Ones to Watch: Q
“People ask me on Instagram how old I am, but I feel like age puts you in a box. I’m an artist, that’s it,” says South Florida-based musician, Q. When he met us at Milk Studios New York, although he’s quite young, he exuded an energetic confidence as he smoothly entered the space. Upon listening to his seven-track debut album, Forest Green, you’re immediately sucked in. Named after his favorite color, the record is incredibly earnest; all the songs he writes don’t ever meet paper; when he turns on the mic, his songs come to life. With parents in the music industry, Q has always had an affinity to the music world; it’s natural, and we can tell. We spoke to the singer, songwriter, and producer about his background, growing up in South Florida, and the power of presence.
My name is Q, the letter Q.
Tell us about your debut album Forest Green?
Forest Green was a spontaneous project…very last minute. At the beginning of June, I was like “Man, I want to put out some kind of project”. A good introduction to my music, and although truth be told I had deeper tracks, I felt it was a good time to start introducing myself to the world beyond my studio. After talking to some people whose opinions I trust, I released a couple of tracks. Some of them existed before this decision, while others were still in my head. I went hard for two weeks and that’s how the project was born. Forest Green is my favorite color.
What’s your background in music like? Did you ever study music?
I feel it’s just natural for me. My parents are both into music. My mother used to play keys for various bands back in the day, now she plays in the church whereas a kid I used to sing in the choir. My dad is a well-respected producer. His list of hits is pretty extensive. One that I remember is Sean Paul’s “Get Busy”, it went Number 1 for a while. That was dope to experience from my standpoint as a kid. He still tours to this day. Music is in my blood.
Did their experience and knowledge in the industry help you with your career?
Yes, especially with my dad. He’s always been the person to push the concept of music as genuinely and organically as possible. If he feels a move could be made, he doesn’t hesitate to put everything behind it. Earlier this year I was in school, I felt more of a responsibility to do it than a real drive to make it happen. But my dad said, “drop out if you want, I believe in you, let’s make it happen”. My mom, on the other hand, was like “Go to school, get an education, you can still reach your dreams just have a base”. I respect both opinions but when he was like “Forget that, music is it” it felt more real to me than school and here we are.
You’ve lived in South Florida all of your life, what do you think influences your creativity?
I wasn’t trying to find a way to stick out, I’m just genuinely doing me. When I think of the kind of music I’m creating, I don’t really find many artists like myself here. Florida’s known for artists like Ski Mask, X [XXXTentacion], Lil Pump, Kodak [Black], Smokepurpp and then there’s me. It’s dope to see different influences all exist in the same area. The beauty and the inspiration for me are like “Wow, I am the only one doing this in my area to my knowledge. As I continue to put more music out, I know I’ll find more people doing similar things. Then Florida might become a hub for alternative music one day, you never know.”
In your music there’s RnB, there are some rock elements, there’s a lot of soulful aspects to it, how would you describe your music?
My music is sound moving through frequencies. Certain frequencies trigger how I feel. So maybe it might do something for other people. I don’t focus on trying to stay within a “genre,” I go off of how it feels.
Your lyrics have been described as dealing with “preoccupied anxiety or lack of connection.” What are you thinking about when you are writing these songs?
I’m extremely present when I’m recording. I don’t write any of my music down, it goes from thought to track. I don’t actually see my thoughts written down. I get in front of the mic and whatever that is is what gets recorded.
Does the music come first or the words?
Definitely music first. This goes back to frequencies and how they make me feel, sound first. Experiencing that level of honesty in the moment elevates the song off top.
So when you go to the mic you already have an idea?
Sometimes I know what I’m doing, sometimes I don’t. I don’t like to talk or write down how I feel. I’m not a “let’s talk about it” kind of guy. But my music gives me a chance to get how I feel out of my system. This works best for me when it comes to my life experiences.
So that’s your chance.
What are you listening to right now?
What do you watch, what do you read?
I don’t watch tv or read much, honestly. I live a simple life I would say. Wake up, go outside, studio, eat (Acai bowls and Pollo Tropical). I have a couple of homies I link up with occasionally, I’m easy going.
Are there any new projects you want to talk about?
I’m always in the studio. But, for now, I’m not ready to share anything yet.
PHOTOGRAPHER: Madeleine Dalla
PHOTO ASSISTANT: Julia Sjovall
HMU: Luca Ponce
Stay tuned to Milk for more Ones to Watch.