When you moved to Chicago, you talked about how you you wanted to jump right into things. You had a friend who played a big mentor role in your life, his name is Josh. How important of a role did he play when you moved to the city?
I definitely jumped into things as much as I could. Josh was one of the handfuls of best friends I met at Columbia who encouraged me to take my time with things. When I moved to Chicago and started to attend Columbia, people were putting music out, and I immediately felt like I should be keeping up with them. I had been writing before college, but as soon as I moved here, for some reason I felt like I needed to be on the same path as everyone else. Josh was the one to tell me to be patient. He told me, “you’re doing everything you need to be doing”, because at the time I was going to open mic nights, writing regularly, and was really involved with getting connected with people. My best friends at Columbia taught me the importance of stepping stones.
Eight months ago you put out into the world your debut project, Greenhouse. How did that project come about?
I went through the first two years of college meeting people, going to events, writing on my own, and developing my artistry. When my JR year came around, I had a game plan of what I wanted to accomplish that year. I knew that JR year was my year. I felt I was finally ready to put content out. I was still a baby in the context of knowing the process of making an actual project but everything came together when I teamed up with producers. The three producers on my project were Benny Ramos, Joshua Griffin, and Quinn Cochran. Really, Greenhouse was a process of working with my best friends and them giving me insight.
While you hadn’t dropped any music before hand, when/how did you know it was the right time to drop something?
I think it was just a self-reflection kind of thing. I knew that I had four years at Columbia and I put myself on a timeline. I knew by my JR year I should accomplish points a, b, and c for example. That’s why I decided to start the project and put it out when I did.
You haven’t released a song since, are you hard on yourself when it comes to releasing music?
I think there was a lot of pressure that I put on myself because it was my first project. I definitely think that came into play with the process of everything. Since the release, I’m happy with the product. It was my first project, and I worked really hard to bring this vision to life. Moving forward, now I know so much more about my sound, myself, my process, who I work with, how I work, and how I navigate things.
One song stands out on your debut project was, Never fall
This was the first song that I ever put out as a single artist in Chicago. It is one of the tracks on the Greenhouse project, and It’s based on my favorite quote, “There’s a way to rest in the trees”. It is focused on the idea of the highs and lows of life. You know how it feels like we are flying when things are all good, and we want to plummet when one thing goes wrong. The quote means that with whoever or whatever you believe in, you can take a rest in the trees To catch your breath and keep flying, instead of crashing. It’s all about balance and faith. That’s why I wrote Never Fall because it encompasses the mindset that I always try to keep.
As you look back on Greenhouse now 7 months later, are you proud of that first project?
Yes, I’m very proud of it. Do I think that Greenhouse is my sound encompassed in one project? No, but I think that it’s all part of the process of me finding out exactly who I am as an artist. The process has been cool, and I’m finding out more and more every day. My project represents my growth. I really enjoyed the people I worked with. I feel like they really helped me make my vision into a project.
Being a Chicago transplant, how big of an importance has Chicago had on your creative process?
Huge. I’m originally from a suburb in Michigan. Not a big music presence there, not to say it’s completely dead though either. For what I was trying to do, I knew that I wasn’t meant to stay there. Chicago for me has literally been the best decision i’ve ever made in my life. After high school, I was either going to go to Michigan State or Columbia, and thank god I chose Columbia. My experience in Chicago has been amazing, primarily based upon the people i’ve been able to meet and work with. I just feel like this is the city that i’m meant to be in right now.
Back in December, you were able to perform for the half time show for the bulls with the lake shore encores. How was that experience for you?
I started working with the band Lake Shore Encores and got placed into this whole new pool of Chicago musicians. The whole group of them are insanely talented. They’ve been in the scene for a while. The cool thing about this band is that everyone that’s in it, has their own entity. The leader is Angela Martin, and she continues to teach me so much about being a performer and entertainer. Getting booked to do the halftime show for the Chicago bulls game was crazy. We all had such a great time doing it. It was crazy singing in a stadium and seeing the size of the crowd.
Rumor is you’ve been working on new music, which could be a full length album, as well as a new sound. Are you worried to release a new sound?
No, I’m not worried. I think if anything, I have more direction and I know more of my vision. I’ve gained a lot more insight and grabbed hold of knowing that the trajectory of whatever journey I’m on may not be a straight shot up. Life is filled with transitional periods, especially when it comes to creating. I’m excited to create and share this new sound. I am doing it for myself and feel lucky enough to have created a group of people that support me as much as I support them.
As you’ve continued to grow as an artist over the past couple of years, what’s the most important lesson you’ve been able to learn?
To own yourself. Whatever you’re doing in life, believe in it. Obviously, when we’re doing things it’s because we’re working towards bigger goals, but the end goal shouldn’t be the complete meaning behind everything you’re doing. I think there’s a lot of power in the process and I think that’s hard for us to accept, but you have to just own yourself. Doubt from other people in your work is inevitable. You have to be creating because you believe in what you’re making.
As the year continues to fly by, what are a few goals you want to accomplish by the end of 2018?
This summer is going to be primarily used for me working on my new music. I want to be able to headline a significant show. I’ve headlined a few shows that were a ton of fun & want to keep building things up. I want to curate a show with some of my favorite artists on the lineup. I’m also going to be spending time with working on my physical art, which I plan to incorporate into the visuals for my new project this summer.