We had the opportunity to chat with a 23-year-old musician known as O$EI from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, real name Osei Hubbard (born June 21, 1998), is an artist most known for his single “I’m On”.
1: Tell us about your background getting to where you are today?
Growing up I was always a creative kid that didn’t fit in with the majority. It took me some time to realize that music was what I wanted to do with my life. I started writing and freestyling in high school but it wasn’t until college I realized how serious I was about pursuing a career in music. I attended Widener University studying Communications Broadcasting thinking that being a radio host was my passion but soon realized I was wrong. Ever since then I’ve been connecting with people in the music industry and growing as much as I can as an artist.
2: Where are you from?
I’m from Philadelphia, born and raised.
3: How did you get into music?
I’ve been attracted to music my entire life, for as long as I can remember music has always filled the silent moments of life for me. Whether that means playing music while I study, or playing music to heal emotional pain. When I was about 14 I decided I wanted to be a Hip-Hop Artist but then it was more of a pipe dream. I started writing rhymes when I was in 9th grade but it was far from good lol. I started to take rapping seriously when I got to college. There I met Deige who had been doing rap almost his whole life and had been producing for several years at the time. I went to his room to record and he asked if I had anything written. I told him I just wanted to freestyle something and he looked at me somewhat shocked and said “oh, okay”. When I freestyled he looked at my jaw wide open. When the beat stopped I was still going and in disbelief, he said: “Bro how are you still going? You have a crazy talent.” It was that moment that erased every doubt in my mind about wanting/being able to do this music thing.
4: What is the most challenging thing you have overcome in your life?
The most challenging thing I’ve ever overcome in my life was losing weight I was overweight from about 7th grade to the end of my sophomore year. It took a lot of discipline for me to lose the weight but it shaped me into the most confident hardworking version of myself.
5: Are you currently signed or independent?
I’m currently an independent artist.
6: Who inspires you the most musically?
Musically my biggest inspirations are Kendrick Lamar, Juice WRLD, Trippie Redd, and XXXtentacion.
7: What do you want people to take away after listening to your music?
Well, it depends on the song, some of my songs are for dealing with heartbreak and loneliness and people battling depression/other mental illnesses. I think it’s important people know they’re not alone and that it’s important to express their feelings. Some of my other songs are more for people to feel confident or just have a good time.
8: What is your greatest achievement as a musician?
My greatest achievement as a musician so far is playing a core role in the creation of our collective Everything Neon. We’ve got some dope artists, producers, and creatives working with us and we all started as being friends before any of the music. It feels like we’re a family constantly elevating each other and our group as a whole.
9: Do you produce your music? If not who do you work with?
I usually like to produce all my music, but Deige produces some of my music as well.
10: Who is one artist you wish you could work with?
If there’s one artist I’d like to work with it’s Trippie Redd; his sound is so unique yet versatile.
11: Tell us about any new music you have coming out? When is coming out? What is it about?
I have a new song “Lost” coming out on May 21st. That song focuses on my life at this age of 22 where I started to feel Lost in the sense of looking for a job, debating what and who matters to me, what my morals are, and how I’m going to continue creating music. The song is me arguing with myself and outside opinions saying your lost you don’t know what you’re doing with your life. So I’m kinda telling those people and the doubts I have that they’re wrong and that I have everything under control. Sometimes I had low points where I felt frustrated with where I wanted to be in life but it’s just a natural process everyone goes through especially at this age where you’re forced to make the most impactful decisions of your life, deciding what you do for the rest of your life.
12: What does a day inside your shoes look like?
Every morning I wake up get in a small workout (if I remember to lol) and walk my dog. I come back from my walk, make a protein shake and work on music for the rest of the day (Especially if I have a studio session that day I’ll practice my songs that way I can make the most of my studio time) until like 1-3 PM when I take a long walk by myself to get some fresh air, which helps my creative process, it slows things down a bit so I can process and come up with new musical ideas. I’ll sit in my room and produce beat after beat for hours at a time. Sometimes I get inspired to write to one or I record an idea I have and hopefully turn it into a finished piece. Some days I drive to a new part of the city and get a small photoshoot so I have content for Instagram.
13: Anything else you want the audience to know about you?
My music is different, Rock, Hip-Hop, and EDM have always been my two favorite genres so I like to swap/mix the genres thus delivering a unique piece of art. I want all my fans to be on the lookout during the next year I’ve got some dope content on the way so stay tuned! I’m only going up from here!
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Can you tell us a little about your musical background and how you got started in the industry?
Growing up, I was always in some type of choir and band. I didn’t take music seriously, however, until I was an adult, when a music producer from my hometown discovered me online singing covers for fun on my Instagram page. He loved what he heard and invited me to his studio to record a single (now titled “Honey”). The rest is history.
Your new EP, “Dreaming In Emerald City (Wicked Deluxe Edition),” is a tribute to two iconic films. What inspired you to create this project?
In recent years, musical movies have grown in popularity. That alone inspired me to create this project, which mixed the essence of my favorite two musical movies with R&B.
How do you infuse elements of Broadway and neo-soul into your music?
I was deliberate with the nostalgic instrumentation to give an old-school Broadway sound. I mixed in the Neo-Soul element with my soulful vocal delivery.
The theme of empathy and self-love is prominent in this EP. Can you speak more on the messages you hope to convey through your music?
This EP is about self-discovery (which is the theme of “The Wizard of Oz” as well). The EP takes you on a journey, from love of others to self-love. By the end of the EP, I hope listeners have a little more love to give in their hearts.
Your cover of Minnie Riperton’s “Lovin’ You” has gained a lot of attention. What made you choose this song and how did you put your own spin on it?
I chose “Lovin’ You” because it’s the epitome of earthy love songs. I put a spin on it by just being myself while still honoring the original.
The EP also includes a remix of your original song “Mi Amor.” Can you talk about the inspiration behind this song and its remixes?
The song itself was inspired by “The West Side Story” (which is why the lyrics are mostly in Spanish). The song is about falling in love in a world that often times breaks lovers apart.
The retro remixes were inspired by the 1989 musical movie “Teen Witch” where the main character had trouble finding love until she realized she always had the power to find love, she just had to find love within herself.
Your music has reached international success, particularly in the UK. How does it feel to have such a wide audience for your music?
It feels great that my music is reaching larger audiences. It shows that my God-fearing music is being embraced in a world that can be so heartless at times.
You have been described as a Christian R&B artist. Can you tell us about the role of faith in your music?
God is everything in my music. God is love, which is why every song I sing is about love.
Can fans expect any live performances or tours in support of this EP?
Yes, towards the summer, I will be doing various live performances. Stay posted to my social media for performance dates!
What can we expect from HeIsTheArtist in the future? Any upcoming projects or collaborations to look out for?
On May 10th I will be releasing a cover of “(At Your Best) You Are Love” by The Isley Brothers paired with a cinematic music video. I call this project “Dreaming In Emerald City 1.5” because it expands on the concepts that my EP “Dreaming In Emerald City” touched on.