Q: Hi! Can you tell us about the inspiration behind your song “Bubble Tea”? What sparked the idea for this song?
A: I wrote bubble tea during a period of time in my life where I didn’t have the job I wanted it. I was not where I wanted to be musically, I was searching for something profound spiritually that I wasn’t getting within the world I was living, and I was about 6 months into mindfulness practices and therapy trying to resolve this overwhelming anxiety and panic disorder. And drinking Bubble tea at that time was a simple act that brought me some sense of happiness. The process of making the song started when I tried to turn to my go to healer, music, for a sense of relief or peace and I couldn’t find it. Unfortunately the climate of music wasn’t surviving my spirit, so I decided to start listening to soft rock, old school jazz and Lofi to gain some type of sonic healing that I was craving. While listening to this I noticed my brain instantly becoming calm, almost like a miracle remedy to help ease the unsteadiness inside me. Like I was drifting into a meditative state almost. So I decided to start making music around that feeling. Music that could heal people dealing with mental issues and life’s uncertainties just like me. After this epiphany I hit up my producer Wundr to help me produce my lofi, alt-R&B fusion track mixed with ambient sounds for relaxation.
Q: The lyrics of “Bubble Tea” are quite unique. Can you share some insights into the songwriting process for this track?
A: The lyrics were written in a state of confusion. And that’s the point. When you listen to the verses that’s I want the listener to relate to, the feeling of confusion as a young adolescent going through mental strains in their life and trying to work through them. When you make it to the hook you’ll get to the relief factor, where I explain that through your confusions and life’s pain you can find joy.
Q: What was the recording process like for “Bubble Tea”? Were there any challenges or memorable moments you’d like to share?
A: At the time, I wasn’t comfortable recording in the studio. I really wanted to be alone and figure out myself alone even more so I recorded everything in my dad’s house where I was living at the time. And that room brought out so many different emotions during the recording because I was introduced to pain, panic, anxiety, love, joy and laughter all in that same room. Waking up calling to God all in that room. So that really helped me perform the best performance I think I could give rather than me going to a studio having to try and reenact those super raw and vulnerable emotions.
Q: How does “Bubble Tea” fit into your overall discography? Does it represent a new direction or is it a continuation of your previous work?
A: Since I became “Lone Wolfe” I’ve always been evolving as an artist. But Lone Wolfe the pop star 8 years ago is a lot different than Lone Wolfe now. This would fit in as a new chapter. I feel the most free artistically I ever been. Fully because being older I have the consciousness to slow down now and really analyze my life in pieces and see the growth in me. Which pours out more into a sincere way with my composing choices and lyric choices. I always wrote about important issues having to do with mental health but I never fully grasped what that meant to me.
Q: What do you hope listeners take away from “Bubble Tea”? Is there a particular message or feeling you’re hoping to convey?
A: That there’s no pressure into not having all the answer right now. Surrendering to what God and the universe is providing in front of you is the most important. Being aware of the small things in life will take you further than worry about the biggest accomplishment you have in the future. Enjoy the journey so much that the worst fear in your life becomes a learning experiences. My message is to making sure my audience knows that my music is made to be a community for all of us to share our thoughts, concerns and ideas without any pressure or judgement to be perfect. And if you choose to become a listener, you know you are safe and don’t have to conform to the ideals of the world to be happy. I want to make sure my lasting impression on the world moving forward is to leave art in the sound waves that will stick past my existence. Music that is help precious like a timeless novel that somebody could learn about themselves more and more over a lifetime instead of creating a quick pop hit that will only last them a summer to enjoy. It’s less about commercial for me now and more about freeing those who listen to me. Just like how people have to go back and read James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, or the Bible over and over again because their lives are constantly changing as they grow. I want my music moving forward to be able to grow with you and help us learn more about ourselves along the way.
Q: Can you share a bit about your background? How did you first get into music and what led you to become Lone Wolf?
A: I grew up in Prince Georges county Adelphi Maryland, which is in the suburb of Washington DC. My parents were broke up before I was born, which forced me to Face reality, and hard decisions at a very young age. For the most part I spent a lot of time with my grandad, and Aunt Darla which is where I get my old soul and spiritual influence from. My grandad taught me strength in your vulnerability and compassion but also was assertive when needed. And this was so powerful for me to watch and learn because I never seen any other black man in my community do this. It was always “tough love”. No matter what obstacle was thrown at him it never tainted his soul. I also learned unconditional love from my aunt that is unexplainably pure. These two factors are very important because this helped shape my writing style that you hear today but just with my own spine on it. Even though I grew up around gun violence, and unstable living conditions I never felt unsafe. My mother created a world inside of the home that was filled with different types of food cultures and old movies. That love trumped what happened on the outside. So I never felt intense pressure to conform to my environment which caused me to create. I wrote plays, songs, poetry, skateboarded anything that a black kid would get made fun of I would try because of my upbringing. Because I stead of hating life and internalizing the traumas from my childhood into young adult life doesn’t take shape inside of me to be formed into hate or anguish.
I got into music very early. I was in a youth choir called “Showers of Blessings” where I met my childhood best friend who loved the arts and entertaining too. Since I was around 7 or 8 I’ve been singing. From then on I joined the Maryland Boys Choir that my aunt found the audition for and that took me to the next level mentally. Once I started hitting opera stages and sound halls filled with hundreds of people I caught the bug and been hooked ever since. I knew this is what I wanted to do forever. I became Lone Wolfe originally after rebranding myself from being a rapper into a pop singer. I told myself that this journey through music will be one that I must learn from and endure on my own. And since then I’ve been creating this beautiful story and my own freedom as a indie artist ever since. But who would’ve thought my name change back in 2015 would also be the journey I’m on now to find freedom through my personal life.
Q: How has your career evolved since you first started out? What have been some of the highlights and challenges along the way?
A: when I first started making music. I was mostly imitating the artist that I looked up to. So my topics consisted of love songs, clever word play, catchy new flows and melodies and also topics centered around the struggles I faced growing up in PG county, Maryland and the DMV area. Now I evolved to more softer warm vocals, simplistic but stacked harmonies and colorful instrumentation and ambient sounds. My lyrics also shifted in subjects more focused on how to transcend pain and life struggles instead of focusing on how bad they were going through them. I would say they have more of a brighter outlook on life than before. Back in 2015, one of the highlights of my career that put me out on the map was when my debut single “Strangers reached over 50k within the first few months on SoundCloud. This was my first ever song as a new artist, and as a singer at that and it did very well. After that I had many offers from indie labels, management companies to want to help me pursue my career further. And because of the hype of lack of guidance that delayed me from releasing a follow up single with this fresh momentum. It was a fault on my behalf depending on other people to put my career in their hands that I barely even knew so this wasted two years of planning instead of releasing. This caused me to shift into the electronic music lane where I gained some traction by working with the likes of Janee, Lurbside and other EDM producers that led me to get a single deal with TrapNation. Following that the audience EDM wasn’t transferring over well into my solo projects of Alt-R&B. So the struggle to find my own lane begins again but not in a devastating type of way. I’m more determined than I ever been to learn from my mistakes and go forth with my career the way God and I want to take it.
Q: Who are some of the artists that have influenced your music? Can we hear any of these influences in “Bubble Tea”?
A: Chris Brown, Mos Def now known as Yasin Bey, Tory Lanez, J. Cole, John Mayer, Bon Iver and Colbie Caillat for sure. That’s literally Lone Wolfe blended in one. You will definitely hear heavy guitar acoustic instrumentation and folk/singersongwriter style storytelling through my music taken from John Mayer and Colbie. The boldness and outspokenness about black trauma and urban life struggles from J. Cole and Mos Def. The complex combination of harmonies and melodies inspired by Chris brown and Tory Lanez and how they play around with their vocal wide range of vocals that almost makes it sound like it’s added into the production. All of these influences are heard throughout my music which brings it to life but from my own perspective which makes it unique.
Q: What’s next for Lone Wolf? Are you working on any new music or planning any tours?
A: the next is to be unafraid of what’s next. I used to be afraid of my own gifts because of what could come with it but now the next step is being thankful for the gift God is given me to give back to the world and not let my fears hold me back. My whole approach now is to be fearless and truly believe in my music and what message I’m putting out to the world and ultimately truly believing in myself and the mission I have to build a community of mental health warriors through music. Yes finished my mental health concept project where I’ll be rolling out multiple singles throughout end of this year going into the next that touches multiple different issues centered around trauma, healing, mindfulness and self love. They are will mirror each other with the same lofi ambient aesthetic vibe but in different variations of styles so be on the look out for that.