A.K.A. The Truth is an upcoming artist raised in Buffalo, NY. He lived in Michigan and Brooklyn in his time, and has exposed himself to a variety of east coast sounds. He is trying to deliver a sound that people can relate to in all aspects of their lives. He makes music for the love of music not the hope of the result. He has worked with Zac Barber of ParadoxStudios and Zac has interned with John Scott who has worked with Lil Baby, Trey Songz, Joyner Lucas, Snoop Dogg, Bia and more. The experience and diversity of sound comes from numerous inspirations within the music realm of hip-hop, rap and R&B. Sound, rhythm, and flows to compliment the vibe is what he provides.
- Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how you got started?
A.K.A. The Truth: I come from Buffalo, NY and I got started because my friends were really supportive and pushed me to make and record my music. I would always write out songs since I was 16 but they weren’t good, but when I got in college and started freestyling them I appreciated them more and gathered the courage to show them to my friends. After that I was pushed to record and I couldn’t be happier about it.
- Why and when did you choose your moniker A.K.A. The Truth?
A.K.A. The Truth: It took a while to think of the explanation for this one. I was originally AKA with no dots, but someone already had that name and I wanted a name that represents me as a whole. I’m a scholar and in school but that’s who those who don’t know me see as on the surface but in all honesty I love making music, and I’m an artist at heart that lyrically portrays his life in his music and that’s the truth. In reality, I put my name in a rap name generator and got A.K.A. The Truth and it sounded great!
- Who were your first and strongest musical influences that you can remember?
A.K.A. The Truth: My first musical influence that allowed me to look at music in a different perspective was Kendrick Lamar. To Pimp a Butterfly sent me, and it caused me to check out everything else about him. He was the first rapper I ever listened to actually. The strongest influence on me has to be J. Cole and Meek Mill they’re both so passionate within their music and their word play to their own respect represents them and it’s incredible how they can tell a story if they want to while delivering everything you want to hear and more and that’s not to take away from my guy Kendrick.
- What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners?
A.K.A. The Truth: I love to do ambience and sound effects in my music, almost every song I’ve ever created you will hear some sort of ambience or sound effect that accents a bar delivered or even just a word. On top of that, you really have to listen and break down my lyrics because I’ll give you a bar that flows nice on the beat and you’ll love how it complements the beat, but I also laid down a bar that you’ll have to sit down and digest. Oh, and most of my listeners love the vocals in my hooks I’ve heard a lot of feedback on that. I feel like most people who listen to my music appreciate the small things that make up the whole song.
- For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and music maker, and the transition towards your own style?
A.K.A. The Truth: I wasn’t always good at writing or singing at all. Lots of practice, research and definitely emulating others. What’s crazy is that I started listening to YBN Cordae, Rexx Life Raj and Torey Lanez. I tried a little bit of what they did, get in the studio and turn up the autotune and freestyle. I tried a little bit of vocals in my songs to add some melody similar to Rexx Life Raj and then I became more conscious with what I say so that it can relate to the masses like YBN Cordae does. After that I kept writing and gaining more studio time to where I figured out what style of music I can make. I’ll give you some R&B melody/ hook with some verses in there to contrast the feeling the melody gives you, but I’ll just rap and give you some play on words to digest or both! It depends on how I feel honestly.
- What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural, spiritual, and/or social vehicles – and do you try and affront any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative and entertainment?
A.K.A. The Truth: I feel as if music can be a platform for any type of message because it is a relative form of expression. I know tons of rappers who use their music as a function of all of those topics. In fact, I do the same because everything around me is my inspiration not just the life I live but everything around it too. My music doesn’t solely stick to one narrative. I love the artistry behind my music, and I will express a personal narrative to entertain you in one way or another. Truthfully, I write what I feel or what the beat brings out of me and I draw out whatever my pen decides to ink down.
- Do you ever write a song with current musical trends, formulas or listener satisfaction in mind, or do you simply focus on your own personal vision?
A.K.A. The Truth: That really depends honestly, I would say 70% of the time I write a song it’s of my own personal vision. The 30% would be me studying other types and forms of music that don’t come natural to me to see if I can do it or not or create something new entirely. Lots of rappers speak of replay value, how many times the listener will replay the song. I always try to make a catchy hook or throw in a crazy flow/rhyme scheme switch up to keep you interested. Quite honestly if I find it nice to hear best believe my listeners will too!
- Could you describe your creative processes? How do you start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a beat, or a narrative in your head?
A.K.A. The Truth: It really all depends quite honestly. I have 3 sure fire ways of creating music that work well for me. I’ll turn on the beat, feel the vibe and freestyle to it while I record it on my phone. I usually freestyle with a topic in mind and from there that’ll be the focus of my song. Other times, I’ll just hum and see if I can catch a melody or rhythm for a flow, no pun intended, and write with that melody or flow in mind. The last thing if all else fails, is I won’t even find a beat I’ll have a specific verse to start off with in mind, and ask my engineer/producer Zac Barber to make a beat that matches the tempo I’m spitting at or find a beat online to match the energy.
- What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your career or life so far, and how did you overcome the event?
A.K.A. The Truth: The most difficult thing right now has to be keeping up with social media and marketing honestly. I am an independent artist so it’s very difficult to figure out all of these things on my own. Not only that but social media for artists nowadays is crucial to their career. I used to just like the occasional picture and now I’m constantly creating. I’ve grown to love it though because it tests my creativity and I love to hear the feedback from it all. I guess I worked on it so much that it’s become second nature almost. I still have a long ways to go but at least I know I can get over a couple hills on this journey.
- What would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your career so far?
A.K.A. The Truth: I would say that my first ever single dropped, YBK, blew up and received over 30k streams. I didn’t think that people would like it that much let alone listen to it this many times. I was shook and it gave me the confidence boost to keep going and master this craft I’m developing for myself. After that, I started hearing feedback from fans and friends talking about how they can really relate to my music and how they have it playing on repeat. I was pretty happy with myself and I knew I wanted to feel that more and that’s part of the reason I keep making music.
- If someone has never heard your music, which 5 keywords would you personally use to describe what you and your music is all about?
A.K.A. The Truth: Soulful, Energetic, Relatable, Conscious, and Artistic
- With social media having a heavy impact on our lives and the music business in general, how do you handle criticism, haters and/or naysayers in general? Is it something you pay attention to, or simply ignore?
A.K.A. The Truth: I’m not gonna lie, I’m not the best at social media but I’m getting there. I’m pretty interesting and really goofy to be honest, so I would watch my content but I’m working on putting that stuff out there! I accept any and all criticism, I’m pretty open honestly. Especially if the criticism is constructive because you can 100% tell when the criticism is not constructive there is a fine line. Regardless, if I’m doing what I love to do and being successful at it and somebody wants to hate or force their limitations on to me because they can’t do what I’m doing… Yeah I’m going to have to ignore them and let them rock so they can find their way because they seem pretty lost in my eyes. I’m all about progression and constructive criticism adds to progression, the hate doesn’t it’s just filler on your way to top I feel like. That doesn’t mean I can’t use the hate to be better than I was yesterday.
- Which aspects of being an independent artist excites you most and which aspects discourages you most?
A.K.A. The Truth: The creative freedom of being an independent artist and the ability to put out whatever content you want to be more organic towards your fans. It’s pretty cool honestly, but the only part that discourages me is the difficulty in making the right connections. Some people want to dampen your shine and that’s not appreciated but I always find a way to figure things out. This a process and in order to be great you have to go through the whole process humbling yourself and the right people will fall into play, we all have a plan. So I’m going to keep working to put my music out there and get more exposure and hopefully make good connections along the way.
- If you had a choice to go on tour with any acclaimed international artist in the near future, who would you choose, and why?
A.K.A. The Truth: It’s so hard to pick only one artist to go on tour with because I have tons of inspirations honestly. However, if I could go on tour with J. Cole it would be a dream come true quite honestly. I’ve seen the videos of him talking to his crew and groups of artists and even interviews too. He is a man that has a lot to say and brings the energy you put into your craft out of you with only a few words. I don’t think you could ever feel discouraged around that man because you can tell through his music alone, he’s been through the ups and downs of this game. Not only that but I would say his music is similar to mine in terms of conscious rap and word play that gets you thinking, bumping, or both.
- Could you tell us something about your latest project and what fans can expect to hear?
A.K.A. The Truth: Currently I’m putting out singles to build my portfolio of sound and music but I am working on a collab with a particular artist from the same area as me. This guy brings out lyrically the best in me, you never want to do a collab with someone you know will carry your track for you. I want to bring my own respective craft and mesh with theirs so we can create a solid song that accents are abilities as artists. Stay tuned for that, it’s on its way and you will be blown away by this project I have no doubt in my mind. Oh! I’ll be playing with my vocals and verses a little bit in the near future so keep those ears ready!
- Do you have a personal favorite track amongst your compositions that has a specific backstory and/or message and meaning very special to you?
A.K.A. The Truth: Well all my songs are my favorite haha but to choose out of my released songs I would have to say, “In My Feelings.” A ton of my songs bring out a certain form of passion from me but this one had a good amount. Every part of it indicates how I felt in specific moments of my life, you can hear the confusion, through the hook you understand the direction of where the story is going. After you digest the whole thing, you understand that miscommunication can either hurt one person or leave both parties in the dry. It’s never a good feeling and unfortunately it happens all of the time. I’m sure a ton of people can relate to that lol.
- Creative work in studio environment, or interaction with a live audience? Which of these two options excite you most?
A.K.A. The Truth: Wow that’s tough, I love both honestly but to be able to put your own creative twist on your song, even after you poured all your creativity into it, during a performance is invigorating. I like to see how the crowd interacts with my energy that’s always mad fun, I’m always hype so it’s dope when that vibe becomes contagious.
- What’s your favorite motto, phrase or piece of advice, you try to live or inspire yourself by?
interview: Proceed as if success is inevitable and don’t work for the hope of the result, work for the love of the craft everything else will fall into play.
- How essential do you think video is in relation to your music? Do you have a video you would suggest fans see, to get a better understanding of your craft?
A.K.A. The Truth: I believe videos are essential to expanding on what you want your energy, vision and concept of your sound to be. It really brings people closer to you as an artist. Definitely looking to make a music video at some point so if anybody’s nice at that hit me up! Regardless, I have a lyric video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnMsBieZAsU&feature=youtu.be for my single “In My Feelings.” I take my music very seriously in terms of delivering the best I can put out when I’m in the studio at that moment. I’m big on authenticity when it comes to my music and music videos or videos of any kind play a big role in that.
- What do you find most rewarding about what you do? And do you have a specific vision or goal set in your mind that you would like to achieve in the near future??
A.K.A. The Truth: I think the big reward for me is how much better I see myself getting as an artist every time I step in and out of the studio. It’s incredible actually and that’s partly what drives me to keep making music. The goal is to have tons of people listen to my music and have it be a part of a normal everyday conversation. I enjoy making music and I love it when people listen to it and I couldn’t ask for more honestly. If I could do this full time and support my family in ways not even I could imagine, that would be a dream come true and that’s why I keep working.