By Harriet Kaplan
Urban hard-rocker, Bizzythowed, has new single out, “GTBO,” which is from his forthcoming EP, Blank Check, Volume I, due out April 8. The Texas-based writer/producer has also played guitar on Grammy-award winner, The Weeknd’s, album Beauty Behind the Madness (“Best Urban Contemporary Album”). Bizzythowed has worked alongside some of the music industry’s biggest names, including Nicki Minaj and Fabolous. Bizzythowed just got back from performing at SXSW for the first time and discussed how that felt as a newcomer, his observations of the scene and playing in front of massive audiences there with BoC. He also spoke about he came to be a singer/songwriter, his work as a support player working other established artists, what influenced the sound of Blank Check, Volume I and more.
What did playing SXSW mean to you as artist and musician? What was the experience like? Was it your first time performing there?
Bizzythowed: It was my first time performing and it was awesome!!! I was blessed to have official and unofficial shows and play in front of some pretty diverse crowds. We played metal shows and hiphop shows same set and everyone liked it so it was very rewarding to have such a positive feedback. As a artist, it means a lot, being a especially being a Texan, it’s something you feel you must do as a artist. I had been denied before with my previous band so to get a invite and go and perform and get such a positive reaction is a dream come true!!
Did you go from playing with other artists to becoming an artist or were you always artist writing your own songs?
Bizzythowed: I’ve always been a songwriter. I’ve been writing songs since i was a young kid I’ve always saw myself as a artist. But early in my career, I was lending my songs and riffs to more established artists because they were closer to making it than I was so I figured it I support them then I will win as well and build up my catalog etc.
What did you take from working with other artists as a support player to take into forging your own career? Did they give you any advise?
Bizzythowed: I learned how to respect the people who are all there to support and help you to be the best artist you can be. To remain humble because it can all go away in a heartbeat and appreciate the moment. I take advice from the legends. I’m sometimes blessed to share space with and I def listen to those guys who paved the way.
What was it like playing in front of huge crowds?
Bizzythowed: Whether its a million or five people, I play with the same passion. But when you get through the first song, and you hear that pop from the audience of hundreds or thousands, there is nothing like it in the world – that feeling, and to have the audience call for a encore is huge as well.
Was it through those high-profile connections you got into performing on late night TV? What were appearances like for you?
Bizzythowed: Well, I was working with a team of producers in Miami and we ended up producing the smash hit “This Is Why Im Hot” and we had a rock band at the time called “Purple Popcorn” and we did the rock remix which we debuted on Jimmy Kimmel Live. So it was more of a destiny moment, like the stars aligned, and it all happened from that one song, none of us ever thought that song would be that big. So when it came time for Mims to perform, he brought his favorite band with him at the time “Purple Popcorn.” Those were great experiences performing on live television with millions watching you all over the world – unreal.
What influenced Blank Check, Volume 1 musically? What are your musical influences? I see you are influenced by hip-hop and metal acts. Can you tell me more about that?
Bizzythowed: I grew up listening to Metallica, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Biohazard, Ghetto Boys, Tupac NWA and anything aggressive. As I got older, I softened up and became open to all styles of music. I just love to combine different styles especially emotional music.
What did you take away from attending Boston’s Berklee School of Music in developing your artistry?
Bizzythowed: Berklee was unreal because i was in there with some of the best musicians in the world. There were artists who were already established and then they decided to come to Berklee. I learned so much from my peers attending that school. Some of my friends are holding top positions right now and its awesome to see us all making our stamp.
Will you be touring to support the EP? What is next for?
Bizzythowed: I’ looking to do as many shows as I can. I want the shows to become second nature to me. The more I do, the better I get. I want to be one of the best at performing and give a raw, honest kick-ass show.