Perth rapper & producer Sowdy reflects on music as his life & his newly founded label Shine! Records
We caught up with Perth rapper and producer Sowdy to chat about how his upbringing surrounded by music lead to his inevitable music career. We also spoke about his newly founded independent label Shine! Records and the exciting projects he has planned for the near future.
Sowdy is an energetic and ambitious hip-hop artist from Perth whose natural passion is present in the hype rap he creates. In addition, he is the founder of the newly-born independent label Shine! Records, a platform he hopes to make a difference with in the music industry. Instantly from our discussions it is clear that says music has always been a part of Sowdy’s life.
“I’ve always loved music. My dad was a DJ, so I grew up around music. He’s got this huge vinyl collection so he kind of put me on to a lot of music when I was young,” Sowdy explains.
“When I was about 10 or 11, my family got an Apple Mac, so I started recording on Garage band, writing songs and all that. I was also learning drums at the time, so that was a big influence for later down the track when I started to do production. I probably started releasing shitty Soundcloud songs through my Mac microphone around 2015. Then around 2018 was when I started taking everything more seriously, releasing bodies of work and producing.”
The Perth artist testifies to that fact that his journey and pursual of music has been incredible and undeniably worthwhile. “I’ve loved it, it’s been amazing. It was always something I’ve wanted to do, but I didn’t think it would ever be a reality to be making music and now making money from it. Obviously, it’s a frustrating journey because making music isn’t even half of what you need to do to be able to get your music places. I just try to focus on the music, and I feel that over time, with the right push, it will go to the right places.”
Sowdy studied sound production at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) and is now in his final year of a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations & Marketing. “In terms of marketing, networking, public relations, and everything else that comes with the territory, I’ve always wanted to be hands on and in charge of my art independently. My degree has helped a lot because I’ve been able to figure out how to speak to people in that way in a sense and what to provide them with. It’s definitely helped a lot with the next step for Shine! Records as well, helping me work out how to go about things having my own label.”
Sowdy’s sound is wonderfully energetic and hype, often featuring high tempo beats and vicious, confident lyricism. His most recent solo release, ‘Street Hop’, contains this same vibrancy with a precise balance of strong yet reflective lyrics. “The general concept behind the song is about how my music, my mentality and my approach to art will never be swayed to fit a mould…The track is my manifesto, that I’m focused, hungry and here to stay whether you like it or not.”
Sowdy’s talent as a multi-faceted rapper, producer, sound engineer and songwriter enable him to branch into different forms of hip-hop and rap and not be stuck in a singular repetitive style. “That’s one of the things I’ve always prided myself on, to still sound like me but enter different styles and sub-genres of hip hop, but I guess the music I make is generally hip hop. That’s the best way I can describe it. I feel like my music bridges the gap and creates a harmonious balance between the traditional foundations of hip-hop, mixed with the new and exciting direction the music is going currently.”
The WA artist says he has a lot planned for 2022 and ‘Street Hop’ was only one of the releases lined up, being a single off of Sowdy’s much anticipated solo album ‘Paint The City Purple’. ‘Stay Safe’ with K Tha Sovereign and ‘Shmoney’ with Issa Gold will also be included on the album, estimated to be dropping towards the end of the year. “I’ve just been working on the album for ages. That was originally going to be the album I released before Macks Martin and I linked up for ‘Picture Show’. My solo album took the back burner for a bit, but now I’m back into working on that.”
Sowdy has plans to drop a mixtape with K Tha Sovereign and a follow up to ‘Picture Show’ with Martin later this year or early next year. “At the moment, I’m just working on building the Shine! brand for a bit whilst still releasing a few singles here and there, before the album.”
“I’ve always wanted to have my own, not label or collective per se…it’s weird to describe, but a self-sufficient label for artists, only the way it’s run isn’t like a label. The people that I work with have complete creative control and they can collaborate with whoever they want to, and they own all their masters. It’s more so a win-win because I’m building this brand and they’re helping me while I’m helping them push their music. I’d call it an independent label because that’s how we move, and music is released through Shine! Records, but I guess it acts a bit like a platform. For example, I will be taking a managerial role with Macks Martin, as well as providing PR services for his music through Shine! Records.”
Sowdy continues, preaching the importance of creative flexibility for creative minded people and his passion to help facilitate this need. “I’ve just always believed that artists should have creative freedom and I feel like Shine! is a good step in that direction to hopefully see more of this in the future where artists can release what they want when they want, but still get the backing from the industry as well. That’s kind of the goal of Shine!”
The first release through Shine! Records was Sowdy and K Tha Sovereign’s collaboration ‘Stay Safe’, followed by ‘SLIDAA’ by K. “We have a whole lot more music coming out soon. We’re also planning a lot of shows within the next couple of months, not just for myself but for K Tha Sovereign because we wanted to push his single and his other project, but the new restrictions have made it more difficult.
“We’re kind of waiting a bit for it all to die down because when we do have a show, we want it to be properly done and the best experience that it can be, not just for the audience but also for us. It’s a lot more enjoyable when you have a full crowd with no restrictions, so we’ll just play it by year, but we’re working towards quite a few new shows in this first half of the year.”
Sowdy is an artist you will want to keep an eye on as he continues to grow and contribute to the Australian music industry. “Get ready because there’s a lot of new music coming. ‘Paint The City Purple’ coming probably towards the end of the year, I’ve just been working and working on it and making it perfect. Get ready for the Shine! releases too, it’s gonna be big.”
Words & Interview by Liv Declerck