Hawk Shadow is the magnificent audio and visual artist from New Jersey whose rooted in the underground hip-hop scene. After freestyling and recording since 2009, he has finally created two record-breaking albums as we reach the end of 2019. It took a lot of practice to go from being a pure freestyle rapper, to a well-rounded and seasoned songwriting artist, but Hawk Shadow made it look easy!
It hit Hawk Shadow like a wrecking ball (Shoutout to Miley of course,) that he had the ability to become a full-out artist. Ever since then, Hawk Shadow’s pen was on fire (metaphorically), and he wrote up to 7 songs daily! He no longer freestyles and he sticks purely to songwriting.
Hawk Shadow has a fascinating background in art education and studied street art since high school, so his image primarily involves visual art as well. Hawk Shadow combines his multi-faceted artistry to create an exciting arrangement! Breakdancing, rapping, and graffiti are the three of four outlets in Hip/Hop that he practices. You can see it all come together in the way that the music videos and artwork are created. Hawk Shadow has released super intriguing singles this year, including his two full albums. Hawk Shadow is proving to everyone why he’s the newest face of Hip/Hop!
Listen to Hawk Shadow here.
Welcome to BuzzMusic Hawk Shadow! Tell us, how has 2019 has been for creating music?
2019 has been a fun year for creating music. I felt most inspired in the spring when I built my own home recording booth. It caused me to get more serious about recording demos which resulted in 21 songs throughout 2019.
Tell us about your two albums! Was there any pressure for you considering the small time gap between your album “Refreshed” and “Colours”?
The only pressure I experienced occurred during the few days before going to the studio sessions. I had to make sure to remember all of my lyrics and that I could record the full songs in single takes. I had a lot of leftover beats and demos after releasing the album "Refreshed", so the second album came together quite quickly and smoothly after.
What are some of the challenges you faced in the creative process for “Refreshed”? I faced a few challenges while creating my first album. It was always easy for me to freestyle words that rhyme over a beat, but to write a full coherent song is a lot more challenging. I wanted my concepts and messages to make sense, so I spent a lot of time rewording my lyrics until it came out clearly. I didn't want to confuse the listener with rhymes that only I would understand. I had to not only write for myself but write as if someone is going to be listening to my song and perceiving my story. I ended up scrapping a lot of lyrics because I thought the message was too confusing. I also found I needed to record the songs at home about 20 times each until I felt the delivery was on point. It took a lot of tries and even more reworking to be able to deliver a song in one take; without running out of breath, stuttering, or sounding offbeat.
What was your songwriting approach towards most of the songs in “Colours”? My songwriting approach on Colours was actually a lot different. I started to record outside as I wrote my songs. I would sit on my front porch and record a few lyrics to a song, play it back, and rework it until it sounded good. That is how most of my songs unfolded, outside relaxing, recording music.
Which album would you consider your personal favorite and why?
"Refreshed" is my favorite album because it was the first time I was able to write actual songs. It was exciting to memorize all of my lyrics for the first time and to practice recording at home in a brand new recording booth. It was also the first time I went to a professional studio solo, so it was a memorable experience for me.
What’s next for you Hawk Shadow? I'll probably focus more on painting for the next few months because I feel inspired right now to work on some geometric compositions. I will continue to search for beats and build up enough material to produce another album. With new beats coming out every day by some great underground producers, I know that I will be able to make another album within the next year. I am looking forward to the next time I can get into the studio to express myself.