver. And that's when I really started collecting art and wanting to promote the people I was working with.

Are trends worth following? What’s one trend you love and one that you hate?

I hate trends. Just the whole idea of something only being cool or popular for a short period of time seems pretty silly to me. Especially if you are trying to make quality art. I want people to like what I'm doing today ten years from now. Longevity is way more important than any trend, in my opinion.

What’s your best or favorite accomplishment as a creative?

There are things I'm very proud of: Curating fourteen murals at Cold Crush, and the art inside, over the four and a half years we were open. I've made a couple mixtapes I still think are great ("My Robot Girlfriend" and "How to Survive When You're Dead”). I've traveled the world and accomplished pretty much every DJ fantasy I had. But I still think my best projects are ahead of me.

click to enlarge Musa Bailey, looking fine. - PAUL AUGUST WINNER
Musa Bailey, looking fine.
Paul August Winner
You’ve come this far in life. What’s still on your bucket list?

Way too many things. But mostly over the next few years, I just wanna do as much traveling as possible and create a new bucket list.

Denver, love it or leave it? What keeps you here — or makes you want to leave?

I love Denver. This is where I'm from, and I'm happy to be settled here now. No desire whatsoever to leave. Ha, plus I like nature and weed.

Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?

There's no way I can answer that. I'm just really proud of how many people I know here who are doing amazing work. It's inspiring to see so much super-high-quality art being made here.

click to enlarge Welcome to the Curtis Park Art House neighborhood. - COURTESY OF MUSA BAILEY
Welcome to the Curtis Park Art House neighborhood.
Courtesy of Musa Bailey
What's on your agenda in the coming year?

I'm opening a barber shop/salon in Five Points with my friend Ashe Bowen, and I'm super-excited about that.
Cold Crush will be in a new location soon. I have activated my house into an Airb&b and will be doing some pop-up gallery shows and small music events there (@CurtisParkArtHouse). And I'm working on a series of short films and a musical companion about being a dad called Assassin With Son.

Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in the coming year?

That's another tough question to answer. It's anybody's game out here at the moment. But without sounding like a jerk, I think I have a whole lot to offer the arts and music community in Denver. And I'm just gonna work my ass off and continue to not only make the best art I can, but to also create opportunities for other artists to shine and become successful.
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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd