You started out as professional dancer, is performance still an important element of what you do?
Absolutely; performing is something that’s ingrained in me. When I’m making music I’m thinking of how it will perform live and how to best convey it even down to how I perform the song when I record it.
We read that the great Lionel Hampton was your godfather. Were you always surrounded by music?
Yes my godfather and being a dancer played huge role in that. I’m being exposed to so many different types of music on a daily basis ranging from classical to African. I never thought it would be of use until now.
You’ve already graced some pretty impressive stages, are there any places you’re still desperate to play?
I have to play Barclays Center in Brooklyn one day. That would be a defining moment for me.
Brooklyn is a neighbourhood that’s shaped so many artists and musicians. Has growing up their shaped your sound?
Absolutely, Brooklyn is a melting pot of music and culture. When you listen to my music you can hear that. The fusion of different styles is what Brooklyn is all about.
Your vocal is so unique. Is it something you’re conscious of or is it all natural?
Thank you. It’s all natural. Growing up I listened to so much Michael Jackson, Prince, Stevie Wonder, and Sting. I would try to do my best interpretation of their voices as kid and eventually I figured out what my voice sounded like. I’m still getting better though. I never stop learning and trying to push my voice to do things it couldn’t do before.
You weave together so many genres on Flawd, what were you listening to when you made the record?
I was listening to the new Tame Impala record a lot. It’s been my soundtrack since it came out, that and Blonde . I was also listening to DAMN by Kendrick as well. It was such a great body of work. 24K Magic was also in heavy rotation a lot as well.
It feels like a really personal record, is that what you set out to make?
Yes, I feel like any record I make will come out personal because I’m pulling from my life and my experiences. I also pull from the experiences of people I speak to. Making these records are basically sonic therapy sessions for me.
What’s next for you?
We just wrapped the first leg of the Flawd tour and we’re planning the second leg now. I’m also going to drop videos for a couple of the songs on the album. I’m performing at the Apple store in Brooklyn on April 12th, which I’m really excited about. I’m also working on a comic book based on Flawd, which I’ve been sitting on for a year and a half now. I’m really looking forward to getting that out for the people.
Flawd is out now.