Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is ADRIAN Rey, and I am a singer, songwriter, producer and visual. I am from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and love to write music about real stuff, or the things that make life beautiful, the things that make us cry. You know, the real stuff. I have always loved to write and create elements of work that resonates with people who need it.
How did you come up with your artist name?
That is actually pretty funny. I used to be called ADRIAN SHAOLIN (or sometimes Shaolin Adrian). This name came from two TV characters that I admired, Adrian Monk, from the TV show, Monk, and Shaolin Fantastic from the Netflix show, The Get Down. I admired Monk for his perseverance through the troubles of mental illness (as he had OCD) and I loved Shaolin’s courage. Over time though, people kept mispronouncing “Shaolin”, so I dropped that part and added “Rey”, which is my nickname.
How long have you been in the music industry?
I have been writing songs for other artists for about 4 years now but have recently developed my own sound. So, I would say about a year and half now. On streaming services for less than that.
How did you get started in the music business in the first place?
I always loved to write, but also, I loved music. I guess I found peace in writing complex stuff that would make other people think on another level. Eventually, people caught on to my talents and asked me to write for them. I love to put my thoughts into words and put those words to melody. Shits amazing.
How would you describe your latest single?
Alive. I tried to be transparent with the artists (Mass Da Novice and Leeson Bryce), pertaining to their stories and backgrounds, that I was working with, but at the same time make the sound of the single my own. BETTER.LIFE had been in the works for years, but I finally found the right perspective to come from, so that it sounded representative for its content. I can’t deliver that part, but I can create my influence. The production was “alive”.
When can fans expect the visuals for the single?
I am not looking to make any music videos right now. Maybe soon. I want my music to be visual to the listener.
Who are your inspirations in the music industry?
DEFINITELY FRANK OCEAN. I love his pen, his ability to be flexible in how he writes, as well as his choice of instrumentals and production. I also dig Brockhampton, and Rex Orange County, as well.
How do you go about writing a song and what is your process?
It takes soooooo long. I know people who can write stuff so quick, but at the same time, is that authentic? On the other hand, what is authenticity though. I get confused when I think of stuff like that and the timing of everything. I just put my pen to the paper when I got something going through my head and hope it sticks. Sometimes it fits and other times I just let it roll.
What is the concept behind your forthcoming project if working on one?
I am trying to be more experimental in my sound. I don’t want the regular high hat, bass, two verses and a chorus type shit. I’ve been listening to Tame Impala, to Bon Iver and that stuff that makes you question what a song really is. I want a message that is inflused into heavy instrumentals and a flow that makes it all sink together. It may take a while.
Any plans on touring to promote your latest single? What did you buy with your first check off music?
My first check should be coming soon. I plan on saving it. Maybe invest in some stocks. As for touring, I want to perform atleast once in the next year.
What are must haves when your in the studio working?
Honestly, just water. Some TV on mute in the background. Maybe a record playing.
What is the best piece of advice in this business you actually followed?
Don’t be critical when others are critical of you. People have different tastes, and different moods. If you try to please every single person, then you are going to end up losing more people than you bring in.
Will you be collaborating with any other artists in the future?
I have set up a good ground of artists that I have worked with and could work further with, but in terms of future artists, I may or may not. Sometimes I hear something and think that it needs someone else, but my mindset right now just hasn’t been like that.
What artist have you had the pleasure of working with and what was it like?
Two artists that I LOVE to work with are Mass Da Novice, because we went to college together and I enjoy his flow more or more every time I hear it. He also puts out a sound that is so layered and deep. The Unknown Band is another. His sound has stuck with me since I first heard him. Production wise, I want him to create something for me pretty soon.
Name an artist(s) that you would love to work with?
Jazmine Sullivan. Her writing ability and voice is godly. I would be blessed to work with her. Also, if I could work with Brockhampton, I would love to hear the different mindsets that they have.
Do you think your music is mostly enjoyed more for the beats or for the lyrical flow and content?
Lyrical. The people I work with, as well as myself put so much work into the content of our music and let the instrumentals ooze out of us. Going forward, I am going to try the opposite, but I know people love my writing.
What area do you need to improve on in regards to your career? (Example: Better production, Delivery, Stage presence, etc..)
Mastering and Production. I know I am not mainstream in my production and I don’t want to change that, but at the same time I also want my music to get listened to, so that one day I can create a larger-than-life collection of whatever I want. Mastering must get better, and I have continued to improve in that regard.
What’s your all-time favourite song?
Self Control by Frank Ocean. The deepest, most complex song that can make a person feel. Like really feel. Lowkey, that sound is how I found him and inspired me to match the emotion that he provides. Hopefully, one day I will.
What was the last album you listened to?
Whole Lotta Red by Playboi Carti. I have actually been getting inspiration by that project as well.
Your favourite artist of all time and why?
All-time, I would say Frank Ocean and Childish Gambino. I have already explained my love for Frank Ocean’s pen and mind, but as for Gambino, its his presence. His ability to create characters, with authentic storylines and combine mediums to make people think. Beautiful.
Whose your favorite five artist right now?
Tyler. Dude is on another planet right now.
In your opinion who is the most influential and successful artist in your genre today and why?
Again, Tyler. I would also say Gambino, just for his flexibility. Both are production wizards and have changed the way that you hear experimental music. Their ways in which they change tempo, character and lyrical composition is magic.
Stoni Grey. He has that voice and his presence on the songs that he’s in, is unmatchable.
Who have been some of your favourite artists that you’ve been able to work with?
How do you feel about the current state of music?
I feel like it is either in a transition, or already planted in a whole new era. From a place and time where music and society were two separate entities, that only crossed on specific occasions. Nowadays, you see music EVERYWHERE, and not just that, but you see the personalities of the creators EVERYWHERE. Musical content is at an all-time awareness and while some of it is getting simplified, a lot of it is more complex than it ever has been. You can feel the inequalities in our society through song, the pain and joy of the people through song, and these songs are getting heard by those who need to hear them. I think that censoring the media of music is impossible, because censoring music is censoring truth, censoring realities and dreams. Music is where our dreams meet our realities.
Any dream award shows you hope to one day play at?
I know this isn’t an award show, but Coachella. The vibes and the artistic freedom of the presentation is something that i find dope. Maybe.
What is your main goal as far as music?
I want to inspire people who go through pain and I really just want to make my passion help other people deal with the stresses that life brings. I want to create an extra dimension where people can just get lost.
Who would you say your music relates to the most?
The thinkers. Those who don’t hear, butlisten. I want and love these people too. I want the people who look beyond the egg shell. I want the people who don’t give up on a crossword puzzle when they are stumped on the first clue. I love confusing the shit out of people, but at the same time, I love seeing people make my music what they want it to be.
What separates you from other artists? (What’s makes you different?)
I make my music for others to interpret. I say what I interpret, but that doesn’t mean you should interpret that the same way. I want you to interpret it differently. When you do that, you attach meaning to a song that I could never do. I don’t want to be the artist, I want my listeners to paint my canvas. That’s what makes me different.
When your not in the studio, What do you like to do for fun and relaxation?
I am on a college football team, so I go ball out with my brothers. I also hang with my friends and play Grand Theft Auto and Madden.
If you could work with any producer who would it be?
Malay. My god, I would love to work with Malay. He responded to me on twitter one time, so that was dope.
What’s the biggest highlight of your career thus far?
Finishing my first mixtape and hanging in the car with my friend and listening to the rough cuts of it, before I put it on soundcloud. I have so much unreleased stuff and just floating that between my friend group is what brings me happiness, cause I am like, this is ours.
What is your dream venue to perform at?
If I could perform at the house of blues in Dallas, that would be dope. A small closed in place with little to know effects. Just hearing my production over a tight sound system and a live audience that is eating and enjoying each other’s company.
What’s the name of the last book you read and by whom?
I read the Moonlight screenplay, if that counts. The story is so pure and real, that I feel that power even when I move from act to act. I enjoy the reality of the situations presented in both the movie and writing. Barry Jenkins is a beautiful thinker and mastermind.
What’s your favourite sports team and why?
New Orleans Saints. Who dat. Loud and Proud. I love my guys to death and the city as well!
Whose your favourite actor or actress and their best movie?
Jamie Foxx. Hometown hero from Terrell, TX. I love his work and everything he has done for the multiple parallels of media. His artistry isn’t constricted to one craft, and his talent is not confined to what other people put him in. He is stupid good the way he can act, sing and make humor seem so funny, and drama seem so realistic.
Name someone famous who inspires you and why?
Kendrick Lamar. His artistry is real. His presence is real. His voice is beyond real. I love everything he creates, including his art, his efforts for the inequalities of today, as well as the future of music.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Making new music, releasing finished stuff and developing a presence on social media. I want to push the envelope in what I am creating, and if that means that it takes a while, I will find ways to pass the time. This next project is the one that is my soul. I will reflect that so that other people can feel it.
Where can the fans check out for your music?
I love Spotify, but I am also on Apple Music and Soundcloud.
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