As the first interview coming off of Arcane’s brief hiatus it brings me great pleasure to introduce you all to upcoming r&b/hip hop artist: 696XY. If you ever questioned who Arcane was created for, XY is the perfect example: a great artist, with great music, and no exposure. As an artist who’s only been out for around 2-3 months, I got the chance to speak to him about his debut, promoting his music, and much more.
Q: Before we start, is there any meaning behind your name?
A: 696 is the name of my crew. My older cousin Jacky Kickz came up with it when we were younger. I carry it because I’m really into family. The XY part is pronounced “shy” and is also a sex-determination for boy. The inside joke is that I’m a shy boy, and it’s true.
Q: What type of artist are you / How would you generalize your sound?
A: Don’t know if I can generalize my sound, because I’ll do an R&B track one day and then a drill or trap song the next. Maybe an explorative artist at best? I’m adventurous, I’ll try different beats to see how my voice sounds.
Q: You are relatively new to the industry – is (creating) music something you’ve always been interested in or is it relatively new as well?
A: I’m new. Starting making music to heal myself.
Q: Is there any advice you could give those who may want to become artists – but are too afraid of what others may say/how others will react to their music?
A: Just make music. Rather do something and fail than to regret you ever tried. Make music for yourself most importantly.
Q: Speaking of reactions – what was the reaction from people in your circle (family/friends/peers) when you told them you were doing music? Were they supportive / against it?
A: I think people who know me generally support me. No one has messaged me like “yo stop bruh” 😂
Q: Did you have any worries coming into an industry this competitive? If so, what were some of your concerns?
A: I don’t think it’s really as competitive as people think. The world is really big so there is an audience for everyone and one person can enjoy many different artists at any given time.
Q: You’re debut came with the release of your debut ep Dreamwave. What was the process in creating this project?
A: I’m so glad you brought up Dreamwave because those plays are looking weak (I don’t even push it to be honest). I started it in November, finished it in December. Like I said earlier, I started making music to heal myself and I made those songs as they came to me. Engineered it myself and listened to it over and over again in my car until I felt like it sounded good. I released it when I felt like I needed to wipe the slate clean for 2018.
Q: Did you put any pressure on yourself to get it done?
A: No, it all came pretty easy. I don’t force anything, I’m not in any type of rush.
Q: How do you feel about the response it’s been getting so far?
A: Dreamwave is not getting as much response as I’d like, and that’s mainly because I don’t do enough to put it out there to my friends. Somehow that “Meu Amor” song was a hit with girls I know. So that one got put on their IG stories and Snapchat stories etc.. Guess I need to market Dreamwave a little harder?
Q: How much of the project (if any) is based off of your personal experiences? Are you influenced by personal experiences or do you take inspiration from anywhere?
A: Dreamwave is very personal. So if anything I take inspiration from my life or the lives of others.
Q: Do you feel that who you are as a person and who you are as an artist is similar / opposite?
A: Yes it’s similar. Unfortunately I’m a complex person, so my music tries to paint that picture.
Q: A couple weeks ago you released the song “Meu Amor” — for the readers who have not heard the song, can you briefly explain what the song is about?
A: It’s about me telling a girl I’m not really what she wants, but we can try a different love that’s more open ended and not commitment based.
Q: Even though you’re just starting out, you are consistent — whether it be releasing Dreamwave, to now, with “Meu Amor” — where does this drive / consistency come from? In your opinion, is this quality a must — especially when you’re first starting out?
A: It’s just fun to make music so I record a lot. My cousins tell me to not oversaturate my soundcloud page or else stuff will get buried so I’m holding back a little. I believe consistency is fine, but I’ve seen lots of artists get their followings by being sparse. Good music sells itself. Better to have 3 great songs then 20 ight ones.
Q: What are some qualities you feel make an exceptional artist (or person in general)?
A: As far artists go: think you need good taste, and the energy to keep creating. You need to be persistent. To be an exceptional person you need to be honest and not attached to anything. Attachments lead to fear, and fear will ruin you in more ways than can be described.
Q: You’ve already done a few collaborations — do you enjoy doing features? Is there anyone in particular you want to do a song with? Do you have dream collaboration?
A: I’m guessing you are referring to the 696Ave page? I love doing features, they are so fun. Also I don’t really listen to much music so a dream collaboration is hard to think about. Like Sade would be dope but she retired. Raava, if you ever read this stop hiding and let me sing on your beats.
Q: I happened to find your music through social media. With the internet connecting people from all over the world, is there a place you would be shocked you have fans from?
A: Cape Verde.
Q: If you had the chance to travel and promote your music, would you? If so, where would you go?
A: That would be dope. I’d go to Toronto, UK, and any country in Africa that rock with me.
Q: What are your hopes for your career in 2018?
A: Keep making music, hope people stop sleeping on me in the name of art.
Q: Is there anything you want to tell your supporters?
A: Thanks for the likes and reposts. Maybe one day I will be able to perform in front of you guys and meet some of you in person. Would be a dream come true.
Sasha, thank you for hitting me up. You’re my first interview ever.