Photo by Roger Richardson
When you think of artists that come from New York, the first place that usually comes to everyone's mind is New York City. The Big Apple, however, doesn't seem to be the only place in New York that is producing a cultural movement. There is a new rise of artists coming from the Hudson Valley and the buzz seems to be getting big. Among these rising artists is Tony E., the young rapper from Beacon, NY.
Tony E. recently released his debut album titled, 'Indulge'. The album is a body of work that, at first listen, is pleasing to the ear. The combination of it's great production, the project's cohesiveness, and Tony's unique vocals make it easy to listen to from start to finish. Anyone listening can hear the amount of time and effort that was put into the making of this project. By the second and third listen, you realize that there's much more to it. 'Indulge' gives you a sense of who Tony E. is and where he came from. It's as if the album is an honest introduction to him as a person, which seems very fitting for a debut.
We got a chance to sit down and talk to Tony E. about his past, his inspirations, the album, and his future plans.
Photo by Roger Richardson
How old are you? Where were you born and raised?
23 years old. And I was born in Poughkeepsie, moved around a majority of my life but for the most part was raised in Beacon.
What school did you go to?
Beacon High School.
Did you get your start with music from high school? When did you actually decide that music was the career path you wanted to pursue?
Well, my dad was a DJ when I was super young. He kept me around music by letting me mess around with his dj equipment, like put the needle on the record and scratch and stuff. I began rapping when I was like 7. I began making beats and recording myself at like 8. But I started taking it more seriously in 10th grade when I linked up with my brother Sage English. From there it was kinda like, "Okay this is what I gotta do with my life.”
Recording yourself at 8? That's wild, dude. I imagine this little tyke rapping about kindergarten and other 8 year old problems. Who would you say are your top 3 biggest influences in your music?
[laughs] Yeah I don't remember most of my songs. I used to record so much. I made my friends be rappers too. In 5th grade I made a song named "princess" for my girlfriend [laughs]. I had all my classmates lit. But top 3 influences I would say are Kanye West, Drake, and Charles Hamilton. But to be honest, it's hard to narrow it down to 3. I feel like I grab inspiration from a bunch of different artists as well as things in life.
Charles Hamilton throws that top 3 off a little.
[laughs] Na Charles is the man despite what people say.
Hey man. If you're making dope art, it doesn't matter who's who when it comes to being influenced. So with the overwhelmingly increasing number of rappers nowadays, how do you think you stay distinct amongst the rest?
I mean to be honest man, I don't know. I know I spend a lot of time and energy into my material. My music is very hands on. If something sounds a certain way in my music, it's cause I wanted it to sound that way.
Have you always had that ability or was it something you picked up along the way?
Well as I recorded more, I learned more about "sound" in general; how to mix my material to make it sound different ways. So it's definitely something I've developed over time.
That's dope though man! I see so many people just try to skate by with being an artist and then they wonder why it never pays off for them. People need to have that willingness to learn more and care about attention to detail. Do you produce all/most of your music or do you have go-to guys that you can trust?
Well as far as the beats, I haven't been producing as many for myself. But mixing is all me and T Swiffa engineering the session.
Did you go to a school to learn mixing or is it all self taught?
I went to school for 3 months. But I'll be honest it didn't help with much [laughs]. I wasn't interested in it at all. I became interested by messing with my own music.
Mixing is a pain in the ass for me, so kudos for knowing your shit man! If you had the chance to collaborate with any producer and any artist who would you choose?
MIKE DEAN, Kanye, Metro, Smashdavid, Major Lazer, and Calvin Harris for producers. Travis Scott, Kanye, Young Thug, Nav, Gab3 (Uzi), Frank Ocean, Earl for artists.
I like that you have some cool diversity in that list! Everything Calvin Harris touches turns to gold.
Yeah he's the man rn.
Photo by Roger Richardson
Dude, this guy's lowkey been the man for the better part of the last 7 years!
I just heard of him to be honest. [laughs]
I feel you. His newest stuff is definitely my favorite from him by far. What keeps you around here in NY? Have you ever thought/wanted to move somewhere like California or Florida?
I've thought about it, but all my connects are in NY. I don't think it'd be worth it at the time. Maybe in the future though.
I get that totally. I saw that Curren$y Spitta (from New Orleans) commented on your track, 'Hunnit'. Are you guys in contact with eachother?
Yeah man that was wavy. I haven't spoke to him yet, but shoutout to spitta for showing love!
Hopefully we see some sort of collab in the future! Speaking of 'Hunnit', I know you just released your brand new full length album, 'Indulge'. What did this project mean to you on an artist level and on a personal level?
Yeah man. That shit actually means a lot to me. I've been working on it for 3 years. A lot of the songs have like sentimental meaning. Plus it kinda documents the past 3-4 years of my life.
Three years?! That's some major patience on your part!
[laughs] Yeah man. It was frustrating at times for sure.
Which song on the album means the most to you?
Yeah man. Lots of emotions in that album [laughs].
I think I speak for most when I say that the people need more projects like 'Indulge'. It says a lot about where you're coming from and the kind of person you are so I can happily tell you that it is appreciated!
Okay last question. What plans do you have now that the album is out? Any tour plans or anything in that nature?
As of now, I just plan on shooting a lot of visuals and staying busy with shows. No "official" tour, but something may be put together down the line.
That sounds dope to me man and I'm sure your fans will appreciate it as well. Also, I wanted to thank you for working everything out and helping make this happen!
Yes yes man. Thank you for having me!