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News 2021 PODCASTS ROCKSTAR EXPERIENCE

Masked Wolf, the Rapper Behind One of the Most Viral Hits of the Year

Masked Wolf has one of the biggest songs of the year with “Astronaut in the Ocean,” and if you think you haven’t heard it yet, you have. Despite being released in 2019, the song became a massive sleeper-hit earlier this year thanks to TikTok and internet virality as a whole. With a popping remix of the track, featuring G-Eazy and DDG, out now and a project on the way, the 30-year-old Australian native is going nowhere but up from here.

With so little known about him, it feels like he came out of thin air with one of the hottest songs of the year, but Masked Wolf is no overnight success story. In fact, he’s been grinding for over a decade. On the latest episode of the Rockstar Experience podcast, we asked how he’s been with all his newfound success and the changes “Astronaut in the Ocean” has brought to his life.

“[Doing] good man. I’m still a bit overwhelmed by it all. Because I was that artist that grinded for over a decade. Trying to make it in the scene in Australia, and then all of the sudden one song changes your life, you know? It’s just crazy,” he explained.

With such a well-crafted and well-received hit under his belt, we found it important to explore Masked Wolf’s start as a rapper.

“So what made you want to start rapping? Can you tell us about your beginnings?” we asked.

“I never said that ‘I want to be a rapper,’ like that’s not how it started. It was more like I just wrote poems. I was into poetry and ballads and stuff like that and it just eventuated to me finding hip-hop. Or American hip-hop found me. I got like slapped in the face with Eminem, Kanye, G-Unit. I was a massive G-Unit fan when I was young,” he said.

Masked Wolf didn’t always have the distinct sound you hear on “Astronaut in the Ocean” or even the stage name Masked Wolf. During our convo, he told us more about how his sound changed over the years and even the way he wanted to push himself as an artist.

“When I started writing songs and stuff, I actually started religious rapping when I was like 15-16 and then, I wouldn’t say I grew out of it, but it was like, if I want to be known by multiple countries or just a broader area, I’m gonna have to like to try and make songs that will relate to everyone,” he explained.

“So I’m still religious here and there but it’s like, obviously what I make has meaning to it, and there’s a message. And yeah, that’s how it all started.”

One of the most unique and unusual things about Masked Wolf and his breakout song is that he released it 2 years ago and it didn’t get to its massive level of popularity or even blow up until earlier this year. “So, how does that feel? The delayed gratification of that,” we inquired.

“I mean, It is what it is. I think COVID was a small catalyst for it because it put people in shittier states mentally, being in lockdown. No one’s used to being trapped in the house for a long time and you start getting depressed or down. And like, ‘Is this for real? Is this life?’ And then you find that song [Astronaut in the Ocean] and you’re like ‘What the hell?’” He elaborated.

“And then you find out what it’s about and you’re like, ‘Holy shit, that’s how I’m feeling.’ The two-year thing, I’ve always said, ‘it is what it is.’ Like, the song doesn’t have to blow up straight away.”

With a song blowing up so quickly as it did, one can only imagine just how fast the breakout artist’s life can change in just a matter of months. After over a decade of grinding at his craft, this kind of success is something few artists ever achieve.

“How has your life changed? How does it feel?” he was asked.

“It’s just good to not work to be honest. Like, as in a 9-to-5. I worked full-time for 11 years. So, that took a toll on me. It’s just a point where I was completely over that because I wanted to do music so bad,” he said.

During our talk with Masked Wolf, he spoke to us about some upcoming music he has and the artists he still wants to work with.

Although we focused heavily on his monumental hit, we were not remiss in asking what other musical aspirations Wolf holds. He informed us about his newest record “Gravity Glidin” and how it came about.

“It’s basically just my ode to Astro[naut in the ocean]. A lot of people have said it’s ‘Astro 2.0’, but it’s more hip-hop, it’s more Joyner Lucas. It’s more like ‘Rap Caviar’ in your face, hardcore rap,” he explained. “It’s just basically about, I mean, Gravity Glidin. It’s like me saying, ‘I’ve now made it to space.’ I’m chilling and gliding through. I’m where I’m supposed to be and it’s kind of like the thanks to ‘Astro.’ Like ‘Astro’ put me there.”   ❖

Be sure to stream Masked Wolf’s new single, “Gravity Glidin,” on all streaming services and to follow him on all social media to keep up with him and his latest releases. Check out our entire convo with Masked Wolf on the newest episode of The Rockstar Experience, out now on all platforms!

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News 2021 PODCASTS ROCKSTAR EXPERIENCE

Goody Grace Is Genuinely A Rockstar

In the age of viral fame and meme music, Goody Grace stands out as a rockstar in the truest sense of the term. He unapologetically makes the music he wants to make, stays true to his roots, is stylish as hell, and comes across as a genuine person while doing it. In line with his air of authenticity, believe it or not, Goody Grace is not a stage name.

“I love the name. Can we just talk about that?” asked Brian Calle, host of the Rockstar Experience podcast.

“I mean, Goody Grace, is that your birth name or a stage name? Because that name is fire,” he continued.

“It’s not a stage name, it’s my real name, man,” Goody humbly replied with a chuckle, CBD joint in hand. Goody is the latest artist to sit down with the Rockstar Experience podcast and at only 23 years old, he is already in tune with his own rockstar experience.

Although Goody Grace is a real-life rockstar these days, having collaborated with some of the biggest names in the industry like Juicy J, G-Eazy, and Blink-182, he honed his craft in the woods of Manitoba, Canada before relocating to L.A.

“Yup, I’m from the sticks. I love it back home. Where I came from is a very particular and special place that really made me who I am,” he began.

“Culturally it’s so diverse there, because it’s really country, but there is also a lot of crime there. Half of my friends drove Cadillacs and sold weed and half of my friends drove trucks and listened to country music.”

Goody holds this balance of influences in high regard, and they are reflected in his music and style.

“I think the dichotomy of that creates a special and weird type of culture and I like country music as much as I like punk music as much as I like hip hop music.”

His sound, although well cultivated, is as indescribable as it is varied. Goody considers himself genreless.

“I’ve always been kind of all over the place, but that’s not out of confusion or indecisiveness, it’s just out of versatility. I just like music and I always want there to be something for everyone in my music,” he explained.

“How would you describe your music to people who haven’t heard it?” the Rockstar Experience hosts asked.

“It’s always been a struggle to put into words for me. But, I like my music to be, first off, emotional, second, cinematic, and I think the most important is nostalgic. I think it’s more about the themes and the feelings than the sound. Whether it’s an acoustic song or something with 808s and trap hats that I might be rapping on or it’s a punk song; it’s still the same energy.”

Goody has always been quite the musical workhorse; he began recording himself and producing music at the age of 9. We can assume he is always working on something creative, whether alone or with his friends.

“Since like December I probably made like 135 songs,” he professed.

“It’s crazy when you make music, just living life is making the music. Because if I just sat alone all day what would I make music about? My friends mean a lot to me so I like to keep really good people around me. I’m really thankful for my friends. If I’m not making music I’m with like 1 of 10 people who mean the world to me and we’re probably working on something creative too. I think that no matter what I’m doing I’m always thinking of what’s next… but also living in the moment, in a good way, not a bad way.”   ❖

Although his debut album, Don’t Forget Where You Came From, is out now, we can obviously expect more innovative music from Goody in the future. Until then, stream Goody Grace on all music platforms and follow him on his socials. You can check out the full Rockstar Experience Podcast interview on Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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News 2021 PODCASTS ROCKSTAR EXPERIENCE

Coi Leray Is Just Getting Started

Coi Leray has taken the music industry by storm this year. Following the release of multiple hit records and multiple viral moments on social media, she’s become one of the hottest artists on the scene. Even though she is nonstop working right now, she stopped by for a conversation with the Rockstar Experience podcast – straight off of a 15-hour workday.

“I got in late, like at 5 a.m. last night,” she began. “I was on a 15 hour shoot with Mooski for the ‘Track Star’ video shoot.”

“You are just going!” exclaimed Brian Calle, host of the Rockstar Experience podcast. “What aren’t you doing?”

“What I’m not doing these days is thinking negative, for real for real. I’m just thinking positive thoughts and just doing whatever to be where I need to be. I’m just getting my feet wet,” she replied.

While Coi has been going viral on social media and the charts alike this year, she is still relatively new to the music scene. She recalled finding the inspiration to begin her musical career in 2016 from fellow east coast artist, A Boogie wit da Hoodie.

“I was on my own since I was 16, living in my own crib. I was working in sales and dropped out of high school early like 10th grade,” Coi explained. “Boogie had dropped that song, ‘Trust Issues.’ He was the only male artist that would talk crazy about females but speak facts and make it sound so good. I wanted to be the girl that talked back to the boys, so I made my first song called G.A.N. and it blew up from there and I was like, ‘Yo, I’m an artist.’”

Coi’s foray into the music industry has paid off immensely and she’s confident to keep on paving her own path to stardom.

“Everyone wants to be at level 10 or level 100,” Brian started. “Everyone wants to be a millionaire or a billionaire or on tour and the hardest step to take, but the step that matters the most, is from 0 to 1.”

“You gotta trust the process. With me, I feel like this is the year I’m really gonna break into a superstar status artist. People are really gonna start knowing me for my music and see my full potential. You just gotta trust the process for real for real, count your blessings,” Coi replied.

Arguably, one of Coi’s biggest blessings is her record, “No Parties” with Lil Durk, which is her biggest song to date. Coi explained that she knew she wanted a Lil Durk verse on No More Parties, so when the time came, she quickly reached out.

“I had been listening to Durk so much it just reminded me, ‘Durk would sound crazy on this,’ so I hit him up. I was like ‘Yo I need you on this’ and he was like ‘Alright bet, it’s fire.’ I had tweeted ‘Durk hoppin on it [No More Parties]’ just to solidify it. Man, I got the verse in two days. He loved the song, he believed in the record and shout out to him because now we’re like, what, #37 on Billboard charts right now with 10 million views in a week on YouTube?”

At the time this article is being written, the song is still charting, peaking at #11, and has collected over 40 million views on YouTube. Apart from the sheer energy and catchiness of the record, a key factor in the song’s viral rise, and Coi’s rise as well, is her presence on TikTok.

“How much do you think TikTok helped the record? Because you go crazy on TikTok,” we asked.

“It’s crazy because all of my content and everything I do is never forced, it’s something that I do organically. TikTok is something I actually need to be MORE present on,” Coi said. “I try to be on there as much as I can but whatever feels organic, it just goes. So when I made ‘BIG PURR’ I just leaked the snippet. That shit’s almost got 300k TikTok videos and it ain’t even drop yet! It’s just dope to have this world of young, youthful, fun, kids that just wanna dance. I don’t know, I just love it, it’s so viral.”

“A lot of artists like me, it’s a lot of diamonds and designer that people can’t relate to. Some people just know how to put the camera on and dance in some Levi’s,” she continued.

Coi was fun and exceedingly charming on the Rockstar Experience podcast, but she also has another side to her. One that takes her life and career very seriously and with confident poise. She sees her path as definite.

“You’re all about being an original. It’s so funny because people always say ‘I wanna be the next this person or I wanna be the next that person,’ but being able to be like, ‘Nah I’m gonna be the first Coi Leray and I’m good with that’… that’s maturity,” Brian commented.

“I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t me,” she replied.

“At such a young age, how did you become so centered?” Brian asked.

“I’m the only girl in my family, I grew up with five brothers. I got a lot of tough love growing up. I also learned good customer service skills and realized that a lot of stuff is based off of relationships and being a good person. I’ll be 24 on May 12, but I’m a big ass kid. I’m still learning every day, more and more, and I feel like I’m the chosen one. God favors people for real and I feel like I’m God’s gift.”

Check out Coi Leray’s music on all platforms and be on the lookout for her debut album, which she revealed to us will be dropping in May. Keep up with her on her socials as well, tap in with her cooking show “Cooking With Coi” on YouTube, and tune into her Rockstar Experience episode for more thoughtful gems and hearty laughs from Coi and the guys.

You can check out the full Rockstar Experience Podcast interview on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and iHeart Radio

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News 2021 PODCASTS ROCKSTAR EXPERIENCE

Yung Bleu is Ready to Flood the Charts

Yung Bleu, 26, is known for being an extremely versatile and successful R&B crooner. He started his music career in Mobile, Alabama, as a rapper in the mixtape scene, which is a stark contrast to his style of music today.

“Most people describe [my sound] as R&B. I would describe it as ‘pain music’ because I go back and forth between singing and rapping a lot,” Bleu told the Rockstar Experience Podcast. “But for me, I can step outside of that and go anywhere I want with it. I’m just diverse really. I can slide in and out of any genre I want to.”

Bleu’s versatility has paid off for him in dividends with multiple gold records and a nomination in XXL’s Freshman List. He also scored himself a Drake feature on his hit song “You’re Mines Still,” which has proved to be one of the biggest breaks of Bleu’s career.

“I knew it was gonna pop off when I did the original song. I just ain’t know when,” Bleu told us. “Drake hopping on it just sped it up. You know what I’m saying? I knew it was a good song.”

The song has been one of Bleu’s biggest, earning him a gold certification, and the story behind the record is just as impressive.

“I did ‘You’re Mines Still’ in 15 minutes,” Bleu professed.

“And you freestyled it?” we asked.

“Yeah I just heard the beat and walked in the studio. I dropped that whole project within 4 days because I just woke up one day and was like ‘I wanna drop a concept project.’ I had just dropped the album but I was like ‘man I just wanna keep music coming,’” Bleu said.

And that he has. Yung Bleu has released two projects in the past year – Bleu Vandross 2 and Love Scars: The 5 Stages of Emotion – and it seems like there is more music on the way now that he’s figured out his label situation. Bleu recently took to social media and claimed that leaving a major label and going independent was “one of the best decisions of his career.” Bleu recently left his long-time major label to publish his music independently through a distribution company, Empire Distribution. When asked about the specifics of his label situation, Bleu explained his reasoning.

“It just worked out for me man, it’s just my personal decision,” he said. “When I went independent I just made way more money and had more freedom to do what I wanna do. I just started prospering way more. Once I came to Empire, they gave me the tools to do what I knew needed to be done, without questioning. Shit just started goin’ crazy. I had only dropped like two projects since I been off a major label and ‘Love Scars’ was one of them. I just randomly texted the [Empire Distribution] CEO and said ‘I want to drop a project Friday. Two weeks. Get ready.’ And I couldn’t have done that with a major label.”

Now that Bleu is working with added flexibility and prosperity through his Empire Distribution move, he’s ready to drop his next project. Bleu has promised that it will be released this year and will contain more heavyweight features.

“I don’t know when it’s comin’, I just know I don’t really wanna say any of the features because they’re not cleared yet. I know they gonna be cleared but it’s gonna be a lot of huge people on there,” Bleu said.

“So for sure this year right?” asked Bryan Escalante, the Rockstar Experience’s producer.

“Yeah, for sure, yeah,” Bleu assured.

Until then, dive into Yung Bleu’s extensive catalog and check out his latest hit record, “Thieves in Atlanta” ft. Coi Leray.   ❖

You can check out the full Rockstar Experience Podcast interview on SpotifyApple Podcasts and iHeart Radio

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Grammy Winner Eric Bellinger Knows His Worth

Multi-talented Eric Bellinger, a GRAMMY Award-winning singer and songwriter, may very well be the most confident and humble man in all of Hollywood.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, he attended school in Norwalk/Santa Fe Springs where he met future manager Nieman Johnson. From the very beginning, Bellinger has been destined to be a rockstar.

How did his journey start? The artist joins the Rockstar Experience Podcast for an exclusive interview.

“For me? Singing groups, R&B groups. I began in football, so you know my first method is team,” says Bellinger. “I was in four-man groups, five-man groups, three-man groups – I got signed. I got signed to Epic Records. I got signed to Capitol Interscope. The group kind of bounced around, but as I got out of my group in 2010, that’s when I said: ‘I am Eric Bellinger.’”

“What I was doing was demo-ing songs for songwriters. I was writing songs for other artists, anything. I was just in every session,” he explains. “I would go to eight, nine, ten studios a day where I just flooded the marketplace with Eric Bellinger. At the same time, I couldn’t do too much because of contractual agreements. That’s what made me really focus on the writing.”

His writing skills took him to the next level, and higher-ups in the industry began asking “who is this guy?

And for good reason. After writing three songs for the album, Bellinger won a GRAMMY for his work on Chris Brown’s FAME.

Showing off his GRAMMY awards, one thing is clear: the man is aware of his talent. However, his easy charm coupled with a humble, hardworking nature show an interesting dichotomy between career and personal life.

“You’ve got to have the fine line with confidence and cockiness. Cockiness is no one wants to work with you, confidence is when everyone wants to be around you,” he says. “If you don’t wear it on your sleeve, and you don’t unapologetically be yourself, then the world is going to try to dim you.”

“That’s what I was going through for a long time because I was behind the scenes and I was a songwriter while at the same time I was putting my own music out,” he continues. “People were used to me being a songwriter. People were used to me being behind the scenes. For the people that hadn’t known me as a songwriter and just knew Eric Bellinger the artist, they saw what I wanted them to see. My peers, my close friends, the labels, they saw the Eric Bellinger who we call when we want a song for our artists. Period.”

With a seemingly endless list of high-profile song credits, his joy when describing past work and the accolades that sprouted from those endeavors is infectious.

“The song writing is what has built the leverage and has made it to where [people are saying] ‘you kind of gotta respect the guy!’” he laughs. “I think the work ethic that I put into the craft has kept me here man, it’s just the work ethic.”

In February, Bellinger released a joint album with super producer Hitmaka called 1-800-HIT-EAZY. The album is led by singles, “Hit Eazy” and “Only You”.

“Anybody that knows me knows I can’t stay out of the studio,” the artist laughs. “When I met Hitmaka, [in him] I had found somebody that has the same love. Like he don’t like to leave the studio ever.”

From there, their flow was natural, and it was only a matter of time before an album was born out of their shared love. From hustle to heart, the talent Bellinger emits is evident on 1-800-HIT-EAZY.

Listen in for more of Bellinger’s interview with the Rockstar Experience Podcast to hear about his dream collaborations, grab some insider info on how all angles of the music industry works, and some honest, real smiles. Check out Bellinger’s and Hitmaka’s 1-800-HIT-EAZY available on all streaming platforms.  ❖

 

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CULTURE ARCHIVES From The Archives News 2021 PODCASTS ROCKSTAR EXPERIENCE

Nasri: A Game Changer In The Music Industry

Nasri’s first big break came when he distributed his first song by hand to local Canadian radio stations in the early 2000s. He later found widespread success as half of the record production duo, The Messengers, who are known for crafting songs with artists like Justin Bieber, Shakira, Halsey, Pitbull, Christina Aguilera, Chris Brown, Michael Bolton, Jason Derulo, Vanessa Hudgens, John Legend, Chloe x Halle, HER and Skip Marley. All the while, Nasri was touring the world with Magic! known for their 2014 smash hit “Rude”.

Nasri’s resume is incredibly impressive, but apart from being an amazing singer, songwriter, and producer … he’s a really cool dude.

“I think humor plays a definite part in my life,” said Nasri in his hilarious new interview with The Rockstar Experience Podcast. “My dad is kinda funny and my brothers are kinda funny. We always try to make each other laugh so it was natural for me to want to break a lot of tension in the room.”

“And it seems like nothing’s off-limits, which I like about you already,” said Brian Calle, co-host of The Rockstar Experience.

“No, nothing’s off-limits. I roasted you guys off-air, I’ll roast you on air too,” Nasri replied with a chuckle.

“I’m definitely always in that place, 24/7. I remember one time we were doing an interview and my drummer was like, ‘Can you turn it off?’ Because I just wouldn’t stop,” he laughed.

His sentiment seems to ring true. After talking briefly about his big bro / lil bro dynamic with Justin Bieber, it was right back to fun and games.

“I did a lot of Justin stuff and I’m very proud of the work I did. Our relationship is natural in a way that I’m really thankful for. We’re kinda like music industry brothers. We are very competitive with each other. We were in a meeting with like twenty people and he just can’t help it, he looks at me like, ‘Yo, you wanna play ping pong?’”

“I am a ping pong beast and I’ll say that Justin Bieber is one of the best ping pong players in the industry,” Nasri continued.

Nasri’s personality is reflected very well in his musical endeavors from the fun upbeat vibes of Magic! to the smooth Sade-esque vibes of his solo EP “Here For You”.

“What’s fun about this new adventure is you’re hearing me,” Nasri said about his new EP. “I’m playing the guitar, I’m playing the bass, I’m doing all the vocal arrangements and writing all the lyrics and stuff. I can’t really explain it but you’re literally in my feelings when you listen to it. I was on Zoom with Marc Anthony and I played him some of it and he freaked out. He said, ‘You need to brand this, this is your own genre.’ I was thinking something in the world of like… Vibe Adult Music. This is not music for kids, but for adults. Because adults are dying for adult music.”

Check out more of Nasri’s interview with the Rockstar Experience Podcast for more musical gems and celebrity ping pong stories, and check out Nasri’s Here For You EP available on all streaming platforms.  ❖

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Jvckj and Mikey Ferrari: Friends In The Industry

“We clicked instantly, he’s just a true creative,” said JVCKJ on his good friend and musical collaborator Mikey Ferrari.

“We have this crazy chemistry in the studio and during live performances. I tapped in with him for a virtual concert I did for the project I released and he was nice enough to come play a song with me for the set,” JVCKJ continued.

JVCKJ and Mikey Ferrari are not only talented musicians but also close friends. Although their musical paths differ immensely, their friendship and organic chemistry have brought them together to produce unique pop and rap music.

Mikey Ferrari

JVCKJ came up as a part of Jack & Jack, a multi-platinum American pop-rap duo. He started doing comedy and spoof songs on YouTube and Vine with Jack Gilinsky and from there they launched their career as a musical duo before developing their own solo careers.

Mikey, on the other hand, has a much different story. “I started making music late, I feel, for most people. I was 17. I was going through some stuff as a kid and I ended up moving to Montana and I was super isolated so my connection with music came from pure expression. I just wanna make music because it makes me feel good and this is how I solve my problems. My way in was trying to figure out how to write songs for other people. I was like, ‘OK if I want people to help me I have to put in my dues.’ I started making my way to L.A., missing classes to go to studio sessions by my junior year [in college]. It was a slow grind man.”

These days, the two produce and record music together, with JVCKJ specializing as a rapper and computer wiz and Mikey being a singer and a “wizard on guitar,” according to JVCKJ.

“We met through a mutual friend, one of my roommates named Sammy Wilk,” said JVCKJ about meeting Mikey. Sammy Wilk is an extremely popular internet personality and musician, like JVCKJ himself.

“Me and Sam used to have the same manager. Sam had a show in L.A. maybe two years ago – God I miss shows – and we linked up then,” Mikey continued. “When I moved to Sherman Oaks, I hit them [JVCKJ and Sammy Wilk] up. Once I started going over there and hanging out with those guys and making music with them, I didn’t stop.”

Now the pair are working on more live performances and new records including JVCKJ and Mikey’s next projects.

“I never like to force things – I think music you can never force. That’s why I emphasize friendship over everything, because trust is so important when you’re making art. That’s why I say I got lucky because I found my people really early on.”   ❖

Check out Mikey Ferrari’s new EP Spaceboy, and JVCKJ’s Dec. 2020 project, PASTEL: The Early Days, available on all platforms.

Music connoisseur Ryan Leutz is co-host of The Rockstar Experience Podcast.

You can check out the full podcast with JVCKJ on Apple Podcasts and iHeart Radio.

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SG Lewis’ Debut Album Comes Just In Time

SG Lewis’s debut album is exactly what we need right now. If you’re unaware of SG, he has already had an impressive career with critically acclaimed EP’s and songwriting credits, performances at some of the biggest festivals in the world, and even without an album, he logged 151 million plays on Spotify last year alone.

With that being said, SG Lewis’ debut album, times, has come right on time and hopes to be the warm, hopeful and upbeat soundtrack of the spring. From shiny dance-party songs like the Nile Rodgers-assisted “One More,” to the ethereal love song “Fall”, times is definitely a record to be explored.

“This is the first full-length album I’ve ever put out and you can’t even understand the amount of people it reaches when you put out a record as opposed to just a single or an EP,” SG said while discussing the release of times with the Rockstar Experience Podcast.

“And I’ve never felt this kind of love before, getting messages from around the world, thousands of them every day. I’ve been floating around on a cloud of positivity all week, it’s been awesome, man.”

SG Lewis may be categorized as an electronic music producer, but his sound is much more complex than simply “electronic music.” He takes influence from many forms of music and is dedicated to studying his craft.

“My sound is a fusion of Electronic, RB and Disco. I think Disco music has had a huge influence on this record,” SG said on his musical “genre.”

“I’ve always had my foot in electronic music but the more RB-tinged side — there’s a lot more song structure and melodies and chords. I went on this big study of disco music a couple years back and it’s definitely had a huge impact on my sound. I just like to make music that makes people feel great.”

In addition to cultivating his unique sound on times, SG also had the opportunity to work with some of his musical influences on the project; one of them being music legend Chad Hugo.

“I got asked for my dream list of collaborators, ‘like your stupidest list.’ So I said, ‘Great, OK. The Neptunes, Chad and Pharrell.’” SG said with a smile.

“A week later they’re like, ‘Yo, Chad’s down to work.’ He’s just a different wavelength type genius. He’s hearing things that none of us hear.”

SG Lewis comes across as a very humble artist even though his album has been seen on charts around the world since its release. It’s easy to tell that he is very content with his position in the industry, but he’s still longing for one thing; the return of live performances.

“You’ve said you used to be shy about performing, but this album is gonna go crazy at your next Coachella performance, which would be your third. Where are you excited to perform this album?” we asked.

“That’s what’s crazy, as a kid the idea of performing made me petrified. But I guess as I grew up, grew in confidence, and spent more time on the stage, it’s something that I love now and I miss it a lot.”

“The last time we did Coachella was one of the best days of my life. The Mojave tent stopped letting people in because it was so full it was amazing. But to be honest, I’m excited to play just anywhere if you gave me two speakers and some decks right now … I don’t know. I’m gonna play absolutely everywhere and anywhere I can when this is over.”

Thankfully he got his wish, as SG Lewis is scheduled for his debut TV performance on The Late Late Show with James Corden, March 8th.

Check out SG Lewis, times, on all streaming platforms.  ❖

Music connoisseur Ryan Leutz is co-host of The Rockstar Experience Podcast.

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CULTURE ARCHIVES From The Archives MUSIC 2021 News 2021 PODCASTS ROCKSTAR EXPERIENCE

Clever Is Done Being An “Industry Secret”

Clever was once known as a “secret weapon” in the music industry, having written songs for and with the biggest names, including Justin Bieber, Post Malone, and Juice WRLD. Now, Clever is focusing his energy on his solo career with his album Crazy, slated to drop on March 13th. His latest single off of Crazy, called “Rolls Royce Umbrella” features R&B legend, Chris Brown.

“Can you tell us about your new song? Do you have a ‘Rolls Royce Umbrella?’” asked Ryan Leutz, co-host of The Rockstar Experience Podcast.

“‘Rolls Royce Umbrella’ is a rags-to-riches song. It goes like ‘from misery to mimosas’ and ‘I was poor and now I’m poured up’,” Clever replied. “It’s really about how money can’t buy you happiness, but I’d rather cry in a Lamborghini kinda thing. It’s basically saying Champagne Showers might not make flowers bloom, but it’s still gonna rain, and it’s gonna rain on my Rolls Royce Umbrella.”

Although Clever is working in the inner circles of some of the biggest artists in the industry, his life wasn’t always paved with stardom. “Comin’ from nothing starting in Alabama and then trying to get to where I’m at has not been easy,” Clever told The Rockstar Experience Podcast.

“I did some freestyle battles. I started getting the attention of some radio programmers. I eventually had my own nightly radio show on a local station that had a 40-mile radius in Alabama. I did 106 and Park’s Freestyle Fridays and was a champion way back when on BET. I did the Spring Bling freestyle challenges and other stuff too. So little by little, I was getting my name out there. I spent some time in a bad deal that had me stuck doing more songwriting stuff, but I was able to network.

“I wrote songs for Snoop Dogg and Kurupt and David Foster, and other people. It got so broad at one point that I had all the connections I needed to make a way for myself. I don’t think it’s about being in the right place sometimes, it’s about being at the right place all the time. A lot of people are waiting on that one person to knock on the door but I think you gotta knock at the door and go through the window. There’s a way in, you just gotta find it.”

“Speaking of your freestyling days, freestyling is how you got your stage name. Can you tell us about that?” Ryan asked.

“I was in a freestyle battle, I was 14 years old at the time,” Clever explained. “It was a local $50 Freestyle Friday that this promoter was putting on at some hole-in-the-wall type joint. Somebody challenged me to come down there and do it. I ended up going like 6 weeks in a row, I was 14 and making $50 every Friday to out rap fools. This guy kept comin’ with these ‘W’ lines. Everything was a ‘W’ this and ‘W’ that, like a win. So to counter him I was throwing some ‘L’ lines back at him. It was ‘L’ this and ‘L’ that. At one point I said, ‘You can call me Clever, cuz I won’t ‘C’ [see] an ‘L’ ever.’ Somebody after the show came up to me and was like ‘Your name’s Clever, right?’ When he said that to me it reminded me of Common, and I’m a big Common fan so I liked it. So I ran with it.”

“What is your relationship with Post Malone like now that you are signed to him?” Ryan asked.

“Me and Post are really close. First time I ever spoke to Post was through a mutual friend named Tyla Yahweh,” he explained. “Post was playing my songs and playing the drums to them while he was on the road. I already knew that he was on to my music but he’s not the easiest person to say ‘Hey, what’s up’ to. He facetimed me through Tyla Yahweh’s phone and me and Tyla was cool. I guess he saw my number on Tyla’s phone. I answered Tyla’s call and it’s basically just Post Malone like, ‘Hey, I really like your music.’”

“We clicked immediately and went from there. We’re really close. I’m signed to him now under Grade A and Posty Co. and Republic. He’s been a big help. I have a song on his album, which might be coming this year or so I heard. I also have him on my album so it’s gonna be dope. We’re gonna tour together too. I’ve been blessed to have him on board.”

“You’re working on your album now, when should we expect it?” Brian asked.

“It’s lookin’ like march 12th,” Clever said with trepidation. “We’ve had to push it back several times for different clearances. It’s been tough to get the clearances because the album’s got Lil Wayne, Lil Baby, Chris Brown, Post Malone, Juice WRLD, I even put my 6-year-old son on a song with Lil Wayne. Just some ‘la la la’s’ but he’s already getting publishing offers at age 6,” Clever said with a laugh.

Clever’s next single off of his Crazy album is “Life’s a Mess” featuring Juice WRLD and Post Malone, which is part 2 to a previously released Juice WRLD record under the same name. Juice and Clever worked together closely before Juice’s untimely death.

“I was fortunate to travel with Juice WRLD and tour with him. I was fortunate to be around him and travel with him. I got to see Juice make 50 records in the studio, some of his biggest joints. This album has a lot of tributes to Juice, a lot of easter eggs on it, hidden messages, and some stuff you can play backwards. The album syncs up with a movie the way that The Dark Side of the Moon syncs up with Wizard of Oz. We deliberately did that. We deliberately did that for the Juice tribute as well. It’s definitely gonna be an experience.”

“Life is a Mess” featuring Juice WRLD and Post Malone is slated to release on March 5 and Clever’s Crazy is slated for March 12, according to his management. Be on the lookout for Clever’s new music and listen to his interview with The Rockstar Experience on all major platforms.   ❖