Musicians from all over have their own journey to go on. Sometimes it's one song that propels you to fame and fortune, other times you may know the right people opening the door. Helios Hussain is here to tell his story and what he's been cooking on his own and with the likes of Chuck Inglish. Enjoy some of his music from his EP and read up on this Detroit talent.
To start off, for the unfamiliar...who is Helios Hussain? - Helios Hussain is a writer, producer, and creative director from Detroit Michigan. I've been working with Chuck Inglish, Buddy, Asher Roth, etc for two years now. I was discovered by Chuck Inglish after I released a record titled "Confetti" about my childhood growing up in Detroit. It's almost a gospel song by how many people poured their hearts out to me about it. It's become its own slogan or catchphrase "Where the hell, is my confetti". Chuck discovered it on tour in Paris, France while going through some personal troubles of his own. He contacted me through my engineer, his name is icepic, he retweeted the record and the rest is history. I wrote, produced, and graphic designed the record. I pride myself on doing all the work.
Very cool! How'd you get your start in music? - I got into music at 12. I used to write poems in school in between finishing my school work. I'm from the hood. The Eastside of Detroit and I seen a lot really fast as a kid. Somehow I always knew myself, I kept good grades, never got any rewards for them but it was bigger than what I could understand. After writing poems, I started doing short stories. Putting my own spin on them like The Three Little Pigs, but a more aggressive version. After that I was like "man I can write stories, I should be able to write poems". It came naturally.
Those early months of music making, what were they like? Did it take you awhile to find the type of sound and style you have now? - Nah I wouldn't say it took me a while, I already knew what type of music I wanted to make. I would say the biggest obstacle was applying my ideas in my head to the equipment I was using. Song writing is easy, it's producing your own records that's somewhat difficult when you start off. No one helped me also when I started making music, which could be one of the reasons producing was so difficult. No family members, no mentors just me. It's ironic now though that I have mentors now like: Chuck, Asher, Mikey, & Boldy James. I'm blessed.
Living in Detroit, do you think people already had a preconceived notion of what your music was going to sound like? - That's a really great question. ABSOLUTELY. being from a city that Eminem controls musically is underwhelming. Underwhelming because everyone only knows about him and maybe J-DILLA. But I'm from the hood, the real hood and my parents, block, neighborhood never played Eminem or Dilla. Detroit is its own cultural ecosystem. And they do not like anything mainstream at all. Now here I am, as a extremely creative person that comes from that hood ecosystem but I want to make music the way I feel. Stressful? Hell yeah it is. I got cousins in the hood that talk my head off every time I see them about how I used to rap.
Being talented is easy, when it comes to expressing yourself and people being supportive of the real you, now that's hard. People expect me to rap about gangsta shit, & I'm rapping about love or struggling. They kind of down play you when you're not about hype but I'm ok with that. I'm in this for the legacy.
How does your upbringing and life play into your music? Your album "8 Mile" for example. - My upbringing is inseparable from my music. I find that most legendary artists and creatives have this in common. I can't separate my life from my music even if I wanted to. That's what keeps it authentic. Traumatic experiences, teenage love, failed opportunities, etc it all plays a part in my music. That's the number one key in authentic artistry, you can't live through someone else's life, and you can't make music from someone else's perspective.
With your music, how would you say you've progressed with how you approach the process of crafting everything? From the single, album, video, and social media. - I've progressed so much throughout the years, literally every few months I get better. Me and Chuck Inglish debate so many times over me progressing a year ahead every few months. He'll be like this record is awesome stay here and capitalize on it. And the next time I see him I'll be in a whole new world. I can't really control my creativity it just pours out, but I've learned so much from my mentors. They applaud how much creative energy and versatility I have. I'm literally a visual director. Chuck called me one day and said "I want you to write and produce this visual off my album". It was for Sweatshorts, off of Everybody's Big Brother. The album he released before The Cool Kids album.
I wrote the whole script, scenes, & locations in one night. I'm a one man powerhouse.
One thing I have progressed at is being more open to my fans, they love me to death. They are a subculture in itself. But I wasn't always communicative with them, not because I'm mean, but because I'm so engaged by my art. I've gotten better at coming out and opening up. Even though I'm very approachable and the life of the party. Now I think my fans get annoyed by me being so open with them. I've progressed very fast on social media. I went from 200 followers to almost 7,000 in a few months off a few records. That has helped me make better records, being open to what my fans think, and what other people who are in the industry think. I'm far more aware of what I'm doing and what impact each record will make.
How did your present label "The Innovative Imaginations" bring you into the fold? - Well to be blunt my label just started. It's a record label, but that's only about 10% of the focus. Innovative Imaginations is a creative community company. I do far more than music, and I wanted my company to represent that. I've had the idea since I was 8 years old to be honest, my own company based around artistry. But I finalized paperwork once I met Chuck Inglish. He has a label called "Sounds Like Fun" and when he found me he got anxious. There wasn't a way to sign me. He was so excited and blown away by me he literally finalized it while I was in LA. So two companies came out of our relationship. He's very honest with me. He said "You need your own umbrella". He's a metaphoric type of guy, like me, so I understood what he was saying immediately. And there you have it, Innovative Imaginations and Sounds Like Fun.
How is it working with Chuck Inglish, as a relatively new artist and fellow musician? What's he taught you thus far? - Actually Chuck, Mikey, and Asher are the Wizards. I call them the holy trinity. With Chuck specifically it's mind blowing. He's selfless, completely. Anything he can, he will do, not just for me but for every artist he meets. That's why The Cool Kids get so much respect, they aren't removed from the culture. Never have, and me and Chuck so happen to be very close friends. You don't meet a lot of musicians who are engaging. I think he personally was drawn to me because of that.
I'm not just a "happy to be here" artist, doing drugs, looking for girls, and wearing jewelry. I have a specific mission and purpose with what I'm doing, and he cultivates that. He cultivates me already being a Hitmaker, because to be quite frank, I am already. But that's again only 10% and he's told me that, Asher has told me that and so on. They've advanced me productively by 5 years. They've sent through the same exact issues I am going to face. Chuck doesn't hold my hand, at all. I get over my own obstacles, relationships, etc. and I wouldn't have it any other way. I want to be as big as Kanye West, and I'm new to acquiring that experience on how to execute like Kanye West.
I come from Detroit man, it's in my blood. Go hard or literally die. It's a jungle, where I'm from. And I still live here between LA. It's like night and day, the two cities. The ghetto in Detroit, you know you're there, inside of it. They say if you can make it out of NYC you can make it anywhere. But pound for pound if you can make it out of Detroit, nobody I mean nobody can destroy you.
With your album, what messages are you trying to get across to your listeners and what's your process of crafting songs for the project or singles? - The number one idea I'm trying to get across to my fans and listeners is freedom. Freedoms to be yourself. I get pressured a lot to talk about street shit on my records, because everyone knows I'm from the hood. But I talk about religion, love, guilt of being a man, purpose, perseverance, etc. I am extremely versatile, I can do whatever I want musically without a crew giving me ideas. My ideas are all mine.
I have two laptops I side by side, and a midi keyboard. A pack of Newport's and maybe some Crown Royal. That's all I need to get going. I make about 4 songs a night. Just me, even when I have girls at my house, I don't even let them hear what I'm making. Music is personal to me, I'll never sound like I made anything for a reaction unless noted otherwise. 95% of my music is personal, it's a from me to you relationship when I'm creating anything artistic.
How much have you dabbled in music videos and merchandising? What are some of the hardships of creating and deciding on the next step for your music? - In order to call yourself creative director and video director, you have to do such occupations. I do them well. I direct all of my visuals and I've directed visuals for Chuck and Asher also I wrote about what it feels like directing (https://massappeal.com/helios-hussain-on-writing-directing-chuck-inglishs-sweat-shorts-video/)
I love directing, screenwriting, and scouting. A lot of people thinks it's easy and fun, until it's time to create something unique. Dealing with other people's emotions, time, preferences, ego's, fears, etc can be draining. What keeps me ahead is knowing what nobody else knows in the video or film and that's the creative perspective. It's worth it's weight in gold. Tasteful creative perspective will make you successful, oh and perseverance can't forget that.
As far as merchandise goes, I have a ton of ideas, but I've put them to the side for now. Simply because every idiot who knows a t-shirt guy is a 'Designer'. I'm a real designer, but not in a fashion sense, I'm a designer of senses. And I respect the craft too much to just throw a logo on a shirt and sell it to people. Once I release merchandise it's going to be phenomenal. If you're doing something, always make sure you're doing it with a statement, remember that and you'll never go unnoticed. Do anything without a statement or purpose attached and you'll be easily forgotten. Many brands, rappers, movies, are easily forgotten because they lack a wisdom or purpose about them.
What's 2017 been like for you personally and your music? - 2017 has been more of an eye opener for me personally, realizing myself, and where I am In the world. I think it's key to call yourself out on your own insecurities. Only intelligent people have that capacity. I know for being well dressed and tasteful but this year I have this motto "let's get dirty". Basketball, scraped knees, dirt on hands. Sort of like when you were a child. There's something beautiful about that process that was missing from my life. Musically I've been on a ridiculous roll. I have more than 200 records coming out in the near future. Again, I write, produced, mix and master them so everything depends on my schedule. But I couldn't be more clear on what fans I want and what brands I want aware of me, it's just passion from here on out.
Can you tell us anything that your label mates and fellow artists have in store for the rest of the year? - This is probably the only thing I can't discuss with you, all of us are very tightly controlled with our releases. It's almost a code we have. But you definitely can expect new visuals from the cool kids album, Special Edition Grand Master Deluxe, new music from Asher Roth, Buddy just released a new project called Montana it's incredible. We all have huge collaborations and overall creative things to release to the world. You'll see once we announce.
You can follow Helios on his Twitter, Soundcloud, and Instagram
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