Before choosing the stage name Eric Blair, it’s no surprise that Twin Cities-based emcee and fiction writer Joe Horton turned to one of his favorite writers for inspiration. Eric Blair is the given name of the author better known to the world as George Orwell. Horton’s lyrics reflect the explorative tone of Orwell’s work, following an often shaded and winding path through the trappings of social, emotional and intellectual conformity.

Early in his career, Horton wrote and performed spoken-word pieces at coffee shops in his native Milwaukee. While studying Psychology at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, Horton began transitioning to songs, longer poems and short stories. After moving to Minneapolis/St. Paul, Horton began seriously writing prose and enrolled in the MFA program at Hamline University. He is currently working on an experimental novella entitled Gods of Mischief.

Horton is also currently working with the Loft Literary Center as a Youth Mentor. Horton is best known as the emcee for alternative hip-hop trio No Bird Sing, whose debut LP (self-titled) received local and national attention for its unique approach to the genre. Horton has performed with acts such as Saul Williams, P.O.S., Peter Wolf Crier, Heiruspecs, Derrick Brown, Kill the Vultures and Lookbook.