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Interview: Producer Yonatan Watts talks early inspirations, working Ariana Grande & Eric Bellinger, and more

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Yonatan Watts has already had an impeccable 2021, working with high-profile artists and defining himself in the music industry. Yonatan will be someone to keep an eye out for with his incredible producing capabilities; it is only a matter of time before he becomes a household name.

He has co-produced records like “Main Thing” by American singer Ariana Grande, “GLE” by American rapper Desiigner, “Weak all Week” by American singer Eric Bellinger — which says a lot about his reach and what he’s capable of.

His production style is unique and distinct. In a recent interview, Watts said that artists such as Stevie Wonder, Usher, B2k, Tank, Justin Timberlake, Tyrese, played a major role in his musical influences.

As someone who has a lot more dope projects on the way, he can’t wait to show people what he’s capable of. Keep reading to learn more about his journey and how he got started in music.

What city are you from/ Where are you based now?
I’m from Toronto, Canada but now based out of Los Angeles, CA.

What is your producer name? What is your real name? How did you get your producer name?
My producer name is actually “Yonatan Watts” which is my birth name, I felt as if it was unique enough to standout and be my stage name so I kept it as that.

At what point in your life did you decide to pursue a career in music?
Believe it or not, I started music really early in my life and it came from a love of Japanese/ anime culture mixed with black culture soul and R&B. I used to listen to the these songs of my favorite manga/anime and used to sing them and make my own versions. Eventually people kept telling me that I had a natural gift for singing.

Has your upbringing played a role in shaping who you are and defining your sound today? If so, how?
My parents having such a rich pallet when it came to music, inspired me to define my sounds based off of what I was hearing in the household on a regular basis. It shaped my taste and when it came to singing, I would eventually make better decisions based from the music I was hearing and mimicking.

How would you describe your sound to readers who may not be familiar with you?
My sound would best be described as the perfect fusion between generations. I’m born between 1989-1995, which was the time in which you were perfectly between two different generations and saw technology when it emerging, to what it is today. That being said, I’ve always aimed to blend the old with the new.

What ultimately inspired you to dedicate yourself to a music career?
Based off my success at a young age, I knew that singing was going to be something that stayed with me for a long time. When I was 18, I was in the national TV show “Canadian Idol” in which i made it past the Top 100 all the way to duets, at this point I knew that I was meant to do music.

What’s one reason you are passionate about music and what inspires you?
To me, it’s the feeling and the transformative nature of music that can shift moods and can make people feel. When I used to listen to old CD’s and vinyls, the music touched me in a way that nothing else could. This feeling I knew I had to continue feeling for the rest of my life.

Do you have any hobbies outside of music? What do you do to stay creative?
My hobbies outside of music involve culinary and outdoor activity and travel. Anyone that knows me, knows I love to eat great food from some of the best restaurants, wherever I can find them.

Who are some of your main musical influences?
Stevie Wonder, Usher, B2k, Tank, Justin Timberlake, Tyrese, the list goes on. (This list is my list from when I first started making music).

What are some of your music career goals for the future?
To work with Beyonce, Jay-Z, Bruno Mars, and a few other individuals who inspire me. In the future, I will also be creating a label and signing new acts and developing them.

Tell us about your most recent project?
The project I’m currently promoting is my production input on a Billboard No. 1 album, Ariana Grande’s positions (deluxe) album. The song is called “main thing.” And I’m proud and honored to be apart of the production on this song. It’s currently out so please go stream it!

What has the response been like to that project?
The response has been phenomenal, my inbox has been filling up and my phone has been ringing; I’m blessed.

What are some projects you’ve done in the past that you are most proud of and why?
One of the biggest breakthrough’s of my career to date, has been the record I just co-produced for Ariana Grande called “Main Thing.” This was released on Feb 19, 2021 and has already garnered millions of streams worldwide in short amount of time. We expect the album to go platinum sometime this year. I recently co-produced Desiigner’s latest single “GLE” with Akeel Henry, this came out January 2021 and is already an instant classic for Desiigner fans worldwide. Also produced a single for Eric Bellinger called “Weak all week” with Xeryus (guitarist) in which also recently dropped in December of 2020. Eric dropped visuals for the song almost immediately creating a depth and longevity to the song. I also did “Material“ with Eric Bellinger and Hitmaka, later last year. Also did two records from a recent Def Jam records artist “Saint Bodhi” on her album “Mad world” and I co-produced the title track “Mad World” and also one of her singles “Zombie” in which she created visuals to accompany the song. Another notable song I had a hand in production with was “Bestie” with Dame Dolla and Lil Durk with Omar Grand and Marley Waters.

What’s next for you? Are you working on any upcoming projects we should be on the lookout for?
I have some pretty amazing things coming out soon, we have a song with Jordin Sparks that’s going to be amazing, music from Tamar Braxton coming out soon; and some massive projects that I can’t mention but will be phenomenal.

What message do you hope fans take away from your production skills?
One thing I want fans to take away is that I’m a real producer/singer/songwriter … I’m diverse and can’t fit in a box because I was always surprise people with what I can do. I’ve always had a motto which is “no limitations.” I can’t wait for everyone to hear what’s coming next. 

Artist To Watch

SZA Co-Signs Rising Rapper K2Icyy

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K2Icyy is heating up the summer with his latest tape, ‘No $ No Bizz’ which is out now and has already received a positive response from audiences. 

With a co-sign from R&B legend SZA, No $ No Biz sets the tone for what K2Icyy is doing this year and he’s also letting everyone know the mentality he’s on this year.

“When I say No $ No Bizz I’m letting y’all ladies know I’m worried about this bag and im not about to argue with you, if you not tryna make no money with me, I don’t want anything to do with you,” K2Icyy says of his new project.

With a quite literal translation of the mixtape title, K2Icyy is letting it be known that he’s chasing the paper this year. As a young hustler, at just 17-years-old, the talented artist just recently graduated high school and has been focused on nothing but music since. Even during his time in high school, K2 was releasing music and dropping music videos on a back-to-back basis. 

With his new tape No $ No Biz, K2 is showing off a new style, new flow, and new swag. Most importantly, he talks about the ladies with this release and focuses on women more than ever before. It’s a relatable masterpiece that anyone can bump anywhere.

“I love my women but when you leave me there’s not better,” K2Icyy says. “At the end of the day I’m gonna show you what you’re missing out on.”

When asked about which songs standout to him the most, K2Icyy responded that “THIS & THAT” stands out to him the most. 

“The song is telling the people that it dont matter what you think of K2icyy, he still going to be doing his own thing,” he elaborated. “I ain’t never been worried if somebody ain’t like my music or like me cause at the end of the day I love myself and I love my music.”

As far as his previous releases, his previous singles “Set You Off,” and “Big Rock” have received lots of traction. Specifically, “Big Rock” received notable press and was also featured on BET Jams! Check out “Big Rock” on YouTube, where audiences can see K2Icyy having fun and being himself.

Right now, K2Icyy is focused on elevating to the next level. His latest body of work No $ No Biz, showcases the artist in a new never-before-seen light and surely will impress anyone who comes across it.

Check it out below:

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EMRLD Beats Talks Contributions To A Billboard #1 Album

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EMRLD Beats

EMRLD Beats is cementing himself as a top producer in his lane. His work on Digga D’s latest album helped lead the famous UK drill musician to a Billboard #1 album. An impromptu studio session with Dougie B & Digga D ended up becoming one of EMRLD Beats’ most prominent placements of his career. “A Lil Promo Freestyle” turned into one of the lead tracks for Digga’s mixtape, ‘Noughty By Nature.’ That track helped solidify EMRLD Beats as one of the go-to producers in the Drill music scene. 

We got to connect with EMRLD Beats and learn more about his come-up. We discussed his musical journey, placement on a UK Billboard #1 album, and much more. Tap in below!

Where are you from/ Where are you based now?
EMRLD: I was born and raised in Portsmouth, New Hampshire; I really love it there. It’s a quaint town but is charming in a lot of ways and a beautiful place too. After high school, I spent two years in Mississippi for college. I feel like I gained a valuable perspective living in that part of America, but I won’t be going back there anytime soon. Most recently, I moved to New York City and have been living here for a year.

At what point in your life did you decide to pursue a career in music?

EMRLD: I started producing music when I was 13; I’d upload beats to Soundcloud for fun. Music stayed a hobby for me, and I’d do it on & off until my late years of high school, where I gave it up ultimately. When the pandemic hit and I had to come home from college, I had more free time on my hands, so I picked it back up. During the years I wasn’t making music, I had become a big fan of the New York rap scene; I watched the rise of Pop Smoke and quickly became a fan of Brooklyn drill, as well as more melodic rappers. I was just enjoying the music from the sidelines. I knew many artists and was an engaged fan, but I had never even been to New York.

I made an effort during quarantine to try to get some of these guys to rap on my beats, and it was really hard to break through and get these rappers’ attention. I made my Instagram and slowly started making connections. Eventually, I got some small placements, and it was super exciting; in those moments, I started considering changing paths in life to pursue this.

What’s one reason you are passionate about music, and what inspires you? 

EMRLD: I love the feeling of hearing my music. I’m sure many musicians alike can relate to playing your unreleased music in the car or on your headphones while doing daily tasks. It doesn’t get old after the 50th listen back to back that day. It’s so comforting to me to listen to my work and think about what I like, don’t like, need to change, who I need to send it to, and tons of things, but just listening on my headphones while walking down the street, feeling excited about what rapper is going to use the beat I’m listening to, or if it’s an unreleased song that a rapper just sent back, it’ll be the excitement of how the fans will receive it. That always inspires me.

Tell us about going #1 on Billboard with Digga D? How did you guys link up? 

EMRLD: Yea, this was a big look; I was surprised by the success of this project, it put into perspective for me just how big drill music is amongst the youth in the U.K. Dougie B & I were in the studio and Melvoni called, he invited us to a studio and mentioned he was with Digga. We all linked up and I told Digga I produced the Dthang freestyle, which I had seen a clip of him freestyling to on Instagram live. We organized a studio session and a few days later made “A Lil Promo Freestyle”. Which ended up being one of the rollout singles. We made a few other crazy songs that night, which may drop in the future. I have to shout out Silverpres and my co-producers Zuko & Khxn, who all helped make this one happen.

What are the proudest moments of your music career so far?

EMRLD: This is hard to answer, I often get stuck in my head and compare myself to other young producers who may be more successful than me, which can be hard and make me feel like I haven’t accomplished enough. But when I step back and think about all I’ve accomplished since a year ago when I moved to NYC, and how I’ve made a mark in music and been able to create something that helps make a listener’s day better, I feel proud of myself. I also love my family’s support, their positivity always makes me feel good.

What’s next for you? Are you working on any upcoming projects we should be on the lookout for? Include some dates if you have them.

 EMRLD: I have a ton of stuff with the Bronx drill guys coming, Songs on both Dougie B & Sha EK’s upcoming projects, I can’t give names or dates yet but these are definitely some crazy records. I’m trying really hard to get another song out with Dthang, unfortunately, he’s been locked up for a while now, but we have some great unreleased songs that I’m going to try and work with his team on releasing, maybe even from behind bars. Other than drill I have a lot of stuff in the vault with Pressa, expect some tracks from us for sure.

What message do you hope fans take away from your music?

EMRLD: Nothing too deep, just enjoy it. I love being a producer and I try to fulfill that duty to the best of my ability every time I work on something. If you’ve ever listened to a song I’ve contributed to, I appreciate it. It really means the world.

Be sure to connect with EMRLD Beats on IG @emrldbeats to stay tuned for more music!

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KETU Digs Deep On ‘Ano-Ele’ 

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KETU (@Ketuikediuba) has finally released his debut EP, Ano-Ele. The smooth operator is ready to establish himself as a new voice in the industry. His sound is reminiscent of Sampha, Frank Ocean, and GIVĒON. Every record sounds like he put everything he could into it. The Nigerian singer/songwriter only needed 15 minutes to capture the essence of his latest project. Tracks like “Supernova” & “2020” tell a story of heartbreak and fear. For most, love is a scary topic, and anyone who has loved someone will feel these lyrics in their heart. KETU battles with his feelings on each of the five spacey tracks.

Ano-Ele’s acapella lyrics could stand alone as a book of poetry. There is not one wasted line on the new EP. His singles, “Sky’s Falling/From The Start” & “Rain On Me,” undoubtedly highlight the highly soothing listening experience. Fans shouldn’t be surprised if they hear one of these five records sampled on one of their favorite rapper’s upcoming albums. KETU’s eye for design can be attributed to his work as a digital illustrator with multiple Fortune 500 companies like The NFL, Netflix, etc. There is no limit to where his artistry can go.

KETU has found a new haven in LA. The HE(A)RD/Guin Records artist is in a great position. The summer will be fruitful; with his team credited for multiple records on Kendrick Lamar’s latest album, the sky is the limit. KETU’s signature sound will lead him to become one of the most sought-after voices in the industry. Ano-Ele will be regarded highly in his discography.

Stream his latest visual for “Sky’s Falling” and stream his new EP, Ano-Ele, on the DSP of your choice today!

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