Matt Swain: Where are you originally from?
Ché: Born and raised in Brooklyn.
Matt Swain: How did growing up over there influence your music?
Ché: Brooklyn is such a melting pot. There’s so many cultures, and different types of people. So, being around that I had so much to draw from. I was influenced by so many different types of people, fashion people, intelluctuals, basketball players. So, a little bit of everything.
Matt Swain: Biggest inspiration, and who/what inspired you to start making music?
Ché: Childish Gambino, Isaiah Rashad, and Kendrick Lamar.
Matt Swain: How have those inspirations shaped your rapping?
Ché: Gambino is my biggest influence. He showed me you can do anything, and to not put yourself in a box. He showed me possibilities. There’s no reason to ever feel trapped in music.
Kendrick showed me lyricism. He showed me the thoroughness of making music. I remember listening to good kid, m.A.A.d city, and it struck me. There’s was so much compacted into each song.
For Isaiah Rashad, he taught me how to make fun music. He was the first artist I was obsessed with.
Matt Swain: Who do you make music for?
Ché: I definitely make music for myself. I started when I was younger to feel better about myself. But nowadays I find so much beauty in having my music find a community. So, when I make music and someone reaches out and tell sme they had a similar experience to me, that is so crazy to me. So, I want people to feel “seen by the art”.
Matt Swain: What inspired “Unplugged”? Not a lot of people are doing live albums nowadays.
Ché: My friends, Aisle 5, who are a band based out of Ithaca College were open for it. So, I pitched the idea to them and they were down.
Matt Swain: With where New York City is music-wise, are you trying to be part of that scene or be bigger than that?
Ché: I love all New York music. I will always rep New York. I love the new drill wave with people like Shawny Binladen, who are using “weirder” production. The new production wave in New York City is fire and I love it.
Even though I am not part of that I am still New York. I will always rep that.
Matt Swain: What do you think is the most frustrating part of the music industry?
Ché: At a certain point it has nothing to do with music. It has all to do with marketability. You’ll see some stuff come out that’s just redundant, it feels devoid of life. It gets love from powerful people and blows up. So I wish they gave those resources to people dedicated to the art and moving forward. There’s really no one supporting underground artists, and then the label will kill them and take all the life from them.
I’ll never point fingers at a specific person, but when I get frustrated is when I see these people who make incredible music and they get pushed to the side. Then someone with not even half the originality or talent recokets past them. It’s disheartening to see.
Matt Swain: With so many artists coming up now, what would you say is the importance of finding your own identity and individuality as an artist and a person?
Ché: It’s imperative, there’s way to much music coming out for you to just regurgitate what’s already happening. I’m a big fan of making a lot of music and practicing. In my early projects my influences were clear, but now I feel as though I have some semblance of my own identity. I don’t think it’s artistically gratifying to just do the same thing as other people.
Matt Swain: What is your individuality?
Ché: My style of writing and flow. I’m very big on making things fluid, and I’m a visual writer, very detail oriented. When I rap I want you to be able to read my lyrics like a book. It’s all a cohesive thought.
Matt Swain: Where would you like to be 5 years from now.
Ché: Music wise I want to be able to sell out Terminal 1 in NYC. I want to be able to say my music connected to a group of people and I want to make great shit.
Life wise, I just want to be at peace.
Matt Swain: What’s your next move?
Ché: I just finished my debut album, it’s going to come out in the summer. I don’t want to say the title yet. I have a single off the album coming out April 16 too.
Matt Swain: What does this single mean to you?
Ché: This single is super important. It drops on the two year anniversary of my debut project. It marks the transition from the old-to-new. It talks about all of the trials and tribulations since the last project. It talks about loss, relationship trbiulations, and so many cornerstones of my life. It gives a great overview of everything that is going on. It also opens up my listeners to such a crazy new perspective and artistic shit. I open up this song with full-blown singing. Which is something no one has heard from me yet, and something I didn’t have the confidence to do previously. This song, and upcoming album is my way of showing people just how much I’ve evolved as a creative person.
Stream April 16 by Ché!