Rhapsody in Black

Meet Vernon Neal, the new host of 'Rhapsody in Black'

Vernon Neal hosts the 'Rhapsody in Black' podcast.MPR

January 31, 2023

Meet Vernon Neal, the new host of the podcast Rhapsody in Black, where we turn up the voices of Black artists in the world of classical music.

Neal was born in Belize but raised in Los Angeles. After arriving in the Midwest as a teenager, he discovered an insatiable interest in learning how to create music and taught himself how to play various instruments. 

“Music has been my cheer squad at my proudest moments and a shoulder to lean on in my lowest,” he said.

This passion for music was, for a time, matched by his passion for sports. This led him to start a strength and conditioning gym created for people of underestimated and underrepresented backgrounds to feel welcome, capable and whole in the world of strength and conditioning. 

As a Black business owner, community leader and athlete, he found 2020 to be a time of deep reflection. He dedicated his attention to his freelance audio-production business fusing hip-hop, jazz, pop and metal while putting his degree in audio engineering and live sound to full use. 

Neal sharpened his chops in the production aspect of live television broadcasting at KSTP in Minneapolis before joining Minnesota Public Radio in 2022. He remains committed to building community and uplifting underrepresented groups through the healing power of music.