Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Phero Details Where He Grew Up, Transitions To A Full Time Artist & More

Today we highlight another Chicago artist with our Q&A segment. For this feature we talked with a artist by the name Phero, who's music we've been interested in for the past couple of years. He's dropped previous project aiming to bring listeners creative releases that set him apart from the crowd. In this interview piece we get to know the man and his music, learning what part of Chicago he hails from, past label dealings, future project and his taste in fashion. Read below.

- Chicago has a diverse sound, where different neighborhoods influence different types of artist. What side of Chicago do you hail from? How does where you grew up influence your music?

I was born wand raised in Pilsen. It's everything I represent; Community, Art, and Hustle. Whether it's the tamale lady, bus driver, local painter, or banger on the block, it's all DNA for my music. I write what I see and express from experience.

- In 2012 -2013, you were releasing the singles for the EP "The Five Columns". What does this concept represent? 

The Five Columns was a single collection to give the streets a taste of my sound. Each numeral represented a single release (I II III IV V). My goal is to always create a fresh way to drop music. That concept taught my team a lot and gave us a great idea of what to do next.

- In 2014 we posted a couple tracks, but for the most part you were relatively under the radar. Why was that?

I've been working on a full length project for almost two years and believe it will be my best work yet. I'm a student to the game. I'm focused on strengthening my craft and paying even close attention to every one's wins and most importantly losses.

Creating a quality package takes time, you know? I've been quietly working with some Chicago's best producers and collaborating with amazing artist. I'm naturally low key and strategic, I let the music speak for itself.

- Have you made the transition to full time artist?

I signed to an Independent Label at 17, it was a bad contract [laughs]. Although I wouldn't change it for the world and regret no experience, I wish business would of been handled differently. Finally I lawyer-ed up and got my paper work right. Since then I built a strong team and been a full-time artist with freedom.

- Before Kendrick Lamar dropped "To Pimp A Butter Fly" which featured the song "Alright" you had dropped a song with the same titled. Do you ever compare the two songs?

I never compared the two but it's dope to know another artist is in the same thought process. So many times in music we express on the hard times but never show a sense of sun after the tunnel.

I want to share the struggles of brown people. That's the lane I am building, along with the role I am about to take on. The culture needs to hear a different side of the story in Hip Hop. Latinos have been in the culture since day one and I'm excited to show a glimpse of our world in my next album.

- What Influences your style of rap? What artist did you grow up listening to?

I grew up on Nas, The Fugees, Blackstar, Pun, and The Roots to name a few. That being said there is a level of lyricism, consciousness, truth, and delivery are instilled in me. I'm also a fan of Kendrick, Joey Badass, Jay Electronica, Pusha T, etc. Yet my favorite composers of all time are Miles Davis, Jim Morrison, Nina Simone, and Carlos Santana.

I started as a break dancer and graffiti writer before even touching the mic. Plus I come from a family of musicians and educators. It's all apart of my identity.

- You recently dropped three new tracks, "Streets", "Girl", "Freestyle". Are they official singles? What are your plans for these releases?

These are joints I've been sitting on for a quick minute. I'll be dropping a few more gems gearing up to the full length project. The official singles have not been released yet.

- On "Freestyle" its like a play on words, as though you're flipping what 'Freestyle' means in rap for this particular track. What was the inspiration for creating this song?

I was recently watched the documentary, "What Happened, Miss Simone?" the other day. I thought it was inspiring to see her courage and fearless voice to sing on the injustice and cruelty during her time period. It made me think about today and how many injustices unfortunately we still deal with as a nation.

There was this snippet of her interview when she speaks on the word FREE. The word "FREE" hit me, to be free is everything. To speak freely, to love freely, to think freely is so important for our souls. So I decided to drop a "freestyle" to express where my mind is at and my stance on the world today.

- Fashion is another part of the culture. Do care for it? How would you describe your personal clothing style?

Fashion is huge part of your identity, it's another source of expression for me. I'm really into timeless pieces with unique cut and quality fabric. Now that we have social media as a look book, it's become a platform for style inspiration. Before I was inspired by the local Bboys and Drug Dealers but now I can see what Paris and Tokyo is on. I love it.

Interview conducted by Curtis "Rewind it DJ" Carey
Follow Curtis @CreatedByCurtis
Follow Phero @pherolive

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