Regal Anton-Chavez Francis Bragg, a Minneapolis musician and producer who worked under the name Regal the Rare, has died at age 29. His stepfather Jellybean Johnson shared the news in social media statements, writing, “Fly free son.” No cause of death was provided; a memorial celebration is planned this Saturday, May 1 at Winterland Studios from 3-7 p.m.
“He had crazy potential,” said Dwynell Roland, whose song “Control It” has a Regal the Rare beat. “And not only that, he was a very nice person on top of that, he was always friendly. And just very, very hard working…he always found time to make some music.”
Jellybean Johnson is a legend of the Minneapolis Sound: drummer for the Time and a fiery guitarist who just released his solo debut on that instrument earlier this year. Regal — whose mother is Johnson’s partner and manager Marty Bragg, and whose biological father is her former husband Antonio Bragg — was an avid supporter of his stepfather’s musical career, posting frequently about the new album and Johnson’s various performances.
Still, Regal didn’t trade on his family fame, said Roland. “They didn’t even tell me who his dad was until at the end of the session,” he remembered. “I was like, wow!” Roland said he was glad “I was able to share a space with him for a little bit. We made a song, and it turned out to be the biggest the biggest song I ever made.”
Heidi Vader, founder of the education nonprofit Purple Playground, has launched a GoFundMe to support Regal’s relatives. “He was a shining light in their family and now that light is gone,” she writes.
— Jellybean Johnson (@realJellybeanJ) April 27, 2021
Reached for comment, Regal’s parents responded simply, “Could you share his music? Our wonderful talented one of a kind son. Fly high sweet son.”