Since 2007, Richard "Outasight" Andrew has gradually been taking the music world by storm. With the recent release of his seventh mixtape Get It Together, Outasight is giving listeners an opportunity to rediscover the music he's been creating for the past five years.
Hailing from Yonkers, New York, Outasight has been blazing through the charts with his Gold-certified hit, "Tonight Is the Night." Before his recent sold-out show at New York's Gramercy Theatre, AllHipHop.com got the low-down on his background, his influences, his creative process, and what fans can expect from his debut album which is tentatively set for release later this year:
AllHipHop.com: How you feeling today?
Outasight: I’m doing great. Thanks.
AllHipHop.com: I want to ask you about your background first if you don’t mind. I know your parents heavily influenced you with the music they surrounded you with when you were growing up. Can you tell me about those experiences?
Outasight: Well, I mean I just grew up around a lot of music. My mom was a big-time with collecting records, so there was always a lot of music in the house, and my dad played guitar so he was a musician. Not by trade, it wasn’t his main job, but he did play the guitar and when he was younger, he was a player in a band. So I just always saw music around me as a kid, and it always just brought a different kind of feeling that was just different you know? It just sparked something in me.
From a young age, I kind of realized that there was something special about music and the feeling that it brought, so it really started there just in terms of me saying, "I think I want to do this.” You start having those dreams as a kid, and your imagination kind of goes with it, and then as you continue to get older, you start figuring out how you’re going to do it. It has to start somewhere, so it really started just from hearing it at home whether it was The Beatles or Stevie Wonder or Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, you know, there was so much stuff. Michael Jackson, Prince, whatever.
AllHipHop.com: You just listed off a whole bunch of different and classic artists and icons, but do you remember what genre you first heard that really struck a chord within you?
Outasight: Well, the first CD I ever bought, actually I got it through my Mom’s Columbia House ‘cause I was eight years old, was A Tribe Called Quest’s Low End Theory. I was eight and I saw the “Scenario” video as a kid, and I just thought that was the dopest video ever. Just being a kid, that video was so much fun. It was like a huge party and everybody looked like they were having a blast. I remember sitting there and watching MTV and saying “this is amazing.”
After that, I think it was Black Sheep’s A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing ‘cause “This and That” was a huge record at the time, but as a kid I loved everything, and I’ve always been a huge music and pop culture junkie. So growing up, I was listening to Punk Rock, Hip-Hop, Drum and Bass, Alternative Rock, R&B, everything, all the classics, and I just loved it all. I think that’s what kind of helped me as an artist just kind of broaden my horizons and become more eclectic.
AllHipHop.com: I definitely hear you on that. Outside of the artists you just named, who are some of your other favorite artists from the past and present that you find yourself listening to on a daily or more frequent basis than others?
Outasight: Jay-Z, Kanye West. I was a huge Mos Def fan during the Rawkus period, just a huge, huge fan. Marvin Gaye, D’Angelo’s Voodoo is my favorite album of all time. The Roots, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, f*cking so much stuff. The Clash, Elvis Costello…
AllHipHop.com: Damn, man.
Outasight: [laughter] I told you, man, I go across the board for sure. Everyday sparks something different. I love Beck and LCD Soundsystem. I mean, there’s just so much good music out there, so I definitely try and appreciate as much as I can.
AllHipHop.com: Well, I can certainly appreciate that. Since you’ve surrounded yourself with all this great music and based on the music you listened to when you were younger, I’m curious how you would describe your style and sound musically?
Outasight: My style right now is definitely Pop, with a hybrid of Hip-Hop, Soul, and Rock. I definitely, even from my earliest work, was trying to perfect the idea and craft of the hook. I’ve always set out to nail the hook. So there was always that wanting to continue to get the melody and the hook, and just make those kinds of records that are just catchy no matter what the production was sounding like. It’s interesting, ‘cause it’s always rooted in some Pop, but you know, I definitely have a hybrid of everything I would say.
AllHipHop.com: From what I’ve noticed, being that the first time I saw you was performing at last year’s Governor’s Ball Music Festival in the summer and have been a fan since…
Outasight: Yeah, thanks so much, man. That was fun. We rocked that one out.
AllHipHop.com: …Yeah that show was great. But I’ve seen this tendency since I went back and listened to your older stuff, and I noticed that lately, the music you’ve been creating and putting out has more of a singing style to it then some of your past music where there was a move evident Hip-Hop style and sound. Is there anything to that?
Outasight: I think it really depends just what you’re listening to. It really goes on like a song-by-song basis. I mean, “Tonight Is the Night” is melodic, but “Stay the Same”, I’m rapping and “Figure 8”, I’m rapping. “Life Or Something Like It”, I’m rapping. I think it really depends. It’s funny because I don’t really think about it ever, and I just kind of create and feel what’s right at the time, you know what I mean? There’s never been a point in my life when I’m in the studio and said “I need to sing this song” or “you know what, I’m singing too much; I need to rap.” I just kind of go with the flow and feel it out, and that’s the beauty of music is that there’s no boundaries to even try and fit you in. If you can do it, just do it. So I just enjoy the creative process and go for it.
AllHipHop.com: I understand. Now back in ’09, a huge milestone in your career happened when you signed with Warner Bros. Records and Asylum. At the time, based on the music that you were creating and releasing, why did you feel that signing with Warner was the right move?
Outasight: Well, I originally signed with Asylum and Todd Moscowitz, and then it basically got me out of a small indie deal. The label was patient enough to work with me and make sure that I was able to get out of a kind of nasty situation, and they were always there and believed in the music. So, I just knew that I had somebody that was definitely going to work with me and try and develop me as an artist and really work to meet the goals of getting more listeners and getting certain things going.
It just felt right and when the guy who signed me became the C.E.O. of the company, basically, I just went to Warner Bros. Records. It’s a process with a new artist, and so when they had the change over at the label, that took a lot of time and amazingly enough, it just worked in my favor, because the guy who signed me ended up becoming the CEO, so I was put in a really good situation of having people who believe in me still there. And so, when it was time to go and they pressed the button, everything started working, and they’ve just been so supportive of everything I’ve been able to do. It’s just been a great working relationship.
AllHipHop.com: Well, that’s great, man, and I’m glad that you’re happy with your label situation.
Outasight: Yeah, I definitely am. Thanks.
AllHipHop.com: Now I want to get into the music itself. Like I said before, I’ve gone back and downloaded and listened to your older mixtapes and EPs, but I want to know about the album. What can you tell me about your Warner Bros. debut?
Outasight: Well, I continue to work on the music always and am always trying to get better, and it comes to a point where I’m still growing an audience. Now that we have a gold record with “Tonight Is the Night”, we’re starting to get different exposure opportunities, we’re planning on putting it out this summer. You just never want to rush it just to say you did it and f*ck it up, you know what I mean?
AllHipHop.com: For sure.
Outasight: We’ve had to really grow this from the ground up, and it takes time, and I still have a lot of growing to do. So the music is really good, and there are certainly some real songs with depth there, and it tells my story and it feels really good. But you want to be able to share that with as many people as possible. That’s why we’re just continuing to fill that audience. Right now, with everything continuing to grow, “Tonight Is the Night” has just been a great launch pad for me on the commercial side of things, so that’s just something we’re continuing to go at.
AllHipHop.com: As a fan and listener, it really is great to hear that an artist wants to take their time with creating the best album they can and isn’t trying to just get it out there and capitalize. So that alone speaks leaps and bounds for you and your character.
Outasight: No doubt. You’ve just got to take pride in what you do. I love making music, I love performing, so I just want to make sure that when it’s all said and done, I can look back and be proud of what I did.
AllHipHop.com: Regarding the people that you’ve worked with in the past like Asher Roth, Big K.R.I.T., Freddie Gibbs, Naledge, will any of those guys be appearing on the album?
Outasight: Right now my album is collaboration-free.
AllHipHop.com: I like that.
Outasight: I just kind of want my album to be my story, and I’m always down to collaborate, so it’s not like I’m saying “no” to people. But I think there’s a time and place for each collaboration. Like I just did a song with Don Trip, so I am open to doing collaborations with dope artists. But for my album, I’ve really kind of kept it to myself, not to be selfish.
You know, the same way I write my own songs and I’ve been able to start and be successful, is the same way I want to do my album and be successful. I want to do it my way.
AllHipHop.com: I hear you. Is there any plan to drop another mixtape or EP before the album’s release or are you 100 percent solely focused on finishing that?
Outasight: I’d love to. You know, that’s something I’ve really got to talk to my team about. I’ve got a lot of material so once I get off the road – I don’t know when that is – I’ve got a little bit more time in March in New York, ‘cause I’ve been on the road for two months straight now, so I haven’t really been able to sit in the studio and get it all together. Every time I’m in the studio I just bang out a song, and I keep it moving.
Putting out a mixtape before the album could definitely be a possibility. I’ve been thinking about it, I just got to figure out the details so I don’t know yet.
AllHipHop.com: Well, I hope you do. I just want to say that I’ve definitely noticed your sound evolve and mature over the past couple of years, at least based on what I’ve heard from you. Where do you see you music and sound heading in five years from years now?
Outasight: I’m constantly just trying to get the sound bigger and bigger. Not even on a commercial level, just like sounds and the idea of making music that can take over a stadium, you know what I’m saying? There’s a part of me that’s just jonesing to make anthems and make music that people will listen to for a very long time. That’s what I’m going to continue to try and get better and better as an artist; everyday I’m trying to get better.
I listen to myself and I’m very critical of myself. I know what I want to do and how I want to take it there so I’m just continuing to improve as a person and artist and just kind of make music that, like I said, some people can listen to for a very long time.
AllHipHop.com: We can’t wait to hear the new music for sure. Is there anything else you want the fans or readers to know before we part ways?
Outasight: If any readers are unfamiliar with my work, they can download the Get It Together mixtape, which was like a compilation of work over the past year and some new stuff. It’s a free download, and it’s hosted by DJ Benzi, so everybody who doesn’t know who I am can get familiar with it.
AllHipHop.com: OK, great. Thanks for your time, man.
Outasight: Thanks a lot, JP.
For more information, visit www.IAmOutasight.com. Follow Outasight on Twitter (@Outasight).