Although just 21, R&B singer Margot B has already spent a few years as one of Pittsburgh's ready-to-break mainstream acts, and outlasted a number of other local hopefuls. Perhaps that's because she began building up her resume in her early teens, with volunteer work, modeling, dance, performing at benefits and fundraisers, and opening for acts like Kelly Clarkson -- a sort of combination class president and entertainer.
"You really have to be so well rounded that you're ready for anything, and can take on anything," says Margot, who recently relocated to New York City.
"I was so fortunate in Pittsburgh, that I got a lot of things to come my way," she says. "In New York it's a little different. It's definitely harder -- not only are you trying to make it as an artist," but everyone else is, too. "It's all about who you know, it's all about networking."
She says this matter-of-factly, without the bitterness you might hear from an older local musician on the next bar stool. She talks of working on her weaknesses, being hard on herself and paying dues, with an odd humility. I mean, imagine you're a hot, accomplished 21-year-old working in music in NYC, and your dad is former Steeler Craig Bingham. You are -- especially to a Pittsburgher -- the shit.
Margot saves that swagger for her music -- it's in ample supply in her new album, Two Thousand Mine, a full-length she developed over a year and a half with producer E Dan and others at ID Labs, a Lawrenceville studio known mostly for hip hop.
"I go into it knowing exactly what I want," Margot says. What she wanted, it seems, was snappy, harder-edged dance-floor tracks with electro-disco touches. "Engineering has always been an interest of mine, so they gave me a lot of freedom."
Lately she's been singing solo at showcases, and working on songs for other artists with her new co-writer Taylor B (no relation, she assures). (Pop-rock, country -- "we pretty much write anything anyone needs," Margot says.)
This weekend, she'll perform with Grooveline Horns, a pro trio she met through recording sessions with the Boogie Hustlers. And since Grooveline accompanies pop singer-songwriter Jason Mraz, that means sitting in for two of his performances, singing duets originally handled by Colbie Caillat.
One show is in New York, the other in Pittsburgh at the Amphitheatre at Station Square, on Tue., Aug. 11. The all-ages show, which starts at 7 p.m., also includes G. Love & Special Sauce and K'naan; Grooveline Horns, Margot B and the Boogie Hustlers will also perform at the after-parties.