By Damilola Grey
Dami: What inspired you to start music?
Sey: I was always creative and wanted to be involved in an industry that highlighted that and rap caught my eye in 7 th grade when a few friends and I decided to rap and wrote a guidebook on how to do it. The rules were basically to stay true to yourself and I’ve been doing that ever since.
Dami: When did you release your first song and how was it like?
Sey: I put my first song out in HS with a group called T2D. I think we put it on MySpace but that was the first time I put something on wax.
Dami: Is T2D still active?
Sey: Not at all. We fizzled out pretty quick and then I joined antoher group called Suburban Eloquence. We lasted a little longer, but I ultimately went solo when I started going to college.
Dami: How would you describe your sound?
Sey: It’s electric for sure, but I value lyricism. I’m somewhere in between Nas and Kanye when it comes to sound.
Dami: What’s your creative process like?
Sey: I usually start with a beat or an event in my life and go from there. Either could spark a verse or a whole song and from there, if it’s strong enough, a project might follow.
Dami: Apart from life experiences, is there anything else you grab inspiration from when making music?
Sey: I reference current events from time to time and also get inspired by other artists in and outside of the genre.
Dami: Who are your biggest inspirations?
Sey: Nas, The Pharcyde, Souls of Mischief, Kanye, and Lil Wayne. All of those guys are a part of the DNA.
Dami: Speaking of projects, you got an album on the way. Tell us more about it.
Sey: Yup. “ISO”; short for isolation. I wrote it after catching COVID at the top of the year, taking advantage of the 10 days they said I had to quarantine in my room. I was used to staying in the house, but staying in the room for 10 days straight was different. I was fortunate to have my mic and other resources handy so I decided to focus on the beats AX sent me and got to work. I wanted to capture my mind state and range of emotions during that time. I start the project off with panic and anger before my mind drifts to life outside and where I’m at with it at the time of me being inside. Towards the end of the project, my outlook improves as I shift my focus to what matters most and being grateful for still being around; in life and in music.
Dami: What should we expect from ISO?
Sey: Expect a real album. ISO sounds like the big budget albums of the early 00s. You know, round the same time Dre dropped 2001. It took almost 2 years to complete. There’s a real narrative you can follow if you’re listening.
Dami: What are 3 words you’ll use to describe ISO?
Sey: In Search Of…
Dami: In search of what?
Sey: Health, wealth, and prosperity.
Dami: What do you want people to take away after listening to ISO?
Sey: I want them to know I’m there for them. I’ve been isolated, introverted, separated, outcast, all that. I know how it is to feel like that when you’re outside. Sometimes it can feel like you’re the only one going through something, but there’s people out there who understand and I hope it brings people together. We are more similar than we are different and the world would be better if we understood that.
Dami: What’s your personal favorite on the album and why?
Sey: Tough. Imma go with “How The Strong Survive” because there was so much raw energy captured that night. My vocal performance seemed to come outta nowhere and the shift in tone was all emotion. I was really hurting, but it showed how I really feel about this game and process. Shit hurts, but I’m still here. I was built for it.
Dami: Any visuals for the album?
Sey: Yeah, so far we’ve got 2 videos and 1 promo video. The first one dropped earlier this year with Medhane, titled “Ogden”. We shot that in NY. The other single, “Another One”, dropped at the end of the summer and we really went all out with it. The promo- which you saw- dropped a few days ago and features a snippet of “Acura”, a song about a dark time in the year.
Dami: What’s next for you after ISO?
Sey: Focusing on Phoenix Walters’ project. He featured on “First Night” on ISO and is the next artist representing the rare awareness brand.
Dami: What’s this rare awareness brand?
Sey: Rare awareness is a marketing agency. I had a brand I released music under earlier that dissolved and rare awareness is the new iteration of that. This time around, we are not structuring ourselves as a label. We work with many different artists and mediums and we want to be involved accordingly. Whether it be music, product, design, or event planning- we have team members who are involved and helping artists get out their vision in various ways.
Dami: What’s been the most challenging part of being an artist, as well as pushing the rare awareness brand?
Sey: Letting everyone know they’re valued. I’ve been doing this for a long time as far as being my own artist and pushing a brand. IT comes second nature. Before, most of my collaborators were online and the ones who were besdie me, in real life, viewed themselves as lateral. Now, as an agency, there’s more expected so I have to become the coach instead of the player. In a sense, I’m LeBron. Not to sound cocky, but I’m a veteran still looking for a ring who is allowed to make calls in the front office and coach the team from time to time. I’m converting my process into a teachable model, so artists who join the brand can follow that and mold it to themselves so each artist gets the attention and time they deserve.
Pre-save ‘Iso’ now HERE.