Out Of Touch, the latest offering from Phabo with a Shaé Universe feature, is the soulful RnB track that sees the artist show off his poetic flow on a relationship that doesn’t seem to find the time to work itself out. The singer and songwriter has the ability to submerge his soft-spoken voice into casually sultry lyrics, which are matched with the fuzzy quality of his accompanying visualisers. Since the release of his album “Soulquarius” in 2021, Phabo has continued to pursue music with his emotions at the forefront, notably on his 2023 track Scorpio Moon. Today, we caught up with the artist to talk about his beliefs in astrology, his musical and visual inspirations as well as future projects.
What’s up Phabo? You’ve had a busy year so far, with 5 different new singles already out. What’s your motto for this year?
The Motto is to follow your North Star by any means. Whatever you have to do to put your integrity and your artistry at the forefront of your life, do it.
You grew up with an eclectic mix of music surrounding you, notably derived from your own dad’s personal taste, but your music has a leaning toward neo-soul and RnB. What about those particular genres speak to you?
I feel like the music I grew up on moulded me into the person I am today. I was also big on texture and aesthetic growing up and R&B music of that time was so rich and detailed that it’s something I can feel till this day.
You travelled around quite a bit as a kid, being born in San Diego, then moving to St. Petersburg, Florida, then moving back to California at 16, this time in Long Beach. Do you feel like these cities have impacted you as a person today and the way you approach music making?
Most definitely. I feel like each city contributed to my music in a major way whether it was Mitchy Slick’s ‘Imperial’, Tom G’s ‘City Boy Wit It’, or Dom Kennedy and Nip’s entire catalogue.
You’re clearly into astrology, with your last album being titled “Soulquarius”, but for you it goes deeper than just asking “what’s your sign” How do you interpret astrology and the signs?
I feel like even if you don’t fully believe in astrology, there are just certain traits that can’t be ignored that pertain to each individual sign. Though the world’s population is immense, I’ve met many people with different zodiacs and the characteristics for each sign have been incredibly similar. And though I hate generalising, it makes it easy to sing about my experiences in a broad way.
Your music videos have a certain vintage quality to them, such as seen in the visualizers for The Web and Luv Me Back, as well as having a particular editing style where visuals are superimposed and sometimes flipped around. Where does this style come from?
The style comes from early Tony Hawk pro skater promos as well as rollouts I had grown up seeing. I want all my visualizers to feel like an album tracklist ticker should be rolling simultaneously. Almost like the ones we grew up watching when BET had to cut to commercials and pay bills.
Do you have any artists that inspire you, both musically and visually?
B.Slade, Kehlani, Nipsey Hussle, Tyler, The Creator, Drake, and anything Hype Williams related.
Let’s talk about collaborations and features. You’ve worked with plenty of different artists, such as DESTIN CONRAD and most recently Jordan Hawkins. When do you know that it’s right to collaborate with someone? Is it a feeling you get when first meeting them? Or does it develop after a few jam sessions?
It’s definitely a feeling I get when first meeting someone. I have to know that you’re equally as serious and dedicated before committing to a collaboration. If I’ve agreed to a collab, the test was passed with flying colours.
Who is someone you hope to be able to collaborate with one day? Whether on a song, on a music video or at any capacity.
I hope to work with Drake one day. I feel like that’s what music needs right now.
Music can mean a lot of things for different people. For some it’s a way of escaping, for others it’s a way of coming to terms with feelings, while some utilise it to spread joy in this world. What does your music mean to you and how do you hope people receive it?
Music initially started out as an escape for me. I didn’t care much for the exposure or anything like that early on. But when I realised what I could bring to the table and what my purpose was it became imperative for me to do everything the right way or as close to that as possible. I just hope that the music I create inspires more artists to be themselves and not be afraid to try.
We’ve already seen a lot from you this year, but we’re hoping for a lot more. So tell us, what are you working on for this year? Perhaps a new album?
I have a completed project I plan to drop very soon that I’ve been working on for the last 3 years. It’s not a follow up to “Soulquarius”, but more so a warning not to get too cosy while my wheels are still hot and turning. I’m excited to show the world what all the Polaris Way is capable of this year.
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