Ink Tone Swep Location Atlanta, GA
Let’s start with Atlanta, your city. It’s more diverse than many realize – Little Five Points ain’t Alpharetta and Decatur ain’t Douglasville. What part are you from, how did it influence your music?
I was born in Miami, spent my early childhood there and then moved to Atlanta about 10 years ago. So I spent my teenaged years in Atlanta. In Miami, I was in the suburbs growing up with a lot of white and Latino kids. Atlanta brought the soul out of me, introduced me to hip-hop. I love it here, it’s a musical place and so diverse. I can do R&B but still enjoy pop and rock because it’s all here.
When did the guitar find you?
That’s weird, because growing up I played piano and couldn’t sing. At 13 I picked up the guitar, and suddenly I could sing. I think the acoustic sound of the guitar connected with me in a way that brought a different sound to my writing, to my singing. On the Piano I played mostly Alicia Keys and different R&B songs, with the guitar I could still play those songs but also Paramore.
Music is a universal language, fluid like water and arguably as vital to our existence. When did you and music meet?
About six years ago I decided to be an artist, learn to write music and record songs. I always admired artists and felt I was one, but mostly played instruments and sang a little without making complete songs. Once I started singing covers and they started connecting with people, that in turn encouraged me to create on my own instead of relying on singing covers – which I still love to do when I’m not making my own music.
What other art forms do you create or participate in?
Nothing consistently right now, happily consumed with music but I would like to start painting and I have always loved to dance.
Your debut single “Deeper” just dropped. It’s peaceful, emotional. Share the creative process with us.
When I was writing Deeper I had just gotten out of a writer’s block. I got the melody and concept down first, then created the lyrics. It all flowed from there because it’s about love, not love of a boyfriend, but love in all forms of my life. It’s a love story deriving from the place I am in life right now.
You have an EP in the works. What can we expect that experience to sound and feel like?
Honestly, I have a lot of different styles. Deeper is one of my channels, or styles, then I have other songs that are completely the opposite of my debut. Right now, working on my EP is me creating something that feels kinda dreamy. It’s going to continue that love story that began with Deeper, adding new and different sounds that are connected but unique from each other.
How important are peace and freedom to you? How do we attain both?
I would say that over the years I struggled with having peace, and being free from negative things, thoughts, and just with accepting that unique ideas were a gift, a good thing. At first I thought I was weird, too different, so I tried to be like everyone else. It didn’t feel right. I didn’t have peace. I was my own prisoner. You attain peace and freedom by being unapologetically yourself.
If you walked into your studio session one night and Nina Simone, John Coltrane, and Roberta Flack were seated there – with dispositions to suggest they’d been waiting and you were late – what would occur immediately thereafter?
(Laughs!) Well… that is so interesting. I would be my witty self. I would just be like ‘hey guys sorry I’m late’, then try to spark up conversations. I would want to get all of them talking, then play some of my music for them and hope they would critique it.