Philly artist iamfiveee’s music was brought to my attention via twitter, and I was automatically captivated by his laid-back sound. His lyrical content revolves around striving for better, love, heartbreak, and other introspective topics. One can’t help but to be drawn to the authenticity of his songs. I was able to chat with the artist about his music, his journey as an independent artist, and much more.
Taylor: So, what part of Pennsylvania did you grow up in?
iamfiveee: I’m from Philadelphia, PA but I grew up in a little city a couple of minutes away named Collingdale.
T: On your song “Hope” there’s a line that goes “I come from a place where you don’t make it/but ima take a chance so I can make it.” What gave you the strength to take chances on yourself when faced with adversity?
5: I didn’t want to be like everybody else and end up stuck in my neighborhood, so that gave me the strength to keep pushing towards achieving my goals. The area that I grew up in is very small and it isn’t a place that I believe anyone should be stuck in. I look around and I realize that I want more for myself, so every day I grind my hardest so that I can make it out.
T: When did you discover your passion for music?
5: I discovered my passion for music at a very early age. I used to play the drums and sing in the choir at church, so I’ve always had love for music, but I didn’t know that I would end up becoming an artist and creating my own music.
T: Growing up, what genres or artists were your musical influences?
5: I grew up listening to a lot of Gospel music since my parents were so involved in church. I was only really allowed to listen to music outside of Gospel when I was with family members. My family used to listen to Rap, R&B, and Neo-Soul music. Out of the three I was influenced the most by R&B music.
T: How would you say R&B has influenced your sound?
5: I like the vibe and emotions that R&B brings to you. When you listen to most of my songs, they have a very laid-back vibe to them, and that is something that I picked up from R&B music.
T: The instrumentals for your songs (specifically on Zero Gravity and your most recent singles) stand out because they tend to be very atmospheric. Why did you feel that those beats were the proper backdrop for your lyrics?
5: I felt that those instrumentals were proper for the lyrics because they matched the overall theme of my project. A lot of the songs on my project deal with love and have a smooth vibe to them so I wanted the instrumentals to blend in with the mood. I make “late night car ride” music, so when I choose my instrumentals, I always keep that in mind.
T: Many of your songs deal with love and heartbreak. How do you approach putting that type of vulnerability out there for the world to hear?
5: The approach that I take is to remind myself that I’m human and that it is okay to be hurt. A lot of people are afraid to be vulnerable because if they let their guard down, they feel as if they’re weak. I actually feel better about myself when I expose all of my flaws and all of the pain that I’ve dealt with. It just shows the world that I’m not perfect and that I go through hard times just like anyone else, but I always make it out better and stronger than I was before.
T: Why do you think it is important for artists to be vulnerable and use it in their art?
5: It gives the listeners a true view of who you are as a person. It also could help someone who may be going through the same thing get through their problem. I try to be as transparent and vulnerable as possible to show people that there is always someone out there dealing with the same problems that you’re dealing with.
T: Your music was brought to my attention via twitter, and I notice it gets a lot of love and support on the site. How has social media played a role in your independent success?
5: Social media has allowed me to reach people all over the world with my music. I can build intimate relationships with my supporters through social media which would most likely be impossible without it. It makes my job as an independent artist simple because with just one click, I can have my content seen by millions of different people from different places.
T: Your music has gotten a lot of streams since you've released "Zero Gravity" and your singles "Savage" and "Ride". How do you feel about so many different people listening to your music?
5: It’s really a dream come true to see so many people listening to my work and actually becoming fans of it. This is something that I’ve prayed for and to see it happening is a blessing. I’m beyond grateful because I remember the times where I would only get a few hundred streams and now I’m getting thousands of streams in a short period of time. It’s so amazing to see how well my music is received because I put a lot of hard work into it. And the response I get shows me that I’m moving in the right direction.
T: What is your biggest challenge as an independent artist?
5: My biggest challenge as an independent artist is having to do everything by myself. I don’t have a lot of money to hire people, so I have to do a lot of things like marketing and engineering on my own. It becomes stressful at times because sometimes I have to put music on hold just so I can learn these things. I never complain about it though because I’ve learned a lot throughout this process. I also don’t complain about it because I know it’s meant to be this way so when I do have someone helping me, I will appreciate it more.
T: And what would you say is your favorite thing about being an independent artist?
5: My favorite thing is the journey. The journey that being an independent artist has taken me on has been so amazing and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve been through so many obstacles as an independent artist and they have helped me learn so much. I’ve learned a lot about this industry and I’ve also learned a lot about myself. If it wasn’t for this journey, I probably wouldn’t know who I am as an individual.
T: How would you describe your music if you could only do so in three words.
5: “Best shit ever.”
T: Do you have any projects coming soon?
5: Right now, I am working on an EP titled “Before I Go” and it will be my follow up for my last project “Zero Gravity.” So far it has a lot of great music and I cannot wait for everyone to hear it.
T: What’s the next step for you on your artistic journey?
5: I just plan on continuing to create great music and spreading my message. I now understand the fact that I’m not in control and that God is, so I’m sure that whatever He has planned next for me will be something mind-blowing.
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