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G-Eazy

May 10/2016
INTERVIEW Jeffrey Powell PHOTOOGRAPHY Kitt Woodland

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.”

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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.

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