My Favorite Color is an Optimistic Pain Artist

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Photo Credit - My Favorite Color

My Favorite Color doesn’t make sad boi music, he’s just chasing self-realization. The 23-year-old’s debut album, Velma, dabbles between an altered state of consciousness and bouts of depression, exploring a range of emotion — the good, bad, and ugly.

Naturally, My Favorite Color clings towards a guttural drawl that supports his emotive cuts, using personal experiences for creative inspo. “I feel like the most relatable way to write is by reflecting on my past and how far I’ve come from it,” he shares. While pensive strains like ‘Dale‘, an uptempo personal account of crashing out — thematically speaking — and ‘Month or Four’ demonstrate the Pittsburgh native’s vulnerability on record, there’s an eerie symbolism in play. He’s a realist by default, posing a query that examines mortality — “what is life to die?

He’s still adjusting to the limelight, but for the most part, the hardest facet of My Favorite Color’s narrative is dealing with delayed gratification. “With not having a huge fan base at first, basically coming out of nowhere, just people not understanding the potential I’ve always had.” The Rostrum Records’ signee might be one of rap’s newcomers, but he’s been around.

After a 30-plus minute conversation with the LA-based wordsmith, we both agreed that Velma is a statement project. More importantly, the LP is a metaphorical mention that spotlights the duality of life’s yin and yang moments. He’s prepared for the worst and prayerfully hoping for better days — our conversation, lightly edited for context, follows below.

What made you decide to start recording music professionally?

It started in 2017. Really, I just decided that it was my passion because I was going to college at the time – I met these musicians, they’re called 1-800 –  I would do this thing called the Underground Cafe. It was this thing where musicians could come and show what they do, basically like an open mic type thing. I tried that for the first time ever and the first time I performed in front of people, everyone loved it. Around that time, 1-800 had said that they wanted to start recording music for me, after they graduated. I knew I didn’t want to be in college. I wanted to be an English teacher, but I was like fuck that. So, all of my teachers at the time, they were on strike. I was talking to one of them, and he was like, “Why the fuck do you wanna be like me – I’m on strike right now. You need to drop out and pursue your dreams.” I dropped out and pursued my dreams and now I’m here. 

Your music exudes introspection, you’re so vulnerable in the booth; how often do you revisit the past in your rhymes? 

Literally about 90% of the time. I’m always reflecting on myself, I’m always growing. I’m always reminded of what I’ve been growing from. A lot of times I’m just reflecting on my past. I feel like there’s a lot of things we don’t get over. I feel like the most relatable way to write is by reflecting on my past and how far I’ve come from it. 

Velma explores a range of subject matter; what is the overall theme with this project?

I think the overall theme with the project is just being unsure. I knew I wanted to make music, but I didn’t know what was ahead of me. Velma is kind of just a metaphor for the industry; a metaphor for what comes with it; a metaphor for progression; a metaphor for success. All those things are great things, but there’s so much yin and yang to all of them. You know how people call the devil Luci, because it’s short for Lucifer — it’s basically the same thing — we don’t know exactly who she [Velma] is. I just knew I wanted it to be a way bigger than what it sounded like. 

How has life been since releasing your debut album? I know that’s a huge milestone. 

It’s been a little different. Definitely getting a lot more attention by people whose attention is worth having. Even with you calling me and asking questions about the shit, this [Velma] was just like the shit I came up with two years ago. It’s been a tad draining, just because of the amount of interviews I’ve been doing. It’s like a good type of draining, just being able to stay super busy with something that’s your hobby.

At this stage in your career, what has been the toughest part about becoming a mainstream talent?

Just coming out of nowhere, it’s kind of like a blessing and a curse. Before this [Velma], I only had one other project out [Go! – 2018] and it was just 7 songs. My fan base wasn’t the highest thing in the world. Getting signed to a label like Rostrum, of course you have to make great work. With not having a huge fan base at first, basically coming out of nowhere, just people not understanding the potential I’ve always had — dealing with that, people not really knowing who I am until Velma. I hate that “he came outta nowhere” ass shit, like I hate that. I didn’t come out of nowhere. I had a project before this; I had shit to say before this. All in all, it’s dope that people are hearing me now, but I wish a lot of people knew I been serious about this shit. It’s cool that I have more projects to prove that, but I been about this shit. 

In terms of creative insight, what drives your ambition? 

It’s crazy because I think it’s other people. It’s super weird, because of course I care about myself, I care about my life too, but I wanna help people more than I help myself a lot of times. I’m one of those people who could give the greatest fucking advice, but my life is still in shambles. Anything I can say on a song that  could help somebody, that’s what I do this shit for. I have so many friends who look to me for gratification, help, and this and that — and I’ll help ’em ‘till the day I die. I want everyone who wants me to be okay to be okay, more than I want myself to be okay, which is super toxic and super terrible. I’m definitely still working on it, I go to therapy and shit — just tryna get out of my own head — but I’m basically a people person, and people matter that much to me. People’s opinion, people’s facts, people’s perception — so yeah, I’m just here for people bruh. I feel like I was sent here with a purpose, to help people. 

With your song ‘Month or Four’, you mention the state of your mom’s health. All things considered, with finding a balance between navigating the music industry and a personal life, how do you keep from getting discouraged?

There’s days where I can’t, days where I just shut down and can’t really write music — just sitting here crying. I make sure I talk to my mom every week. She tries to give me a lot of space because she thinks I’m on rapper time, but it’s like nah, fuck that — call me if you need me. It’s definitely a lot of shit to think about; definitely a lot of shit that weighs on me. A lot of times my music sounds sad, but that’s because I’m fucking sad bro. That’s why a lot of times, whenever I do write some shit, it’s negative or a sad song, that’s just how I feel. That’s slowly starting to become my brand, writing out how I feel. It just sucks that how I feel a lot of the time is sad. I’m definitely working on it. Whether it’s my mom being sick; whether it’s a relationship; whether it’s a fucked up friendship — I’m just going through the motions the same as everyone else and tryna get through it, hoping my mom will be okay. 

What’s your stance on manifestation?

I’m a firm believer in manifestation. It’s bad for me to be such a believer in manifestation at times because Velma was a whole manifestation album. That album has been done for two years. I predicted getting signed; I predicted my success, but one of the last songs is ‘Funeral’, so that shit just makes me think. I hope I didn’t put a bad omen on myself. I just ask everyone that I talk to, every interviewer to pray for me and I’ll pray for you the same way. 

If 2020 was a color, what color would it be and what does that represent? 

I think it would be Black, because Black isn’t actually a color. It absorbs all color, which is super complex. It’s like a visible spectrum or whatever. I think it [2020] would be Black because it’s not a fucking color, so that’s like a metaphor for 2020 being a year, but it’s a year everyone wants to forget — this shit isn’t even real, I don’t wanna accept it. It’s just absorbing everything that we know and love. All the other colors, that’s like a metaphor for the other years. It’s absorbing these years and all this knowledge that we already know, and making us question everything we’ve ever learned. It would definitely be Black because it’s that confusing. It’s nothing but it’s everything.

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