Our next #IndieArtistSpotlight hails from Memphis, Tennessee and goes by the name of ArTay. With dreams of becoming a successful recording artist, ArTay made a conscious and life changing decision to relocate to Atlanta. 'RnB Junkie Official' had the opportunity to interview this passionate, independent artist. ArTay shared details about his musical upbringing, debut single "FaceTime Me," forthcoming EP, and more. Check out our interview with our #IndieArtistSpotlight ArTay below.
When did you first realize you could sing?
ArTay: I first realized I could sing when I was about seven years old, and it was at church. I lead “His Eye Is On The Sparrow,” and everybody was coming up to me after church telling me how well I did. Back in the day, at my home church, we used to record all of our services. My mom bought me the audio tape. After listening to it, I was like wait! I'm sounding kind of good and all of that. So, it was about seven years old when I realized that I could sing.
So you have been singing for a long time, what made you want to pursue it professionally?
ArTay: I have always wanted to be a professional singer. Growing up listening to Brandy and how she was and all of that. How she performed and her vocal ability really inspired me to want to become a professional singer. I didn’t just wake up like one morning and say, “Oh my God I want to be a singer.” This has always been instilled in me, and I am so grateful that I am able to try to chase my dream and follow my dreams now. So, I have always wanted to be a professional singer.
You are from Memphis Tennessee, which is known as the "home of Blues" and the "birthplace of Rock and Roll." How has growing up in Tennessee impacted your outlook on music?
ArTay: Oh my God, it has impacted me so much. Being the fact that [it's where] I grew up, a majority of my family sing and I come from a singing family, and all we did growing up was sing. I had so much access to you know Bell Street; it's a common street in Memphis, Tennessee which is home of the Blues where you could go to different Karaoke spots. Memphis has really impacted me and shown me how to grind and just stay on top of my music.
ArTay: Ummm, not on this EP probably in the future you would. I wouldn’t mind doing a country song. I love trying different challenges and testing my voice. Not right now, but in the future, you probably will.
Who are some of your musical influences?
ArTay: Of course Brandy. I have been loving Brandy since I was seven years old. I remember standing in my grandmother’s living room and “I Wanna Be Down” came on and I was like, “Oh my God, who is this woman?” I just fell in love with her ever since. I have been following her and listening to her. She has taught me so much. One of my cousins Toya Watts she’s a singer as well. I remember growing up and just loving to hear her sing. She had a voice of an angel; she’s very inspirational to me. Still, to this day I look up to her, and I ask her a few things as far as singing and all of that. My mom, she’s very an inspiration to me when it comes to music as well. I would have to say Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston, to name a few.
What are some of the pros and cons you have faced being an independent artist?
ArTay: Oh my God, Just recently I purchased a beat from this producer here in Atlanta. He claimed that he gave me the beat, but I was like no you didn’t give me the beat. Can I get the beat and all of that, so he stopped inboxing me and texting me. I kind of ran across that being the fact that in Atlanta it's kind of hard to come across some people who are very professional. I also realize that being an independent artist here in Atlanta there are so many people that are trying to chase their dreams and their careers it’s hard to book studios as well, so it’s very time consuming when it comes to booking a studio and just trying to get your music out there. That's the kind of problems I came across.
The pros, Atlanta has really taught me how to be independent and how to grind hard and chase your dreams. Coming from Memphis, I think that I was kind of comfortable in just singing and really not taking my music seriously. Once I moved to Atlanta I was more on my own, so I had to get on my own two feet and grind even harder to get my name out there being the fact that I am new to the city and as a new independent artist, so I really had to grind and just get my name out there.
This year you released your debut single “FaceTime Me.” What was that experience like for you?
ArTay: When I first wrote “FaceTime Me,” everybody thought that it was about someone in particular, but it’s not. I have a cousin that I am really close to, and we call each other baby, and she had FaceTime me one day, and before I picked up the FaceTime I started singing “why don’t you FaceTime Me?” I said, “wait this sound good I need to write to this,” so I actually declined her FaceTime and began to write and then once I got done, I FaceTimed her back. When I first recorded my single, I was excited because it showed me that I could do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I was able to record my first single, something that I always wanted to do. So, that really inspired me to keep moving forward and to press even harder to get my EP out there and get my name out there.
You know me and how I feel about RnB Music. “FaceTime Me” is one of my favorite songs released this year. It’s relatable and very catchy.
ArTay: Thank you. Thank you.
Will there be a video for “FaceTime Me?”
ArTay: I’m actually working on that now. I’m supposed to get everything together; everything should be squared away within the next two weeks or so. I am really working hard to find the perfect videographer who could record me and the video. I don’t want to put just anything out being the fact I am new, so I want to make sure that it’s right. In the next two weeks, it should be out.
Can you tell us a little about the new music you’re working on?
ArTay: With this EP I wanted to be more intimate. I want to bring the real R&B back, so the majority of these songs are talking about love, how to stay in a relationship, and even talking about how the grass is not greener on the other side. You know sometimes in relationships some people think that the grass is greener on the other side, so that was like one of my experiences in life, thinking that the grass was greener on the other side, but it wasn’t. I just want to be very intimate with this EP and be very personal.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
ArTay: The highlight of my career has been me traveling to different cities and just performing my single. I just recently left Philly and Philly showed me so much love, and I was really surprised because being the fact that people don’t know me but they got attached to my song. Everybody was coming up to me telling how good of a job I did and how much they loved my song. I never in a million years thought that I would be traveling around the world and singing, so I am very grateful for that.
You have a showcase coming up next week?
ArTay: I do. It’s actually in New York. It’s a showcase where you’re able to win first place and second place. The first place you can win $500 and a meeting with a major record label. Second place is $200, and you can also win another meeting with a major record label. I am hoping and praying that I get the first place because I really do want this. Singing is my dream and always something that I want to do, so why not go for first place? There are going to be some more major record labels there as well Atlantic, Columbia, Def Jam, and Republic just to name a few. So, I am really hoping and very excited that I am able to be on this showcase to show my talent.
Right now are you under management or are you managing yourself?
ArTay: Right now I am I am managing myself. I did that because there is a lot of stuff that I need to learn and there’s a lot of stuff that I want to learn as far as being independent and just being fresh to the scene. I didn’t want to get up under a record label just at this point right now. Yeah, I am just taking it slow and taking it day by day and just learning. You learn from your mistakes, and this is something I wanted to do right now.
We cannot wait until the release of your EP. Where can our followers find your music?
ArTay: You can find my music on all digital outlets. My music is available on iTunes, GooglePay, Spotify, Amazon Music, Tidal, everywhere. Just type in Artay “FaceTime Me,” and I should pop up. You can also follow me on social media. On Instagram it's @4everartay. The number 4-e-v-e-r-a-r-t-a-y and Facebook it’s ArTay Driver.
Thank you so much for this interview.
ArTay: You’re welcome! Anything for you!