What’s your full name? And give us a background about you
My name is Troy Ivey, or Troy IV. I’m a graduating senior at University of Maryland, which means it’s off to the real world for me! It’s bittersweet, I know it’ll be uncomfortable, but growth always is, right? I credit my music as a big part of my current identity. I’ve been making music for almost 7 years now. Other than making music, I just do most things that broke, introverted 21 year-olds do (not very much). I should leave the house more.
Describe yourself with a music lyric
Young, Dumb & Broke. Sit down, be humble. – Troy IV music Lyrics choice on who he is.
Three things about you that nobody knows?
I’m will go with the stuff I was most embarrassed about in the past. I wet the bed until I was like 14. I was the shortest in my class until around then too. My younger brother is cooler than me.
Describe your musical origin?
I played clarinet in middle school. I wasn’t that good, so they moved me to bass clarinet. That’s what they did back then, sorry fellow bass clarinetists. That shit was boring! There wasn’t any individuality in it, plus I hated learning scales. I still don’t know scales! I’ve always made beats by ear, I feel like that alone has helped me develop my own sound. I definitely should learn scales though, I’m just lazy. But I started making beats after my freshman year of high school when my brother’s friend put Logic 9 on my family computer. It was for my brother, but I made one beat and it lowkey cranked and I’ve been cooking up ever since.
Biggest musical influences?
When I first started, definitely 9th Wonder, Madlib, J Dilla, all those heavy-sample based producers, because sampling was the only way I could make my beats hard without much experience. It’s hard to say who’s a direct influence; I know everyone probably says this, but my music is unique, probably because it’s extremely personal. I don’t make music in the image of someone else or another artist. But artists I really respect and probably subconsciously draw inspiration from are Solange, Kanye West, Kid Cudi, Lauryn Hill, Anderson .Paak, Drake, Ryan Leslie, SZA… I’m glad I thought of SZA. The way she sings about being young, insecure, and inexperienced is something I really relate to and try to portray in my music.
Top five musicians and albums of all time?
I think it’ll be more fun if I do my favorites post-2000. In terms of musicians, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Kid Cudi, Frank Ocean, SZA. I just prefer artists who talk about what’s going on either around them or inside them from a perspective that is unique and cuts deep. That doesn’t really include Frank Ocean, but he’s just a masterful songwriter. I like songs about love, sex, etc., but I need more from artists. There’s so much more the world has to offer, so many other ways to experience and connect with people. My favorite albums are probably SZA – Ctrl, both Frank Ocean albums, Kendrick Lamar GKMC, Kanye West – Graduation, Joey Bada$$ – 1999. All of these are albums that have gems from start to finish.
What are your pre and post studio/performances traditions?
Honestly, I don’t really have any traditions yet. I’m always super nervous before I perform, so I take a shot or three. Needless to say, I get comfortable once I’m on stage. A lot of self-humiliating jokes about how depressing my music is. It’s weird, I’m not very funny until I get on stage to perform my music. All of a sudden, I think I’m a comedian. The studio for me is my bedroom, I prefer to make music by myself. Music has always been my me time. My lyrics are vulnerable; I can’t take my verses seriously with other people in the room.
Describe the process of you making a song
I usually start with making a beat from scratch, or making a beat around a small lyrical idea in my head. I like starting with a blank slate, it helps me be in the moment more. I’ll look for samples until I find one that inspires me and go from there. I’ll add instruments and sounds until I have enough to inspire my pen. I can usually get a good chorus and verse out if I’m focused. I almost never finish a song in one sitting though, especially with my most recent EP, most of the songs I started over six months ago and finished within the last three months. Partly because I’m lazy, but also because I naturally put a lot of thought into everything I say, sometimes to my detriment. – Troy IV on his studio process
Which artists or brands would you love to work with?
Solange. I love her messages of self-help and the soulful instrumentation and obviously her voice. Kid Cudi. Sampha. I want my name associated with them one day.
What are some current challenges you face as a upcoming, independent artist and as a black man?
As an upcoming, independent artist, you’re in charge of everything determines if you grow or stay stagnant. Nobody knows who I am right now, and making dope music on its own won’t change that. You have to be patient and persistent. As a black man, people try to put you in a box, especially if you’re a rapper. People will under underestimate you and write you off. You have to show up everyday and show people you’re serious about what you want.
What’s your opinion about the music industry?
No matter what kind of music you make, there are fans out there that want what you’ve got. The internet gives everyone the chance to be successful, but you have to put the work in and earn it.
If you could change one thing about it, what would you change and how?
In terms of the DMV music scene, it’d be cool if the community were a bit closer and more supportive. There’s a lot of talent, but we’d be so much stronger if we stuck together. – Troy IV on the DMV music scene
Any shout outs?
My most frequent collaborator, GloverOfficial (insta:@_gloverofficial). We’ve been cooking up together for years now, and it’s time for the world to hear what both of us have been working on.
Spell your full name out with a word.
Thankful Reflective Original Young
Where can we find you on social media?