I meet Masego on the Brunswick Velodrome, a couple of hours earlier than his bought out gig at Melbourne’s 170 Russell. Our photoshoot has simply wrapped, and he’s laced in a Gucci tracksuit that places my pale Carhartt to disgrace.
Masego’s touring in help of his debut album Woman Woman, a venture that fuses parts of R&B, hip-hop, and soul right into a sound he calls ‘lure home jazz’. Typically he seems like Jamie Foxx, on different tracks he’s extra like Gucci Mane—he’s a musical chameleon in rap and R&B. As we speak about Woman Woman, his viral hit ‘Tadow’, and the thrill of journey, one factor turns into clear: Masego actually loves this shit.
Hey Masego. You’ve been all around the globe. How has travelling modified your perspective on life?
Touring the world combats ignorance, all of us assume we find out about a spot till we get there—one thing as small as me considering everyone in Texas rides horses, or considering of Africa as only a place, not as a continent, to then seeing South Africa and the opposite distinctive locations there. There’s a bunch of different examples of considering you realize a spot till you get there. I feel going locations additionally permits you to glean extra tradition and knowledge and that spills again into the music.
Completely, travelling makes you realise how huge the world actually is. Any specific second that realisation dawned on you?
I feel in Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo, the place you’re crossing the road alongside hundreds of individuals. Or once they’re utilizing brooms [in Tokyo] to shove you on the practice to allow them to pack as many individuals as potential in. It helps you perceive that it’s actually exhausting to face out on the earth, as a result of it’s so huge.
Congratulations on Woman Woman. It feels prefer it’s an ode to the ladies in your life. How have your experiences with ladies influenced you?
I don’t assume you possibly can actually select what influences you, however once I’m freestyling or once I’m jamming with the band I all the time find yourself telling some story involving a lady. Whether or not it’s a dialog or a lesson discovered, I simply assume that’s the way it goes. Naturally, that’s what evokes me, and makes me need to excel.
- 1 “I don’t assume you possibly can actually select what influences you, however once I’m freestyling or once I’m jamming with the band I all the time find yourself telling some story involving a lady.“
- 2 “Once I stopped looking for that shallow love, I began to develop up.”
- 3 “I do know loads of signed, rich artists which are simply not creatively fulfilled. I need to do every part I need to do, and I couldn’t do this with out my very own lane.”
- 4 “Instagram is only a spotlight reel. And once I discovered that, I simply determined to let myself stay my very own journey. As a result of somebody might make it look straightforward on-line however might have been doing it for 10 years. Simply hold constructing and also you’ll be alright.”
“I don’t assume you possibly can actually select what influences you, however once I’m freestyling or once I’m jamming with the band I all the time find yourself telling some story involving a lady.“
It’s a reasonably trustworthy album. Was it exhausting to be weak on wax?
Yeah, I really feel prefer it’s simpler to talk in riddles and metaphors, the place you don’t put on your feelings in your sleeves. You then see artists just like the Erykah Badus of the world the place they’re actually simply saying what they really feel in a uncooked approach, and the listeners simply need to cope with it. I feel simply the braveness to be a totally realised artist is a journey, it’s one which I’m nonetheless dwelling.
What do you assume you’ve discovered about your self on this journey of affection that you simply take us by means of on Woman Woman?
I feel I’ve discovered how essential it’s to centre your self. I used to have like choice paralysis, the place I really feel like as a result of I used to be travelling a lot and seeing so many individuals that I assumed I might by no means quiet down. And true chemistry is uncommon, I actually assume like once you gel with somebody bodily, mentally and spiritually it’s a uncommon factor, so that you’re much less troubled by the “what ifs” in life. One other factor I’ve discovered is that I’m moody, and that being alone helps me, when it comes to creating and understanding myself. Additionally, love usually within the phrases that unconditional love is what you’re making an attempt to get to. I really feel like we’re launched to shallow love early on. Like, the place you must look good and all the time deal with me proper— a love that all the time strains up and a love the place we’re all the time good pals. However I feel you get that sort of unconditional love from a member of the family, and also you attempt to discover that very same power in a mate primarily. It took me some time to know that, as a result of earlier than I used to be like “We gotta’ look good, and if not, let’s simply discover someone that appears good!” However once I stopped looking for that shallow love, I began to develop up.
As an artist that’s so invested within the creation of music, does it ever make you are feeling disheartened that—and I really feel this manner—it’s as if music may be distilled right down to easy streaming numbers on a pc?
Typically it does get irritating, I feel at first primarily. As a result of in 2015 I used to be making an attempt to outsmart the system. I’d be like “I’m gonna e mail each weblog’s weblog, and comply with this person who this different individual follows” and it was all these calculated tries to get consideration. However, I feel once I actually tapped into making my greatest artwork, it type of obtained simpler, and I surrounded myself with the enterprise those that benefit from the numbers and luxuriate in utilising what I do naturally and revenue off it—in a pure means. I really feel like compassionate enterprise is one of the best enterprise. And not at all is it straightforward, there’s tons of craziness happening. However I really feel like it is advisable maintain pure in making your greatest artwork and issues will get simpler, as a result of individuals will gravitate in the direction of it, and since it looks like all the things is an commercial lately. Like, typically I get upset with how a lot manufacturers management how artists transfer. Like I don’t know in the event you’re sporting this outfit since you prefer it or as a result of the model paid you some cash to put on it. You recognize, that’s what I attempt to get away from.
“Once I stopped looking for that shallow love, I began to develop up.”
It seems like in fields like music and even journalism typically, that the one strategy to receives a commission is that if some company sponsors it.
It’s a type of issues the place it’s like “Rattling! The one time I get to receives a commission is once I companion with somebody that has all this cash?” However yep, that’s how it’s.
Did you ever have the chance to go the key label route, and in that case, what made you need to keep away from it?
I imply truthfully, I’ve by no means felt a way of group on the subject of that. Like, again within the day, once I was 16 or 17, I’d get jealous of artists that had like 30 individuals ready on them hand and ft to curate their profession. However for my journey, contemplating my music wasn’t cookie cutter and didn’t match into one class, it made sense to only make my very own cash. And it’s got to some extent the place there are followers which are powering that lane the place I can simply do my very own factor. Once more, not a simple route, however I feel there’s extra happiness tied to it. As a result of I do know a number of signed, rich artists which might be simply not creatively fulfilled. I need to do every part I need to do, and I couldn’t do this with out my very own lane.
Once I was researching for this interview, I acquired actually concerned with your hometown. What’s it like rising up in Newport Information?
It will get a whole lot of its character from being a army city. It’s a spot the place you meet any person from abroad early on in your life, and also you type of get just a little little bit of that feeling the place there’s something extra on the market. Even my father working on the army base in Newport Information resulted in him coming residence with atlases and tales of locations he’s travelled, however aside from that man, I don’t know what else to inform you about Newport Information (laughs). I do know some cool individuals there, however there isn’t an enormous musical base there, which in a means is an effective factor as a result of it made me need to journey. If I used to be in L.A, I feel it might turn out to be intimidating seeing Hollywood all over the place I’m going and it will make me query the chances of creating it. However being from a city like Newport Information, I didn’t know what the chances are, and I used to be the one saxophone participant I knew. A spot like that makes you assume in another way.
“I do know loads of signed, rich artists which are simply not creatively fulfilled. I need to do every part I need to do, and I couldn’t do this with out my very own lane.”
Is your music in any respect influenced by your environment?
I used to be speaking to a pal in London, and his chords sound just like the climate there. I requested “Why do you retain making these minor unhappy songs?” and he stated, “take a look at the climate, it’s Gotham Metropolis out right here”. L.A has a sure sound to it too as a result of there’s a lot sunshine. So, yeah, climate impacts me quite a bit, in addition to the structure of constructing and nature, and that’s why it’s such a very good factor to journey. Like individuals don’t know the place I’m from or the place the music is created. It’s a bit of factor from right here and one other little factor from over there, and journey is the epicentre of why the music is so eclectic. It has affect from in all places.
It looks like that applies to different artists from Virginia as properly. You’ve acquired individuals like Pharrell, Timbaland, Pusha T and Missy Elliot that make music with out boundaries. What’s it about Virginia that makes it totally different from different locations in America?
I don’t see that sense of group in Virginia that I see in locations like Atlanta the place it’s like “lure is our factor and that is what we do.” It’s extra like having a clean palette that you would be able to color any means you see match. And it’s resulted in Timbo sounding a approach, Missy sounding a means, man, even D’Angelo is from Virginia.
Do you ever really feel strain to reside as much as these names?
Nah, you’ve acquired to stay your personal journey. There are occasions the place I’ve been jealous of different artists success, however I really feel like we’re actually good at making it seem like it was straightforward to get right here. Like Instagram is only a spotlight reel. And once I discovered that, I simply determined to let myself stay my very own journey. As a result of somebody might make it look straightforward on-line however might have been doing it for 10 years. Simply hold constructing and also you’ll be alright.
“Instagram is only a spotlight reel. And once I discovered that, I simply determined to let myself stay my very own journey. As a result of somebody might make it look straightforward on-line however might have been doing it for 10 years. Simply hold constructing and also you’ll be alright.”
The time period ‘lure home jazz’ is an fascinating one you coined to explain your music. Why do you assume the sounds of lure and jazz go so nicely collectively, and the way have these genres stood the check of time?
There was a man named David Connelly, and we have been simply having a jam session and he got here up with the time period. He stated “that is like some lure home jazz” as a result of it had an magnificence to it, the chords we selected have been all the time delicate and emotional, and I simply beloved drums that knock. When it comes to these genres standing the check of time, there’s one thing about drums that dictate actions. Drums make an artist who they’re— you understand an artist based mostly on what beats they hop on. Bass and drums all the time transfer individuals, you possibly can change the chords and cadence round however the elementary is the drum work and people center sections. I don’t know the science behind why that works, however I feel life teaches me that you simply go on journeys, you clear your room, you make love, you eat, you cry, and there needs to be background music for these actions. It’s like with films— we’ve got all these films out they usually nonetheless use issues from the 70s, 80s and 90s. There are specific features of issues being so pure that they stand the check of time.
Congratulations on ‘Tadow’ hitting 100 million views on Youtube. That track is fascinating to me as a result of it appears rooted in a easy, enjoyable jam session between buddies. Is that one thing we’ll see extra of in your music?
Yeah man. It’s humorous, yesterday, right here in Melbourne, can’t keep in mind the place I used to be, however I keep in mind listening to simply the excessive hats from ‘Tadow’ from a retailer close by. I instantly thought “Hey! They’re enjoying Tadow!” I simply knew it from the excessive hats. I’m going to do extra of that the place you’ll be able to all the time hear a bit of that music and it simply sticks with you. I really like that sticky kind of music the place regardless of the place you hear it you’ll be able to immediately recognise it, and all the brand new music has one thing like that. I need to make extra music with FKJ as quickly as he’s executed creating within the Philippines.
So, what’s subsequent for Masego?
I’ve to recalibrate. I gotta go someplace with some good climate with my band and make some good music, eat some good meals, and be grateful for all the great things.
You’ll be able to stream Masego’s debut album Woman Woman right here.
Images by: Gina Nero
Images Assistant: Courtney Owen