“Who you are and who you want to be are choices away….you can follow or determine your fate…” ~QB
Author: Ashley E.
Quavius Black, known to most as “Kway” made a choice to determine his own fate when he decided to drop out of college after the first year to pursue music as a career. He was a straight A student in high school with a 3.7 gpa, and after graduating he was awarded a full academic scholarship to Alcorn State University. Kway had a smooth path to success majoring in computer engineering and graphic design, but things are never clear cut when it comes to what your heart wants and what your mind thinks is right. He realized early on that the non-traditional path to success wasn’t going to be easy when he was kicked out of the house and forced to live out of his car because of his decision to choose music over a degree.
I got a chance to see him perform for the first time a few months ago at a concert in Jackson, Mississippi and I instantly became a fan. His lyrical content, delivery, and the instrumentation in his music caught my attention so I’ve been following his work since. I connected with him for a interview to get to know more about the artist behind the music. Check it out below.
Ashley E: In one of your songs you mentioned that your dad is a pastor. Does he listen to your music?
QB: Not even a little bit. I create pretty positive music so I do send my family some of my content to listen to, but I try to keep myself distant from family affairs because I don’t want to embarrass my dad’s name.
Ashley E: When did you get into music, writing and recording?
QB: When I was younger Lil Wayne and Ray Charles were two of my biggest influences. I know that’s a weird collaboration but I’m a weird guy. I learned to play the piano listening to Ray Charles. When I heard Lil Wayne’s lyrics and metaphors it really made me say this is what I want to do. I love blues, jazz and all kinds of music.
Ashley E: Yea you can really hear the different genres and elements in your music. Do you consider yourself to be just a rapper?
QB: I don’t want to label myself as just a rapper. I’m a music engineer, a song writer, recorder and a mixer.
Ashley E: How far do you want to take your career? Some artists are content once they get to a certain point.
QB: I could be content making music that is sustainable or that I can live off of, but I would never be fully satisfied. I mean I want to go as far as I can. I want to be that person that people approach to score music for their films. I want to direct, write screen-plays, style. It’s all an art form.
Ashley E: You have two singles called Cliche and Cliche Part 2. I listened to both and I got the points you were making about the messages in most mainstream rap music. It’s the usual…. money, drugs and hoes. Tell me what was going through your mind when you created these tracks.
QB: I wrote Cliche about 4 years ago and it was created out of a place of almost hatred for that type of music. I felt like that kind of music was bringing us down as a people and pushing the wrong perspective. When I created Cliche Part 2, it was coming from a place of understanding about why artists created that type of music. When I went homeless and had to live in a trap house with a bunch of other guys waking up not knowing where my next meal was going to come from, I got a better understanding of people being a product of their environment. I could understand only living for the moment and not for tomorrow because right now is all we have.
Ashley E: Do you think it’s harder being an artist from Mississippi with all of the negative perceptions associated with the state?
QB: Maybe it’s harder but I can look at it from two perspectives. Being in Mississippi could be a disadvantage because nobody is really paying attention to artists here. Or I can say it’s the perfect place to be because when people start paying attention there aren’t many artists to pay attention to. People expect to hear static or ABC rap from artists here so when they come across some with quality it makes them stop and take notice.
Ashley E: Do you ever get nervous or afraid that the path you chose might not get you anywhere or that it was in vain?
QB: Oh yea. I think all artists go through depression and anxiety wondering if they are wasting their time. And not just artists, but lawyers and doctors wonder if they made the right decision with their career. I dropped out of school for this. I’m 23 and will be 24 soon so the time to make something happen is right now. The thing about being a doctor is that there is a timeline. You know once you go to school for this many years, you have this path laid out for you. You know with all the time you put in for this career, you will have success at the end. There isn’t a timeline or guideline to be a rapper. Your future is uncertain. People call me childish and tell me that I need to grow up but I’m glad I’m not afraid to still be a kid.
Ashley E: Yea we spend so much of our lives living for someone else or being what others want us to be instead of who we truly want to be.
QB: Exactly. You have to ask yourself who are you living for. We have to make ourselves happy.
Quavius is working on a new project that will be released soon. He calls it an “experimental” project and he says it will be something that hasn’t really been heard before. In addition to that he started a “free verse challenge” on his soundcloud. He creates a beat and gives artists an opportunity to send him a verse over the beat. The artist with the best verse wins a free studio session where they can record professionally. It’s a way to inspire artist to keep chasing their dreams.
Check out Kway’s music here.