I love to see artists grow. It’s a process, this fantastic voyage we as musicians take one track at a time. Every song is a step closer toward defining our sound and style. Some people like to flip me shit because I'm 34 and still rapping. Honestly, I take it as a blessing that I found something at such a young age that defined me so strongly. I'm grateful I discovered my passion at a young age, and I'm thankful that the passion still burns so brightly.
Being that so many people spend their whole lives looking for something that makes them feel "complete," if you will, I consider myself to be pretty damn lucky in that department. There are so many benefits to growing up in this culture of hip hop. There's a special sort of aesthetic that comes with new perspective; Looking at life through that lens adds so much depth to what you're seeing in the moment. It also allows me to break down the process in a much more articulated fashion, for those who ain't hip to the movement.
Having been around as long as I have, I've been able to witness the growth of artists first-hand. The first time I saw Mevlano I was actually performing at the same gig. It was a release party for H.E.A T. of Gorilla in the Trunk Record's most recent album at Koot’s. His style stood out to me. It has this witty youthful type of playfulness to its charm. It also managed doing so without being too child-like or silly.
"No I ain't gotta mansion I'm just handsome...."
It's always a pleasure seeing people having fun on stage. It makes for the whole vibe, which is mostly what the audience has to go off of. In hip hop you find this kinda 'Joe Cool' mentality that often takes away from the fun side of a show. You have to remember that as an artist performing live, you're essentially there to entertain. So, needless to say, I was stoked to see that homeboy was able to seal himself a place in the opening line-up for Grieves a couple Fridays ago at Williwaw. I was also pleased to see some noticeable growth in his performance. He was less nervous — you could tell he'd practiced with his hype man — he had featured artists on tracks, and his style had become more melodic. He was very inviting with the audience, which had filled the front of the stage by the third track in the set. If I’m being honest with you, I was impressed with all the openers that night, but Mevlano is the only one I had seen before that night.
Not to downplay the other openers (shout out Lukie B, Rage City Records, Just Jake and Grandpa G of Brother Buffalo), but his performance really was the one that stood out for me. I caught up with the homie through the 'gram for a quick Q&A.
SB: First off, let's give our readers a little background. Who you are, where you're from, and what you're about.
Mevlano: I grew up here in Anchorage and I’m still here despite our weird weather so you know I love it! I’m all about my music. I love making it, but I love performing it more.
SB: I noticed you shared the stage with Rage City Records; Are you part of that movement, or y'all just vibe? Also, who were the two others that joined the stage with you at Grieves?
Mevlano: I love all the people in Rage City Records but we’re not all together, more rather a group of friends that support each other’s art. I had a couple different people perform with me! My partner Waversun with the lovely locks and my other close friend.
SB: What's your process? Are you producing your own beats? Or is there an engineer you're working with?
Mevlano: I have a few different producers I work with that are constantly pushing me new beats. INDiCHI and Blanco Beats, they’re usually the same ones engineering my songs. Although, when those guys are busy I can always rely on Frozen Founders.
SB: Your stage presence and style have grown immensely since I caught you that first time at Koot’s. What would you attest that to?
Mevlano: Oh man, when I was at Koots I was still in a pretty rough patch. I can attest all the growth on stage to doing more shows and making more music. I’d be a big fat liar if I said I picked up my style from anywhere other than my friends. They spend their time searching for new clothes and I spend my time buying similar things.
SB: Anything on the release radar you'd like to take a moment to speak on?
Mevlano: I have a few new projects on the way. I actually performed a few of the songs at the opening for Grieves! So if you liked them, expect to hear them soon!
SB: What I like most is that you're different. There's so many cookie-cutters out there in the game right now. What advice do you have for the up-and-comer trying to define himself in this craft?
Mevlano: I absolutely love this question. I still feel like an up and comer myself so I’m really giving advice to myself when I say this: Understand that the music always comes first. And even if you don’t like the music you make, someone else might so share it. And if you love what you’re doing, then just trust the process.
You can find Mevlano's music online at: ampl.ink/dpAZb