Bay Area-based hip hop artist G-Eazy – a.k.a. Gerald Earl Gillum – is riding a wave of success following the late 2015 release of his second album, When It’s Dark Out. The record spawned a hit – “Me, Myself & I” (featuring Bebe Rexha) – and an extensive world tour schedule to promote it. His rare off days have landed him in the studio, working on features for other artists, as was the case with a recent visit to Vancouver’s Warehouse Studios. “When you get a song that catches on, your phone starts blowing up.”
G—Have you enjoyed making time to get into the studio during this tour?
G-Eazy—It’s nice to get out of the routine of tour. The studio’s where I can get lost and find peace. It’s just hard to find the time.
G—How have you dealt with the new level of success you have reached recently?
GE—Nothing can prepare you for how busy it gets. It’s life-changing; but it’s not all bad. I’m about to help my mom buy a house. She’s never had that in her life. That’s one of my biggest motivators – to help take care of her.
G—I read about her being at one of your shows on the road recently. Has she been with you on this tour?
GE—She tells me what cities she wants to go to and I get her flights.
G—You’ve talked before about shutting out the outside world when you’re in the studio. How do you accomplish that?
GE—It’s just airplane mode; it puts up a block to the whole outside world. That’s the way I focus in the studio and wrap my head around the music. I don’t let anything distract or pull me away from that.
G—Your new album’s a pretty personal one. How did you build the confidence to take that approach?
GE—I had to work up the courage to not only talk about some of this stuff, but to share it with the world. I couldn’t have done that on the last album. It’s about having the right people around you to push and encourage you.
G—Who’ve those people been?
GE—My A&R, Jean Nelson, who’s also part of my management team. He did A&R on some of the most classic albums in hip-hop. He’s got a million Biggie stories; T.I., Lil Wayne, Drake, Minaj, too. He’s worked in these same situations with artists that I look up to. He pushes me in the right way.
G—I want to ask you about the G-Eazy brand. How do you balance creating a story against the media, who are gonna write their own story?
GE—I keep my personal life out of the media as much as possible. I’m not talking about who I’m dating or what I’m doing in my free time. I just go in the studio and make my music. I let that speak for me.
G—You have a BA in Music Industry Studies from Loyola University. Was the music business education that you received influential?
GE—I picked up a few things at school but it was more or less the people that I met that helped me more. I met my manager there, and I built some of my team there too. They were a bunch of kids my age who had similar goals of making it in the music business.
G—Do you think the way that you embrace life facilitated finding like-minded people?
GE—I’m big on collaboration. I’m not an extremely social person. I’m pretty quiet most of the time. But I am big on working with other people who inspire me. I think that’s what’s dope about music – it brings together people with different skill sets, backgrounds and influences to create something together.
Los-Angeles pop artist Billie Eilish began writing and recording music at the young age of 14, but you wouldn’t know it from listening to her. Her lyrics are seasoned with insight carried by a voice that softly and soulfully stretches over dreamy soundscapes. The result is a compelling collection of contrasts, both musically and lyrically, which is on full display on Billie’s debut EP, Don’t Smile At Me (Billie’s debut EP, Don’t Smile At Me (Interscope Records/Universal Music Canada)). Co-written and produced by her brother Finneas O’Connell, the Eilish siblings prove they have no shortage of talent. When we spoke to Billie she was on the road and had just begun her North American tour. G—You started singing at the age of 4, what at that time got you interested in music so early on? BE—I started singing before I could talk, and since then I have been singing all the time, every day. Music has always been part of my family, I guess a part of the way that I think, so it has never come as something separate from my brain. Music and my brain are just one and the same. G—Now, at the age of 15 you have a
Allie X began with a vision: of a blank slate. The multimedia electronic pop artist chose the letter “X” to signify infinite possibility – an attempt to strip herself of any pre-existing identity. Yet she feels the presence of multiple versions of herself: good ones, bad ones, and everything in between. “I think I’ve always had this self-awareness of the bad parts of myself,” she reflects. “I remember feeling as a kid like I hadn’t suffered enough, which is kind of a strange feeling. And then I remember in middle school feeling like I wasn’t being nice enough to people.” Her self-awareness has only expanded with age: “As I’ve gotten older, sometimes I just feel like I’m watching myself from somewhere else and think, ‘Who is this person?… Who am I, and is it good or bad?’” Unsure of who she is, anything does seem possible. The cover of Allie X’s latest album and full-length debut, CollXtion II, features her literally reassembling herself, slotting cubed pieces of her shin back into her leg. The visual perfectly captures what The Story of X, the name she has given the narrative that arches across all of her creative output as Allie
In her role as Valerie Brown on Riverdale, Hayley Law is one of the show’s most charismatic characters, standing confidently behind the keyboards as one fourth of Josie and the Pussycats. In real life, outside of acting, Law is a burgeoning recording artist who makes playful pop and soul-inflected music under the stage name Hayleau (pronounced Halo). In November of last year she dropped her first self-titled EP, and since then the 24-year-old, who’s based in Vancouver, has been working on her sophomore release in between filming two huge Netflix series. We spoke with Law about being Hayleau, her creative catharsis, and of coarse, Riverdale. G—You’ve had an impressive start to 2017. How has your life changed in the last year? HL—It’s changed a lot. A year ago I was working at a job that I hated, serving at a breakfast restaurant. Now I get to do something that I have been working so hard to do, every day. I’m so thankful I don’t have to do what I was doing to get to where I am now. G—Parallel to your role as Valerie on Riverdale you have a blossoming music career. Could you tell us a bit about your