We spoke to New Jersey’s thefame about “Contradictions” and why Canada loves his music
New Jersey – Covering the Canadian scene often includes speaking to the influence that foreign artists have on our community. Occasionally we encounter an artist from the southern states that is making a reputable mark on the Canadian scene – inserting sounds into the industry that tease our overall current taste for down-tempo and heavy bass. A popular example of this was the warm reaction that 6lack found when he connected with Central Canada upon touchdown in Toronto.
Similarly, New Jersey newcomer thefame is finding a familiar welcoming and fan-base in the north that warrants a closer look at the influence of his music. It also speaks to the contrast that can be seen in both Canadian and US markets, drastically showing the difference in prevalent tastes within the genres of R&B and rap.
Following the release of his debut album, Summer At Midnight (a complex project in itself) thefame recently returned with “Contracitions (VILLAROSA)” this past month. This latest single garnered him attention with media outlets, and was purposed as a notable step towards establishing artistic identity. Riddled with dense layers of dark production and a refluxed beat, the track has so much going on that it deserves a deeper divulge. A co-producer of the single alongside Tallen, we sat down with thefame to talk about his unique approach to music and how he’s crossing those geographic boundaries. Stream the single and catch our conversation below.
HipHopCanada: Thanks for speaking with us. This conversation has been a long time coming. What does the release of this single mean to you?
thefame: Thank you for having me Kira! The release means a lot because it’s the first part of a new journey. Hopefully the most important journey of my life thus far.
HipHopCanada: How do you view or perceive the style of music that you make, and how would you like to be identified?
thefame: I perceive my style to be dark but vibrant, simple but versatile. I feel my music is full of truthful contradictions that make up my reality. I really don’t mind how my music is identified by the listener. As long as they feel the energy I’m giving off and can relate to it, that’s all that matters to me.
HipHopCanada: As an artist coming out of New Jersey, how difficult is it to push your music past the borders of your state?
thefame: Surprisingly it isn’t too difficult now, especially with social media. Having your music spread through word of mouth is a very powerful entity. I can’t thank my fans enough that spread my music with one another – it’s amazing.
HipHopCanada: What might stand out for a lot of Canadian listeners is how your music identifies with a lot of prevalent sounds in the Canadian scene. We’re seeing a lot of down-tempo tracks dominating our waves right now. Are those sounds prevalent where you’re from as well?
thefame: On the east side of the states, down tempo isn’t dominant at all haha. I think that’s why I’m such a popular artist over here. Ranging from Pennsylvania, New York, Jersey & then down to Georgia & Florida – there’s more trap style, fast hi-hat patterns, hard-hitting kicks & then some electronica. I really try to differentiate myself from that sound, so I go for more an alternative, slower sound with my production.
HipHopCanada: People might have missed your past project, Summer at Midnight, but that was a strong body of work for you as well. In particular, you have great range on “Agùamarine (Intro)” – when did you start singing and how did you develop your vocal skills?
thefame: Oh wow, thank you, that means a lot! I always was singing songs as little fame haha. Whether it was with my family or at school choirs, I always enjoyed it. I think once I was 16 though I really started to develop a love for singing as well as rapping & writing. I would lock myself in my basement when my parents were gone & just practice on my range by listening to Omarion to Marvin Gaye. I’m still developing my voice but it’s getting better & better.
HipHopCanada: Where do you draw your inspiration from, musically?
thefame: My inspiration is drawn from years of mistakes & pain that I put my loved ones, as well as myself through. I do all of this to make my wrongs into rights. And whoever has become a part of this long journey, I thank all of you really.
HipHopCanada: Did a specific event or experience inspire “Contradictions” and what was your creative process like?
thefame: Well I was just going through some personal things that sparked a difference of style that I wanted to pursue. So I contacted one of my producer friends (Tallen) and had him cook up something with me for it. It came out beautiful and the finish product came out as “Contradictions”.
HipHopCanada: You co-produced the track alongside Tallen. Is production something that you’d like to continue doing as well?
thefame: I love producing more than recording or writing. Without production you have nothing. I want to get to the point where I can be in a studio with live strings & instruments & incorporate those sounds into my music more, but let me not give you too many spoilers haha.
HipHopCanada: Can we expect another project in the near future, and what’s next for listeners who are just tuning in now?
thefame: I’m actually working on my next project entitled “FAME” which is going to be released this summer. This project is dedicated to everyone and I’m putting blood, sweat & tears into this. Hopefully everyone enjoys it haha. But thank you for taking your time to interview me! This music is amazing and I love how it’s helping me forge bonds with amazing people everywhere. I plan to visit Canada very soon so hopefully we can speak in more depth. But until then, thank you again, it was an honor.
Photography by @Mentallymelanie
Twitter: @fameagk | @prodbytallen