Artist Interview: Byron Henderson
Tell us about yourself and your music
For starters, my name is Byron Henderson. I’m from New Orleans, Louisiana and I recently turned 21. I began rapping at an extremely early age. It wasn’t my intention, as I was just a kid at the time. It started off as a way of venting because I didn’t feel as if I had someone to talk to about how I felt, but I never really payed attention while I was writing to the fact that I was basically writing unstructured verses. As a kid, I was (and still am, to this day) extremely relcusive and introverted. Nonetheless, I was introduced to Hip Hop like almost any other kid; in the car with my parents. Although, I wasn’t formally introduced until I got a bit older, as I would tune out the radio most of the time. I was around the age of seven when older kids at my school would ask me to rap for them, and invite me to cyphers during lunch time. It definitely took some warming up to, but I got used to it. Once I made it to middle school, I’d already began battling a bit, but that was probably my least favorite part of rapping. I moved on from that rather quickly. There isn’t really much else to reveal about myself that hasn’t been said on record. I’m a very open and personal artist, because it helps people not feel alone when they can relate to you on that level. There’s a difference between just saying something that someone can relate to and revealing something you’ve been through, knowing that the people listening are having a rough time dealing with the same obstacles. At that point, you become a crutch of sorts until they get back on their feet, and I love that. I feel like that’s the reason I’m here, because this is all I’ve ever truly been good at. My best friends inspire me to continue.
Talk to us more about your latest release
May 27th of this year would have been my best friend’s 20th birthday. I’m sure if you’ve been following me long enough that you know of Marina by now. We met on September 29th, 2008 at J.D. Meisler Middle School. She was an extremely amazing singer, but an even better person. On January 12th, 2015, she took her own life and it’s been haunting me ever since. I’m working on an album at the moment titled, “Sincerely Yours…”, and the first single is a record called, “Forever Immortal (Lovestory Marina)”. Lovestory Marina was her first YouTube channel where she would upload her music, covers, Q&A’s, ect. It’s a very personal, sentimental record that explains our relationship. I go into great detail about our struggles, but also the love that we had for each other. Her dad also worked with me on this record, lending me the interlude that leads into the actual song itself.
What inspired you to write this release?
Well, for the longest, I would try so hard to garner enough strength to say all I wanted to say about her, but I would always fail. It was like trying slow down Michael Myers with a gun that’s loaded with blanks. It was extremely frustrating, because this was something I wanted to do before she died, so just imagine how I felt knowing that I couldn’t see her reaction to it. It stings, a lot. Just the thought of her smile, every day; that’s what made me so anxious to make this record. I just really wanted people to realize that she meant everything. Because barely anyone even knew we were friends. Not even my parents knew. She wanted me to meet her dad so badly when we were teenagers, so she may have told him. I’m not entirely sure. But I was extremely protective of our friendship, and more importantly her, because people love to talk during that stage of life and she was the sensitive one. As far as this record goes, I was going to keep trying until I finally made a record that describes us perfectly. This is that record.
Any plans to release a video?
As of right now, there are no plans to release of video, but I have given it some thought. You’d better believe that if I do decide to film a video for this record, that it won’t be a regular music video. I’ll put my all into it. This record in particular means too much to me not to.
Any plans to hit the road?
At the moment, I’m in the process of planning a show with Marina’s dad in the city. More details on that should be coming soon. Other than that, I don’t really have any plans. I’m really locked in on this album.
As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?
As an artist, I’m myself 24/7 whether on the record or off the record. Realistically, no one will ever be you, so I’ve always thought that was the best route. My music is a nice blend of witty lyricism, complete honesty, and gut-wrenching emotion. Not too many artists live what they rap or sing, but that’s always been a big part of who I am. I won’t pretend in order to get ahead. I’ll take the scenic route if it means people accept and love me for me. That’s what separates me from a lot of artists.
Who have you been listening to lately?
I’ve been listening to some Kendrick Lamar, Lykke Li, The Jezabels, iiGonz, Demi Lovato, Of Verona, Big K.R.I.T., Eminem, Royce 5’9″, Mystikal, Lupe Fiasco, J. Cole, ScHoolBoy Q, Omen, Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, Angel Haze, Rita Ora, and Omar LinX.
Tell us about your passions
Well, the hopes of moving my cousin out of the city wakes me up every morning. Everyone that doesn’t know she’s my cousin always thinks she’s my daughter, and it gets a bit weird at times, even though I treat her as if she is. Other than her, just being active. I used to love playing basketball, but watching it kind of killed my love for it. I love video games and cartoons, and interacting with fans. They’re really sweet most of the time. You guys should see some of the fan mail I get. It’s something else. It makes me feel like I’m really doing something right. I try not to take that feeling for granted.
What else is happening next in your world?
I’m working extremely hard on my next album; harder than I’ve ever worked before. I want to make this album an experience for my core fans, but also a crazy reintroduction to newer fans. I plan on working towards more shows in different cities, but I’m taking it one step at a time. Just be on the look out for my next project, and don’t be surprised if you begin to see and hear more of me. I’m also looking to spend a little more time with my cousin after, “Sincerely Yours…” drops. It’ll be out by September. I promise.
Thanks for an awesome interview, Byron!