Posted On 24 Apr 2017
Joshua Hatkins is making music with his bold yet smooth pop sound and a splash of hip hop. Having already released a video for his sassy tune “Time to Waste,” Joshua is looking to get fans amped for his Pop Boy Rap mixtape, due out later this year.
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Learn more about Joshua in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What are some words you would use to describe 2016 for you and your music? What were some of the highlights? What are you most excited about for 2017?
Hmm. Some words I would use to describe it in 2016 would be: new, fun, and experimental. I would say the highlights are the people that I’ve met and gotten to collaborate with are the highlights for me, my music has allowed me to meet really cool people that I otherwise wouldn’t have met and we get to come together to make art. It’s awesome. I’m excited to just continue to make new music and different flavors of music and art and show people what I can do.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory? Could you see yourself doing anything else today?
No, when I was little I was more into drawing, I thought that was going to be my thing. Music has always been apart of my life though, I’ve always enjoyed it. My grandparents would tell me that when I was four I constantly sang songs from Disney movies, particularly The Little Mermaid and The Lion King, and they said I would also just make up little songs about random things. They told me, if we were driving and I saw someone blowing bubbles, I would just sit in my car-seat and start singing a song about blowing bubbles. (Laughter) But even though I enjoyed music a lot I didn’t really consider pursuing it until I got a little bit older and my mom and I got stuck in a traffic jam. We were stuck bumper to bumper and so the only thing to do really was to listen to the radio. I remember Destiny’s Child – Independent Women was playing and I just remember hearing Beyonce’s voice in particular, it really stood out to me. I thought it was so beautiful and by the end of the song I was just like moved almost, it was so pretty to me. At the time I had no idea what the song was or who was singing it, so I made it my mission to find out and I did and bought their album ‘Survivor’ it was the first album I bought, and I loved the whole thing. Then what finalized it was, my mom and I went to go get some food at this restaurant we had never been to before and they happened to have a TV playing music videos. I don’t think I had ever really seen a music video before because those were the stone ages before Youtube, phones with internet, and laptops and things. (Laughter) But the TV just happened to be playing the music video for Destiny Child’s – Independent Women. And let me tell you, that is a fantastic introduction into music videos. That video like just almost took me into a little fantasy world for a few minutes, I loved it. I just remember thinking, you can to do this for a living?? And that’s when I knew I wanted to make music, because I wanted to be able to do things one day that had the same impact that Beyonce had on me, for someone else. Sometime later Nicki Minaj came into the picture and did the same thing for me with rap music, but that’s another story.
I would love to know more about the music scene in Oregon? How do you think you have been influenced musically by the city of Portland?
I would say the music scene in Oregon is mainly alternative-rock and conscious hip-hop music, at least from the artists I’ve come across. Even though my music is more pop and Top40 influenced than a lot of artists in Portland, in the City of Roses there is this spirit that every artist here has where we care more about being true to ourselves and what we like artistically than we do about trying to be popular. I’ve really taken to that aspect and just continue be myself. That mentality is really what inspired me to name the mixtape ‘Pop Boy Rap’ because a lot of people when I suggested the name were like no, that’s not a good look. A lot of rap fans associate rap with hip-hop to the point where they consider them the same, but music is always growing and evolving and just like you can sing in multiple genres I think it’s pretty much been shown now that you can rap in other genres besides hip-hop as well. A lot of artists get flack for blending rap and pop like Nicki Minaj, Drake, and especially Iggy Azalea. But to me they’re opening doors and helping rap music to continue to evolve and grow in new and interesting ways. I want to make music that’s essentially pop-rap, that’s me being true to me, and that’s how Portland has influenced me musically.
What was the inspiration for your newest single, “Swervin’ On You”? How do you go about putting together a song? What do you start with- the words or the music?
The inspiration was really internet trolls that I saw a lot when I started releasing freestyles last summer. There was a lot of love and there was a lot of hate. But the funny thing was the hate almost exclusively were from these guys commenting on me personally and it had nothing to do with the music. So I just made that song to kind of respond in a more artistic way and just basically say like my self-worth is not based off of your perception of me. I love myself the way I am.
How I put songs together is different every time but overall I usually look for beats first, sometimes I look for beats that fit a mood or feeling I want to portray in a song and sometimes the beat will let me know what the song will be about when I hear it. I always hear melodies in my head and I feel that’s a gift from God because 9 times out of 10 I don’t imagine these melodies, they just kind of appear in my mind as if they are given to me and then I have to record them and fill in the words like a puzzle. It’s fun.
What was it like making the video for “Time To Waste”? How creatively involved were you with that process?
It was a fun and rewarding challenge. I directed and edited that video with my good friend Mattaphor Weirdman, of Wooden Mirror Pictures, handling cinematography. I really had a vision for that video and I’m broke, so I didn’t know how I was going to get a dojo or find dancers but where there’s a will there’s a way, you know? So, I just went on faith and followed my gut. It led me to the Budo Dojo and I just emailed the owner and explained what I was trying to do and luckily he let us shoot there it was awesome and he’s a great guy. I also reached out to Latya Caples who is a choreographer here in Portland and similarly explained what I was trying to do and she also just kind of believed in me and created the choreography and found the other dancer to be in the video. Then I went and got all of the key wardrobe pieces for everyone and I got my cousin to do the hair and make-up. It was definitely a team effort and I’m very happy with how it all came together.
How different or similar will the songs on your forthcoming Pop Boy Rap mixtape be to “Time To Waste”?
They’ll all be very similar but completely different. No, I’m just kidding. I strived to make it a great collection where each song could be a single in it’s own right. Each song will kind of explore a different sound and really explore my sound as an artist and different ways of blending rap and pop music.
Do you have plans to tour a lot this year? Can you remember your favorite show in the past?
I don’t. I’m not huge fan of touring, I’ll do it eventually but we’ll see. (Laughter) I do plan on making a short film though.
Who are some of your favorite musicians? What musicians would you love to work with in the future?
Top 3: Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, *Bonus: Ester Dean. I would love to work with all the aforementioned but like not at once or I would probably just like die from the sheer shock of it all, but also Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, CL and G-Dragon among others.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people take away from your songs?
Hmm… that’s a good question. Well for Pop Boy Rap, I hope that they can relate to the songs. I tried to make it reflect a lot of topics that young adults experience so it talks about everything from partying to dealing with fear about your future to just being like shit, I’m the shit. I hope people walk away knowing that they’re the shit.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
Stay tuned and I think you’re awesome for reading this. Thank you!