1. What role did music play in the early years of your life?
A: I’m from New Orleans, so it’s a city rich with culture and musical influence. As far back as I can remember I’ve always been drawn to music and melody and rhythm and stuff. Whether it was the marching bands at Mardi Gras, the choir at church or videos I’d see on 106 & Park or TRL when my cousin was watching it at my grandma’s house, I was just always absorbing music and pop culture. I used to have a CD player with Michael Jackson CD’s that I would listen to all the time as well as some of those NOW That’s What I Call Music CD’s, but my real awakening was in 2003-2004 ish when I had “Get Rich or Die Tryin” by 50 Cent, “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” by OutKast, “The College Dropout” by Kanye West and “Confessions” by Usher. I knew I wanted to make songs at that point.
2. Mustard wonders how you would describe the music that you create?
A: I feel like I create genre-adjacent pop music. Like you can insert any genre or feeling and I’ve touched on it. From Hip-Hop to R&B, Alternative, Indie, Rock, British Punk, Disco, Funk, Folk, even a Jazz song and a Country song. But no matter the genre I experiment with it always has a pop/crossover sensibility and it always sounds like Joho. So no matter how different it all is it feels like it belongs to the same world.
3. Could you describe your creative process?
A: It really depends on if the song is being built from the melody or from the lyrics. I draw inspiration from what I see and hear in the world. Whether it’s something I see while out riding a bike or at home watching a movie. I can hear a line or see an action that I want to build around poetically. I can also start by hearing a melody in my head and immediately going to the voice memo app and mumbling it to go home and expand on later. Sometimes there’s a vibe I want to go for on a project so I’ll write an album title and tracklist and make the songs based on what’s there. Everything has to come organically though. If I feel like a song is forced or just not coming together how I’d hope I’ll scrap it or repurpose a verse elsewhere at a later time.
4. Mustard considers you to be music’s Kenny Omega. No matter the genre or style, you excel and create hits. Who is your favorite professional wrestler?
A: That’s high praise being compared to the best-bout machine haha. I grew up in the John Cena, Shawn Michaels, Jeff Hardy era and HBK was my guy back in the day. If I had to compare myself to someone I’d say Roman Reigns because I feel like I always had the tools and potential earlier in my career, but as I’ve continued to get comfortable and find myself and my voice, I’m currently operating at a high level and doing some of the best work of my career.
5. Who (or what) inspires you?
A: Kanye West. I feel like you’re being disingenuous if you’re an artist and you say he hasn’t inspired you in one way or another. He’s been at the zenith of artistry and pop culture for two decades and continues to push music further well into his 40s. Michael Jackson is the greatest artist of all time and the truest popstar to ever achieve that title. Most of my influence melodically comes from women. I write melodies that are reminiscent of the 2000s pop girls. I love Beyonce, Charli XCX, Gwen Stefani, Avril Lavigne, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Kesha, Lady Gaga and what they’ve contributed to music. I also draw a lot of influence from older British Artists. I feel like from the 60s through the 90s there was such a wide variety of massive British groups pushing forward Rock, Synth Pop, New Wave and Alternative music. Growing up in a Black household and learning mostly older Soul and R&B, I love learning more about these other genres like Punk and Britpop and trying to mesh the influences.
6. Could you share any details about your upcoming album “Black American Scumbag?”
A: There have been many iterations of this album over the past few years. When looking at my discography, the order everything should’ve happened in is “Youth In Retrospect”, “Nocturnal Daydreams”, “Space City Serenade” and then “Black American Scumbag”. These are the albums with the prototypical, quintessential Joho sound of rap songs and pop songs. Projects like “Damn, Must Be The Shoes”, “Parliament of Fools”, “Discotheque Funeral”, “Upper Campus” and “A Beginner’s Guide to True Insanity” are just evidence of me being easily distracted and writing too many songs. This project began that way as well. Singles such as “Supersonic”, “On Top Soon” and the “twentyfive” EP were some of the many songs I scrapped from this album once I found the sound I wanted to execute. While I’m returning to the more aggressive rap songs, the instrumentation is a combination of the orchestral strings and brass compositions you heard on “A Beginner’s Guide”, some Graduation Era Kanye style synths and trap/drill drums to compliment them all. Thematically, lyrics feature some confident braggadocious content and crazy flows since I kinda intentionally stayed away from rapping in 2021 to showcase what else I bring to the table as an artist. But it sounds super hungry and polished. I also have more love songs and songs about my view of myself and my mental health. I feel like it’s always important to touch on these subjects as it not only humanizes the artist, but other people are dealing with these issues and aren’t all capable of expressing themselves or opening up to others so if there’s anything I can do to contribute to them having some sort of release or catharsis I owe it to them considering how many times other people’s music has saved my life.
7. If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be? Why?
A: It’s gotta be Ye. If you look at artists like Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, Chance the Rapper and Fivio Foreign among others, they’ve had the best verses of their careers on Ye songs. Songwriters like Kaycyy and Ant Clemmons have gone on to win Grammys and have that cosign get them in with others in the industry. I feel like he unlocks the best of every artist he works with. Besides him, of course Lil Wayne considering he’s a hometown hero, Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, Charli XCX, Doja Cat, Lil Nas X, Tame Impala, Tyler, The Creator, Swae Lee, Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers, Baby Keem and countless others.
8. How has social media helped you as an artist? What advice would you give to musicians looking to join a platform like TikTok?
A: I feel like there are pros and cons. On one hand without Instagram and Tik Tok I would not have connected with countless artists, influencers, industry people, bloggers, bookers and reviewers who have helped my career and who I also just enjoyed their work and friendship. However, I also would love it if my focus got to be on creating the music and not constantly making content to support the songs. But I know that I can’t have the reach I want and have as many people as possible hear my work without putting myself out there and sharing more of myself with the world. My advice to artists joining tik tok is to be yourself, stay true to your work and love what you’re doing. It’s much easier to invest in and root for someone who is following their dream than someone who seems like they’re pushing a product on you.
9. What is your favorite word to rhyme? What is your least favorite word to rhyme?
A: I swear I can’t keep using the “Eyes/Thighs/Skies/Give me a try” pipeline in songs about girls haha. It’s my least favorite only because I know I’ve been guilty of it countless times.
10. Where can readers find your music?
A: I’m available on all streaming platforms under the name Joho and I can be found online at johomusic.com.