Aretha Franklin

Donald Glover Discusses His Industry-Spanning Creations With 'Wired'

Joe Pugliese/WIRED 
Donald Glover photographed for WIRED.

Artist, innovator, creator, thinker: Donald Glover -- aka Childish Gambino -- is all of the above, and much more, as his recent interview with Wired shows.

For his fans, this is no surprise. The Georgia native has always been multifaceted in his works and in his pursuits, his past and current endeavors including television writer, standup comedian, Golden Globe-winning actor, TV series creator and Grammy-nominated artist, just to name a few.

Glover’s various ideas are always backed by his belief and drive, something apparent to those around him. “We like to sit down with artists a few times and listen to what they say about their project,” said John Landgraf, president and general manager of FX. “With Donald, he didn’t always articulate his vision in a way that we could see it, but his passions and ambition were clear. So we felt confident in the story he wanted to tell and how he wanted to tell it.”

His intersecting interests and openness stems from a childhood where, as he told Wired, he grew up listening to everything from “Hall & Oates to Funkadelic to the Police.” Glover’s numerous influences shine on his latest album, Awaken, My Love! -- which debuted at No. 1 on the R&B Albums chart -- moving back a bit from hip-hop and embracing bits of punk, funk and R&B.

He aims to create things that allow people to feel or experience; to partake in it with him. “I was listening to Donny Hathaway’s album Live at the Troubadour,” said Glover. “You hear the crowd harmonizing with every song and clapping to the beat on time. You don’t hear that at concerts anymore.”

His contemplating how artists interact with the audience and vice-versa led him to hold a series of concerts -- called Pharos -- where attendees had to relinquish their phones before they entered.

“Today, kids’ idea of going to a concert is proving that they are there on Snapchat or Instagram,” said Glover. “We wanted to give them a complete show and have their attention.”

Experience one of Glover’s Pharos performances below.