Hey guys, what's up? Back in, dishin' out another 411 with my homie Taiyo Na!
Taiyo Na is an MC, singer, songwriter and producer based out of New York City, NY. Having played at venues around the country, Taiyo has become an acclaimed musician for his creative lyrics and down-to-earth vibes in his music. Having also been a part of Kollaboration NY 2009, Taiyo gained more exposure in the NYC underground music scene. He took sometime from his busy schedule to answer a few questions!
How long have you been doing music for? Are you doing it professionally or independently?
I’ve been rhyming since I was 13 years old, but performing music seriously, I’d say for about 7 years or so.
What style of music do you generally play?
It ranges from straight up hip-hop to live band music to acoustic soul and folk, but the overarching “style” would be hip-hop, more or less. I’m not really into categories though.
How did you first get involved in music?
There isn’t really a simple way to answer that, but when I was a young teen, kids in my school and around my neighborhood were into rhyming, and I dug it, so I wanted to do it, too. It wasn’t until later though, like 19 years old, where I bought my first guitar, and I felt like I needed to write songs. Not just raps and poems, but songs, and that happened because of a number of reasons coming together making it something I had to do because I really felt it in my bones.
What made you decide to starting YouTubing your musical talent?
I have to thank my younger brother for that. I personally am not good with computers or technology as a whole, and I had some footage around, and my brother helped me put them up because he’s good at that sort of thing. Other friends, too, helped me put my work up.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
There are so many. Right now, it’d be everybody in my “home:word” crew, which is a loose collective of musicians that include myself, Magnetic North, Charles Kim, Jaron Lum, Sam Guenjin Kang, Abe Kim, Scooter Oyama, Vudoo Soul and Cynthia Lin.
How does it feel to be getting all this support from people for doing what you do?
It’s wonderful. A real blessing, and I’m humbled by it constantly, especially as of late.
Is there ANY musician that you would like to do a collaboration with in the future?
Many. All my idols, the greats like Prince, Stevie, Bill Withers, D’angelo, Alicia. I think music is all about collaboration, so if I want to keep making music, you better believe I’m going to be collaborating all the time.
You took part in Kollaboration NY last year, how was that experience?
It was good. It was important for it to have been as big as it was in NY because NY hasn’t seen something like that from young Asian Americans. It was an important step in the right direction. I greatly respect that whole movement. I do have to say, however, that I am not a big fan of the whole competition aspect of Kollaboration. I joke with friends that they should call it “Kompetition” and not Kollaboration because it’d be truer to their program. I hope they don’t take offense to that though. It’s just me. I’m not a super competitive guy when it comes to art and music. I believe music is something you contribute to people’s lives, rather than compete for.
What has been your most popular cover on YouTube?
“No Woman, No Cry”
Your most popular original song on YouTube?
“Lovely to Me (Immigrant Mother)”
I imagine you have a lot of music tastes; what do you normally play on your iPod and/or when you’re at home?
It’s changing all the time. Right now, I have The Roots, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Erykah Badu and Miles Davis.
Where’s the one place where you can go and get your creative flow going in order to write/create music?
I don’t know, man. I think that place finds you. You just have to make sure your antennae is on, and when it hits you, let that shit flow. Otherwise, fellow musicians who you vibe well with are a great place, too.
Who is your closest musician friend, and how did you two meet?
Vudoo Soul, or Vu. Across coasts, he’s still my brother, man. We met doing this little musical/play together where we played best friends, and we have stayed in those roles ever since. We balance each other out and vibe off that. He gets up at 2 or 3 pm to start his day; I get up at 7 or 8 am. He likes wearing white shoes; I like wearing brown shoes. But at the heart of it all, he passionately wants to keep growing as an artist, and so do I, and that’s where we connect.
What do you do in your spare time when you’re not playing music?
Run, exercise, play basketball, watch movies, read books. Different things.
What do you hope to accomplish while being involved in music?
Just keep being true to me, and always grow, progress.
Do you have any final words for the readers?
Thanks for checking this out, and please be on the look out for the new Magnetic North x Taiyo Na album coming in May 2010! It’s called Home:Word, and it’s going to be bananas!
Thanks to Taiyo for the interview, and thank you for continuing to support!