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How the music business has affected Fritz Helder's relationship with race

Growing up in Whitehorse, being the only black child among his peers was not what defined Fritz Helder (then known as Rodney Morgan).

Being a boy in ballet and Highland dance meant that he became known for being "the dancer," rather than being singled out for his racial identity, his blackness. "I had a very placid, easy relationship with race growing up."

Since then, Helder has lived in Toronto and London, and now resides in Berlin, creating electronic music that often defies music-marketing genres.

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"Professionally, it's a very lonely place. When I see other artists doing the exact same thing as me, who are not black, there's a lot more acceptance to the oddity of it. They're given more leeway. With me, the business wants me to be something very specific that I'm just not ever going to do. I get it. From a business point of view it's so much easier to sell me as a hip-hop urban artist," says Helder.

This interview with Fritz Helder is featured in The Only One, the latest episode of Colour Code, The Globe and Mail's podcast on race in Canada. To listen, subscribe at tgam.ca/colourcode.

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