We first got to see him during the Box Office Release tour, and haven’t stopped listening to his music ever since. Originally from Missouri, he is now touring the world with Aja and has big plans for the future. Join us as we talk about his musical journey, touring around the world, and what‘s next in his career!
DA: “It doesn’t matter what I have done but what I came here to do.“ This quote from your Facebook page really sums up what you are currently achieving by releasing music and touring the world with Aja. What was it that you “came here to do“ ultimately and when did your life path become clear to you? Did you always want to become a musician?
Shilow: Growing up I was either dancing, listening to music, or attempting to sing at the top of my lungs. In high school, I was in a few small metal bands where I was always the frontman but ultimately quit to focus on college. During that time I always supported everyone else’s art thinking that I wasn’t good enough to be my own artist. I just got to a point after graduation where I was stuck at a job I was unhappy with and picked up rapping again. The rest is kind of history.
DA:You just released your latest EP, Sadboi Summer Vol.1, consisting of four songs, each having a different vibe and theme to it. What was the inspiration behind the release and will there be a Vol. 2 soon?
Shilow: The Sadboi Summer projects have been such a blast to work on. I am always working on new music and with these eps I thought “why don’t I make a song with every person in my hometown that I look up to?”. I’m the midst of working on the project I found out that my wife accepted a job in L.A. so I had to write 95% of the songs on a 3 hour plane ride so I could record it all with the same engineer! The theme is simple, because I’m such an emo kid I wanted to take these sounds and put my twist on the viewpoint. Every person that agreed to be on these songs killed it and I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out. Volume 2 will be out in July and hopefully Volume 3 will be out in August!
DA: When listening to Sadboi Summer a couple of times we noticed that all your lyrics have a very distinct message to them. For instance, would you agree that lyrics like „I lit a fire in my mind, if you think you ́re gonna stop me“ and „we bring it real and we do it non-stop“ (both on I wrote a letter, feat. Aja) are inspired by the experiences you had while touring these past few months and traveling almost non-stop around the US, Europe and Australia? How do you come up with the lyrics and how long does it take you to go from the first thoughts to the finished release?
Shilow: This is going to sound so cliché but when I sit down to write it’s almost as if I zone out. I absolutely hate writing in pieces and would rather get the whole verse out of the way when I’m writing. I’m a very very humble person and since I started touring with Aja I got to see the evils of the world and how people on the internet will jump at any chance they get to put them down.
However, through all the adversity Aja finds a way to keep doing what they want to despite the amount of backlash they receive. I wrote a letter was basically a statement saying “You know what? I am a good artist. I’m touring the world so why would I give a single shit about what anyone who doesn’t have my opportunities say about me?”
DA: Another song with a very clear message is „Pop Back“, featured on „Felt cute, might delete later“. What inspired the song and what are your thoughts on today’s generation of ‘Keyboard warriors’ or as Aja call them, ‘Beckys’, aka people who seem to live their life judging other people from behind computer screens?
Shilow: Long story short…. I hate them. Aja and I are both very confrontational people that have passion for what we do. Nothing sucks more than really putting your all into something just to see it being talked about badly. When the Jekyll and Hyde video came out people were making fun of me saying that “Eureka was in the video too.” I’m very self-conscious about my body so of course that hurt. This was the first time I had really been out on a big platform like that and all these people had to say was I was fat as if I didn’t already know that. Pop Back was basically a pre cursor to I wrote a letter in the fact that as a queer community we need to build each other up. Too often we get compared to mainstream straight artists for no reason, without any support from our own brothers and sisters. I’m trying to stop that cycle from continuing. The minute we support each other they can’t bring us down.
DA:Since you also feature a range of different artists on your tracks, can you tell us about how you choose people to work together with and are there musicians out there you absolutely still want to work together with? Also, if you could put on your own music festival, who would get to play the main stage and why?
Shilow: If I hear something regardless of the genre and it sounds good, then it’s good for me. I listen to literally everything and there is something to take from how every genre works as a way to make your songs better. Add the relatability of country music with a pop chorus and sprinkle in some nice 808’s and you have yourself “old town road.” See what I mean? That song was massive and everybody regardless of the background can enjoy that song! As far as artists I want to work with the list is endless. Charli XCX has the right idea, she is a mainstream artist that collabs with about every artist under the sun, and her fan base loves her for that. I want to do the same because at the end of the day I’m a fan of other artists’ creations also. If I could book my own festival it would be nuts. It would range from Paramore to Brockhampton, from Slipknot to Bring Me The Horizon. Mixed genre shows are the best!
DA:You finally are getting a lot of well-deserved recognition and fans ever since people got to see you perform live. Time to get to know “@therealshilow”, a bit more. First up, how did you come up with your stage name – is there a story behind it?
Shilow: It’s dumb honestly. It’s a play on “I’m shy on the low” I changed the y to an I in an attempt to be edgy lol. I’m very outgoing but at the same time very introspective and awkward lol.
DA: Being originally from Missouri and having worked in Kansas, but now living in Los Angeles: How has life changed for you and how does one juggle married life with being a full-time artist? Also, speaking of being married, how would your wife describe you in three words if we asked her?
Shilow: I would be lying if I didn’t say it’s the hardest thing I have ever had to do. It’s hard for someone to see their spouse going around the world doing all these cool things why they are at home alone because they have their own career. I make sure to always remain in contact with her. Wake up early to tell her good morning despite time differences or FaceTime her to tell her goodnight. I lucked out, she understands who I am as a queer person and loves me for that.
If you were to ask her how to describe me she would probably say I’m caring, hyper and a goof ball. She corrected me saying I would be hard working, but then she lost her train of thought.
DA: You also have a bachelor’s degree in Television and Network broadcasting, what made you choose that field and are you planning on incorporating your skills into your musical endeavours?
Shilow: I wasn’t good at anything else. I went to college to escape my hometown honestly, and it’s there where I found myself. The production seemed to be something I excelled at and didn’t feel like a job. I would love to direct a movie one day but after I have a long music career (laughs).
DA:We would definitely say you’re a very inspiring example of someone who is working very hard to achieve their goals and dreams. Do you have something to say to people who might want to do what you are doing but are currently too scared or doubting themselves too hard to just „go for it“? Is there anything you wish you would’ve known before launching yourself into becoming a full-time musician?
Shilow: It’s scary. There are some low lows and high highs. But if you have the passion you can do it. You have to know who you can trust and seriously put every ounce of soul you have into words.
DA:What is your favorite part about touring and what part(s) of it could you absolutely do without? If we asked Aja what you do that annoys them, what would they say?
Shilow: I love seeing people in other countries enjoy the music I wrote or helped write. It’s crazy to think that your art reaches so far and that someone in Australia thinks what you made is good enough to even press play.
I could do without the sleep schedule. Holy moly I hate not getting any sleep (laughs). Aja would probably say I doubt myself too much. That’s probably the number one most annoying thing I do.
DA:Do you have any future projects you can give us a sneak peak into? What would be your absolute dream goal to achieve with your music?
Shilow: This year was huge for me. The Gary Gray EP with Frvme, the Sadboi Summer series, Felt Cute Might Delete Later and the next EP with Aja so who knows what else!
Make sure to follow Shilow on his social media @therealshilow_ and check out his music on Spotify and Itunes! Sadboi Summer, Vol. 1 out now!