Artist on the rise

Till the End of Summer album.

Till the End of Summer album.

It’s Feb. 18. Villz calls me a few minutes before our 1 p.m. phone interview. He’s professional, humble—an artist’s artist. His dreads are faded on the sides à la a rapper from the late ’80s. He told that he named his next album Ego, and “By Myself” will be his next video.

The alt R&B singer/songwriter, 22, has Haitian roots and was raised in Little Haiti, an area in Miami, Florida. He credits his Haitian roots for his cadence and delivery. The singer said he’s been compared to artists such as Frank Ocean. You may hear hints of Ocean. But after one listen to his entire album, you’ll hear Villz has attained his own signature sound.

Nashville, Tennessee, is synonymous with country music, but the city is also a hotbed for urban music, according to Villz. Some of the producers for his Till the End of Summer album hail from Tennessee. They include Mike Ewing, Ducko and Syksense (producer of Drake’s “Know Yourself.”)  The album’s songwriting is impressive, and it consists of an air-tight production that is occasionally woozy and Auto-Tuned.

Sure, a certain female was his muse for “Appreciation.” “[The song] was also influenced by how she perceived herself.” When he said “take that diamond noose that’s choking you from around your neck,” he meant “take that vanity off.” The symbolism for Villz’s Haitian roots exists in the “Appreciation” video, but it’s not predictable. It’s understated. In the video, Villz holds a folded Haitian flag almost like he’s concealing it. The following words appear in the beginning of the video:

Your skin is beautiful
Embrace it
Your culture is strong
Embrace it
Beauty by our standard

The motto L’Union Fait La Force is also mentioned at the beginning of the video. The motto, which comes from the Haitian flag, means Unity Makes Strength. “With union, we’re more powerful,” he explained, referring to a relationship. There’s a part in the video when Villz sings in front of an apartment complex in Little Haiti. Villz and the music become one in that scene. He said the director concocted the idea for that scene.

Who are your musical influences?
The Dream, Michael Jackson, Coldplay, System of a Down, Jimi Hendrix.

Why do you call yourself a dirt bag and monster in your songs?
I didn’t choose that name. It was given to me (He said those are some of the names he’s called when he messes up in a relationship.)

What’s your clothing of choice?
I’m a really big sneakerhead. I don’t really [wear] Jordans at all. I love Nikey SBs. (He supports local clothing lines such as Tennessee-based King of Fresh and Cheese Original. He also wears Florida-based Cloud and Heavy Rotation.)

Five years from now, he plans on winning a Grammy and being an XXL magazine freshman. Here’s what else he plans to do:
I plan on helping communities. Give jobs to the people that need to get off the streets.

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