Urban Mystic: Spiritual Minded

In today’s industry, R&B artists still in their teenage years typically follow the same mold as those before them: either being thrown into a marketable group aimed at breaking young girls’ hearts, or enjoying solo exposure while singing about typical heartbreak stories and generic ballads. Regardless, after one listen to the break-through single “Where Were You”, it’s obvious that 19-year-old Urban Mystic is an artist who defies these age barriers.

Growing up in a strong religious household in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the morals and spiritual atmosphere of church life helped to fill Urban Mystic with maturity and vision way beyond his years. With the aid of SoBe Entertainment and Warner Music Group, his debut album Ghetto Revelations will hit stores in late November, flaunting the sounds of a very promising young voice for R&B’s ever-growing landscape.

Boasting contributions from KayGee, Eddie S., Red Spyda, and the legendary El Debarge, Ghetto Revelations is a fresh dose of genuine soul, and serves as the world’s premier introduction to an artist with vast potential. Making timeless music at such a young age, Urban Mystic is current proof for the late Aaliyah’s youthful claim that “age ain’t nothing but a number.”

AllHipHop.com Alternatives sat down with Urban Mystic amidst his hectic schedule to give the world a better feel as to what he’s all about.

AllHipHop.com Alternatives: As a newcomer, people aren’t too familiar with the music you’re bringing to the table. How would you describe what you’re doing on Ghetto Revelations?

Urban Mystic: Basically, the music on the album is just what the title says it is; it’s going to have that ghetto feel. There might be some things on there that you might only hear in the hood, ‘cause that’s where I come from. I keep it spiritual as well - I never forget God, and I never forget where I come from. I keep the revelations of things going on.

AHHA: Can you explain your name, Urban Mystic? It’s pretty unique.

UM: I tried to take the name in the same direction as my album and the person I am. It speaks of me and describes where I come from. I’m from the hood and the ghetto, and I grew up in the church, and I’m still in the church. My father is a minister, and my mother is the organist in the church. What I did was, I looked the name Urban Mystic up, and the meaning of the name describes me perfectly. The urban part represents the hood, and the mystic part represents my spiritual background.

AHHA: Coming from such a spiritual background, soul and gospel music must have always been around. What other types of music were you into growing up that have helped mold your style?

UM: My dad listened to Al Green, Bobby Womack, Marvin Gaye, and The Temptations, and I was always around him, so those artists were big influences. Listening to the songs that they were singing, as well as still going to church every Sunday, I put the two together and it kind of inspired me. We kind of put that ghetto gospel thing down.

AHHA: What made you go with ‘Where Were You’ as the first look off the album?

UM: The single was done by KayGee from Naughty By Nature. When he did the song for me, I always listened to it and I was really feeling it. We had kind of a hard time picking out the first single, though – [it] was a little time consuming. The more I had listened to ‘Where Were You’, though, the more it started to make me feel good as an individual, not just because it’s me singing on the song. It had thinking about things I used to do. I can remember when I first heard about Biggie or Pac, and I can remember when I first got a pager. You know? It gave me that feel good thing, so I said, ‘Hey, let’s make everybody else feel good like that.’

AHHA: You have a track on the album produced by and featuring El Debarge. That’s a pretty serious collaborator to have on your debut album. How did that come about?

UM: Oh man, that was a blessing in disguise. I was actually in New York, recording the album. El Debarge just happened to stop in to the studio. Someone in there knew him, and he was stopping in to holler at him. He happened to hear me singing on a track, and he peaks his head in the door and comes in to introduce himself. Of course, I knew who he was, and I was stunned that he came in and was really feeling my music. So, he was like, ‘Why don’t I write and produce a song for you right here and now?’ [Laughs]

AHHA: Damn, so that all happened in one day?

UM: Yeah. He did it, and in a matter of a couple of hours it was done.

AHHA: I noticed that you actually did some production on the album. How did you get started in the production side of things?

UM: I started by playing the piano in my church. I grew up doing that, and when I started learning how to do that, my dad bought me my first keyboard. That was actually the keyboard that helped get me my deal, ‘cause I was singing and playing that when I signed. I just took it and went further with it. I said, ‘Hey, I can play this church song, but what if I could put a beat behind it?’ Make some drums go with it, so I did that and there it was. I started producing.

AHHA: If you had to pick one song on Ghetto Revelations that best represents what you and your music are about, what would it be?

UM: One track I can pick out is actually the one that I wrote and produced, and it’s called ‘Mama’s Song’. I did it for my mother - it’s a real touching song. I think everybody out there, from all races and genders can relate to. That’s one of those songs that has both the gospel and R&B feel. It’s my momma, so you got to respect it.

AHHA: Doing music has been your lifelong dream, so now that you are making the dream happen, what has been the most surprising thing about the recording industry to you so far?

UM: The most surprising thing that I wasn’t expecting is not being home, like all of the traveling. I was just telling my friend that I’ve been literally living out of my suitcase for the past three months, and that’s something that I didn’t expect. But you get used to it after awhile. It’s only going to get more like that, so I gotta get used to it. [Laughs]

AHHA: Listening to the album, your music doesn’t sound like the typical stuff coming from somebody your age. Since you’re only 19 years old and making real mature music, do you think people are going to really be surprised when they hear your album?

UM: I can say that I believe that the world will be surprised because, from my knowledge of music and time, I haven’t seen nobody do what I’m doing right now. You know, with the young age, mature voice, and the spiritual background thing going. With me coming out as a youngster and doing that, I think it will be a surprising thing to the world. A pleasant surprise, of course.