Raiel talks “Wrong Turn,” his upcoming project, Deep Blue and making music that inspires
Vancouver, BC – Originally published on July 25, 2017 – A couple months back we had the chance to interview West Coast artist Raiel about his developing sound, and his greater artistic identity. Since that conversation in early 2017, we’ve received two tracks from his upcoming project Deep Blue – a project he was excited to announce with us in recent days. The most recent of the two singles is deserving of your attention, and guaranteed to capture your interest with its’ nostalgic classic hip hop and soul influence. “Wrong Turn” might be one of our favourite tracks from Raiel so far – mostly because it brings us to a place that most rap/R&B songs don’t hit. It’s an upbeat track and it leaves you on a high rather than a low.
With features from Vancouver artists Isaac Shah and Freeman Young, the new single is stacked with a few of the most promising voices that Vancouver has to offer. Each individual artist offers the perfect balance to keep listeners engaged with their contrasting styles, and the chorus keeps things light and bouncy as Freeman sings, “See that ass up in them jeans brings me to my knees/ Tryna’ hit it in your civic every single time we kick it, and I ain’t being graphic I’m just tryna’ be specific/ These niggas’ throwing shade like damn that’s a shame, tryna’ sit back in the shade while we getting paid. ” There’s little to criticize, and all artists involved got it right on this track.
We spoke with Raiel about the new track, and where he’s headed with his project. Stream “Wrong Turn” and check out our conversation after the drop.
HipHopCanada: We talked to you a few months ago. Since then you’ve released two new singles. How have things changed for you, your career, and your music since our last conversation?
Raiel: It’s been quite a ride actually. I’ve been spending a lot time on my craft and have had a lot of time to evenly distribute my energies, whether it be with creating projects or planning and playing it smart. I’m really learning that progression can’t solely come from the creative aspect. I’m also really learning how to invest lately – mostly in people. That, at least, is what I’ve been trying to get a grip of. But yeah man, I’ve been staying quiet – letting my work speak for itself, and if i’m coolin’, then I’m just coolin’.
HipHopCanada: “Wrong Turn” has had a great reaction from your fans and the local community. What’s the background story on this track, and how did you conceptualize it?
Raiel: We created “Wrong Turn” back in early 2016, a bit after “Muse” had it’s run. I continued working with Zach Flentge-Wong (who did an amazing job mixing and putting that whole project together) and my boy Isaac Shah, and I wanted to create something that was so ‘left’ from what was expected of me.
Truth is, I’m obsessed with Erykah Badu and ever since the production of “Serpentine Fire” back in 2014, I’ve always wanted to sample her work and her song “Didn’t Cha Know” in particular. So after a while, I decided to just write something fun. Isaac’s knowledge of West Coast hip hop, my adoration of funk and soul, and Zach’s hard hitting,nasty ass drums (like, hella’ disgusting good by the way) was just a trifecta waiting to happen.
“Wrong Turn” played a great contrast from the songs in Muse which were very vulnerable and almost ‘apologetic’ in terms of delivery. I decided to turn it into a proclamation of just the real shit we hear and do on the daily. It’s almost a jab at those who believe in ‘quantity over quality’, which mind you isn’t bad, but let’s be real.. when they don’t hear you yelling for a minute… suddenly ‘you ain’t shit?’ Hahaha, please.
HipHopCanada: You brought Isaac Shah and Freeman Young on as features. Tell us a little about that collaboration and why you chose them for the track?
Raiel: Tying in with what I said, I really wanted this song to stand out. Apart from production, I knew having Isaac as a feature would recreate this explosive, high energy level vibe that would compliment the beat really nicely. I think how it even started was me calling him up to just chill at the studio with Zach. It happened so organically just like our track together “Letter To…” which the community received so well. So it felt right!
Freeman on the other hand, well.. homie’s got quite a demeanour; a particular tone to his voice that’s quiet yet very commanding at the same time. I knew after witnessing his talent first-hand years ago, I became a fan. Not to be biased but we all set high standards for each other and he definitely delivers. It was just a perfect fit and I already imagined it to be a solid balance between three completely different energies.
So all in all, I just simply wanted to experiment having them in the same project; two completely talented individuals, masters at their own respective styles. And hey, it turned out greater than I expected. I’m truly blessed for their contributions.
HipHopCanada: “Wrong Turn” has a classic, old school vibe to it. What was your creative process like, and were you thinking about style when you were working on it?
Raiel: We didn’t really think much about what vibe we were going for when we started it, to be honest. I think as we continued working on it, all we could think of was an image of us all rolling around town on a sunny day in a ’76 Impala somewhere in Miami or Hollywood Boulevard. Hahahaha, that’s honestly it. It’s just straight up good vibes.
HipHopCanada: Does your upcoming project have a similar vibe as “Wrong Turn” or will it be more like your previous release “Beautiful?”
Raiel: Mmmm…I would say, neither. I’m still at a story-telling phase that it simply wouldn’t be right to have any two songs really similar in ‘vibe.’ Let’s just say each individual song is a crucial piece to a giant puzzle that is a specific chapter in my life. That’s the beauty of it. You’ll just have to wait and hear it.
HipHopCanada: Your fans have seen the teasers from your upcoming visual project that you’ve been working on with Storyhive. How has winning that competition impacted your art and upcoming projects from you?
Raiel: I don’t even know where to begin with Storyhive or how I was blessed with the opportunity to be part of something as big as that. The whole thing was honestly so surreal, and it feels like it was just yesterday that I got the email to get started on the project. But it’s been so amazing having such genuine support from all over since the beginning of the whole ordeal.
Being fortunate enough to have been blessed with the grant opened my eyes to a lot of sides to the industry I haven’t had a chance to see. Working with Max Beauchamp and Kent Donguines and the rest of the crew and cast was honestly such an honour. Everyone was absolutely spectacular and the amount of dedication they put into everything was.. I don’t even have words for it.. it was just astounding. Nothing but the utmost respect to them.
What I was able to take from my experience filming the music video was my heightened appreciation of the work that people put in behind the scenes. There’s really a lot that goes on in creating a music video, a song, a short film, or whatever form of art it may be. It was such a humbling experience and I couldn’t be more glad to have been a part of something great. Hopefully I get to work more with Max and his crew in the near future, but for now we’ll take one step at a time.
P.S. The music video drops on the 24th! There’ll be another voting process that will take place, so we’re looking forward to seeing all the other submissions and competing for the win!
HipHopCanada: How did you want your fans to connect with this music in comparison to your last project – and do you feel like it’s going to be a different experience for listeners?
Raiel: Different in a sense of it being another chapter in my life, then yeah for sure. The project will now focus solely on personal growth, unlike Muse which was specifically catered to another individual. But I hope to really show everyone through this next project how much I’ve learned, and grown as an artist. My goal is always to immerse listeners in this world(s) I’ve created and that they end up feeling what I felt. Cause isn’t that what it’s all about anyway? I love it when someone goes “bro, I really felt that shit,” or like “damn, I went through the same thing” – to me it becomes so much more rewarding hearing that ’cause it makes the art feel special, especially for me. I take pride in knowing that a piece of me that I’ve converted into song form is probably helping someone out, somewhere, somehow and that’s hella’ humbling.
HipHopCanada: “Wrong Turn” feels like a track that could have a great visual story line as well. Is there a possibility for a video?
Raiel: Straight up, I really want one for it. Hahaha. God, if I could just fly out to L.A. right now and bring the whole squad with me and film the damn thing I would. But, we’ll take it easy with the daydreaming for now. We’ll cross the bridge when we get there! If it goes down though, you’ll be the first to know.
HipHopCanada: What’s something that you think your fans would be interested to know about you as an artist at this point in your life, or this track?
Raiel: Well I’m still growing. Still learning. I’ll keep doing this til I drop, and that I am, and will be forever grateful to everyone that has supported and influenced me throughout this journey.
Hmmm, and it’s about time they knew…The album’s called Deep Blue.