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Slidin’ Thru: Rod Wave

September 30, 2019

Read the full interview on YoungCalifornia.com!

Rod Wave is here to put on for all the feelers in the world. The 21-year-old boasts his own unique sound and voice, but it’s his honesty, vulnerability, and authenticity that draws fans in. On “Popular Loner,” he sings on the chorus: “Weight of the world on your shoulders and you’re feeling all alone, you got it my n*gga just hold on / Thug life ain’t dead, I’ma be this way until they kill me.” Read more..

The 21-year-old’s lyrical content stems from real-life experiences and touches on the many tiers of mental health, including depression, anxiety, PTSD — the latter of which he named his last project. The 12-track EP hails breakout single “Heart On Ice”, a heartfelt ballad about all the struggles he’s been through and still having to overcome them till this day. The official music video clocks in at over 11 million views and counting, following suit with the rest of his visuals — each of which hit over a million on Youtube almost instantly.

What did you do to celebrate your birthday (August 27th)?
I had shows. I ain’t really get to celebrate. I was just chillin’, performing and doing shows. I had a show the night before. I was in the airport on my birthday in Phoenix. It was alright, just making music.

Being from St. Petersburg, Florida, how does that play into your life and career?
St. Peters is a different place. St. Peters made me who I am, I feel certain stuff that somebody else might not. I may talk different or act different. Coming up, I’ve seen everything that made me who I am today, how to carry myself.

How important is it to come to LA as an up and coming artist?
I never knew this side of the world even existed. I always heard about it but to actually be here riding around spending time making music, feels like I’m on a whole different planet. This is my first time here doing music.

Favorite part about the West Coast?
You can walk around smoking, just freely. We can’t do that in Florida, hell nah.

At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?
When I have shows, people really singing my songs word for word. I ain’t saying I’m the biggest artist or the smallest artist, but the fact that this big group of people love my music. They come out, they recording and having fun. They feel how I feel, and it’s only getting bigger.

What were you going through when you wrote “Popular Loner”?
It was 4am or 5am when I wrote that song, I was just in my feelings. I was arguing with my girl. Whenever I go through stuff with her, it makes me think about other stuff too.

Best memory from the video shoot?
I met that n*gga E-40! [imitates E-40] “What’s up, player!” [chuckles] That shit’s funny, he talks how he sings. I got two videos with E-40, and I met Tee Grizzley.

What did it mean to get E-40 on the project?
My people had already knew E-40 from a long time ago. They used to be promoters or whatever, so it was a must. They had his number, he remembered them. Tryna get out that Cali feel, so bro help me get me introduced to him.

What’s the best piece of advice he gave you?
We didn’t really talk about it like that. I can say what I got from him though, ‘cause bro into all kinds of shit. Wine, tequila, etc. What I did get from him is to be financially smart, then you can do other stuff.

You say “fighting demons.” What are some of the demons you face?
It could be a lot of stuff that I tried to shake: cheating, lying, drinking, syrup, all kinds of shit period. It’s a lot of shit I be tryna fight and get away from.

“Heart On Ice” sees you at Rolling Loud Miami. What was that experience like?
Rolling Loud was weird for me bruh, ‘cause it was a bunch of rappers walking around. I used to watch these n*ggas on TV, it’s crazy being one of them. I performed, it was lit man. I hope I can perform next year.

What is your take on the music industry?
It’s cool. A lot of n*ggas I don’t really vibe with, but the other side of it: connecting with fans. Seeing the world and traveling, getting involved with new things. I love it bro.

What’s one thing you want fans to get from PTSD?
Just understand it ain’t a regular mixtape. That’s something I really put my all into, how I was feeling at the time. Everybody goes through stuff, everyone has real-life ups and downs. For everyone feeling how I feel, take that and use it as therapy.

How important is social media for your career?
It’s important. It’s a different time. As an up and coming artist, I’m very, very busy. The fact that I can still connect with my fans on a daily basis, I can still talk to them. They can see me, I can see them. It’s very important.

Who’s your favorite person to follow on IG?
I like to follow Gates, my n*gga funny. And it’s real motivational. I also like to follow FunnyMike. That’s a funny guy.

Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
Ed Sheeran. I fuck with Ed, my boy, That’s my dream collab.

3 things you need in the studio?
Something to drink, some peace, and an engineer. The mic inside the studio, I’ll be straight. I don’t really need nothing too extra. I smoke but I don’t need it.

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