Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Mar 11th 2010 8:11AM by Sarah Sherman
How did you get started in music?
Well, I started writing in 1986. I wrote my first song when I was eight or nine as kind of a joke with my cousins, and I just kept going. I signed my first deal in 1996 under the name Blackmel. I was still a teenager back then, so I didn't realize that I was in a bad deal until I learned more about the music business. I ended up losing rights to my name and my music in the process. I waited for years until the contract expired and then reemerged as Supastition. I finally released my first album, '7 Years of Bad Luck,' in 2002. I just kept pushing on from there.
You've recorded as Supastition and now as Kam Moye. Where did those names come from?
Back when I started, a lot of people thought that you had to be from LA or New York to succeed in rap, but I didn't believe that. Some people believed in me and some didn't. That's where the name Supastition came from. And Kam Moye is the shortened version of my name -- Kamaarphial Moye is my real name, but I had to shorten it in order for people to pronounce it right. It felt wrong to use Supastition and make music that I claimed to be 100 percent authentic. I wanted it to be more honest. I got tired of trying to live up to a rap persona. I'm comfortable being who I truly am now.
Who are your musical influences?
I always like to break it down like this. I learned how to use my voice from listening to Rakim. I learned my storytelling skills from Slick Rick and my punchlines and metaphors from Lord Finesse. Listening to Big Daddy Kane showed me how to use your wit and charm. I studied every artist that I listened to and crafted it into who I am as an artist.
You've said that music today can be uninspiring. Who inspires you today?
I'm big on lyricism, so I'm inspired by those who can truly rap from a technical standpoint -- artists like Pharoahe Monch, Andre3000, Elzhi, Phonte and real spitters like that. I listen to skills first and foremost. Nowadays most people would rather hear bad rappers over great production than a gifted MC. There's no novelty with just being a good rapper, so the masses are bored with it. I'm all about the lyrics though.
Describe your sound.
Soulful, Southern and introspective with a traditional hip-hop feel. Some people say I don't sound like a Southern artist. I was influenced a lot by the '80s and '90s hip-hop era -- there wasn't an East Coast, West Coast or Southern sound back then. It was just considered hip hop. When the South started rising I chose to stick with what I had always done, instead of switching up because it was popular.
And is Supastition's sound a lot different from Kam's sound?
Yes -- the Supastition sound is much more aggressive. I came up heavy into the rap battle scene, so I sounded like an angry battle rapper earlier in my career. As I matured as a person, I felt like there were more things to talk about. I was cocky and bitter in my songs, but I was always humble in person, so I felt conflicted. Instead of being who hip hop expected me to be, I chose to be Kam Moye. Now I'm making music more reflective of my real, everyday life and thought process. The son, the husband, and the father -- that's who you are going to hear on any KM song.
What was the response when you told people you were going to be Kam Moye instead of Supastition?
It was crazy at first. Some embraced it, because they knew that the main focus will always be the music. Others kind of turned away from it. I guess it's cool for you to be anything and anybody in hip hop except yourself. Some people won't accept Superman without the cape and blue and red suit. I've made about five or six projects of raw hip hop, so it was time for me to progress. Honestly, nobody was buying the Supastition music. I had listeners but very few actual supporters. I think they just started paying attention again when Supastition was no longer an option. On the other hand, there's been so many new supporters who appreciate the music's sincerity and the fact that I'm creating music that even people over 25 can enjoy. I've heard how my new music speaks to people and helps them through tough times. I couldn't ask for a better compliment. My music has been on MTV and ESPN, and more opportunities are coming my way. After all of the years I've put into this game, I think that I deserve the newfound attention.
Is this your first trip to SXSW?
Yes, this is my first time at SXSW. I'm very excited about it. I've shied away from music festivals in the past but I've recently started getting into them this past year with performances at CMJ, A3C and events like that.
Will you perform just Kam's material?
No. I honestly don't have enough material released as just Kam Moye to do a full show, so I'll play from my whole catalog. Plus there will be a lot of Supastition fans there, and that catalog is deeper. You'll hear music from almost every phase of my career.
What's in your festival survival kit?
iPod, Blackberry and a notebook -- I'm always writing and working on new ideas, plus rehearsing the show in my head, every chance that I get.
Sarah Sherman is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.