Philly-born singer songwriter Pink Sweat$ is taking a new approach to creating genre-binding music.
The rising 26-year-old R&B artist has racked up millions of streams across all platforms and has recently been named Apple Music’s Up Next artist for April. His soft acoustic ballads and strong aesthetic place him as an atypical artist for his genre. Pink Sweat$ doesn’t conform.
You’ve recently been named Apple Music’s April 2019 Up Next. How did you take the news?
I was at the studio when I found out and I couldn’t believe it. It took me a whole day to process the information, I was absolutely overwhelmed.
You’ve started making music in 2018 and you’ve already released 2 EPs since – Volume I and Volume II. Apart from the outstanding streaming numbers on all platforms, what has the response been so far?
I’m still taking it all in. Right now, I’m just grateful that people appreciate my art. It drives me to produce more songs I really want to release more music that makes people feel.
Lyricism and storytelling are at the core of your tracks. Can you cherry pick your favourite song and talk us through it?
My favourite song is ‘Cocaine’. It’s my favourite because in our society now, I feel that a lot of people are trying to be known. I feel that using drugs is also very infused into our culture. You’re searching for something that’s not always there. I was also in a weird place in my life when I wrote it. I was living in LA and I was lacking all of the things that I wanted to do and I wasn’t necessarily at my happiest.
Would you say that you used music as a form of catharsis at the time?
I would definitely say that that’s how it started. I placed my feelings and thoughts onto a melody and people received it. Some things sound harsh when said out loud, but when you write a song – like Cocaine for example – they love the song but don’t really accept the feelings behind it. It’s weird.
Would you say that you had a musical upbringing?
I played drums in my church on Sunday, but I didn’t grow up around a whole lot of music. My mom sings, she’s a gospel singer, so I’d say that I grew up around the same amount as the average person. I think that it’s not relevant though. Music is the most natural thing that any human can do. You make sounds before you can speak.
What made you dive into the music industry?
I was 19 or 20 and I had a phone call with somebody who asked me to come into the studio and sing a song. I wasn’t known as a singer in my family, so I was low key about it. Moving forward – I wanted to demo the song, but the song was only half written. It was right then that a light switch came on in my head. That’s when I realised that I want to do this for the rest of my life. I want to write songs, that’s all I want to do.
You can hear a multitude of influences on your tracks. You’re repurposing and elevating already existing beats but what would you say are your main influences?
I always say that I don’t think about where the influence is coming from when I’m writing a song. That’s how I feel and I put it on the record. To me, I’m just singing my emotions and I’m not thinking when I’m in the moment. As I said, I didn’t listen to much music when I was little, I was around music by accident.
You did mention country music as an influence in previous interviews. Is that still the case?
The way that I discovered country music was through infomercials. We had a reoccurring country infomercial that just came on at random times. It would be on for about 30 seconds worth of a song. That’s literally all the country I know.
Do you feel that there is more space in mainstream R&B now for ballads?
I think that all the spaces are open. It’s about supply and demand. As far as singers go, it’s geared towards a hip-hop influence. But I think the industry is starting to realise that people might be missing actual singers. People like a good sad song or just a story. A lot of artists don’t say stories anymore. There are many aspects that I want to contribute to as an artist. As I said – supply and demand. You have to supply people with emotions.
What is your main purpose as an artist?
It will shift, but right now my main purpose is to bring something fresh to a culture of R&B and pave the way for the next artist who wants to go mainstream. It’s a lot harder for R&B artists to break through. I want to change the way some people perceive certain things.
If you had one advice for young people looking to go into the music industry, what would that be?
Be fearless, be bold and don’t allow people to change your vision. If you really have an idea, run with it. Be willing to give it everything. Because if you run for the things you believe in, they just might work. And if they don’t, you’ll never have the ‘what ifs’
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