Clonefluence had the chance to interview the one and only 3ugene!
Where are you from? Have your surroundings shaped you in a creative sense, and in what way?
I was born in Portsmouth, Virginia and was raised my whole life in the city of Norfolk. Being born and raised in the area I grew up in, I never really knew anything else and haven’t really been nowhere so once you get use to a place and reach a certain age things become dull so you start looking for your own way to entertain yourself and if not entertainment you look for all the ways you can get out of the situation your in to get to a better one. . Where other people were athletic or violent, stayed worried about clubbing and parties.. I was always more creative and academic so I decided to use my passions and gifts to give myself ways to stay out of trouble and make my own path from others. growing up in the 757 or growing up in this generation the people around you are more nonchalant and are raised with the mindset that a man having feelings and or showing them is considered a weakness and they are taught to enforce that on other men. So through this I learned not to let people in on my thoughts and feelings and my creativity became a way in many ways for me to express myself.
What’s your background like? Where do you stand on the music scene in your area?
My background was very lonely and isolated. I spent a lot of time in the hospital due to having a medical condition called Short Bowel syndrome so it kept me sick a lot when I was a kid. Due to me having a medical condition people thought of me as a contagious disease or a pity case because they thought I was incapable of being normal or I simply didn't fit in so I didn’t make a lot of friends. My whole childhood was more of growing up fast due to having to learn how to manage my medical condition, and also more about education and learning responsibility more so than being a kid due to my dad not being in my life and my mom having 2 younger kids than me and it being just the four of us. In my area there’s not a lot of music variety. Everyone around my area and age enjoy and focus more on trap and drill music than anything especially since I come from an area where’s theres a lot of local artist or a lot of areas where guys think that anything less than trap and talking about drugs, sex, gang banging is considered weak but when it comes to growing up in my household I was raised on r&b. I believe that music can influence people greatly affecting their mood and perspective, so for a man like me R&B is perfect.
What did you start doing first, producing or rapping? How did you get started?
When I was in middle school around the age of 10 I first started writing music just simple stuff like putting simple Disney lyrics and stuff together from different songs but when I got to high school I started getting more into singing. When I was in elementary school I learned the beginning steps in playing certain instruments such as piano and violin but never really went above and beyond to learn more of it and then when I was middle school I also was in the choir so my singing kinda progressed in high school. When I got to college I met a lot of people who wrote music, sung, rap and all so one day my friend saw me writing and singing we chopped it up about me writing he took me to his room to record a song and then boom I been making music ever since.
Do you have anyone that you consider your mentor? How has their help or advice shaped you?
Being a young black a man in society I figured that life was gonna be a challenge, especially with having a medical condition. I learned early that the world was constantly setting stereotypes and labels against me; however growing up with all girls in my house and not having a father or any other male models in my life I didn't know exactly what that meant for me or how to be a good man that bested the statistics. When I was in middle school my behavior and attitude got hard for my mother to manage, so she looked into this counseling company named YCAPP (Youth Court Action Planning Program) in hopes to get me in shape through the counselor James Haslam. Through him, he helped improve my mentality and helped me get a better hand of my emotion but we grew such a strong bond and connection that even after my program period was down and i succeed in passing the course, he continued working with me and became my mentor to help me outside of areas like my mentality and behavior. He helped me with jobs, relationships and more and became the first real father figure I ever had. When I got to college I met a young man who became a friend and a brother to me named Caleb Wright, who also helped me when it came to relationships and sorting out my emotions because I learned that part of me having so many emotional and mental instability was because I was diagnosed with Anxiety and Depression. This mentor helped me in growing spiritually and finding out more about my self worth. These two helped me realize and also are helping me reach my goals in being a good, honorable man who can beat the statistics, be successful as well as make and or leave a great path in the world and in people’s lives.
What is one experience in life that, without it, you wouldn’t be the artist you are today?
One experience in life that helped me become the artist that I am today or that will help me reach the potential of the artist that I am trying to be, will definitely have to be all the pain and trauma I have experienced. No matter what the art is; rather it be music, beat making, dance, painting, or writing; i have always believed that all art is at its deepest, realest, rawest, truest, best and reveals its true meaning when a story is told and the deepest and best stories retold through emotion and and an experience that you can connect to. My life can overall be described and summarized with nothing but pain; being stuck in the hospital most of my life, having physical pain, loving hard and not being loved back, heartbreak, abandonment leading to trust issues and more. So I believe that I truly have enough pain to tell the world because the other thing about music and art is that no matter how much someone enjoys it is that it's nothing if no one can relate to it. Cause that's what art and music is about telling stories, finding and forming connections. However, when you have nothing but the pain you realize the only thing to keep you going is looking for the opposite. When you have repeated heartbreak you look for true love, when you have no one to trust you look for something to put your trust in, for abandonment issues you look for stability etc. So without my pain I wouldn't be the artist I am.
What do you hope to accomplish this year?
One thing I hope to accomplish this year music wise is to get myself out there. Find and grow my fanbase, release as much music as I can to attract good eyes, people to collaborate with, possible open opportunities that could look real promising for me. Overall, outside of music; one thing I hope to accomplish is just to gain good financial and mental health, learn to love myself better in hopes to find better peace and happiness, and overall increase my self worth and wealth. I learned that a lot of stress and pain can be avoided but I can avoid the etra pain it causes as well as learning that though I love others fine I keep attracting damage because of how I treat myself and what I allow myself to take. So this year I'm working on bettering myself and focusing on myself to increase peace, reduce stress, and attract better to my life.
What does your work aim to say?
My work aims to say that growth is everything, however, it is nothing without thought, truth, and acceptance. My mentor Mr. Haslam taught me that the entirety of your life is one giant book and the moments you go through are the chapters. The only thing about this book that differs from others is that there is only one main character against many antagonist, you are not only the main character but the narrator of your own story because as you experience in life you get to decide where your life takes you and what you do while one book may have one theme, mood, and lesson for you to experience and learn, the book of your life has many; and last but not least the only conflict of your story there is, is the conflict “self versus self” because you will always have to learn from pain and experience to find the ultimate answer to the question “who am I?” “What is my purpose and my place in the world” and to solve many other questions and problems that will come. The other conflict is “self versus the world.” The world and everyone in it will hate and try to bring you down and if they're not trying to bring you down they will try to destroy you or try to get you destroy yourself . But just like change is inevitable. I had to learn how to be myself and stop hiding my emotions and fears and thoughts and to express them and use them while others may think it’s being weak. It’s being a real man so if I have to be a simp to be a real one then I’ll be that.
Who are your biggest influences and what do you like about them the most?
I don’t really have any music influencers because everyone has their own style, own story , own drive for why they do it. However I try to make quality music and meaningful music like Brian McKnight l, Musiq Soul Child, and others. One artist I connect to more is Drake because he’s an artist who knows that emotions doesn't make you less of a man and just like any other struggle through life there apart of your story.
How would you describe your own style?
If I had to describe my own style I would describe it as chill or music you can vibe to. Music that you can open up your mind to and your heart to accept the truth on how you feel or to learn the truth to accept things for what it is. My music style is more romantic and sexy but can be sad or dark depending on the song.
In what ways has your newest music changed from when you first started?
When I look back at my new music to see the change from my old music I think I’ve grown a lot. When I first started making music my music was only on SoundCloud and YouTube and the music I was making I was trying to impress others therefore I wasn’t really giving my all and truth to them. Some I rushed through just to say I got something done and a lot I didn’t put any care in. Even when I did I didn’t experience the things I did now so there was no feeling or story to be told cause I looked towards others for their story. The music I make now I’m not really worried about impressing people. I’ve come to realize that not everyone is gonna like my music. Some will, some won't, some will support me, some won't, some will share and connect to it, some won’t. When I realized this I realized that I had to stop looking for people's approval and take my time to actually express myself because that’s the reason I’m doing it . Expressing myself there for my music can heal me and possibly heal others but also I had to accept my truths and not hide anymore so once I did this my music became more powerful because I experienced more and matured.
What are the main inspirations for the lyrics you write?
The main inspiration for my lyrics I write are my first love which was also my first heartbreak. Like I said before when you experience something horrible you wish for the opposite and with her I experienced nothing but greatness but when we broke up I felt nothing but pain. It’s easy to write about beauty and light but it’s hard to talk and heal about something ugly and dark. So I can write sex music, romance music, love music about her all day but no one nor myself could really learn from the story of me and her and take way lessons from it nor could I heal if I didn’t admit and accept my truth.
What would be your dream venue in which to perform?
I never really thought about a venue where I would like to perform. A venue like Madison square garden would be nice but I never thought about any venues because I never really thought or focused on the fame of making music. I always did it because it was something that I could enjoy and I’m good at. I never really focused on what I could get from it. My attitude has always been and is still “if god blesses me and takes this to the next level I’m grateful and if he don’t it won’t meant to be but at least I got to experience something new and do something I enjoyed for myself without pressure”.
What’s a song you have stuck in your head these days?
Recently a song that has been stuck in my head since I heard it is “Why” by Kyndall because I relate to it a lot. I love hard and give my all but I never experienced the love that I give.