Your debut album Expectations went as high as number 12 on the billboard 200, why did you decide to name this album “ Expectations”?
I felt like this was the right time to make this album, expectations has a double meaning. I had high expectations for myself because I spent a lot of time perfecting my sound for this album, I also feel like throughout my career I have been disappointed by my own and people’s expectations, this album really puts this all together from start to finish.
You performed at the Elysees, Montmartre here in Paris as part of the Expectations tour, which by the way was sold out in Europe. What did you make of the fans in Paris?
I loved my French fans so much! Absolutely wild and so energetic, the fans gave me the proper energy I needed for the show last night and I am so excited to come back again!
Any artist knows it’s a big deal when getting nominated for a VMA, I remember watching your interview live with Terrence J at the VMA’s and the excitement you had, what does it mean to you to win the push artist of the year, in the same category with artists such as SZA and Khalid?
Just getting that nomination was such an incredibly moment for me, it felt like I had arrived. This is all due to my fans that voted for me, it is so humbling to know that your music can impact so many people and they can relate to your journey, so I want to thank my fans. I feel like we did this together.
Let’s talk about the “ what I need “ video ft. Kehlani. First off, what is the environment like when working with such a talented artist like Kehlani? And you also had the privilege of sharing a kiss scene with her while directing this video, did you enjoy that part?
Kehlani is so damn talented! I would say it is an easy going but focused vibe at the same time. I had so much fun working with her and I have to mention that we had to repeat the kissing scene so many times (laughs) but of course I enjoyed it!! She was very patient during the process and handled it quite well!
What is the hardest part about being a female artist in the music industry?
Getting started in the music industry can be hard for any artist, especially as a female artist, we have to go the extra mile to prove to people that we belong here, that can be the downside of this industry, but I love what I do and I put so much time into my technique and artistry, I just want to continue to push the boundaries and grow as an artist.
Shortly after your 25th birthday, you had to carry through a serious concussion. What was it like to go through post concussion syndrome and also deal with depression as well, were there any moments where you doubted yourself and what gave you the strength to come back even stronger?
This was a time when I was truly going through. I had to function without using my whole brain, it’s very upsetting to have something you love get taken away from you. I had to remind myself that regardless of the situation, I just had to keep fighting and trying to move in the right direction.
"I also feel like throughout my career I have been disappointed by my own and people’s expectations, this album really puts this all together from start to finish"
Which song on this album best describes this moment in your life?
“Mercy/Gatekeeper” is a song where I describe my journey through hardship and depression; it takes you from moments where I could not understand the pain I was going through to eventually seeing the light and finally drifting into a more desirable direction.
What city are you most looking forward to performing on the rest of this European tour?
I’m honestly looking forward to every city! The fans make every show so amazing! Feels tremendous to know that you have fans that make every city worth going to.
Being that you have a Japanese background and upbringing, have you visited Japan often?
I actually have not been as of lately, I went to visit my cousins in Japan about 4 years ago and my mom is Japanese! So I plan on going back soon, considering that I have many fans in japan and Asia in general.
Name a few artists that you want to collaborate with in the near future.
I would love to do a song with Childish Gambino, he is so talented and I love all of his music, I certainly feel like we could make a great song together, Post Malone as well! Shout out to Post (laughs).
What is your diet like on tour, do you usually have a plan or do you take what the road offers you?
To be fair I try to watch what I eat on tour but everything you see looks so good and I’m like damn I want that. I have my guilty pleasures but I also try not to overdue it (Laughs).
Let’s take people back through this scene, your in a uber going through Boston after a show, you look out the window and a fan is chasing after you, What is the first thing going through your mind?
Holy crap that is dangerous! I love my fans but that is visibly dangerous! I definitely love the commitment but not sure if I would recommend it (laughs).
Interview by Lenoir Sery Jr