Hush Forte: The ‘Look Closely’ Interview
An exciting and unsurprisingly different sound coming out of Florida, Hush Forte is an emerging artist, composer, and multi-instrumentalist on the come up. Coming from a Jamaican background, he draws from influences such as Andre 3000, Frank Ocean, and Pharrell to name a few. Through his alternative and outgoing melodies, Hush Forte establishes himself in a realm of his own.
2019 saw the release of Hush Forte’s very first mixtape, Ardor, which runs slightly under thirty minutes. The full-length release contained no features, just different sides of the artist as he continues to carve out a formidable catalog. Songs like “Summer Girl” and “Dominicana,” which are some of Hush Forte’s most popular records, easily put his elite artistry on display.
With the release of Look Closely, his debut project via AWAL, Hush Forte brings forth some of his best material to date. The conceptual and intimate LP peels back layers that delve into different parts of his life. Hush Forte enlists the likes of Love Mansuy, Saint Lyor, Q, and more for the 11-track offering. ” It’s a full range of the things I feel as a human,” he shared. “Overall the project is based on a realization I had – that when I feel stuck I need to tap into the curiosity and courage I had as a kid to overcome these feelings.”
Ahead of his debut album, we got to chop it up with Hush Forte in regards to his Florida upbringing, new project, and more! Check out the conversation below.
Walk me through your childhood, what was it like growing up?
Growing up in South Florida I was fortunate enough to have a pretty well-rounded experience. My mom and dad made sure I was always busy. I spent most of my time playing football and basketball, taking piano lessons, drawing, and doing creative stuff at the house. School always had to come first though. My folks didn’t play about that. I was kind of sheltered in a way. I made most of my friends playing sports but if I wasn’t doing that I’d just kind of be alone, letting my imagination run wild at the crib.
Being from Florida, your sound and style are vastly different from what many would typically expect. Who or what do you cite as influence or inspiration for your music?
I get asked this all the time. I’ve always felt different from my Florida peers – like even outside of music. I think it comes from me just wanting to prove to myself that there’s more to the world than what goes on locally. I think also just being rebellious by nature I didn’t want to be looked at as just another local artist. I was hella tired of hearing everything sounding the same in my area. As far as artists who inspire me it’s ppl who break rules and blend genres unapologetically – Kanye, Kendrick, Pharrell, Andre 3000, Frank – but who haven’t they influenced if we’re being honest.
“Far Away” and “Frustration” serve as some of the first singles you shared ahead of the project. How does it set the tone for your upcoming LP?
They set the tone of authenticity. They both paint a picture of a moment in life for me. I want whoever is listening to just walk through my life with me for a little. Frustration shows more of my impatience while Far Away shows more of a delicate side of me. I want everything from production to the lyrics to feel like experiencing me in person.
You’ve got features from the likes of Q and Love Mansuy amongst others, how did you go about picking who all you wanted on your project? Was there any artist, in particular, you had the most fun creating with?
Every artist featured is someone I’m actually friends with outside of this music shit. We connect on a human level and outside of them liking my sound they were drawn to who I am as a person and vice versa. Native Son, Saint Lyor, Q, Love Mansuy, Sophie, are real-life people I enjoy talking to. Even Tempest, who did some background vocals for me. I’m inspired by them. I’m a fan of them. On top of that, I think they added energy to the project I wouldn’t have been able to add myself.
An artist’s debut album is a special moment in their career—can you discuss some of the things that you wanted to capture through this release?
I wouldn’t call Look Closely my debut album necessarily. It was really just about me being open about the feelings I was dealing with while working on the project itself. I had moments of doubt, fear, feeling impatient, feeling skeptical. Having imposter syndrome. Struggling to be vulnerable. I had moments of being grateful and even moments of feeling on top of the world.
It’s a full range of the things I feel as a human. Overall the project is based on a realization I had – that when I feel stuck I need to tap into the curiosity and courage I had as a kid to overcome these feelings. This same curiosity is what led me to finally experiment with my vocals. Without this curiosity, I would have never been able to finish this project.
What message would you like to give to your fans and family who’ve been paying close attention to your career this past year or so?
I want people to know that anything I put out is going to be 100% me. I won’t make anything hoping that people will like it. I’m just giving people what I really feel and resonate with. I will only make and release things because it’s what I wanted to hear. If the music sounds different than what you expect it’s because I’m evolving. But if you expect me to evolve, which you should, nothing will be a surprise to you.
If you enjoyed our interview with Hush Forte, check out our chat with Aria Bleu!