If you’re not hip to multi-instrumentalist and artist-producer combo Corbin Canvas, now is the time to. Originally from Washington, DC, Canvas has been playing instruments since a youth and shared stages with legendary acts such as Earth Wind and Fire and Smokey Robinson to name a few.
In 2019, Corbin Canvas rose to viral acclaim upon the release of his debut project Jive Jive. The 7-track portrait boasts features from Fatima and Craig Hill, and saw singles like “Jive Turkey” do extremely well in terms of playlisting and global spread. Most recently, Corbin Canvas shared a remix of the single featuring Major Lazer member Walshy Fire. Although he hasn’t been dropping a ton of music, Canvas is making sure that every body of work he puts out is truly special.
We had the wonderful opportunity to speak with Corbin Canvas in regards to his upbringing, go-go culture, dream collaborations, and a range of other topics. Read the full interview below.
Tell me a bit about your upbringing in Washington, how has that influenced who you are today?
I lived in Maryland for a bit then I moved to D.C. because of music. Where I went to school, it was all sports and I played sports too, but I was into music more. That’s when I started getting really into my craft so it’s been a crazy journey. I’m at this point now when I first started, I was playing drums, piano, bass, and as a musicians it’s different. Since 2019, I’ve been on this journey and it’s amazing.
Go-go is a prominent subgenre there, did you ever get involved in it or did it shape any of your music?
Absolutely! It’s kind of impossible to be from the DMV and not get involved in the go-go scene. I was really into old-school go-go but Baltimore club and anything in the DMV world, I was on it. When I was 16, it was really just about go-go but now as I’m getting older, the rap scene is getting crazy out here. I know Brent Faiyaz, GoldLink, and all types of artists have their own thing. We just love the music for what is, and we’re not forcing it on other people.
It’s been two years since the release of your debut project, Jive Jive, do you recall what was going on at the time when you were working on it?
Basically, I was living in Boston because I went to Berklee College of Music. I was touring a lot as a drummer and bandleader then I did this festival in Montréal. The lineup was crazy, it was Future, KAYTRANADA, Mac Miller, and so on. Getting to meet all the people and artists at this mansion away from the festival was really dope and I felt like I was the only one that was hype. I was networking, meeting people, and some of the relationships I have now are because of that. They were treating me like the artist and that’s when I started creating.
I produced Jive Jive years ago as an instrumental EP and then I started to write to it in 2019. That was my declaration of who I am, and I released it just for me. I didn’t have a manager, no push, and I dropped it then people started to love it. I actually thought I would have more time before A&R’s would reach out, but it blew up quickly and I was like “woah!” Releasing Jive Jive was me telling myself I’m an artist.
Who do you hope to collaborate with in the future?
My dream collaboration would be like Andree 3000, Kanye West, and I really like Solange. Those three, but I’m also into other types of art like an art gallery and I’m really into future-forward stuff. I want to perform inside of museums; I have a lot of ideas of moving Black music forward. Working with KAYTRANADA would be cool too, but I feel like there’s a possibility that would happen.
What advice do you have for young emerging artists out there who are trying to make it in the music scene?
You just can’t stop. You have to believe, if you really think you have a good idea then do not listen anyone. At the end of the day, you just have to put the work in to see it come to fruition. I just feel like for me, I just protect my creation and know that there are no shortcuts. The more that I just stay focused onw hat I have going on, the better it gets.
If you enjoyed Corbin Canvas, check out our interview with JAEL!