Early Career and Influences
The Genesis of 'PU':
Reflecting on his formative years, the artist formally known as "PU" opens up about his turbulent youth and its impact on his initial musical style. He candidly admits that while his early lyrics were meaningful, they lacked the maturity that now defines his music. This early phase was marked by a portrayal of a life deeply entangled in personal struggles.
Sharing Stages with Icons:
PU recalls the mixed experiences of performing alongside mainstream artists in the early 2000s. These encounters, a mix of admiration and harsh industry realities, played a significant role in shaping his outlook on the music world.
Challenges and Hiatus
Group Dynamics and the First Hiatus:
PU's first break from music was prompted by the challenges of managing a group with diverse personal issues. He describes the difficulties of aligning the group's focus, ultimately leading to his decision to step away.
Family Over Fame:
PU's second hiatus was influenced by his transition into family life. The responsibilities of marriage and fatherhood, coupled with financial pressures, necessitated a shift away from music towards more stable employment.
Themes in Music
Exploring Mental Health:
In "Hopeless Nights," PU delves into the complexities of depression and anxiety, drawing inspiration from personal and close experiences. His lyrics resonate with authenticity, reflecting a deep understanding of these emotional states.
Complex Topics in Lyrics:
PU's love for reading fuels his lyrical content, often weaving themes of religion, current events, and philosophy into his music, aiming to connect with listeners on a deeper level.
Incorporation of Philosophical and Religious Elements
Philosophical and Religious References:
PU integrates references to figures like Plato and Buddhist themes in his songs, stemming from his personal interests in philosophy and ancient wisdom. This approach adds a layer of depth to his music.
Artistic Style and Lyrical Prowess
Evolving Lyrical Style:
PU emphasizes the importance of uniqueness and message in his lyrics. He criticizes the superficial content of contemporary rap and aspires to create music that is both impactful and a true reflection of life's soundtrack.
Lyric Crafting Process:
PU describes a spontaneous process of lyric writing, guided by the mood and message of the music he works with.
Current Projects and Future Plans
Future Collaborations and Projects:
With increasing recognition, PU is planning an album featuring indie and underground artists. He highlights a recent collaboration with artist Paulo, indicating a strategic shift towards more refined production and professional recording.
Looking back, PU identifies the current phase of his career as the most defining. He emphasizes his commitment to producing quality music and connecting with his audience on a personal level.
Balancing Growth and Identity:
PU strives to align his personal growth with his artistic identity, maintaining authenticity in both his personal life and musical expression.
Social Media Engagement
Despite challenges in navigating the platform, PU values the unique indie music community on Twitter and strives to engage positively with fans and fellow artists.
PU shares how genuine connections on Twitter have positively influenced his music and collaborations.
Influence of Digital Platforms
Digital Reach and Impact:
PU acknowledges the significant role of platforms like Twitter in expanding his reach and enabling valuable interactions with fans and fellow artists.
Balancing Personal and Artistic Expression:
He focuses on aligning his personal and artistic expressions on social media, carefully steering clear of polarizing topics like politics and religion.
Fan Interaction and Feedback
Navigating Online Feedback:
PU approaches online feedback with caution, distinguishing between genuine criticism and baseless negativity.
Inspiration from Social Media:
He shares how a recent interaction on Twitter sparked an idea for a new song, showcasing the platform's potential to influence his creative process.
Interview with PU
Early Career and Influences
Can you take us through your early days as "Sin" and how those experiences shaped your music?
My early days as an artist going by “Sin” shaped me into who I am today. I was a kid, a kid that got into a lot of trouble so my music back then although filled with meaningful lyrics did not reach the stage of maturity I am at now. I spoke about a different life, a life that I was involved in and a life that I thought I had to portray. Today my songs and lyrics have grown or blossomed into a mature reflection on the human experience.
How did sharing stages with mainstream artists in the early 2000s impact your musical journey?
This was meaningful when I was a teenager, this gave me so called bragging rights. The truth of the matter was the music industry could be a shady place with people trying to take advantage of you at every turn. Performing in a club in the Bronx at 17 filled with liquor and free drinks and seeing your idols at the same venue on the same stage but not caring about you or your craft because I was a child in their minds. Some were cool, others were not. I will not mention any names though.
What were some of the significant challenges you faced in your circle that led to your brief hiatus?
My first hiatus came because I was in a group of about 3-5 of us that I started but it got increasingly difficult to try to manage a group of 5 young individuals who each had unique problems and challenges. One of our members was always lazy, another in and out of jail, another we could never get in touch with and then when I could get us all in the studio at the same time, all of us including myself were young minded and partying and drinking so 5 hours in the studio would be wasted by us just partying. After that I decided it was best to just walk away as, we were not as serious as we needed to be, myself included.
How did balancing music with family responsibilities influence your decision to take another break from the industry?
Getting married was huge to me, a big step forward in an otherwise negative life. Then My children came along and money plays an incredible role in family and supporting those that depend on you. Music was not paying the bills. Sure, I enjoyed music as I always have but when I can barely afford diapers for my kids, and its a struggle to put on your table you must make sacrifices. My sacrifice was music, I took on “real” 9-5 jobs and they took up so much time and so much of my life that I had no energy to create music or record. I still messed around for fun and made songs occasionally but I stepped back entirely for many many years to focus on family.
Themes in Music
Your track "Hopeless Nights" delves into depression and anxiety. What inspired you to explore these themes in your music?
I have people close to me that suffer from depression. I am not going to say who exactly out of respect for their privacy. But my line in “Hopeless Nights” that says “It hurts when I hear the words, feel like I should die” is true when I hear someone close to me suffering it saddens me, and it hurts me to have someone close to me hurting. I also suffer from OCD and have experience in dealing with intrusive thoughts and I have had I guess what some would call as bouts of depression. My song is a reflection of life and my personal experience. Every work spoken and every emotion conveyed is real and from the heart.
How do you approach writing about complex topics like religion, current events, and philosophy in your lyrics?
I love to read. Because I love to read and learn these sort of topics are of interest to me. I do not approach with an intent to include such topics but they come out and when they do some catch them and find meaning in it and some listeners will not care or understand. Some may learn something. I just want to connect with people through my music. If I can make a connection to the listener than I did my job or accomplished what I set out to do.
Can you share more about how you integrate references to figures like Plato and Buddhist themes in your songs?
Again, it is not always intentional but I have an interest in these topics. Philosophy, Simulation theory, religion, ancient wisdom etc. In “The Hollows Lyrical Showcase” I speak about Jesus, I make a reference to the allegory of the cave which fascinates me as well. I also have interests in Buddhism, Taoism and many others topics as well.
How has your lyrical style evolved over the years, and what drives your unique wordplay?
Uniqueness and quality of lyrics plus message is what drives me. A lot of rappers today just rhyme words or say things that do not even rhyme. Some just talk about the same old thing, some just string words together without meaning or substance. That drives me crazy, throughout history songs have shaped our lives and they still should be the soundtrack to our life and I would love to be a part of that.
What is your process for crafting lyrics that reflect on the human experience in an intelligent and rhythmically engaging way?
I cant say that I actually have a process. I let the music speak to me. A beat tells me what it wants me to write I do not argue with it.
With your tracks gaining traction, what are your plans for future projects or collaborations?
I pushed out a bunch of singles and just wanted to make a presence for myself at first. Now that I have done that in a small way, it is time to work on an album and include some features from the indie music or underground world. I also was just featured on 2 songs by Paulo one of which will be on his album. His twitter is @attaboypaulo
How do you envision the future of your music, and are there any new themes or styles you're eager to explore?
I try new things here and there. For the future of my music I will focus a lot on production. Focus on making sure each song is recorded and mastered in an extremely professional manner.
Looking back on your musical journey, what moments stand out as most defining for you as an artist?
Right now, I think. I mean looking back, I had many experiences from going to multimillion dollar studios, to meeting famous rappers, speaking with artists from other genres etc. However, right now I am taking my craft serious, I am doing this for more than just the sake of making music, my goal is to connect with the listener, my goal is to make quality music, My aim is to grow my fan base while pushing out impactful songs with crafty lyrics and show the world who I am as an artist. Every person who like my music or considers themself a fan means the world to me. If I only ever have just 1 fan in the world than I will make my music the best it can be for that 1 person to enjoy!
How do you balance your personal growth with your evolving artistic identity?
I think personally we all are constantly growing. I try not to put on a persona with my music, so my musical identity as well as my personal growth should align together. I try to be genuine and real. Sometimes I can get a little cocky but that is hip hop and that is the nature of the music. However, I will not rap about riches and cars and all that because lets be honest people might aspire to have those things but who is relating to that besides mainstream artists that have that? I rap about my real life and if that means that I am rapping about having no money and struggling than that is real. Both personally and artistically, I am always trying to grow and keep the 2 aligned in harmony.
I have to admit, I love Twitter/X but I have no clue what I am doing. I do not really understand how to grow it, how the algorithm works or anything. Sometimes it feels like I am speaking or rather tweeting into an endless void. I sometimes feel my account gets ghost banned with no impressions or views on posts. Twitter has a unique indie music community which some of them can be very cliquey. I do not know where I fit in on Twitter but I try to engage all and be positive and hope that I make a connection to some.
Can you share a memorable experience or feedback from your followers on Twitter that impacted you or your music?
I would say connection. I have found some that are real genuine and unique individuals who are not only promoting themselves but helping a community of artists as a whole. That is real impactful, especially when someone reaches out to you and wants to collar with you. That can have a positive impact on your music.
Influence of Digital Platforms
Reach. These platforms help you reach people that you otherwise might not know or have access to. You can engage in conversation and ask others for feedback on your musical journey and that is invaluable to an artist and they all should take advantage of that.
How do you navigate the balance between sharing your music and personal thoughts on social media, especially on Twitter?
Again, I try to align the two. My personal feelings and artistic feelings are generally the same. However, I will not usually engage in conversation about politics or religion.
I am unsure. The internet is a brutal place if it is genuine feedback one should be able to take constructive criticism however the internet is filled with some that just want to bash people or hate on them. Take everything with a grain of salt and I try to judge what is genuine from what is backhanded.
Have you ever been inspired to write a song based on a conversation or trend you saw on your Twitter feed?
Yes. In fact yesterday, I was watching a video from 2 creators who do a show where they listen to inside music. The beginning of that show has a line they repeat and it sticks in my head. I toyed with the idea of asking them to sample the clip of their intro to use as an intro to a song I want to create. I have not reached out to them yet in regard to it but maybe now I will. The name of their show is “Spin it up”
The PU Socials