[Exclusive] Interview with Artist On the Verge of Creative Fulfillment: Wafia

“I just want to create things that have a breath of fresh air”

Australian singer/songwriter, Wafia, is the next artist to watch for on your musical radar. Wafia is only 24 years-old, but her voice speaks wonders as she transcends barriers of genres and sounds. She is an artist whom has created a beautiful list of tracks to develop her artistry in a category known as “left-of-center”.

“Better Not” is her most recent release, which is in collaboration with renown electronic producer Louis the Child. The song is fun, light hearted, sweet and harmless. It carries your soul through the summer and reminds you of poolside gatherings, road trips, beach getaways, and endless days in the sun. The feeling emoted by the reverbs of this track is “feel good.” It’s the kind of song you would use to sum up what a good day would be like. It’s a summer lullaby that will blissfuly take you away to its own universe.

Nonetheless, the song is a heartbreak melody about not fooling m yourself when you see true love straight in the eye and then try to pretend it’s not real–how wrong you are.

Don’t overthink it
Let it go and try to trust the feeling
You know it in your gut you’re healing
From every time that you’ve been hurt before
I see it, I see it
It’s true love, don’t fake it
You better not, you better not

The lyrics, though short, and simple, really pack a punch when placed by the duality of these two artists. As I sat on call with the singer herself, I could tell in her soft-spoken, thoughtful voice, that every song is given much love and care.

When I asked Wafia what she was currently out in LA doing, she mentioned that she was out at Coachella performing with Louis the Child and is now just writing at the moment. (That’s always good news coming from an artist; it means more music!)

Now, being of Iraqi and Syrian descent, I was curious to know if her cultural influences were ever reflected in her music?

“I think it comes subconsciously, I realize I don’t need to make a great effort to include it because I think it breathes through me. I don’t need to include Arabic or something in everything that I do because just me existing in itself is me including my Middle Eastern background… Not every song calls for that kind of influence all the time. But I think it’s in my melodies, it’s in the subjects I talk about, but only if it’s required”, she responds thoughtfully.

I delved deeper into the sound that she does embody, which is something more “left-of-center”. I was curious to know if there had been a clear defined path to this sound, or if it was something she had to experiment with and decipher. “It did take time to figure out, but I came to realize that I love a lot of different music and that I kind of want to do it all. I realized that I want the common thread in my music to just be my voice, or my story, or my perspective, as opposed to a style of genre or a style of production. It took me 2 -3 years to figure that out. To me it’s all about what the song asks for. You know if a song wants to lean a certain direction or requires something, who am I to say ‘No no no’… it’s just about finding that balance I found.”

As mentioned earlier, Wafia had a chance to perform live with Louis the Child in front of 50,000 people at Coachella this year! The artist was not scared though explaining how it is easiest for her to perform for 50 people rather than for more than that. She considers it easier because she really can’t see all of the crowd’s faces and the stage begins to feel like she is “playing in my own world”, says the songstress.

To list just a few of the artists she wishes she could collaborate with, Wafia mentioned “there was a time I would have said Kanye, but now I’m not so sure” she chuckles,” I’d love to do something with like Kendrick or even like Pharrell–I feel like it would be cool to do something with Imogen Heap, ya , like something super unique and beautiful and soundscap-y”. The artist also mentioned how she would love to work with producer Brian Eno (James Blake) someday.

To her, a lot of her influences that shaped songwriting for her were artists such as Shania Twain (whom was the first artist album she was  ever given), SZA, and Solange. Usually, she would enjoy writing music to more melancholic tunes, but lately she’s been feeling less somber and more energetic and vibrant. “I’m more inspired by fun things right now, I just want to create things that have a breath of fresh air. There was a time in my life when I thought things weren’t dark enough…but now I just want to make music that makes people feel good”.

She continues, “I actually really love Drake–his production style is really inspiring to me–especially songs like ‘Passionfruit'”.

I then got to ask my favorite questions about what color she would describe herself as and it was awesome that her color to describe herself is “desert orange” and that her fun facts were that she speaks 3 languages: Arabic, English and Dutch, and that she has a toy poodle named Khalil (after the poet Khalil Gibran).

Her biggest advice to aspiring artists would be to “be patient and make sure you really know about your career and also how you want to be represented, before you bring anyone into your project, a manager, or otherwise. And hold on to your publishing for as long as possible.”

I was completely honored to speak to Wafia, because I can tell her work is going to exciting places and reaching new heights very soon. She is “constantly #ontheverge of creative fulfillment but never there” but constantly working towards it.

Follow Wafia on Instagram, Facebook, Spotify, Twitter, and Website

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Out There Impels You to “Risk It All” with New Single Ft. Blake Rose

Making some risks this summer

As EDM has taken over much of the music industry, it’s nice to see every once in a while artists who are still bending and playing with the sounds that electronica can expand to. That includes Out There’s recent release that dropped today “Risk It All” featuring the vocals of Blake Rose. The track is a great summer 2018 single that helps you escape your head for a moment and makes you question why you haven’t just did what was wanted to be done?

The pop-electronic single is a vibrant escapade that delves further into a tunnel of static, sound, tunes and tones. The end result? A song  that sounds like a melodic heartache based on a love lost due to risks taken because of a lack of self-control.

It’s a head-banging worthy single, but also a sweet serenade. The lyrics are simple, but the voice perfectly aligns with the composition produced by Out There, and it all comes together in this perfect chaotic harmony. Rose impels the question of existential being, desire, unknowing, and then reminds us how no matter these circumstances, we are still willing to risk it all.

The track even demonstrates the production capabilities that Out There has mastered, balancing the vocals perfectly with a hard-hitting soundtrack that gets the blood pumping and the mind racing.

The man behind the music is Sam Perlow, an LA-Native who demonstrates his talent through the many years of experience he has had learning about it. He studied piano at a young age, graduated from Scratch Academy (where he learned how to DJ), and  the continued his education at Berklee College of Music. The man behind the voice is Blake Rose, an Australian-born singer with millions of streams across both YouTube and Spotify. Together, they bring you “Risk It All”.

Out There has plenty of tracks to go as the summer holds many exciting new projects for the young producer. So of course, this means we will all have to stay tuned to see what more he will bring to the table.

Be sure to listen to the track above, add it to your summer playlists (I know it will be on my running playlist!), and follow Out There on socials: Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

2018 Billboard Hot 100 Artists To Get Excited and To Look Out For!

Another year, another summer, another season of festivals and one we’re definitely looking forward to is the annual Billboard Hot 100 Festival!

This year will mark the festival’s 4th year running, and the epic lineup has already been announced. The Billboard Hot 100 Fest will once again takeover the summer scene hosting itself on Long Island’s Northwell Health, Jones Beach Theater on August 18 and 19. The festival will be produced by Billboard and Live Nation.

We’re pumped because there are a laundry list of amazing artists that the music industry’s most esteemed chart-tracker is gathering together for their big event this summer and you won’t want to miss out on it! We’re letting you know who we’re most excited to see at this year’s Hot 100 festivities!

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Here’s just a few of the artists of the massive 2-day fest and their most recent releases for you to jam out to:

Future

DJ Snake

Kehlani

Lovelytheband

Rozes

They.

Olivia O’brien

JID

Verité

Daya

Sarbina Carpenter

hot 100

Cheat Codes

Matoma

Taylor Bennett

And… Billboard is surprising us with a guest female artist,whom has yet to be announced–so we’ll just have to wait and see!

Tickets went on sale today, Friday, April 13th at 10 AM, so you can go and order yours now on their official websiteas well as see the full lineup for yourself. Make yourself a Spotify playlist with some of your favorite Hot 100 Fest artists, and share it tagging #billboardhot100 and #vergecampus so we can see who you’re most hyped for this summer!

There will be general admission two-day passes available through Live Nation starting at $80, as well as two-day tickets for the Hot 100 main stage.

Be sure to check out and follow Billboard’s Instagram, Twitter, and Facebookfor more live updates about the festival, and we hope to see you there!

[Exclusive Interview]: lovelytheband & New Song “these are my friends”

lovelytheband is a good definition of what euphoric melancholy would sound like. Being #1 on Alternative for 4 weeks in a row, nearing 1 million streams per week, and ranking the 68th most searched band on Shazam, the boys are definitely in a good place right now.

I spoke to Mitchy Collins, the lead singer of the band, about their release that dropped today “these are my friends”, the band, and more to get a better sense behind the making of the track and the the guys themselves.

lovelytheband is formed by the three musicians: lead vocals Collins, guitarist Jordan Greenwald, and drummer Sam Price. They are currently on the road and still have a lot more stops to make on their tour. As the tour ends in Minneapolis, MN, June 29th, they also prepare themselves to perform at some major festivals this season including: Hangout Festival, Lollapalooza, and Billboard Hot 100 (just to name a few).

The guys are happy and able to boast how they have made placements on Spotify curated playlists like Digging Nowand Rock This. It doesn’t seem like the good vibes and achievements will stop anytime soon, as the two continue to ride this wave of musical affluence.

The new single, “these are my friends”, which hit New Music Friday today on Spotify, is a happy sound with a deeper meaning. The simplicity of the track is what really makes it somewhat stand out on its own as a feel good and thoughtful track. It’s a sing along for the soul when things get rough and what you can look back on is the support of your friendships who get you through the hardships. The music is the perfect balance of pop-indie rock. The single is an anthemic tune with a sweet melody. Collins’ croons, Greenwald’s strums, and Price’s beats all come together in this circle of hopefulness. It’s that sweet teenage angst and summer getaway song that everyone needs and wants in their life–a song to chant together in total delirium.

“Everybody needs a pick me up / but I should probably slow it down / but it’s pretty good company / it cheers me up when I feel bad / these are my insecurities that keep me going / these are my friends, these are my friends, I love them”sing the guys.

Collins was in a great mood when I spoke with him the other day. They had just completed their performance that weekend at SunFest in Palm Springs, Florida. Collins is the only one from New Jersey, while the other two band-mates are originally from LA, where they reside now. LA would also become the birthplace of lovelytheband, their first mark on the music scene, and their rise to fame. Through a series of back and forth communication, the band came to be and the guys rolled out their hit single “broken”, which has currently over 12 million streams.

When I asked Collins what the new single was about, he knew the answer right away. “That song is all about all the good and bad parts about me–I touch on that stuff a lot obviously in our music…whether I like it or not, good or bad, they make me the person I am and I wouldn’t change any of it because it’s brought me to where I am in life. I’m very fortunate to be doing what we’re doing. But also the song touches on these are my friends, I love them, they’re the people  that are there for me when I’m down”. The artist humbly explains the  track to me, and I’m sure many of us can empathize.

“I like to keep it pretty honest”, admits the singer/songwriter.

Collins also hinted to there being much more lovelytheband music, videos, and tours to come in the near future that fans can look out and get excited for.

Collins had some really interesting answers when it came to asking him who he would want the band to collaborate with if they could with anyone for their next track. At first, he mentioned “Weird Al” and then “Frank Ocean”. If they could tour with anyone as well, Collins said that it would be awesome for lovelytheband to perform with LANY or Bon Iver. That would definitely be an awesome concert to attend.

When I asked him what he thinks he would say is the most important aspect about connecting with the fans, he confidently answered, “The fans are the most important. All we are, are just songs, you know, the fans are the reason we get to call this work, and make this a living. A little bit goes a long way, whether people are realizing it or not…Remembering why you’re here is because they’re there”. He believes that engaging with your fans is so important to keep the relationship strong and let them know you’re there for them and you see their love and support.

I also asked the vocalist if he thought the band would always follow this sound, or if their new music are different from their old project, to which he replied, “we’re always evolving–lovelytheband is what it is right now, but I can’t promise it is going to always sound like this”.

I had to ask if the guys had any hidden talents. “I’m really good at the claw games in arcades, Sam is an iOS, Apple enthusiast. He gives us classes on all of the new iOS updates, we call it Apple With Sam. And Jordan is exceptionally tall and a good person”, he says through laughs.

We moved the conversation then to what would be one thing the band would want to do that they haven’t had the chance to do yet. “Sell out an arena, and playing on SNL is a big one”.

Taking things on a more comical route, I asked Collins if lovelytheband has a favorite photo or video that they really love, and below you can see the photo that he directed me to which is posted on their Instagram feed three times. It’s pretty great.

🛁

A post shared by lovelytheband (@lovelytheband) on

The advice he had for other aspiring young musicians who especially want to pursue this life in the music industry was sincere: “Don’t give up, persistence is key, and songwriting, focus on that above all else. You get that right everything falls into place. Just  be honest with it, don’t try to be someone you’re not”.

Collins finished off our chat by filling in the blank  our traditional slogan. What he said is that they are #OnTheVerge of becoming grossly overweight because of all of the fast food we have been eating.

Be sure to stay tuned and follow the guys on Instagram, Spotify, Facebook, and Twitter.

Moontower is the Next Band to Keep on Your Radar – “William”

Get Her Back

Welcoming the sound of edgy electronica comes the emerging band Moontower.  This trio originates from Los Angeles, and have been on the path to creative recognition as they release their first single “William” (which released on April 25th) and have performed for live shows all over Southern California for more than half a year. Before all of the buzz they received though, these guys were doing it all makeshift, redesigning spaces form backyards to living rooms into the musical experiences that people could enjoy and feel connected to. With that all said, Moontower has had exciting opportunities to open for headlining artist like Bad Suns and Yungblud, as well as playing a few festivals!

With Moontower’s first track exposed, they were delighted to find that it has already racked up over 66K streams and has been placed on a Spotify curated playlist “Fresh Finds: Poptronix”.  The band itself boasts over 45K monthly listeners, which is extremely impressive for a band that, only until just recently, released one song on streaming platforms!

Now back to the song! “William” is tale about a young man that the band fabricated of their own imagination. The protagonist, William Hollywood, is from suburban USA, but it seems his life is not as monotonous as the white picket fences seem, as like any love story, he embarks on a journey to rescue the love of his life. The story line will thicken and grow as the band continues to release new music, and with each song, we get another piece of the narrative.

With a peculiar image of an orange juice carton as their cover art and the presence of oranges in their press photos, these guys are undoubtedly going to be something fresh, quirky, and above all else, fascinating to watch as they add to the industry scene of indie-electronic music. The song is both epic and mellow. It has a superhero-esque tone and the softness of an indie vocalist. With beeps and other noises incorporated to build the sound, we get a wonderfully wicked and sweet melange of a song that packs a punch like a glass of OJ. It’s got that tang to it when the tempo changes at just the right moments. Right as it gets soft, you get a sick guitar riff to that reminds listeners of nostalgic classic rock music. The well-constructed song demonstrates the talent boys have, who still have more to come.

This track is certainly not their last, and there is plenty of time to see where these three amigos take their musical endeavors. They have a lot in store  for their listeners, so until then, keep listening to “William” above and follow the guys on socials: Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Exclusive Interview with South African Pop Producer Jason Strong

Remedy for our hearts

Jason Strong always knew music was his passion, correction, his obsession. I had the honor of chatting with this kind-hearted South African man about the journey to find his sound and post-college lifestyle in LA as an producer. With the music that he is putting out in the next few weeks, months, and hopefully years, there’s no doubt that we will recognize him as an established producer.

Strong’s skills are diverse and exhilarating. If you listen to the music, you can imagine colors, lights, and all things that shine. Each song has a personality of its own that then takes you on a trip around the world in a 12-track compilation. You can hear the precision in each  record as beats, rhythms, and tones are molded into a harmony that then is paired by an amplifying melody. The vocals placed over his tracks only then accentuate the sounds, making the song an ear-worthy piece. (Most of his work is co-produced by his friend Peder Etholm-Idsoee, from Norway.)

Much of his sound draws from his original roots. Strong was born in South Africa but lived in various places and traveled a lot. South Africa alone has 10 different languages. He also lived in Austria for 2 years and then Germany. He began playing acoustic guitar at age 13, and then electric at age 14. Much of his musical experience came from church, where he was surrounded by music.

The producer’s resumé could break world records with how much he has accomplished in such a short period of time. He earned a scholarship to St. Johns College (High school); he was the National Eisteddfod Academy winner; he was a Battle of Bands winner at multiple local schools; at just the age of 17, his own band back in High School called Vacant Sun performed in front of 5,000 people.

In high school, the pop producer admits that there was a phase when he was influenced by metal music. He then got into Brazilian and latin music to expand his style. “You want to get people to listen to the music in order to get on New Music Friday.”

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He performed as a soloist for symphony orchestras at age 17, was a selected attendee for the renown Graham’s Town Jazz Festival, and then happily received a scholarship to Berklee College of Music. While at Berklee, Strong worked under the mentorship of hit songwriter and American Idol judge Kara Dioguardi, where he was selected to be a part of a program she ran. The program was structured to get certain student producers, writers, and artists to collaborate with each other and then receive feedback from her. Berklee also gave Strong the chance to work alongside multi-platinum and Grammy winning mixer and producer Prince Charles Alexander, being one of the first students to graduate with a minor in Commercial Record Production (a creation of Prince Charles himself).

His music has been recognized all over the place and through a multitude of channels. He was the producer behind the critically acclaimed lead single “Ride” by artist Naïka, released via Capitol Records/Universal Music Group. He was placed placed #2 on Spotify’s Global Viral & US Viral Charts, and placed within the top 10 on Spotify’s Viral Charts in countries including the UK, Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Norway, Canada, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Argentina & Australia. He has also racked up over 12 million global streams!!! To add to the extensive list already, he was the producer behind ‘Que Los Mares No Se Enteren’ by Nico Farias, which placed #1 on iTunes. What hasn’t he accomplished?

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You also can’t help but get excited that this young emerging producer has even been praised by outlets and figures such as
iHeartRADIO, EARMILK, Hype Machine, Trap Nation, Martin Garrix, and The Chainsmokers.

Strong is now out in LA, post-grad, where he’s pursuing his music full-time. “It’s kind of like blind dates when you get to LA and you’re trying to do collabs,” notes the instrumentalist. “The writing process is spent 1 hour getting to know each other and then the next talking about the things that are causing you trouble in order to write the song.” He notes that sessions can take up to 6-8 hours to get down a solid verse and chorus. He’d come up with the chords, then once the melody is decided on and the track is looped, they flesh out the “concept of the song up until the 1st chorus”.

Now for some rapid fire questions: Some of his musical icons include Max Martin, Timbaland, and Greg Kirsten. Taylor Swift is an artist he admittedly likes a lot, especially with her album Red, and mostly because her producer is Martin. If he had to choose one album to be left with in the world, it would be Switchfoot’s Vice Verses. The biggest challenge he believes producers face is creating something without caring what others think of it or you. He says, “Think of it as you’re creating just for yourself, instead of trying to rack up plays”. If he could ever collaborate with another artist, it would be between Lorde and Frank Ocean. His one word to describe himself would be “obsessive” (with the music).

So, now what should we be expecting from this curator of sound? “Something that’s unconventional, that’s fresh” remarks Strong ecstatically. His big advice to emerging producers everywhere: “Do something everyday. Obsession is key.”

Jason Strong is #OntheVerge of obsession.

Be sure to keep an eye out for this incredible man as he takes on the world one record at a time.

Social Media: Instagram, Facebook, Soundcloud

Sleeping Lion Serenades the Heart with New Single “Easy For You”

 

A song that both lulls you to sleep and leaves you alone at night; a song that comforts the heart and reminds you of heartbreak; a track that dances on the edge of making it easier for you.

The kings of contradictory emotions and copious amounts of feels are back with this stunning new single “Easy For You”. This track gives Sleeping Lion’s usual sound a makeover including a more pop-filled melody and a more subtle electronic composition that sits in the back of your mind like a carousel of wistful memories.

It’s a beautiful single that Sleeping Lion (Nate Flaks and Noah McGuire) can proudly add to their track list as the guys are continuously working on new songs to release over the summer season. The song is a mid-tempo exhale as you finally come to terms with whatever or whomever it was that kept you fastened to the past. What makes it so unique is that it’s this mixture of raw vocals and metallic beats. The new sound the LA-based duo produce on this record is reminiscent of a faster-paced “Say Something” by A Great Big World, triggering the same emotional symptoms. You just can’t help but sing along to the track as Flaks and McGuire sing vigorously to the lyrics “I don’t have the room to take you with me / I got too much baggage in the back of my car”… followed by “Let this be the end of it”, and then “If you never want to see me again, I made it easy for you”.

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“I made it easy for you”… just those 6 words alone in one sentence are so powerful and frustrating–they hold a melancholic allure coated by notes of bittersweetness.

The duo don’t plan to stop here, as they are gearing up to keep sharing new tracks with us. “Easy For You” follows their last release “Stop It”, which was released via Majestic Casual Records and was a hit amongst the press. In the past, these curators of electro-indie sound have been praised by media outlets like HillyDilly, Indie Shuffle, EARMILK, and The Line of Best Fit. They have also earned features on Spotify’s “Chill Vibes” and “Electronic Vibes” playlists, as well as have played as opening acts for concerts of Vesperteen, Transviolet, and Brasstracks.

The two artists had been in Boston in the past few years, and the desire to leave and start new didn’t quite hit them until a series of episodes from both life and love gave them that extra push to pack up and leave for the creative sunshine out in Los Angeles.

Flaks breaks down the single, explaining that “The first verse is very apologetic… I’m this way, I’m sorry for being this way and making it easy for her to want to leave… But as the song progresses, it becomes more about taking ownership of that sort of stuff. It moves from this song for her to this song for me.” It’s a notable change, the guys go from their past sounds found in Patient Creature that were once so formed by electronic trills, layers, and spirals to something simpler, “folkier”, and calmer.

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The guys are just beginning their journey of introspection and self-actualization as bit-by-bit and note-by-note, they produce a sound closer to the essence of Sleeping Lion.

“During this move, driving to Los Angeles with Noah, it was this long, straight road,” Flaks reflectively states. “And it didn’t matter if you were going 30 miles per hour or 100 miles per hour, it was just this one straight road for hours and hours and hours. And I just had to believe that I’d eventually be in California. That’s how I feel about my life right now. I could go 30 or 100 and it would be the same road right now, but I have to believe I’m moving towards something. If that’s the case, you might as well go 100.”

Flaks continues, “Leaving wasn’t easy, but hopefully whatever comes next will be worth it.”

Well, this song is the definition of simultaneously going 30 and 100 on this road of the music world, and I have a feeling this song, as well as the ones to come, will definitely be worth it.

Be sure to check out the guys on social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, their Websiteand Spotify.

“Easy For You” is available now across all digital streaming platforms.

SazE Debuts His New Album, ‘SxS Out Now’: Listen

A new sound to look out for is this hip hop artist Saz, who goes by the stage name SazE.

Brooklyn-born, SazE has been creating and mastering his talent for some time now in order to become the next big rapper and producer. In a recent collaboration with producer DON, they put together an album that some could consider a fire record. With solid compositions, well-formulated melodies, and a lot of rhythm, SazE demonstrates his true skills in the riffing game and DON helps us explore the intricacies of song creation. As a former philosophy student at Brandeis University, it’s not hard to find that much of his lyrical writing style is influenced by his major.

Together, this duo make up the collective named SxS, which became the name of their debut album. I had a chance to ask the SazE a few questions about the creation of this album and where he sees himself going with his music. I had a wonderful time speaking to this thoughtful human being from topics of musical taste to human nature to history to emotions and life decisions. The man has been through so much, and like a true philosopher and story teller, he painted pictures of his experiences in these detailed and engaging ways.

The New Jersey-born artist was raised as one of three boys. His father was a Nigerian immigrant and his mother a black woman, and because of this home was filled with “color and flavor”. It was because of his brother and father though that SazE became interested in music in the first place, introducing him to music like Jay Z. His dad also taught the young rapper how to love and appreciate music from the speaker itself, feeling the vibrations and feeling the pride in the music.

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From that point on, SazE knew music was a path he wanted to pursue, and he actually wrote his first rap when he was 6 years old with the sole lyrics being “Why you messin’ with the old man?” He said that he then really started making music in 7th grade and deemed it to be his “emotional hard drive” as life’s hardships finally began to creep into his domain. His middle brother was autistic, but SazE said if there was anything that he learned from that relationship, it was empathy and compassion. Later on, his parents would divorce and this would thrust him into a darker place where things reminded him that love is nothing but BS and there are “dark sides to your parents”. To him, it was like the lights were suddenly shut off on him. “You learn about your emotions during times like those”.

In 8th grade, the artist would take part in a rap group, where he would focus on the concepts he truly wanted to touch upon: emotional relatability, concepts and ideas. He wanted to become technically proficient in his art, and each day he would perfect his craft more.

SazE would attend Brandeis University to pursue a degree in philosophy and from that he gained a love for indie-rock music. “I became obsessed with angst in college, especially with the melodies”. He admits that some of his influences included Arcade Fire’s album The Suburbs, and artists like Kid Cudi and Kanye West. “They inspired me to go for it… people will latch onto the sincerity of it [the music].” SazE still recalls, in 2011, his autistic brother died–the same day Arcade Fire won a Grammy for the record The Suburbs. It was a pretty symbolic day, one that still resonates in his heart and mind as something mysterious. “College taught me about loss–it widened my introspective scope”.

In 2012, the hip hop producer began making beats in college and would expand his musical abilities even more. “It felt like being god. It was like adding sounds in and suddenly ‘let there be snare'”. He faced ups and down throughout college and heartbreak from his first real love, but even then, he would continue onward in his musical pursuit to experimental enlightenment. Upon graduating, he moved out to Maryland and that’s when his studio album Sundown Therapywas created. “Sundown Therapy was a self-indulgent album. My introversion makes me so analytical even though I maybe able to express myself…just me, myself, and I are awkward”. He then noticed how upset he was where he resided and decided to make yet another big move back to the main city, New York. There he landed a job on Wall Street, but even then he realized something was wrong. The life he was leading and the job he had went against everything that he believed in. Morals were different, people were different, and it was a lifeless, creative-less environment.

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With a big heart and a large dream, he quit his job and began teaching so that he would have more time to pursue music. This is when he met Sean (DON), his producer friend from Chicago, whom he would develop SxS with. Off the album, SazE admits his two favorite singles are “Bungalow on the Beach” and “Paycheck”. If there was a way to describe SazE, it would be a mix between Kid Cudi and Kanye West, where Cudi’s darkness and mystery and West’s epic force and intensity intertwine.

I was curious to know who inspired this versatile artist, to which he replied that he loves Amy Winehouse for her honesty, Frank Ocean for his sincerity, and Lorde for being his muse (calling her “an unapologetic” songstress).

I had fun asking some of my rapid-fire interview questions such as: His one word to describe himself would be “creative”; he is #OnTheVerge of “gettin’ outta here”; and the one album he would be left with for the rest of his life if he had to only choose one would be Currents by Tame Impala (he deemed it to be the “perfect album” in terms of its content because it is all about life, existential angst, and it never gets boring).

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The poet is working on his forthcoming album now that he has a studio in his own house, so we should be expecting much more from him in the near future. In fact, look out for his music video that will be released on April 25th!

After our conversation, I am excited to see where this artist will take his creative, and where that will take him.

Be sure to follow these guys on Spotify, and listen to the album above! And check SazE out on Instagramas well!