Young Tapz plans to take over the world and with the greatest tool of all – music. The 20 year old artist was in town so I grabbed him for a look-see inside the mind of our future world leader.
Roxy Lola: You were born and grew up in Africa. What kind of music were you listening to then?
Young Tapz: I lived in Zimbabwe for eight years. There was no Internet and I always played out side so hearing music was very minimal. But when I did hear music on TV, Michael Jackson.
RL: Any favourites?
YT: Thriller, Smooth Criminal of course and Beat It.
RL: When you moved to New Zealand how did your musical influences change?
YT: It was so different. I remember, I fell in love with this punk rock band when I was 10, the band Green Day. Their freedom of speech in their songs, I was like, damn, I want to do that.
RL: Did you like any other rock bands?
YT: Yeah, My Chemical Romance. Then I discovered hip-hop.
RL: Who were some of your first favourite hip hop artists?
YT: Nelly. I love Nelly, I love Dilemma.
RL: Are there any artists now who’s journey and music is inspiring you?
YT: My biggest inspiration of all time is Michael Jackson but I like Kanye. Kanye’s great. I love the innovation. I’m a creative and also study graphic design and marketing so I really love what he does. I love Frank Ocean and Kid Cudi. And Drake and I have a love/hate relationship. Drake has a massive reach right now and everyone in hip hop sounds like Drake.
RL: Do you think the stuff you listen to affects what you do?
YT: Hell yeah. I remember I was going to go see Drake and we were on a roadtrip listening to Drake the whole way and I went into a recording session after that and everything sounded like Drake and because I have a low voice I can do the whole yeah! OVO! Way way way up. So I try not to listen to Drake, stuff that’s out of my comfort zone. Like at the moment I’m listening to jazz. I’ve been listening to Jacques Loussier.
RL: How did the Jeremih support happen?
YT: I have the most awesome booking agent. I released a song by the end of last year called ‘Killa’ and it did really well on the Spotify charts. It has 0.8 – I don’t like saying 800,000 because it sounds whack) – so 0.8 million plays on Spotify which is awesome. It hit the viral charts on Spotify and hit number 2 in the states.
RL: Was that a surprise?
YT: No. If anything it happened slower than I thought it would.
RL: What kind of things do you draw from, to influence you? I assume you write everything?
YT: No I’m in a group with Gallantino, there are three of us. Myself, Mzwetwo, he writes, produces, sings and raps and stuff. The other dude is Otis. He’s a creative genius and I also I produce and sing and stuff. Mzwetwo and I work a lot on the music side of things because we have awesome perspectives. I love making music. I look at a song as a magazine. And to make this magazine amazing you can’t just have just one person write all the articles and take all the photos.
RL: How does your new music differ to your old music you released a few years ago.
YT: We have to keep in mind Forest was about three years ago. So its been a growing process. I really wanted to figure myself out as an artist. I wanted to be able to produce and write and make songs that make people feel more, rather than just focusing on that flow. I think music is such a big platform to say something which is very underrated because most rappers just rap about nothing.
RL: Is that what you bring that’s new to the game?
YT: Yes and value to peoples lives.
RL: Do you find there’s that geographically isolated stereotype that happens when you’re breaking out of New Zealand or Australia.
YT: I don’t think it affects me because I’m not a product of New Zealand or Australia or the place I was born. I’m an international baby. I was born to add value to the world, not just to make music for Australian kids.
RL: Obviously you’re quite confident about what you’re doing. Do you have a mantra or do you just know that this shit is true
YT: I just know. But because I’m human everyone has those moments. Those moments happen to me when I have to make massive decisions.
RL: Scariest decision you’ve had to make so far?
YT: Management. I hadn’t had management since I started, five years ago. I recently just signed to new management about a couple weeks back and I figured that I didn’t need management before because I could do it all on my own and I had a booking agent. I didn’t need a manager until now because I want to take over the world and stuff. To hand that to someone else is to 100% trust someone and feel comfortable with them.
RL: So if you weren’t doing this what would you be doing/ Or is this not even a question, were you always planning to do this?
YT: I didn’t plan this. It just kind of came to me. Being the black kid in high school you automatically have to freestyle and rap. I was 14 or 15 and we were in the bus and everyone was freestyling so I went home and wrote a couple of freestyles and everyone was like “Woah, so cool!” Two months after that I put out one of my first songs on Youtube and it was terrible. My economics teacher found out about it so if the class was good they’d play it for them.
RL: A good bribe. What’s the plan for 2016?
YT: I guess the plan is kind of just to take over the world. To have music accessible to everyone. There’s a lot of internet artists that think that going far or having a SoundCloud hit means something. I don’t agree because you have your moment for 3 minutes and then the next song plays. So I guess I’m trying to be innovative in the way I release music and the way I offer it to the fans. I want to get to know people in the real world as opposed to just the Internet. I always want to remember its not about me. I don’t matter, the people matter. I wouldn’t be here if the peple didn’t put me in this position.
By Roxy Lola
Young Tapz is supporting Jeremih on his tour around Australia starting this week.
Previously seen on 10magazine.com.au