Educating The World: Goldlink Interviewed
Goldlink would rather be heard and not seen.
Even though he’s just released his debut album 'Diaspora', we’ve been hearing a lot about Goldlink for some time. In the public eye though, he’s a bit of a mystery. Listening to his eclectic record it’s easy to imagine that the Washington DC native stays locked in the studio, intent on trying to outdo himself.
Shooting onto the music scene around 2014, he released his first mixtape, 'The God Complex'. Since then, Goldlink has excelled himself, working with some of the best in the industry, such as Rick Rubin and DJ Kaytranada.
But with his debut album, the artist searched hard to find those are making solid moves with their own musical styles. 'Diaspora' features an array of artists, showing us a spread of what black music has gone onto become today, including collaborations with Pusha T, Maleek Berry and Wizkid. Side by side with this, the record also gives us an introspective look into Goldlink’s own identity.
Fresh off the release of the album, Clash sat down with Goldlink to discuss his new music, collaborations and the DMV.
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Congrats on your debut album ‘Diaspora’. It’s a great piece of work. Why was it important for you to reflect on the vast influence and spread of black African music in an album for you?
Thank you. I think it was just the natural next step for me to kind of do. And I mean, also just as a human being, exploring the depths of being a man and having a kind of clarity and more of a grasp of who I am. That's just kind of what I decided to create.
You have many features on the album. What was the process of choosing who you would work with you on your tracks?
I feel like I just decided I wanted to choose the people that were great at what they do naturally and I feel like I chose the best guys I possibly could have thought about that do what they do best. It wasn’t about the biggest [artists], it was really about who's the most important.
One specific feature that stood out for UK music was 'Yard' featuring Haile from WSTRN . How did that come about?
Just natural friendships you know, we both had met through mutuals and he's just great. Both of them, you know, they're really great at what they do. So I didn't want anybody else. I don't think I could have found anybody better.
And who was the most interesting artist to work with?
Khalid. We’ve always had you know a great relationship. I think it was just the fact that he was embodying something that he doesn't normally do and I thought that was the most interesting. I’m glad that he decided that you know embody that with me.
You have a very open way of working with artists around the world. You’re quite willing to mix with sounds far and wide. Do you think American artists can benefit from doing more of this?
Oh, yeah, because we definitely need other influences from around the world in order for us to actually succeed properly if you want me to be very honest.
You recently started your new Beats 1 show, IFFY FM. Was this something you always wanted to do and has this been an important way for you to show the spread of your musical influences around the world?
It's something that I decided I wanted to do recently and I thought it was necessary just because of the lack of channels that’s helping newer artist get discovered. It wasn't like the scene when I was coming up. It was like we had Bandcamp, we had SoundCloud, we had different outlets for new artists to shine.
I think that as the industry is changing and streaming has started becoming more prominent they kind of only pushed a certain agenda of artist that could really make a killing streaming-wise and not really thinking about the latter, you know. So that's kind of why I decided to start the Beats 1 show.
So you've got two Grammy nominations. That's a huge achievement. How important are these accolades for you in terms of having your work recognised?
Yeah, I don't really look at it or use it for validation. Yes. I really just look at it as living proof of my productivity and how well that holds up in the marketplace always no matter what career you decide to choose.
I think that's what makes it so important for me that I stick true to the name of productivity. I’ve never had to change anything I do, I just make the product great and I get recognised for. And in the highest, prestigious way and that's really encouraging.
You’ve got your tour coming up quite soon. Now, what can we expect from it and considering the variety of music and artists you have, will we get lots of people popping out?!
We’ll see, it will be full of surprises!
The DMV has been producing some crazy talent including yourself, of course, Ari Lennox, Brent Faiyez. As a native of the area, who do you think we should be watching out for?
Rico Nasty, YBN Cordae, Jay IDK, Q Da Fool and YungManny, I think those are the guys to watch right now.
What else have you got coming up for the rest of the year?
Just touring, and a few other things we’re trying to cultivate right now. We’ll see!
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'Diaspora' is out now.
Words: Nikita Rathod // @NikitaRath0d
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