Catching up with UnknownWriter 21
a multi-talented artist who writes a lot and sings a little. New single, “Falling Skies” is out now!
I first interviewed UnknownWriter 21 just about a year ago when he released Okay Okay. He was very sincere, open and honest with his answers. Someone I would have liked to really sit and chat with, face to face, for quite some time. I was thrilled to have yet another opportunity to discover what he has been doing since.
UnknownWriter 21 is from the Philly area. Immensely talented... he sings, he writes, he raps, plays the piano, and is a music engineer. He has worked with Disney’s Corbin Bleu from High School Musical and has performed as a hype man for an artist opening for DMX. He also had a successful debut hit, Can’t Breathe Without U, featuring R&B superstar Ne-Yo.
Unknownwriter 21's sound is a mixture of R&B and Hip Hop with an emotional depth of mystery leaving you with a harmonic chill that winds through the soul but gives you a vision of a greater sight farther than what your eyes can attain in the moment. [spotify bio]
What 1st drew you to music?
That is an interesting question, I honestly couldn't tell you, for as long as I could remember I have always been drawn to music. There is just something about creating something that can resonate with someone's soul is the biggest joy I get out of it.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Your (music) background?
How much time do we have? Haha, this is a layered background. I am a singer and a rapper who plays piano a little, guitar a little, engineers records, runs my own label, and many other things. I started out writing when I was young, and I have been around the industry behind the scenes throughout the years.
I have had a few different record deals that didn't go anywhere, but I took the lessons for the next step in my career. I did artist management at one point and when I was a teenager I was studying and reading about entertainment and contract law while studying the music business. In the beginning, I was told to learn everything I can about both sides of the industry from people I would meet throughout the years.
Do you have a preferred genre?
When it comes to listening to music, I will always gravitate toward great writing and emotion. I love R&B and hip-hop without question, I have a very diverse pallet when it comes to what I listen to in a day. When it comes to music, I make I do hip-hop and R&B that I do, but I am open to making any kind of music if it aligns with a good output.
This is exciting, you recently released a new song “Falling Skies” …what inspired it?
Thank you for expressing excitement about my new single, it means the world to me. The funny thing is that the inspiration came years ago when I was listening to a lot of Drake, and I had a few friends and girls that I liked that were always telling me about how people have used them or weren’t thorough, so I decided to write a song about it.
I used what they would tell me and my own experiences with coming across broken souls who had people who didn’t treat them right. I wanted to be the person to explain like, you aren’t alone, and I want to be the person to show that love can still be for you and genuine people who will love and care for you still exist. Ironically, I say this as I am by myself now, but I figure for those who come across a path for a memory in a moment, I hope the experience and teachings last a lifetime.
How has the reaction to your latest release been?
The response to this release has been great so far and I am thankful for the people who listened. I have noticed I am on a few playlists which is always awesome, I have been getting phone calls and dm’s from people telling me how they like the new song, the song has been slowly gaining traction and I am still just as humbled each time people like what I do.
Do you have any other plans relating to this release? A video? A special concert?
I have a few other things lined up for this current song, I have this song now added to my setlist for when I do shows, the last show I was lined up to do…it was an unreleased track. I am working on a lyric video for it and it should be up soon.
Do you, or would you like to, perform live?
I would definitely do this song live, I have been doing it unofficially for people for years. This has been one of my favorites to sing to people because I wrote it.
What song, any song, do you think would be fun to perform live?
I think a fun song to perform would be “Okay Okay” because it’s a fun song to do since it gets people excited. I also think that singing some Panic At The Disco would be fun to do because it isn’t what people would expect from me. I mean people who know me or have been around have heard me sing it and they are always surprised when they see the style change vocally. “Falling Skies” is fun because it causes people to sit back and relax while I can show some vulnerability in my art.
Do you create music for yourself or for fans?
This is a layered question but I create music for myself with the hopes that the fans can resonate with what I create. The reason I got into music was to help alleviate emotion when I had too many pent-up thoughts, and I started to see that when I was honest within my own writing it plucked the strings of people’s hearts.
What song do your fans seem to favor?
The song that people seem to gravitate the most to so far is probably still, “Can’t Breathe Without U” featuring Ne-Yo. That is still my biggest song to date, yet each time I release something I have someone different telling me what their favorite is. “Falling Skies” has been a favorite of fans and people close to me when I would show them it from my vault.
Has your musical journey had a deliberate direction, or did it simply evolve in whatever direction it found?
This is a powerful question that I have never been asked before, wow. Um, my journey has been all over the place and in many directions that lead to many places from friends, connections, false starts, and dead ends. The evolution of the way my music has never been simple because of the emotions felt during the process, the constant was that even in the times I hated doing music because nothing felt “right” I never stopped. The journey is ever-growing as well, I am still tapping into the untapped potential I have for creating along with building the craft to provide better outcomes for myself.
My journey has come with a lot of loss, definitely a lot of loss from potential love, friends, and stability but I think that is why I am humbled by everything positive that has happened. I was so used to getting to a certain point and nothing ever starting. I am thankful for the people who decided to take a chance on me while giving me the outlet to give me a shot again, so although my path has been dark and people don’t see the battles behind the scenes, I always try to walk with light because I want to be the example for others.
Shout out to my producer, label rep, and friend Ace Drucci for keeping me on that right path too, and not wanting me to mess up everything I have worked to achieve. I don’t take connections like that for granted because they don’t happen often.
What music do you listen to ‘for fun’?
For fun? I listen to everything with that “constructive ear” because I am listening to everything from the production, the mix, lyrics and so on for the overall project…but the thing I always find fun is that I will look for covers by people because there is always a more “true” rawness that I see from people. I also love finding underground artists or being sent music by friends. It gives me a new look into a world that I live in.
Would you like to travel to other countries to perform your music? If so, what would be your first stop?
I would love that, I think being able to perform what you’ve created in a totally new place is part of the dream as well. I would love to go to London to perform, Toronto definitely because I love the music scene there from what I’ve seen and the artists I have come across in my career. I feel like that would be amazing, even different parts of the US too. I don’t think I’d be opposed to going to any place to perform if there is a crowd of people willing to have me and share in my artistry for a little bit.
What would you be doing right now if it wasn’t for your music career?
Idk, I mean I have been in and around this industry for so many years, all the things that I have been doing to support the dream have just been things to keep the motion going. But, I think I would do something within the entertainment industry, I am running my own label now, so I would want to do A&R to help artists or what I am getting ready to graduate school for which is audio engineering. That world has so many different avenues from music, film, and more.
How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?
The internet has made things a lot more accessible in ways that it hasn’t been before in the music industry. It is both good and bad. The good thing is that anyone can upload music, the bad thing is…is that anyone can upload music. The outreach makes it easier to access more people in the world with a project, but it can also make it harder to break a superstar because of how much is out there.
Quality over quantity I think is a thing that can be problematic in some ways as well. The internet has allowed people to put out projects without a real plan, no marketing, promotion, or anything. It gives the misconception that if you just upload a song, it will blow up, which is not the case. There are many more positives to find vs. negatives… but some things about the music industry haven’t changed fully…just adapted to the way the game works now.
What is your favorite/best outlet to connect with your followers Instagram, Spotify, FB, Twitter, or iTunes? How would you want them to follow?
I love to connect anywhere where people try to reach out, I still tend to be the most active on Instagram for my updates, promo, and fan interaction. Twitter is a close 2nd for a platform where I am active on. FB is the least active, I post updates sometimes, but I don’t keep really have much interaction there because my fans reach out from Instagram.
Are you currently working on any projects we should look out for?
I am glad you asked, I have a few projects that I am working on. My Debut EP for one, which I am beyond excited for because it is coming out through Virgin Music under Universal Music Group.
The featured single is my song, “Rock Your Body” featuring Sean Paul, I am still in awe and grateful for the opportunity. To have another legend I grew up listening to on a song with me is unreal in my eyes and I feel blessed. I am excited about everything that is coming along with this release as well. I hope people like the new projects.
Is there something you would like to say, that I didn't cover?
The only thing I would like to say is, thank you for taking the time to write about me and I would love to thank everyone who has decided to listen or follow me at any point during this journey. Like always, it has been a pleasure catching up together and I appreciate you taking the time to listen to the new single and for speaking with me about my artistry.
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