We connected with Strivfe, a talented rapper, singer-songwriter and producer from Wilmington, DE, for an exclusive interview to discuss his newly released album “Retro Pop Future”, as well as his inspirations to create such DOPE music, and much more.
After reading our Q&A with Strivfe, be sure to connect with him on IG, listen to the “Retro Pop Future” album, and check out our in-depth review of this incredible piece of art!
If you had to describe your musical style to a stranger in three words, which ones would you select?
Timeless, Melodic and Eclectic. For one; my music has a timeless quality to it. Even songs that I’ve created years ago have maintained the ability to feel “current” and really reflect the spirit of place or atmosphere in which it was created.
Secondly, my music is highly melodic – which I believe is one of the most important factors in songwriting and which has been a mainstay within my music since the jump. Melody within music really has the ability to capture a listener’s attention – even subconsciously. Which is also why many of our favorite songs which may have a catchy hook or a memorable verse - even songs a decade or older - maintain that “timeless” feel.
Lastly, my music is eclectic and has been influenced by the many different genres and styles of music that I grew up listening to. As a kid one of my favorite flavors of music was doo wop and Motown. When everyone else my age was listening to Top 50 pop and hip-hop radio hits I was listening to 50’s, 60’s and 70’s doo wop and Motown music; everything from Frankie Lymon to The Platters to Gene Chandler and from Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons to The Beach Boys. Listening to these vocal acts from that era has certainly helped to shape my overall sound and musical abilities.
We're huge fans of your new album "Retro Pop Future"; congrats on its release. Tell us about your creative process for the album's 13 tracks.
Thank you for the kind words. I really appreciate the support and I’m glad you’re rocking with the album! Regarding my creative process; when I set out to make a song I generally like to listen to the instrumental on repeat until I come up with the right melody and I usually create the hook first. This can sometimes take awhile as I freestyle until I find the perfect fit “so-to-speak”.
Once I have determined the right melody I begin reverse-engineering and writing the lyrics from there. I firmly believe that melody within a song is extremely important almost more so than lyrics - not only for its catchiness and ability to reel the listener in but for the fact that sound and “tones” can make you feel a song – and remember it - even if you don’t understand the lyrics. It has a primal quality to it.
Tell us about the incredible artwork that accompanies each of the album's songs. Why is it important that these visuals go along with the audio?
I’ve always been an extremely creative person and have been, since a child, involved in some type of creative pursuit or another. When I was younger, I wanted to be a “cartoonist” and was a highly skilled illustrator, draftsmen and painter and also a fan of the cartoon “Ed, Edd & Eddy”. Being such a fan and having these skill sets led me to do some Sherlock Holmes style sleuth work online… until I found a community of people also interested in the same topics. From there, I found several individuals who also wanted to be cartoonists and loved the same show that I did. Needless to say we clicked and would spend hours upon hours writing scripts for Ed Edd & Eddy fan created cartoons, creating comic-strip style storyboards and eventually animating the shows within Adobe Flash including voice actors! Eventually I lost interest in animating and moved into music as a new creative outlet.
I still maintain the relationships I formed during these years. One of the people I used to animate with stuck with it and still does to this day. His name is Kevin Lordi and he is super DOPE and incredibly talented. He is the creator of the graphic art associated with the songs. The cover art for each song is hella important because it visually provides a clue to the topic or vibe of each song and is a visual way to engage the listener, web surfer or internet traveler.
What are some things that inspire your creativity as a music and visual artist?
Life and everything in it. Really, it is that simple! Art is life and life is art.
How was it decided which artists would be featured on the particular songs on the album?
I have worked with many different artists and emcees from across the country in the past. However, this time I wanted to make an album that contained features from my fellow Delawareans and one that represents “The Delaware Sound”.
There are many areas across the country that have a distinct hip-hop sound or vibe ascribed to them such as Philadelphia, The Bay Area, Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, etc. But Delaware has not yet achieved that notoriety. Each of the artists featured on these tracks brings a skill-set or quality to each song which makes it better than it would be without; and all of them are quite famous within the local hip-hop scene in Delaware and the greater tri-state/Philadelphia areas.
Will you be releasing any visuals for the songs on "Retro Pop Future"?
Sure will! I currently have three music videos in the works. The first of which is for “Coastal Highway”, which will depict the vibe, energy and summertime “feel-good” lifestyle of the Delaware Beaches and Ocean City, Maryland Areas. This video should be dropping within the next several weeks and is currently in post-production.
The second video will be for “Reflections” and will likely drop sometime in the next two months. The third video currently in the works is an animated cartoon style video for “Summer Serenade” and is similar to ones I’ve had done in the past.
Obviously, my mans Kevin Lordi will be the artist crafting this gem! We are aiming to have this completed within two months as well. I’ll definitely keep ya’ll posted when we’re ready to drop!
A year from now, in August 2020, what do you hope/plan to have accomplished musically by then?
By August of 2020 I will have a larger fan base, have performed in multiple larger-stage venues across the tri-state area and will be at least half-way through my next project which will be bolder, better and catchier than the last a.k.a. Retro Pop Future.