Innocent Until Proven Badass: We Find Out Fast Why Tommy Genesis Is A Force To Be Reckoned With
In a weird way, Tommy Genesis could be compared to these tiny fishes that always dart between through fingers when trying to catch them; she’s wonderfully undisciplined, has a flow too fast, and above all, she’s definitely not meant to be locked up or remain stagnant. The young Canadian, whose seemingly innocent face blends the best of its Scandinavian and Indian origins, already swims in a much larger pool than you’d expect. Having sparked interest from the more seasoned in the rap game—some in thank to being a part of Atlanta’s Awful Records collective—she came through with a serious punch from seemingly nowhere with the release of her debut album World Vision. To sum it up (although TG really shouldn’t be summed up at all) the project holds such intricate talent with subtle yet elaborate metaphors, top-flight productions, impeccable flow, and striking atmosphere… The incredible Tommy Genesis, with her good sense of being incredibly relatable and well-balanced, left us with an indescribably delightful taste that lingers long after the final track ends on World Vision. On the eve of the release of her next two EPs, we can’t wait to flavor more…
What do people need to know about you?
I am just an artist, a musician. I make art. It’s very simple. I’ve always been making things, even when I had other jobs, or when I was going to school. At this point in my life, it has turned into something I can do for fun, and that supports me at the same time, and that’s very cool.
It honestly kind of happened to me. I didn’t try to get into music.
How have you gotten into music?
It honestly kind of happened to me. I didn’t try to get into music. I was painting and drawing, which ended at a certain point, because there are not lots of opportunities for either a drawer or a painter. I’ve always been writing and recording myself, and I’ve just had people in my life, which came along and were like “I really like this beat, can I use this? Do you want to collaborate?”… they’ve just been friends honestly. From that, other people start believing in me. I’ve never really believed in myself when it comes to music just because it’s just something I like to do for fun.
And then you met Father?
Yes. He was one of the people who just believed in me. He was listening to my music from afar and reached out to me. At the time I wasn’t going to make more music, but we made a song together and it kind of just blended organically.
Who are the producers you chose to work with?
I don’t really have any concept of with whom I’m supposed to be working, I just think that if I like the way it sounds and if I want to be on it, then I hit back. A lot of people at Awful are like “don’t send me beats, I’ll make my own”. To a certain extend, I understand it coz you kind of receive so many beats you have to filter through, but I always personally go through them. I won’t answer to everyone that sends me a beat, but if I fuck with the beat, then I use it. I think it’s cool if everyone can collaborate. When people I don’t know send me beats, no matter who they are, where they are from or what they look like, if they are a boy or a girl, if they have accounts on social media or not – I don’t give a fuck: If I dig the beat, I’ll use it. That’s what happened for World Vision III: this one kid, who hit me up, produced every track. He came to me 8 months ago with one track and I loved it so much that he gave me 14 tracks in total. We made the entire album together.
This guy you just told me about, has he produced the tracks on World Vision II too?
No, he only worked on World Vision III. World Vision II is basically made up of my own productions, and with people I can’t name yet.
I know that you hate being put into categories, but if you had to describe the artist you are in a few words?
I don’t hate being put into categories. I think people always do it. You just have to not care. In a word, I would say, I’m raw because I try to keep my performances crude. I also have a lot of phrases I use repeatedly to describe myself…
In my favorite song, Eden, you say you’re a “white angel in a heavy weight realm”…
You love Eden, that’s crazy! I produced this song. This phrase says so much about me. I always use the demon / angel concept because I always felt I have a duality in me. There is the evil genesis and the very good girl, and I got to choose between them. The nickname “Babyface propaganda” (Instagram) comes from everyone saying: “oh you look like such a baby”, but that’s just propaganda, that’s face value…
What is your relationship with art?
Art has really helped me through a lot of dark phases in my life. When you’re going though shit, people want to help and understand you, but sometimes they just can’t, and you just feel really alone. I was lucky because even if I felt alone, I never really was because I had art. I know that sounds weird, but that’s really just the way it’s been since I was a little girl. I would rather hang out with myself and make stuff than play with other kids, even though my parents begged me to go outside. If I’m going through something, I just sit down and write poetry. Putting it all on paper has always been very therapeutic for me, and I also think there is a lot of power in speaking. And rapping is almost like an incantation. You write it down and it means something, but when you say it out loud, you give it that extra power. You give it a second life. It lives on the paper, but when you put it out into the world, you give it an eternal life, simply because it will exist on the Internet, and people can listen to it whenever they want. I didn’t realize this power of music before.
Do you still paint?
Yes! I’m about to set up a studio and start painting again.
Why don’t you make your own albums artworks?
I could, but lately, it has been hard to sit down and take time to paint, since I’ve been traveling a lot back and forth, between Canada, L.A, Atlanta… I also had to finish my album… There’s not enough time for everything… I also need to sleep and to see the people in my life, so I’m kind of looking forward to the end of the European tour to get back home and set up my studio.
Fashion is indeed a part of your life. What does your style say about you?
I have no idea. I’m not a kid who’s ever thought about fashion. I have friends who really are into fashion and know all the designers, but I always dress like this. Fashion has just been my own identity. It’s just a way to express myself. It’s coincidental in my case… my outfits are who I am. At the end of the day, I wear what I think is cute. I don’t overthink it.
Art has really helped me through a lot of dark phases in my life.
You mostly talk about dark subjects. Is that due to things you’ve been through, or is it simply related to your personality?
I don’t choose to focus on these subjects. I just follow my feelings on the present moment. It depends on what I’m going through. I’m not the type of artist that tries and sets out things. I just sit down and write if that makes sense.
You talk about sex a lot. Why don’t you talk more about love, for example?
Maybe I will! The conversations I have with people now are based on what I’ve already made / am making. But people don’t know much about me… they’re just looking at 10 tracks. I’m working on new things, and I think that when I made World Vision, I was in a certain mind space, and now I’m not there anymore. I don’t discipline myself, when it comes to making things… I’m not just like “you can’t talk about sex anymore”… I’m just very “acceptive’” of what I want to make. But I would say, looking back on what I’ve made, it definitely is who I was back a year ago. When you grow and move towards other things, what you do is different. WVII and WVIII will be different in that sense.
Your songs, to who are they addressed to?
I’ve only ever really experienced heartbreak once, and it wasn’t even with somebody I was in an intimate relationship with… I just lost my best friend. I write a lot of my songs with her in mind. I’ll love her forever. A lot of my darkness comes from my childhood or from that relationship. The cool thing about writing is that you can really decide what emotions you want to evoke, but you can also alter other people’s perception of you in a certain way. You can write a track for someone and only one person can get it, or you can write a track for everyone to feel the way you’re feeling. Sometimes you’re successful on making people feel certain emotions… sometimes you just can’t control it. But I don’t think that’s a failure, that’s a part of the making of things. There’s no control environment when it comes to music.
There’s no control environment when it comes to music.
You’re one of the rare boss ladies imposing themselves in hip-hop. How do you feel about that?
I just think that if you focus on being a girl, then it becomes about you being a girl, and not about the music you make. I can honestly say that when I have shows and see crowds of girls, it really makes me the happiest. I love that girls fuck with me, and I do it a lot for girls. I don’t write to empower girls… I think we’re already powerful. There is already a new platform for us and I’ve not dealt with much controversy of me being a girl, and I don’t know if that’s because I don’t pay attention, but I don’t think about my role in that way… I’m just trying to be me, and I think that we’re all equals, boys and girls.
Which artist inspires you the most?
My friends are the ones who inspire me the most.
If you had to collaborate with someone tomorrow, who would it be?
I don’t have any dream collaboration in mind… I care more about meeting people and discovering their music than collaborating with someone big. But, I would really love to work with some French rappers though!
How does that work when you create a track?
Sometimes, I have the lyrics first. It was the case for Angelina… I picked some phrases from a diary I kept a year ago. I also wrote Shepherd a year ago. Usually, I write the verses once I have the beat. What I like is to have concepts for my songs first. I sometimes have them months before I make anything. Sometimes I just sit down angry and make a beat and write angry lyrics for the angry beat… It depends.
Is your work evolving throughout the years?
In good ways and bad ways, for sure. I think that the spotlight on my work is very small right now, and until I release more, I don’t think I can talk about a real evolution, but if you listen to older songs, you’ll see differences in terms of production. My lyrics have kind of always been weird (laughs).
When will World Vision II and World Vision III be released?
It’s near, I’ve just been redoing it a bunch. There is no date for the release, but WVII and WVIII will be dropped close in date to one another. I would like it to be right after the summer, but it depends on how everything goes. There is no rush on it. I’m in control of everything. Until I’m sure that it is the sound I want, I’m not going to release them.
Are there many features on these two albums?
Yes. More than on WVI!
How do you feel about your upcoming European tour?
I’m super excited. I just performed 7 concerts in Germany. I had so much fun! The kids there are psycho, I can’t explain it, and I just adore how hard they go! I’m also very excited to perform in Paris…
Do you have projects for after the tour?
In July, I’ll be traveling a lot between home and Europe, and then, August will be dedicated to mixing and finalizing the albums.
What could be your next artistic challenge?
I am not looking for challenges… I just do my own things. I think the most important thing is about where you are in your heart and in your mind, day to day. The most beautiful challenge to me is not doing things for other people, but just doing this art and music for yourself…