My name is Nylo. I’m from Chicago, Illinois. I am currently living in California finishing up a record. I have been doing music forever and started when I was little. I first started with poetry and putting that poetry to melodies and I didn’t realize that, that was writing songs till I got older.
How long have you been songwriting for?
I’m not sure of when, but I found poetry from when I was not very good at spelling. When I would struggle to spell words like ‘when’ and ‘where’ [laughs] So I’m assuming it was probably kindergarten because I figured out how to spell pretty fast.
I always had journals and my mother would always make sure I had things to write down on when I was a child. The songs I wrote back then were about all these fantastical, mystical stories about princes and princesses, but as I got older I started writing songs about personal experiences.
I never really thought you could be an artist as a job. I always thought I’d be this artist and have a day job on the side. It was never really about writing for someone else until I realized I had so many songs that I couldn’t possibly release all of them for myself.
Sometimes you write from perspectives that aren’t your own. Sometimes you’re inspired by someone else’s story where that’s a song for them instead of yourself. So yeah it’s good to work with other artists and help them be honest with themselves. Personally, I believe sometimes it’s hard to see yourself in a third person perspective.
But yeah, I always write, I write everyday. I just didn’t know you could do it for a living. [laughs]
As far as the Chicago music scene, how was your experience building your career and was there any mentors within the city that helped you grow as an artist?
Yeah, a lot of people who helped shaped who I was. The first person who really affected me was a friend of mine named Andrew. He heard me sing, and I used to never sing for anyone. He heard me sing and it took him 2 weeks for him to get me to sing and play guitar with him. He brought me out of my shell and showed me that what I was doing could be shared.
We did our first Open Mic at a place run by heavy grunge, punk rock and heavy metal. So we showed up with an acoustic guitar and I was terrified as I thought they were going to boo me off the stage. There was about 200 people there but instead of the kids booing me off the stage, they started dancing and waltzing to the stage from the song we were singing. I had all these kids that were wearing spikes come and hug me.
I was so happy. I told my mom [laughs]. That was a huge defining moment where I felt, this could work.
People describe your sound as ‘The Weeknd meets Aaliyah’ Personally, how would you describe your sound?
Well, I would describe my sound as what happens when a kid listens to classical music, rap and Radiohead.
So I’m guessing your a big Radiohead fan?
Yeah I love Radiohead. I love classic music and I love rap music. It’s like something about all those individual genres speak to me in a big way and I feel like if you were to combine all of them together it makes a lot of sense in regards to the way that I sound and the way that I express myself.
What do you currently have coming up as far as an album or release date?
We’re working on two music videos that I am so excited for. We are going to release a video for ‘Someone Like You’ and then another song that nobody has heard yet. Then there is a bunch of songs that are sitting on my hard drive that I can’t play for people yet and I can’t wait for you to hear. Those will be released for my full length EP.
So I’m guessing you will be doing a longer version to ‘Memories Speak?’
We’re going to let Memories Speak be it’s own entity. A couple of songs may be on the full length, but it will be 12 whole songs. Same sound, same story, just more detailed.
What producers are you currently working with?
I’m currently working with 2 main producers who go byMynority and Fabian. We met at the same times in our lives. We were kind of over the things that the music business stood for. We got together and started working together.
I made this EP out of anger. I was mad at people. A month before I made the EP with my producers I remember a prayer I had that maybe if I had gotten it wrong and that music was not going to be what I was doing for the rest of my life, that I would see that and that it would be obvious.
It was a prayer like if “I am supposed to live and work at a gas station for the rest of my life then just say the words and I’ll do it.” Then, within two months I was signed. So then I was like ‘maybe I’ll just keep doing music’ – I’ll just keep doing me.
If you weren’t an artist what would you be?
What are your favorite places to travel?
I love New York. There is a place in California called ‘Big Bear’. It’s the cutest place ever. Everyone’s really nice, very cool and very beautiful. I’d like to see what London would be like – never been there.
What are your primary goals as an artist within 5 years?
I just want to make sure that I stay in a position that I can be honest with myself as an artist. Stay inspired, and stay making music that I believe in.
If you could choose 3 collaborations right now. Who would you choose?
Frank Ocean. Drake, if not Drake than 40 and lastly, A$AP Rocky.
If you had to choose a favorite song on the EP: ‘Memories Speak’ which one would you choose?
Someone Like You or Rent Free.
What are three words to describe Nylo?
Thoughtful, introspective, and blessed.