FlyNeverDies x Jean Grae – Make Me Happy
State your reason for choosing music as a career.
I am not sure I ever had another alternative. I was too bull-headed to finish college, I don’t take too kindly to the authoritarian environment of an average American job, and I am very good at creating music. Minus the industry side of the music industry, I find so much joy in music. I didn’t really have a choice.
Tell us how you write the lyrics to your song.
Most of the time, a song starts with a rough production that Trew forms an idea around. I usually leave lead songwriting in Trew’s hands and write any hooks, bridges, after Trew and I have already come up with a song’s concept.
Discuss your life outside the music world.
Aside from working my no-collar job, I am not sure that there is a life outside of the music world. Everything more or less revolves around music and the music industry. I am a cabinet painter by trade but only to feed my music habit.
Discuss your music career.
I began in music as a drummer first and started playing guitar around 5th grade. I played drums and guitar in a grunge band as a teenager, started working on producing music around 15. I had made and produced a few records underground and met Trew at a beat battle in Richmond in 2007. We’ve been working together since then. That’s the short story of it all. Not much to my career yet.
Elaborate on your artist’s name.
Mum named me Eric and dad named me Haywood. Boom!
List your five favorite music videos with reasons.
Most of my favorites are from childhood.
The Voidz “Pyramid of Bones”. Best video I’ve seen since I was young. The imagery and the truths told in this video speak for themselves! Plus they are one of the only bands I’m excited about.
Red Hot Chili Peppers “Soul to Squeeze”- The Chili Peppers are my favorite band, and I just loved the carnival shots in the video. It all looked so cool to me when I was a kid. I bought the whole Coneheads soundtrack for this one song.
Michael Jackson “Dirty Diana”- For some reason, out of all of the videos Michael did, this was the one I was obsessed with as a kid. Plus, this was the song that got me started playing the guitar.
Black Star- “Definition” Loved this record and everything else Rawkus was doing at the time. Plus, all of the artist cameo roles were cool as hell.
Sublime “Santeria” I was a Sublime die-hard. They have better videos than this one, but I just loved the song when it came out. It was the first to come to mind.
Tell us your source of inspiration.
Energy. Being around the energy and other creative people can be inspiring. Visual art and movies are really inspiring to me as well.
Tell us your impression of dealing with paparazzi.
Give and take. The career only exists because of celebrity worship. So knowing that, and understanding that they make money because you do would probably help me to at least be civil out of pity. Plus they are human to some degree. But that has to get old after a while.
Elaborate on the recording of this song.
This song had different iterations before the final version. The song was definitely written at a time when we were both having trouble balancing our day-to-day life with our music. There was definitely a lot of anxiety and such on my end. And when I get in my feelings, there are usually violins involved in whatever I create. So that was the idea I started the whole production around.
Tell us about your future projects.
We are going to start work on a new FlyNeverDies project towards the end of this year. As of right now, Trew has a new mixtape being released this Sunday, September 2nd. And I am in the process of writing and recording a solo project not yet named. I am trying to release early next year and the music will be a slight departure from FND.
List the names of those that have supported you so far.
My dudes Rock and Tim at PaRock in Atlanta were always big supporters of mine. Soulplusmind is always there with us and for us. The team we have with us via Clocked Out (D. Smith, Wes, Lotto) have also been supportive. But aside from them, the family have been the ones there throughout all of this mayhem.
Tell us your point of view on vocal tuning.
As someone who uses a guitar-based vocoder, I must plead the fifth.
Tell us your thought on quality and quantity for the release of songs.
I much prefer quality over quantity, but there is something to be said about not falling out of the public eye for too long. But you shouldn’t rush the process and create garbage just to say you did.
Tell us your viewpoint on comparing a music career to a non-music career.
Music and art are freedom. There is no freedom in having everything dictated to you in a regular 9-5. There is also no living the exact same Groundhog Day type of existence if you are someone who creates for a living.
Tell us your opinion on categorizing music into genres and sub-genres.
Not really a fan of genres and categorization. It is limiting and underestimates the intelligence of the listener. Not everyone needs a category to be placed on something to assume that they will enjoy it. But on the flip side, it does make browsing easy on Spotify…
State the genre you despise most with reason.
There are a few different things that annoy me about most genres, and they mostly are centered around artists’ dependence on conformity. A lot of today’s hip-hop and country to be specific. Not all, but a lot.
List your five favorite movies with reasons.
American Pie- I love to laugh. It is always funny.
The Conjuring – Horror movies are my favorite and this was one of the best I’ve ever seen.
Once Upon a Time in America- The score alone would make this a great movie. But it is amazingly shot and very well-written.
Bamboozled- The point this movie made is still so relevant.
Shogun Assassin- Ahead of its time. The dialog is haunting and the action is crazy.
State the title of the song and the meaning.
Make Me Happy has a pretty simple meaning to us. Find the things that keep you going and stick with them. For us, those things were music and Jameson.
State the title of the album and the reason for choosing the title.
The first EP we have called “The New Normal.” We chose the title because this EP is the beginning of a new life for us both and our team.