Blending his love for poetry, teaching, and music, hip-hop artist Jeary Sylves offers a deeper look into the soul. After playing the 2013 A3C Hip Hop Festival in Atlanta, GA, Sylves went on to headline the Dunkxchange Sneaker Festival in Hawaii. More recently, Sylves has been working on his upcoming release, Abstract Expressionism. Through personal hardships and balancing a career as a college educator and musician, Sylves let us in on how his passions and dedication to inspiring others drive him to create.
Aside from being a musician, you're a full-time college educator. That's fantastic. Has teaching always been a passion like music?
Teaching and education in the traditional sense was something I surely had to grow into, and over time, a passion developed which is in part due to being in the environment and being an active participant in what I was charged to do. I believe what made it easy is that I have always had a love for people and creating or affecting change in them. The medium I use to do so just happens to be music. Working with students and being able to help them identify their own passions is quite rewarding.
When you think about musical influences, who comes to mind?
Lauryn Hill. The Miseducation... released in 1998. I was in the seventh grade, and I just remember thinking this is how I want to spend my life. She embedded so much of her soul into the music, and I wanted to create that same feeling in someone else. Also Kanye, Common, Mos Def, the Roots, Eric Roberson, Solange, Marvin Gaye, and Sam Cooke.
You mentioned your mother passed away before she was ever able to see you perform – I'm so sorry for your loss. What do you think she'd say to you now with all the success you're building?
I know she would be proud of me – to know that I had stayed the course regardless of how difficult it became over time. I take comfort in knowing that every day I'm striving to live out the dreams I always said I would as a child, and feeling that infinite love and support even in her absence.
Last year, you got the opportunity through Sonicbids to play the A3C Hip Hop Festival in Atlanta, GA. What was that experience like?
It was such an amazing moment for me both creatively and personally. I had attended the year before as fan, and I was able to really soak up the atmosphere and network. To be able to come back the following year as a performer and share the stage with artists I had watched before... there's really nothing like it. My sister drove down from Indiana the morning of. It was a humbling experience.
Why did you decide to join Sonicbids? What are your favorite things about being a Sonicbids artist?
I decided to join Sonicbids because I felt it was a way to take my career to the next level and be taken more seriously by industry professionals. My favorite thing about being a Sonicbids artist is being able to have access to artist advice. There's so much content and valuable information for artists on the indie track, as well as access to some of the top gigs throughout the country. Being a part of Sonicbids is like having a management company working for you and helping to shape your success.
When can we expect to hear new material from you?
I'm in the final stages of wrapping up my current project now. It's definitely coming sometime this spring. Abstract Expressionism is really just a sonic blending of where I'm at creatively right now. I look it at as a transitioning of sorts, and the nuances that come with growing as an artist and a person. I recently quit my job and bought a one-way ticket to NYC to continue my journey as an artist. Abstract Expressionism represents a great deal of that.