Hailing all the way from the Southwest side of Houston, Texas, Neon BLK is delivering a sound you may not be familiarized with, but will most certainly fall in love with. R&B with an alternative twist, his musicianship is equipped with meaningful and thoughtful lyrics. He has haunting yet sultry vocals that will not disappoint you. Instead, he reels his listener into his music, carrying you through the dimensions of his creation. Neon BLK influences are vast and aren’t catered to one particular style of music. Neon BLK's diverse inspirations could be a reason for the versatile music that will shock you. Neon BLK has continued on working on the release of his debut mixtape “Interpretations” that’s set for release in December. He’s released two singles from this project including “Castle” and “Behold” that will certainly turn you into a fan.
Neon BLK's music will allow you to explore multiple different expansions in elements and arrangements, instead of sticking to one singular style. His alternative twists to his classic R&B is bound to keep you attracted to his one of a kind sound. Neon BLK has a wide variety of releases this year in which you can find on platforms like Soundcloud. His consistency is appealing, and he’s bound to be a legend in the making.
Listen to Neon BLK's music here.
Welcome to BuzzMusic Neon BLK! How was it growing up in Texas? In what ways are you influenced by your environment and upbringing?
Growing up in Texas was very interesting. I wasn’t the typical Texan and I wasn’t the type of person to fall into the norms here. My parents aren’t from Houston so of course, I was going to come off a little different. My Dad is from California and my Mom is from St. Lucia, so I was raised on a lot of West Coast hip hop, Soca, Reggae, and 70s funk. Being from Houston chop and screwed was frequently heard. Growing up kids used to tell me I talk white, I’m weird, and etc…I’ve met all types of people in my city so I definitely grew up around a lot of diversity. My classmates used to give me this “goodie boy” narrative so it was like they were waiting for me to mess up but never gave them that satisfaction. Getting into my teen years in middle and high school was very interesting as well because that’s when music officially became part of my life playing in the Jazz Band. Texas is something else like the humidity and the people here.
In what ways has your Jazz Band background in both middle school and high school benefitted your musicality today?
Being in the Jazz Band in middle and high school has benefitted my musicality greatly because that’s where I really learned how complex and intricate music truly is. I learned how to read music the first year I was in beginning band in middle school and got to Jazz Band in 7th grade where I improved on my music notation skills, but when I got to Jazz Band in high school, I was truly introduced to a lot of improvisation. Learning how to fit unwritten and unplanned skills into an already composed song. I was instructed by Houston Jazz Legends, Kyle Turner Sr. and Al Campbell, and those guys were incredible. They talked a lot about training your ear, how to add your own timbre and flavor to the music, and how to overall be a great musician without making excuses. Those guys are still charging forth too so they are truly legit. I still to this day recall a lot of advice and talks they use give us.
We hear you are working on a mixtape called “Interpretations”. What prompted you to name this project Interpretations? Any meaning behind this?
Yes! Interpretations have been in the works for 3 years and I’m finally ready to unleash this beast. I initially wanted to call my project Interpretations after thinking about how people would perceive my work. This was the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 where I started to think about perception vs reality. I was vaguely focusing on how my rants, messages, social media posts, and feelings came across and whether they seemed valid or not. This was a year after my first relationship ended when I started to pay more attention to racism and realizing how powerful it is, and me wanting to finally step out to make my dream a reality. There is a tendency I have to naturally just sit and go through my thoughts. With all those thoughts running through my head I decided maybe I should call it Interpretations, and see how my potential audience would receive it. After a year, the concept slightly changed but still kept that same mysterious element. I started to catch feelings for someone who I was intimidated to talk to so I started writing a lot about that. Eventually, I let them know how I felt through a love letter to no avail which greatly affected me but still dealt with it by writing. Interpretations' concept came full circle and now it's about how people perceive and then receive my tragic dark romanticism. There are 2 songs on the project that were written when the idea was originally developed about my past relationship and the aftermath while dealing with unrequited love.
What are some of the challenges you may have faced in the creation of “Interpretations”?
There were so many challenges over the past 3 years. When I first developed the concept for Interpretations, I bought my own equipment and started to record at my Univerisity’s music building on my own. I didn’t have the tools to mix and master but that challenged me to make sure my recordings were solid. Spring of 2017, I was going through a pledge process for my fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha, so I had to pause my sessions temporarily. That Summer my laptop I was using at the time crashed so I had to stop again, but that Fall I was back in action getting another laptop to resume recording at my house. Everything was working out fine after finishing recording the initial tracklist that Winter, but then an old classmate from college hit me up after I posted that I need my songs mixed and mastered. We re-recording everything but was disappointed with the mixes. I was very dissatisfied with him not sending me the stems to get them fixed so I was back to square one. I found another studio and everything was going good until the engineer I worked with stopped responding, and the mixes weren’t as strong as they needed to be. I had to take a break for several months from recording and that’s where the concept slightly changed and I started writing more about this person I had feelings for. Winter 2018 came around and I resumed recorded with a new engineer. Our session was great, I felt so good recording solid tracks again, but when I frequently contacted him to get the songs mixed and mastered I was given the runaround…for 7 months! I did not get the newer songs until Summer 2019 after confront the engineer. That man sold false promises and dreams. I hope no one falls victim to that and I learned my lesson. There is one engineer in Houston that has shown persistence, consistency, and always makes time to work with me by the name of Russell Guess. Very talented engineer, and usually the sound behind fellow Texas Indie artist Eimaral Sol.
Between all your releases this year, which has been the most monumental for you as an artist and why?
Of all the releases of 2019, Percs & Pills has to be the most monumental. I wrote and recorded this song more than a year ago, and has meant so much. It perfectly illustrates how deeply I felt for this crush I had and illustrates love at first sight. It really sets the theme of Interpretations, and anyone could relate. The imagery and word choice were phenomenal in my opinion. It’s structured and written very well, and the producer, MNDBD, really sets the vibe and tone. This is one of the songs I had to wait 7 months until I got the stems to finally finish it. The version that’s out now was mixed and mastered by Dorothy Chan from Barron Studios in Houston. This song is a hit!