Would you tell the world my secrets if I let you close?
With songs like Too Fast , Feel and One Night Only Sonder’s lead-singer Brent Faiyaz had his big breakthrough in 2017. After releasing two solo albums, he now returns with Dead Man Walking.
The song begins with striking, mysterious synth beats and the words: “Drop the roof and let the smoke clear;” that may imply a revolver going off. Brent finds himself in Las Vegas where he is getting intimate with a woman he repeatedly mentions throughout the song. Even though he is worried about letting someone in, he is enjoying the present moment because one never knows how long it will last, as he implies with the last line: “‘Til I DIE.”
With Dead Man Walking, the American singer created an utterly catchy tune whose essence is to remind everyone to appreciate the good things that are indeed still happening right now. For this interview with Brent Faiyaz, we talked about his dreams, his idea of creative freedom, and how he stays inspired.
What is the most influential song of your childhood and youth?
Too many to name honestly. I’ve always kept around 4 albums in rotation since I was 7. It is probably something by Michael Jackson though.
When did you record your very first song? Where do your musical roots stem from?
I started recording when I was 12. My brother Juan and I had a little USB mic and some downloaded software. We started a label for fun and sold our music in school. My mom is a big music listener. She and my oldest brother, Tez collected so many CD’s. I’d snatch them from any and everywhere in the house and listen to them. Eventually, I started collecting my own.
You are a singer, songwriter and producer. How do you normally come up with the lyrics?
As of late, the ideas have been flowing seamlessly. I typically would go into the studio, sit down, and wait for lyrics to come into my head then I record them. Very boring stuff. Lately, though, writing and recording has been pretty all-in-one. Less wait-time.
What does creative freedom mean to you?
Freedom is the ability to say what I want, regardless of how it is interpreted or if it even makes sense at all.
My summer song this year was Dreams, Fairytales, Fantasies with A $ AP Ferg. It is such a dreamy and fun song to play when you are in the car cruising around. W hat was the most unexpected thing you learned from this / any collaboration so far?
Nothing unexpected. I went to Miami and locked down with the intention of making a great song and we knocked it out. Mission accomplished. Collaboration is never tricky when you know what you want to do.
What are your absolute dream collaborators?
Quincy Jones, Pharrell, Master P, Sade … Not all at the same time, though. That’d sound like shit.
Did you get the Sonder tattoo before you, Dpat and Atu formed the group?
Yeah, I had it for a little while.
How did the most recent happenings in regards to Black Lives Matter in the US affect you?
Where I’m from, none of this was new to me. I’ve been seeing police abuse their power since I was a kid. It was normal. Now the entire world sees it. I was outside protesting for days in Atlanta. By curfew time, most protesters went in the house. I felt like I was out there by myself at one point. It’s interesting to see how many people join a justified cause simply because it’s the “in” thing to do, they see it as a n opportunity to make some signs, take some pictures, and then go home. But that’s just my two cents.
And how did the pandemic change your everyday (life)?
I’ve been chilling for years honestly. Quarantine is the shit.
What are you currently working on?
I can’t talk about it. It would ruin the fun.
Where has your head been at lately?
Business. I’ve been really handling my business lately. Investing my money, finding new creative outlets. Discovering acts. I’m learning how to move at a pace that allows me to live free and comfortably forever. I don’t ever wanna lose my creativity because I went broke and had to start doing corny shit for money.
What helps you stay authentic in a world that may try to change you?
I don’t really strive for authenticity. It just is that. To me, changing for acceptance is too much work.
A quote you live by?
Fuck the world.
Interview by Barbara Anthofer