Interview With Rapper, Singer & Songwriter ‘Osay’

Tell us a little about yourself?

I’m Osay, an up and coming rapper, singer-songwriter from the south suburbs of Chicago. My style and sound is very much inspired by the 90s and I want to bridge that gap between old school and new school a bit. I’ve been creating for as long as I can remember and I’m super excited to have my first couple singles finally out for the public. I love music, I love to create and I just want to inspire and add my little contribution to an industry that has meant so much to me throughout my life.

How did you come up with your artist name?

It’s actually the shortened version of my full name Osayuki. I opted to go for something a bit simpler and Osay just kinda stuck.

How long have you been in the music industry?

I’ve been in the industry for about 5 years doing different things such as writing and interning at studios but I started putting out my own music in 2020.

How did you get started in the music business in the first place?

I actually started as a writer. I didn’t believe enough in my own talents initially, so a few folks let me try out writing for them. That experience gave me an opportunity to challenge myself and I just fell in love with the creative process and wanted to tap into it more. After that, I decided I wanted to pursue my own music career and I moved to Atlanta in 2018 for an internship opportunity at a major studio. Things kinda started to pick up from there and I met a producer who was starting his own label and he signed me on as his first act. The rest is kinda history at that point and I released my first couple songs about a year later.

How would you describe your latest single?

My latest single, “How Many Licks” is a bass thumping, sexy, smooth song. It is a bit of a departure from some of my other works, but that’s also why I love it. It was produced by a really talented producer named muladè and the song pretty much wrote itself when I heard the beat for the first time. It’s definitely one of my favorites right now and it gives a few folks who are familiar with my work a different side of me, which is also really cool.

When can fans expect the visuals for the single?

Very, very soon. Within the next couple of weeks hopefully.

Who are your inspirations in the music industry?

Aaliyah, TLC, Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliot, Biggie, there’s too many to name. I admire those who weren’t afraid to challenge the status quo and push the envelope.

How do you go about writing a song and what is your process?

It definitely depends but I’m usually scouring the internet for hours looking for beats and when I find something I absolutely love, I download and just start coming up with melodies and developing a bit of structure. I try to come up with the chorus first because it drives the whole song and from there I start to construct the verses. But, the process is constantly changing, every beat calls for a different approach.

What is the concept behind your forthcoming project if working on one?

It’s an autobiographical story of my current journey. The working title is “In the Pursuit of…” and it’s going to represent my path of chasing my musical dream while also illustrating the trials and tribulations that come with pursuing a passion.

Any plans on touring to promote your latest single?

Hopefully! When this Corona chaos finally ends, the goal would be to go out and do performances to promote not only the single but the impending EP that’s in the works.

What are must haves when your in the studio working?

My studio setup is currently in my apartment so anything I could every need is within reach.

What is the best piece of advice in this business you actually followed?

To stay true to yourself. In an industry where everyone wants you to conform, it’s important to have a sense of self and to know who you are. Imitators don’t become legendary and I don’t think you can make a real impact with an audience if it’s not authentic.

Will you be collaborating with any other artists in the future?

Absolutely, it’s one of the things I’m most excited for regarding my creative process. I find that when I work with other artists/producers, I’m growing and learning and it makes me a sharper and better artist in my own right.

Name an artist(s) that you would love to work with?

J. Cole, I think he’s super awesome and I would love to do something down the line with him. He’s a really great story teller and I feel like he would challenge me in a lot of ways. I hope that does happen someday. I’d love to do something with Eminem too, he influenced a lot of my style and it would be an honor to be able to work with him in some capacity. He could just yawn on my track and I would be more than satisfied.

Do you think your music is mostly enjoyed more for the beats or for the lyrical flow and content?

I try not to be so reliant on the beat to carry my song, but I am always looking for unique, hard-hitting beats that make a statement. I do make it a point to come up with interesting flows and catchy lyrics to keep people engaged but I’m sure different people will tell you they like my sound for various reasons. But for me, I pride myself on my lyrical flow and content.

What area do you need to improve on in regards to your career? (Example: Better production, Delivery, Stage presence, etc..)

There’s a couple of things I want to improve on. Stage presence will be a huge thing I want to work on once I can go out and perform. I plan to do more open mics and shows just to develop as a performer.
Building and creating content is something I need to get used to. I’m rather private so I’m not as open as I should be, especially on social media where it seems like you need to post every day to matter. Understanding the business. I want to learn as much as I can about this industry and not just the creative stuff. There’s a lot I’m learning, but there’s also a lot I still don’t understand so I’m always seeking to learn more. It’s the only way I’ll be able to get ahead.

What’s your all-time favourite song?

Wayyy too many to list!

What was the last album you listened to?

I just finished listening to Talking Book by Stevie Wonder. I’m always looking for inspiration from all different time periods and genres and you aren’t human if you don’t love Stevie!

Your favourite artist of all time and why?

AALIYAH!!! Everyone who knows me, knows how much that woman has inspired me. I just loved how authentic and honest she was in her work. There was something about her that was so relatable. She could have easily came out doing what everyone around her was doing but she was herself, and it made

Whose your favourite five artists right now?

My favorite artists who are out currently are J. Cole, Brent Fiayaz, Brockhampton, 6lack, and DVSN.

In your opinion who is the most influential and successful artist in your genre today and why?

Drake, he’s been killing it for over a decade now with no signs of slowing down. Love him or hate him, it takes a really special artist to maintain such a level of dominance for so long and he set the current standard in hip hop music. Most rappers want to sound like him or attain his level of success.

Who have been some of your favourite artists that you’ve been able to work with?

There are 2 that come to mind who I love. Sincere, who is one of the best storytellers and lyricists in the game and Remi Lekun who is an incredible vocalist who blends neo soul and alternative r&b in such a dope way. I met them both when I first moved to Atlanta and I just think they are amazing artists that the world needs to hear and I can’t wait until they get their just dues because they deserve it.

How do you feel about the current state of music?

I’m kinda ready for a change. I wanted to see more artists pushing the envelope who are moving away from the tropes and stereotypes associated with hip hop music. I feel like it’s at a stand still right now waiting for the right artist to come along and shift things in a monumental way.

Any dream award shows you hope to one day play at?

My favorite award show performance was TLC’s CrazySexyCool Medley at the 1995’s VMAs. I’ve probably seen that performance 100 times because of how entertaining it was and I would love to have a VMA moment as impactful and as exciting as that.

What is your main goal as far as music?

To make it ok to be yourself and to celebrate your individuality. I grew up loving artists like Aaliyah because she was herself, she rocked the tomboy clothes and sang the songs that felt right to her. I could get a sense of authenticity in what she was doing because it was her, and I want to be that. I wanna encourage and inspire folks to own who they are. Now more than ever, society expects us to uphold these unrealistic expectations, which can be really damaging to a person’s self worth. I know I don’t fit the mold of what a female rapper “should be” but I’m doing it anyways and if I can do it, so the hell can you!

Who would you say your music relates to the most?

Hmm…that’s an interesting question. I wouldn’t say I have a specific demographic I’m targeting in particular because you never know who will take to your music. Anybody who’s looking for a change and who’s open to something a little different is who may relate to it. But that could be anybody, honestly.

What separates you from other artists? (What’s makes you different?)

I want to bring personality and an element of realness back into music the way Missy Elliot and Eminem did in the 90s. I feel like everyone wants to be the cool chick and I’m not that. I’m silly, I like to be funny and I wanna incorporate that in my music. I rap about things that most artists don’t and I wanna bring the Osay approach to modern day music.

When your not in the studio, What do you like to do for fun and relaxation?

I’m very chill, I love to be around family and friends. Just hanging out or watching silly YouTube videos, and listening to music are some of the ways I relax. And eating too, mama loves to eat lol.

If you could work with any producer who would it be?

Timbaland! Him and Aaliyah’s collaborations are classics to me. I grew up listening to him and being able to work with him in any capacity would be such a full circle moment for me.

What’s the biggest highlight of your career thus far?

The first big thing was getting 1,000 streams on my first single. That was mind blowing to me. I didn’t think it would go anywhere, especially because I haven’t really pushed it yet so to get the response I’ve been getting has been super encouraging and it makes me motivated to just keep working.

What is your dream venue to perform at?

This is going to sound so typical lol but Madison Square Garden would be a dream! It’s the “You’ve Made It Mecca” in my eyes and it would just be such a surreal moment, especially because right now I’m in the beginning stages of my career so something like that seems almost impossible. Who knows, I hope one day I can look back at this interview and find myself eating my words.

What’s the name of the last book you read and by whom?

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Anchor.

What’s your favourite sports team and why?

The Chicago Bulls. The 90’s dynasty will forever be the pride and joy of Chicago so I gotta rock them for the long haul.

Whose your favourite actor or actress and their best movie?

I admittedly am not the biggest movie watcher, so I can’t say I have a favorite actor or actress. My favorite movie is Rush Hour if that counts for anything.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Definitely more music is coming soon. I’m super excited about this impending EP I’m about to release. And a music video for my single “Off Brand” will be coming out next month. There’s a lot of fun things in store that I can’t wait to release.

Where can the fans check out for your music?

You can find me on all platforms where music is available. I’ll also include the smartlink to my music just to make it a bit easier for anyone who’s interested here.

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