Tell me a little bit about yourself.
So basically I was born in Cameroon. I moved to the U.S. when I was six years old. I lived in Baltimore up until I was 13. Then I moved to Cleveland, and that was interesting. Then I moved to Maryland with my parents and I decided I can't just be here. I wanted to pursue music and see what else was out there so I moved to Atlanta and that was the best thing ever. I met a lot of cool people, producers, artists. I was able to express myself more musically. Then I came out to L.A. a little bit and that's when shit jumped off especially with The Game and stuff like that.
Why was living in Cleveland interesting?
It was the first time I had ever been to all-white school. In Baltimore, I was used to going to an all-Black school and you're not being teased for being Black. Moved to Ohio and I was the only Black kid in most of my classes then I had the honors classes so I was a nerdy Black kid. That was pretty much me throughout middle and high school.
Do you remember how old you were when you wrote your first song?
I wrote my first song in sixth grade about me moving. It was one of those farewell songs. When I was 15, I started to play the guitar as I taught myself how to play and ever since then, I would just write. I never thought I could sing -- I just wanted to write songs. I would be there, playing my guitar, writing songs and recording it, putting it on Facebook. That's when I got the confirmation I should keep doing it.
What's your recording process like now?
I definitely start off listening to the track first. I'll sit down with the producer or have them send me the track. Whatever I start humming to, I'll definitely write to. I'm one of those people who freestyles. Once I catch a groove, I basically just get on the mic and finish out the song idea. Once I'm done with that, we see if it's something worth working on more. If so, I just record all my harmonies and vocal pieces then we have a song.
Why the title Introduction to Sweet Noise for your latest project?
Every time I would be in the house playing my guitar, singing, my mom would be like "stop all that noise." Everyone says I sound like an angel so I decided to put sweet in front of it. So it started off as something that was a disturbance that's now really sweet to listen to.
Which song is the most important to you?
"I Just Want to Live." It was a really important one. I really spent a lot of time on that. I recorded everything myself. This is the one piece that really resonates especially with what's going on with society today. Everyone really just wants to live without having any retributions for what they are, who they are, what they look like. I thought that would be one that would connect with everyone the most. And the beat is dope as hell. [Laughs]
Explain the animated concept of the video.
I believed for a long time that I was a cartoon character. I always wanted to be on Cartoon Network. I decided until then I would make my own cartoons and direct them. I did the screenplay and the storylines. I wanted to show people I really liked animation. The inspiration came from Talib Kweli's "State of Grace" video, and I know the Dream Dare company was the right company to do it with. I wanted the video to basically showcase me being afraid to go out for a drive because I'm Black and because we hear on the news everyone's getting shot for being Black. So I wanted to put it into perspective and show people this is a real fear and danger for us. I wanted to start the topic and get people talking.
Another track on your project is called "Living Loud." What's your definition of that?
"Living Loud" is me making a statement that I'm here, and I'm going to be as loud as possible so everyone can hear the sweet noise. It's my little underdog song. Writing it, I just sat and thought of all of my experiences. I been through a lot of bullshit, and that's just life. The universe can sometimes bring negativity that can block you from fulfilling your destiny so I wanted to showcase I'm here to stay. Nothing's going to stop me and I'm living out my dream.
What is "Wake Up Call" about?
It's about being stubborn. I've been stubborn and not able to forgive. Every time I go through something, I kind of walk away from them. The song is basically saying you always walk away when trouble comes, and you're going to be alone if you keep doing that. So wake up, you need to stop acting like this, stop being negative, and being such a loner because you're going to defeat yourself. It was for myself and anybody going through that problem. Some people have to sit down and look at themselves. They need a wake up call and realize they need to progress in life. It's for everyone who needs a wake up within themselves.
What's next for you?
Definitely a couple of visuals and I think I might drop another five-song EP just to get some music out. I'm definitely doing more shows, and working on the Sweet Noise album. I want this project to get everyone into the whole sound of Sweet Noise. Then after that I want to throw out the actual album with 12 to 14 songs and a pack of visuals explaining my story.
What do you want people to know about you as an artist?
I want them to know you can do whatever you put your mind to. I came from a village in West Africa, and I'm here making songs with people I used to listen to growing up. I have fans telling me they listen to my music everyday and I inspire and motivate them. You can do whatever you put your mind to as long as you have self-love, show love to others, stay humble, and know your purpose. Purpose is very important. Love is important, and kindness is important. Unity is important. I want people to be healed listening to it because I know so many people are so hurt right now and lost. I want people to find themselves. I've been through a lot and I've been lost so many times. Music is the way I've been able to find myself again.