Get to Know Brent Faiyaz
WORDS BY: ZARNA SURTI
When you meet Brent Faiyaz, he’s not exactly what you’d expect—he’s a bit of an enigma. There’s not much out there about him (yet), but when you turn on a Brent Faiyaz song, you might wonder how someone so introspective and laid back creates such bold, uncensored music. His success might come from his musically reclusive upbringings in Maryland and Charlotte, or maybe it doesn’t matter where he grew up. Maybe that’s all just a blanket we put over someone that’s coming out with something new and innovative.
Recently releasing his debut EP and one-third of the group SONDER, we love his track “Poison” which sounds like the brainchild of Bryson Tiller, dvsn, and something else we’ve never heard before. When talking about his debut EP, Brent says it’s “for females, but it’s honest—so n*ggas can still listen to that shit too.” We sat down with him to talk about his own line of poison—everything from Aaliyah to strip clubs.
You’re from Maryland. When did you move out to Los Angeles?
I just moved here last January–I love it.
It’s hard not to love. So jumping right into it, when did you start making music?
I was 12 or 13 in Maryland. I always knew how to sing, I just didn’t know how to make songs then. Eventually I put out a song and it got a lot of plays.
Is that how you were discovered by your manager? Did he just hit you up?
Yeah, on SoundCloud I was like, “Who the fuck is this?”
Speaking of SoundCloud, what are you listening to right now?
I listen to either ’90s R&B or real ratchet shit. Right now I like Playboi Carti. I like Kodak Black. I like Aaliyah, but I also fuck with Kurt Cobain.
Do you feel like the EP is inspired by all of those artists or was there anyone specifically you wanted to emulate?
It’s hard to explain. I started writing to all kinds of stuff—rapping taught me how to write R&B. It’s all very introspective.
We heard you’re performed recently for the first time at The Roxy, opening up for Amir Obè.
Yeah, I’d never done a show like that or even been to a show like that.
Wait, you’ve never been to a show like this one?
I was never a concert-goer, it just wasn’t my thing.
So if you didn’t go to a lot of shows, did you collaborate with artists in Maryland and Charlotte?
The music scene is disconnected in Maryland, because everyone is kind of doing their own thing—it’s competition. My family moved to Charlotte when I was seventeen, so I had time to really disconnect. I didn’t know many people, so it was all about my music and my shit got good.
You’ve made music on your own ever since you started at twelve in Maryland?
Yeah, didn’t get involved in the music scene until I came out here a few months ago. I figured out what the new EP was missing: collaboration.
Speaking of the new EP, where did you get the inspiration for the artwork?
It was inspired by a strip club.
That’s amazing. Wait, are you even 21?
No, I turn 21 on September 19th, the day the EP comes out.