Talented singer/songwriter/MC REY doesn’t put out music until it’s perfected. That’s why his latest song, and our newest premiere ‘Hold Me Back’ sounds as good as it does. He kept me in the loop in the entire process, sharing demos and different versions until he was completely happy with this final version. I typically can’t get through songs over 4 minutes (attention span/21st century) but Hold Me Back flew by. Rey’s vocals are heavenly, and songwriting impeccable. You have nothing to looe by adding it to Spotify or Apple Music, so do so now. Trust me.
Hey REY, thanks for taking with me. Give us a proper introduction on you.
Thank you for this interview first of all Julie, this is dope. I go by the name of REY. I’m from Madison, WI. A smaller city but we’re lit as hell here and the people from this city have a story. I’m just trying to spread mine melodically.
Why did you get into music initially?
When things go south, I write what I feel. Writing lyrics is what got me into music. Child & Adult hood was quite the adventure, rough patches in different areas of my life. I wanted people to know what I’m about and I needed to vent more without having to tell a person face to face. This is my therapy it always has been, I can’t stress that enough.
What are your earliest memories with music and hip hop?
My mom and uncle put me on to music real young. I remember sitting in the back seat playing R&B and hip hop legends, Rock & Roll and I’m hispanic so there was a lot of Selena and reggaeton. Growing up I always told my family and teachers that I want to be a music artist and producer. Since high school I’ve been singing around my crib and writing bars but kept that more low-key early on. My senior year came and I performed my first rap on stage, and I did a lot of theatre too. I was and still am addicted to being on stage. Thank God for those memories they will stick forever.
Which rappers were you listening to at an early age?
I could go on and on about my role models but to give you an idea.. Plenty of B.I.G., Jay-Z, Lil Wayne when I was real young. High school was J Cole, Kendrick, Mac Miller. Now I love plenty of artist in this generation and I still look up to the greats heavy.
Do you remember the first rap you wrote?
So I got to spit this verse for a choir concert I had the whole crowd losing their mind ask my momma! We performed over Talib Kweli’s “Get By” and to say a few bars from the middle of my verse..
“Yes I am REY, and yes ya boys dressed up cause you know I,
Shine on stage and I, came from the ghetto and yessir I’m proud of that,
And if you got a problem just know that I’m a have your back,
you got a story? Open the book and gaze don’t be afraid of paper cuts you gotta turn the page”
ETC ETC.. Lol.
People in the crowd were not expecting me to go on and spit some fire… I love keeping surprises.
Let’s get into your music. I’ve enjoyed it since you sent it to me awhile back. I even posted one of your records on FFD. For the readers who don’t know, what have you released so far?
I released my first track 2015 I believe. Only a few songs have been actually released but I love them all they are so important to me. Mostly singles and a 3 song EP. Ive been happy with my views and feed back. A whole lot of music saved and hidden.. Like a lot. I have a lot to prove and show. People really don’t know what’s in store they have seen nothing yet.
Do you feel that you’ve grown as an artist? If yes, how?
I feel the progression every song. I feel every one of my songs is better than the next and I can’t wait to see me in my prime come time. That sounds cocky but in reality I study the game and every aspect of it day in day out and I’m just excited and proud to show the world what I’m made of. Musics the only subject I love learning.
How do you feel about the hip hop scene in your area?
UNDERRATED. Like man.. So many talents that are getting big now too actually. It seems like my city is finally starting to get what we deserve, there’s a few artist who stick out to me that I know have helped pave the way for the scene. I want to be apart of that. I feel I already am I just hope others can see as well. Madison hip hop is gonna live forever we’re breeding legends remember you heard it here first. Shout Out to my friends in the game and everyone reaching to be an ICON.
Is there anyone you heavily fuck with in the underground?
I mostly listen to the greats and more main stream artist but lets talk about some of my favorites from WISCONSIN. My favorite artist from my city is my brother ASH FROM CRASHTOWN. He makes incredible music and is a mastermind at production. I just so happen to have him as my right hand and he is the only person I ever let touch my music. All Praise to him. Shout Out to the dope artists from my old high school Mic Kellogg, TRAPO, Ted Park, ICE, Trebino, sorry if I forgot any.
Other mentions from Wisconsin my bro B. Ortiz, Ish DARR, Lucien Parker.. ETC. I can really go on and on. My city is amazing.
How would you describe your style as an artist? Are there instrumentals you gravitate towards most?
Rap. R&B. Soul. Pop. Those are the main influences in my sound. Im still figuring out how to keep expressing those genres in my sound. In a production there aren’t particular sounds I look for but it has to make me feel nostalgic and move me. In a way the production lets me know if i can relate to it or not. Certain sounds deserve certain emotion. I relate and talk about a lot of different topics so I feel my sound can be different at times cause of that. I’m open to a lot, I’ve always been about showing versatility.
Do you like other genres? Have they influenced you at all?
I’m cool with all genres of music. There will ALWAYS be something from a genre that I learn from. There’s some incredible talent there is no way i can just listen to one genre.
What do you hope to achieve with your music?
Happiness. I hope that says a thousand words. i still haven’t reached Nirvana yet, but let me tell you my life changed for the better once I began my music. I’m ready to find my true happiness and I know music will provide that someday. I came to give back and inspire because I know there are others like me who have been through the same thing. I didn’t come to take.. Just spread love and have fun.
You gave me a chance to listen to an upcoming track that’s fire. Any hints on that?
As always thank you for the love! It’s important you know the contexts of the song especially since this is my fun side of music. This single is called “Hold Me Back.” This is my fantasy land that I live in everyday. I day dream about happiness and wealth everyday because it’s something that ain’t all the way there yet. This is me saying “ Hey, i know I can get distracted but I promise I work hard and this is what I’m going to provide for the industry.” I want y’all to have fun and rock out to this one. SELF LOVE FIRST.
I’m truly trying to become the greatest my city has ever seen. Im not trying to one up anybody. I’ve always felt doubted and lacked confidence.. But not anymore. This has always been my peace and I will forever be at competition with myself. I’m not thinking local I’m thinking world wide. I know my dreams are crazy but trust me.. This isn’t the last that ya’ll have heard from me. This is for my family and friends and anybody watching.. I’ll make you proud. Praise be to God and my moms. Watch me shine.