HL360 EXCLUSIVE: “I enjoy giving opportunities to lesser-established

Akinremi Abdul Raheem of higherlevel360.com recently caught up with Neillusion in an exclusive interview. The Guyanese born Canada based artist shed insight on his musical career. Enjoy the interview below :


As a Guyanese artist but based in Canada, how will you describe what it
feels like to be a Guyanese artist In Canada?

Being a Guyanese Artist in Canada isn’t anything special to me. Canada, especially Toronto, is home to many immigrants from many countries. I just consider myself an artist who has a unique taste for music. Although some are usually surprised to discover a Guyanese artist involved in Electronic Music and other non-Caribbean genres. Most Guyanese musicians end up being involved in Dancehall or Soca music exclusively.


Would you say doing music abroad is better than doing it in Guyana?

Definitely. Due to the limited availability of technology in Guyana, including Wireless internet, making music is still ‘old school,’ in a sense. Being abroad, and even working on projects internationally, is much more fluent in Canada than in Guyana.

Please kindly give an insight of your family and educational background.

I’m a pure-bred. I lived a fairly ‘normal’ life with my grandparents for the first half of my life, and moved to Toronto with my Mom at the age of 14. After high school, I chose not to continue my education in college or university. Instead, I pursued a career as an entrepreneur, getting involved in various fields such as, Marketing, Law, & Online Shopping. Due to my increasing interest in music, I chose to drop my business ventures and pursue music whole-heartedly


How did music started for you?

My musical curiosity sparked somewhere between the ages of 6 or 7. Growing up in a community where music is played loudly throughout the neighbourhood played a big part as to why I love bass so much. As I grew older, my music collection grew – mostly Dancehall Riddims – a hobby of mine. Moving to Canada gave me access to computers, something I didn’t have and couldn’t afford back home. My music collection progressed into Deejaying. I started making mixtapes and posted them on YouTube which a gained a fair bit of attention. I still craved to be more involved with music so I tried my hand at FL Studio and made my first few instrumentals at the age of 14. Hip Hop and Rap instrumentals were the trend at the time amongst my peers, so I produced a few hip hop tracks up until I discovered Electronic Dance Music at the age of 16. Ever since then I’ve been actively involved in the house music scene as a ‘dutch house’ artist.
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If you were ever told you would do music professionally, would you have
believed?

I would believe it without a doubt. I always knew in the back of my mind that I would be doing music professionally regardless of what happened in my life. It’s something that I don’t think about and just happens naturally. My life always seems to gravitate towards music no matter what changes happen. I grew up with a family that wasn’t very supportive of my music career, but that never really stopped me. I’d be doing music regardless.


Your bio reads that you are an artist and also doubled as a producer.


How many singles do you have so far?

Officially, as Neillusion, I have 4 singles out so far. I rebranded myself at the end of 2016 and restarted my music career. I needed to start over and do things differently for myself. As of November 2017 I started officially publishing my singles to streaming services and music platforms.


What about music production, how many songs have you produced?

I’ve probably produced close to 100 tracks throughout my career. Many for peers and mutual music relationships. As previously mentioned, I was mostly involved in the Hip Hop & Rap scene when I first started out as a producer, and I knew a handful of people who were rappers so I was more than happy to work on as many projects as possible. As my skills progressed I started focusing more on quality and definition of each project, which lead to a decrease in speed of releases. I didn’t mind though. I was happy to release work more confidently.

Which of your singles who you consider as the biggest?

Renegades is currently my most popular single. It features Polish rapper from Warsaw on a hardcore trap/dubstep track. This is outside of my style and I rarely make tracks like these. But as I was working on it, I was considering a rap talent to be featured on it. That’s when I reached out to Szymore and sent him the base track. He did his thing and sent out the vocals. The song received positive criticism here in North America as well as Europe. Although, the Polish audience don’t really seem to like it, as they are more fans of traditional Hip Hop.

Who is the biggest artist you’ve worked with so far?

I’m currently working on a project with an artist from St Lucia, Blackboy, known for his song “Fire.” Other than that I don’t care much for the popularity of the artists that I work with. I enjoy giving opportunities to lesser-established artists and working with them can provide a platform for them to showcase their talents.


How best do you like to present yourself? Is it as an artist or a producer?

I would prefer to present myself as an artist as sometimes I release art that does not feature a vocalist. Often, I would feel that the sounds of the song already portrays the emotion or hype that I intended, so I would decide against a vocalist and the song would remain technically instrumental. And other times, I would seek a vocalist to complete the feel of the entire song, if needed.
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Your musical style is considered to be a fusion of Dutch House music and
Caribbean music elements. Can you please explain this?

I’ve been influenced by Caribbean music through tradition. I grew up with Soca, Dancehall, Calypso, and Latin music, and these styles of music have distinct focus on it’s percussion. Percussion is considered to be the heartbeat of every song.
Dutch House is one of the first sub-genres of house music I was introduced to when I first discovered electronic music. Dutch is usually known for it’s high pitched synths and vocal chops, combined with Latin & African-based percussion samples. Combining these 2 passions gave me a unique sound which can be heard in all of my projects.

Why do you prefer not to associate your music with a certain genre?

Music is art, and some art can be envisioned prior to conception, and some has to occur naturally. I believe in the natural process of creating music – sort of “go with the flow.” A majority of my projects turn out completely different from what I intended when I started them. This results in songs falling in different categories, such as House Music, Hip Hop, Moombahton, Dancehall, and even Afrobeat. I have a passion for a wide variety of music, and cannot commit to just one genre. Therefore, I just choose to label myself as an ‘Electronic musician,’ which is a fairly broad category.

What is your relationship with artists based here in Nigeria? Do you have
any working relationship?

Currently, the only Nigerian musicians I closely associate with are Samm Chizi, Timi Jay, & Kelz, who I plan on extending our music / business relationship with into other projects in the near future. Other than that, I’m working on building a larger presence in Nigeria’s music scene. I am a huge fan of Afrobeat and would like to feature some of Nigeria’s vast talent on some of my tracks.


Let dive a little bit into your personal life. Are you into any
relationship?

I’m a single of man. I cannot commit to a relationship at the moment, perhaps in the far future. Relationships can be time-consuming and distracting, both of which I cannot afford at this point in my life. Therefore, I choose to be a Lone Ranger and pursue the passion.

How do you handle female fans?

Statistically, from what I see at least, about 80% of my audience are females. From my perspective, girls don’t really go crazy over me, perhaps I’m not famous enough yet. There are a few Neillusion fan accounts online run by younger females and of course I can appreciate the attention.

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Can you give an insight of your fashion sense?

I’ve been told I have a unique sense of fashion. I never really think much of it, though. I dress however I feel. I do enjoy skinny ripped jeans, and long tops. I don’t really wear hats anymore. Cardigans are preferred, although I’m too lazy to throw them on in winter. Overall, my fashion sense can be categorized as “Relaxed.”


Do you have any particular clothing brand you go for while shopping?

H&M always seems to fit my style -simple and casual. I never really intentionally go out shopping for clothes. I only buy clothes IF I’m out and something catches my eye. However, I do spoil myself with a bit of higher end clothing at times, a bit of MK, or some Commes Des Garcons wouldn’t hurt would it?

Do you have any project you are working on presently?

I’m currently working on a project with Samm Chizi. “One Second” is a song I’ve been working on since February 2017 and I’ve been waiting for the perfect vocalist to hop on the track. I reached out to Samm Chizi after I discovered his SoundCloud and hearing his new track “Simi.” After teaming up with Timi Jay & Kelz, we finally made the track happen. The song features an electronic dancehall vibe and is unlike any song I’ve ever made. I look forward to working on more projects with these guys.

When is it due for release?

I’m excited to announce that One Second will be released worldwide on January 17th 2018. It will be available on all digital stores and streaming services, such as Apple Music, Spotify, Boomplay, Google Play, Deezer, Napster, and everywhere else! We hope our audience can appreciate the amount of hard work put into this track.

On a final note, how can fans reach out to you on social media?

I’m quite active on Instagram (@nluzn) but fans and supporters are free to reach out using any social media platform as I frequently communicate through them.
Instagram: www.instagram.com/nluzn
Facebook: www.facebook.com/neillusion
Twitter: www.twitter.com/_nluzn
Website: www.neillusion.com

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