Local Artist Spotlight: Purple Kloud

Local Artist Spolight Purple Kloud WH

Let me introduce you to Rayvon "Purple Kloud" Rollins, hailing from Gainesville, Florida. He calls his style "pyrofuzz," inspired by the "mesmerizing look and feel of Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock when he said his guitar was on fire. Pyro fuzz is a feeling, that fire, that spirit to create something with whatever you have and leave it on the stage burning and smoking."

Purple Kloud Art illustration of playing his guitar
Art by Asaan Swamburger Brooks

Growing up, music was in the family- his mom sang, granddaddy played piano, dad learned guitar in high school, and Rayvon sought out all the cool music in his sister's collection. He also took guitar class at Newberry High School, but rather than reading music, he learned to play everything by ear. It wasn't until college when a bass player told him he was tuned differently in a dropped d. The bass player was so impressed by his talent, he didn't want to teach Purple Kloud too much and affect his musical instincts.

"Let’s not become elitists when it comes to the creation of music. Just appreciate it, make your contribution, and be satisfied with that. These contracts will eat you alive if you don't read them but if you are dedicated to protecting your sound and yourself, it’s not that much of a headache. Trademark your name, copyright your music, and join a streaming service that copyrights your music as soon as you release it. Distrokid, United Masters, CD Baby- there's no excuse. Protect yourself."

Purple Kloud stands for “King Living Out Universal Dialogue,” and was inspired by the Purple Cloud Temple of the Shaolin monks who also inspired the naming of the group Wu-Tang

“I saw myself as a temple of hip hop knowledge, comic book knowledge... mom always said ‘get your head out of the clouds’ and I was like, how do I turn this into a power? How do I turn this into my strength? Daydreaming isn't always a bad thing. It’s her fault she made me a Disney kid…literally putting me into a place of wanting to make something with nothing. I've always had a vivid imagination. I owe that to reading and movies and music.”

As a professional musician, and musician in residence for the Shands Arts in Medicine program, Purple Kloud's first piece of advice to those he mentors is to start with a library card, a composition book, and a pencil. I can't help but agree with his statement, "If you're an artist, you should have a library card." The Headquarters Library and Archer Branch were where he used his library card most while growing up, and of the many graphic novels he read, Punisher was a quick favorite. 

Purple Kloud playing live on stage
Photo credit: Lorenza L. Weaver

On the subject of favorites, I asked for a few of his:

Favorite venue: Bo Diddley Plaza, because of its central place in the community open for people to hear for miles. Not to be overlooked, the namesake Bo Diddley's influence on blues music and Archer, FL also have an inspiring impact.  

Favorite song to represent his artistry: Killing me softly by FuGees with Lauryn Hill on lead vocals, for the emotion the lyrics impart that reminds him of his dual roles of fan and creator.

Favorite original song to perform: Rose Gold, his masterpiece and mandatory setlist song that he wrote for his mother the day before Mother's Day 2022 with his "guitar and tears and memories." 

Purple Kloud EP
    Art by David Gregoire

During his mother's birth month, we also have a new local holiday, "Purple Kloud Day." This was announced by the City of Gainesville to be March 16th along with an Artist of the Year Award. Purple Kloud is well on his way to becoming a local music icon.

"When it comes to originality, I think all styles, all genres, are beams of light hitting diamonds in a cave. The different illuminations that show up on the wall- it doesn’t matter where it came from, just enjoy what you’re seeing. It’s so beautiful, I feel it every time on stage."

Purple Kloud's most recent EP "The Folkadelic" can be listened to on all streaming platforms, and his music video "More Than Just Cleaning" was just released after being shot in Gainesville.

Thanks to community partner MusicGNV for connecting the Alachua County Library District to local artists for this blog series! Read past editions here about Sky Luca$MADWOMANIsrael Jones, and Jernie.

Photos used with permission by the artist.

Upcoming program for teen musicians at the Tower Road Branch:

Teen Music Maker Collaboration Session


Check out these recommendations from Purple Kloud:

Dilla Time: The Life and Afterlife of J Dilla, the Hip-Hop Producer Who Reinvented Rhythm

Dan Charnas

He wasn't known to mainstream audiences, even though he worked with renowned acts like D'Angelo and Erykah Badu and influenced the music of superstars like Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson. He died at the age of thirty-two, and in his lifetime he never had a pop hit. Yet since his death, J Dilla has become a demigod: revered by jazz musicians and rap icons from Robert Glasper to Kendrick Lamar; memorialized in symphonies and taught at universities. And at the core of this adulation is innovation: a new kind of musical time-feel that he created on a drum machine, but one that changed the way "traditional" musicians play.

In Dilla Time, Dan Charnas chronicles the life of James DeWitt Yancey, from his gifted childhood in Detroit, to his rise as a Grammy-nominated hip-hop producer, to the rare blood disease that caused his premature death; and follows the people who kept him and his ideas alive. He also rewinds the histories of American rhythms: from the birth of soul in Dilla's own "Motown," to funk, techno, and disco. Here, music is a story of Black culture in America and of what happens when human and machine times are synthesized into something new. Dilla Time is a different kind of book about music, a visual experience with graphics that build those concepts step by step for fans and novices alike, teaching us to "see" and feel rhythm in a unique and enjoyable way. Dilla's beats, startling some people with their seeming "sloppiness," were actually the work of a perfectionist almost spiritually devoted to his music.

Listen to the audiobook here.

Evolution Fight



Plight about now -- Soapbox -- Evolution fight -- Haze -- Rousseau -- F**k America -- Growing -- Rappin' -- Automaton -- Arrow of god -- Running water -- Up above -- Deferred -- Moonlight.




Illest villains -- Accordion -- Meat grinder -- Bistro -- Raid -- America's most blunted -- Sickfit -- Rainbows -- Curls -- Do not fire! -- Money folder -- Shadows of tomorrow -- Operation lifesaver aka mint test -- Figaro -- Hardcore hustle -- Strange ways -- Fancy clown -- Eye -- Supervillain theme -- All caps -- Great dry -- Rhinestone cowboy.

Madvillain is: Madlib and MF Doom.

Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers

Wu-Tang Clan


Bring on da ruckus -- Shame on a nigga -- Clan in da front -- Wu-Tang, 7th chamber -- Can it be all so simple -- Da mystery of chessboxin' -- Wu-Tang Clan ain't nuthing ta f' wit -- C.R.E.A.M. -- Method Man -- Protect ya neck -- Tearz -- Wu-Tang, 7th chamber, part II.

Jimi Hendrix: Live at Woodstock

Jimi Hendrix

Nine o'clock on Monday morning, August 18, 1969: while the workforce was starting the day, Jimi Hendrix was taking the stage at Woodstock Music and Arts Fair in Bethel, New York. While hundreds of thousands had already left, 25,000 people remained to see this incredible performance. Hendrix, along with drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Billy Cox, offered masterly renditions of the songs of the recently disbanded Experience (Hey Joe, Foxey Lady), and gave a preview of the blues-based Band of Gypsys (Izabella, Hear My Train A Comin'), as well as Jimi's era-defining rendition of The Star Spangled Banner. For this performance, Hendrix added extra musicians to his usual lineup and played under the moniker, Gypsy Sun & Rainbows. Though the weekend had witnessed some landmark performances by other great artists, this performance from Hendrix is regarded by many as the defining moment in a festival ripe with defining moments.

The Score



Red intro -- How many mics -- Ready or not -- Zealots -- The beast -- Fu-gee-la -- Family business -- Killing me softly -- The score -- The mask -- Cowboys -- No woman, no cry -- Manifest/outro -- Fu-gee-la (Refugee Camp remix) (bonus track) -- Fu-gee-la (Sly & Robbie mix) (bonus track) -- Mista mista (bonus track).

Hey Ya!

Chris Nickson

Since 1994 OutKast have been reinventing the rules of hip-hop, blending different styles of music into a Southern style that is wholly their own, soulful, outrageous, and addictive. They've captured the hearts of fans and music critics alike, and have achieved records and scaled heights in the music world that most artists can only dream of.

The full story of OutKast has never before been told. Now in Hey Ya! you'll go behind the scenes into the world of Big Boi and Andre 3000, from their start as teenage hopefuls in Atlanta to their international rise to fame. Along the way you'll learn about the creative forces that have kept them on the cutting edge of hip-hop for a decade, and keep them pushing forward into tomorrow. From their first breakthrough with "Player's Ball" to their six Grammy wins, their upcoming movie and more, Hey Ya! Is the ultimate look at two of the most creative forces in music today and is the definitive guide to everything OutKast!

Download the e-book here.

Descriptions adapted from the publisher.
By Sofia on June 26, 2023