Musician and actor Quincy Fouse just dropped a new music video for his single, “I Know”. I got the chance to talk to him about how Hugh Jackman pushed him to start making and releasing music, his single “I Know”, what it was like shooting his first ever official music video for this single and so much more! Keep reading to see what he had to say!
Tell me a little bit about how you first got into making and performing music.
Okay, this is a good story. I was actually on set for my first movie Logan and I was beatboxing on set. I used to beatbox a lot in high school and I used to do a bunch of indie shows around my hometown. So Hugh Jackman hears me beatboxing and then he asked me, “Are you making anything?” And I was like, “Nah. I’m just having fun on set.” And he goes, “Well you know will.i.am produced most of the beats on the ‘I’ve Got a Feeling’ track while he was working on set with [me]. Maybe you should look into that.” We went on hiatus, I got a computer, I downloaded Logic and was looking up how to produce. So ever since then, I’ve just been producing music and then I got back into writing and rapping and it just kind of snowballed from there.
So making music and releasing it was never something you actually thought about until Hugh Jackman told you that it’s something you should consider.
Literally yes. I was just kind of chasing the feeling with acting. So I had just gotten used to the fact that acting was something that I could really live off of and then Hugh was like, “You should produce music” and I was like, “Okay” [laughs].
That’s so funny. I know you use the stage name Soul Fro when you release your music. What made you want to use a stage name and why Soul Fro?[laughs] Well when I was in high school, I was kind of a really shy kid and when I started beatboxing – I guess I can’t say when I started beatboxing because I had been beatboxing my whole life – but so when high school [classmates] got a whiff of what I could do, I noticed I got people’s attention and I made people feel good and people would come out and start rapping while I was beatboxing. I kind of just became this kid with an afro that beatboxed in high school. I believe there was some upperclassmen who named me Soul Fro and it just stuck. I was like, “You know what, I’m going to make this work.” Now since then, the name itself has received a lot more meaning from me just because it’s kind of one of the first markers of me coming into my own self-confidence in high school. So music Quincy will be [known as] Soul Fro.
Gotcha. Something I’m always genuinely curious about is what artists want to convey to listeners with their music. If you had to describe the music you create without using genre names, how would you describe it?
I’d describe it as love in a vibe. I think when I make the beat and I build a chord, I’m looking for this feeling of being carried by the music; then, when I write, I’m just expressing the truth that’s on my heart. And all of that, in the process of essentially writing away and being my whole self, that’s what I define to be the equation of loving oneself.
Very cool. Kind of going off of that, who are some of your musical influences?
My biggest ones – and I’ve got millions – are Childish Gambino for sure and then Erykah Badu. Growing up, I’d say beatboxing was the first thing I did to get confidence, but the sparking moment that led me to even attempt to believe in myself to do these indie shows was watching Donald Glover on Community and seeing how weird and how awkward he can be in his comedy but still have a successful and secure place in society. I’ve been listening to Erykah Badu’s music and there’s always something so comforting and something that reminded you that you’re home within this breadth of culture in her sound. So both of those things coming together just kind of really defined my vibe of inspiring the kids that were like me and then also just giving that sense of love that isn’t finite to that kid.
Gotcha. So let’s talk about this new single, “I Know”. What’s the story behind that song? What inspired it?
The story behind that song, I was just working in LA and I met this girl. She was amazing. I was in the moment of falling for her, but knowing that I didn’t really have a destination and I didn’t really have a concrete place of wanting something for us together. I didn’t necessarily want to marry her. I’m too young for that. But I wanted her; I wanted her in so many ways and I just started writing and essentially just talking to her [through the song]. “I don’t know what exactly I want but I feel like you got it, whatever it is.” Just that place of confusion and yearning.
What was your songwriting process like for this song? Was it something that came pretty easily to you or is it something you kept coming back to and working on?
I literally wrote that thing in one day. It was just that intimate conversation. That’s why there isn’t a second verse. I just kind of used my producing chops to give some color to the rest of the song because that was just really authentic. It was straight from the heart and it was a message to her.
In general, though, when you write, do you tend to write by yourself or are you someone who likes collaborating with other artists in co-writes?
Oh I mean if I’m featuring on another song, we definitely sit down together. I create with my brother Darin Blaine Wilkens and then my other brother Colah, whose name is Noah Alexander Gary. I was recently featured on their newest album, How Was Your Day?. But yeah, when I’m writing with those guys for a feature on their music, we definitely talk with each other to make sure that we have the cause of the song down. If someone writes verse and it kind of goes against the message of the song, then we will all work together to kind of alter it. But other than that, if I’m working on a standalone project or it’s my song, then I’m writing the verses myself.
So for “I Know”, were there any major changes that happened once you got into the studio, whether it be in the lyrics or something sonically?
Nah. No. It was all pretty straightforward. And because I produced the beat for “I Know” as well. So right after I made the beat, sitting there in the studio session – I like to have like my family around me as I’m making stuff just because sitting in love makes me perform better – so while I’m sitting there, I make the beat, they’re like, “Oh that’s hot” and I just started writing the song. It’s one of the perks of being the producer and the lyricist and the performer.
I know you also shot a music video for this song. What was that experience like?
It was so dope. I worked with my good friend Barry Galperin, who is the director, and he created the music video for me. I called him up after the song came out and I was like, “Look man. I know that you kind of process art the same way that I do and I know that you could hit this feeling. Can we work together?” And he was like, “Sure.” It was so great because we were so in sync the entire time, so it was a beautiful experience.
Was that your first time shooting a music video or had you shot other ones prior?
No, that’s my first music video. I’ve shot little promos before. But yeah, that was my first official music video.
Was it everything you thought it’d be or was it completely different than what you thought it be?
Oh it was amazing. I think for me, I never have a template of an expectation. I have more of a specific goal or something to accomplish rather than expecting any type of experience. So when I just got on set and saw that we were accomplishing each little goal, you look at the end product and it just kind of made sense. But it was definitely beautiful all throughout the process and that’s something I definitely take away from the experience.
In terms of new music, what’s on the horizon for you? What are you working on?[laughs] OK. I recently just sort of hinted at this on my Instagram so I can talk about it now, but I have a single that I wrote with Kaylee Bryant and she plays Josie on my show, Legacies. I wrote a little ditty for season one and we talked to Legacies and they let me keep the rights to it so I can make a song. So I’ve just kind of like expanded upon that scene and we’ll be releasing that.
Other than that, I have a couple of other singles that I got coming out and I’m going to be re-releasing my first album Soul Space. I had to make a few little edits to that and I also wanted to add a bonus track to it. Then, after that, I have a prospective future album called Son of the Ronin and that’s the album that I’m getting ready to go work on and kind of delve into the magnum opus of sorts.
Very cool. You’ve got a lot music wise coming up.[Laughs] Yeah, I do.
What are some of your music industry related goals for your career over the next couple of years?
Like I said, I’m very goal oriented so I kind of stay away from the template of “I want to take over the game and be the best rapper ever” blah, blah, blah. I want to be able to just do live performances where the audience knows the words to my songs. And I just want to be able to express myself honestly. That’s pretty much the one mark that I want to hit. As far as the ascension and the gears that are the entertainment business, you know we’ll deal with it when we get there.
Last question – our website is called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner nerd, so what is something you are currently nerding out about?
Something I am currently nerding out about is Miles Morales in general because that’s always been like a dream role of mine [laughs]. I fantasize about that character, man. So I’m excited to watch the new Spider-Man coming out and I wonder if you can expect like maybe he’s in there; that would be really fun to see.