Just a kid a decade ago, Tristen Davies got to work on a career path that not too many elementary-aged students would head down; music. His passion for writing teamed with a talent for showcasing the reality unraveling around him whether it personal or on a national level, Tristen Davies has shined with singles like “Amerikkka” and “The Therapist.” We talked about those as well as what’s ahead for this artist on the rise.
Kendra: You started dropping singles a couple of years ago. What led you to say, hey…I think it’s time the world heard what I have to say?
Tristen Davies: Well I’ve been writing raps since I was 10 years old back in 2012, I didn’t end up recording anything until 2018. I just grew tired of being afraid of what people thought and I was tired of telling everybody I rapped with no songs.
Kendra: Because you came out of the gate full force with “Amerikkka” with a line like “…my Blackness is scarin’ ya.” Obviously, America’s history and present are plagued with racism, but was sort of the last straw for you and caused you to pen this song?
Tristen Davies: At the time I wrote that song it was summer 2019, I’ve always been rebellious and prideful of my race. I can’t say there was anything in particular that happened at the time for me to write the song, I wrote it in less than 10 minutes and didn’t change any lines, but it was a damn good foreshadowing to what would happen a year later in summer 2020 with the George Floyd riots.
Kendra: Another song from early in your career is “The Therapist.” A song that highlights your own therapy session, and you don’t hold back. Do you feel music like this, that showcases not only Black people taking their mental health seriously – but a Black man doing so – will help urge others in the Black community to continue to be more open about therapy?
Tristen Davies: Absolutely. I still get so many compliments from that song from people thanking me for how vulnerable I was. I was actually wrapping up my first semester of college on campus, very confused on how I wanted to direct my life. I was watching the movie ‘Good Will Hunting’ with Robin Williams and I relate so deeply with Matt Damon’s character.
But it is sad Black men aren’t as balanced with their emotions in music without trying to portray a tough image, especially in rap it’s almost obsolete. As a 19-year-old doing it, I’d hope it makes it more easier or rather heartfelt for my peers to hear and understand that it’s okay not to be okay. Express whatever you are going through as long as you’re comfortable and it’s not soft to ask or call for help, we’re merely human.
Kendra; As for what you presently have going on, you dropped ‘eve’ this year. Your second LP, correct? How do you feel this release compares to your first?
Tristen Davies: ‘Eve’ was my second LP, and every album reflects what’s going on in my life. ‘Prodigy’ was a collection of songs recorded in my room from May 2021 to October 2021 just relaying my thoughts while showing improvement lyrically and subject matter-wise. I traveled to my second home, Liberia for my 20th birthday. I really didn’t feel like making any songs so eve was a collection of songs I had intended to release as an album anyway with a very funky, high-vibe production sound that I just wanted to give to my fans to listen to. They are very different sonically but I talk about the same things just with slower flows, and melodies and I honestly had more fun with ‘eve’ as far as experimenting my sound from lyrical miracle boom-bap.
Kendra: Another new song you’ve got is “robin williams.” Was he someone you grew up idolizing?
Tristen Davies: Well, he is a person I get a lot of inspiration from but most definitely is a part of my childhood from ‘Aladdin,’ ‘Dead Poets Society,’ and ‘Good Will Hunting,’ I mentioned that inspired my song the therapist. He represents the balance of male and feminine qualities in me and what I mean by feminine is the fact that I’m able to vent my emotions out without feeling shame or softness. When he passed it was a definite shocker to me, I wouldn’t fathom someone with the love and fame and millions he had wanting to die but you know you grow older and understand more.
Kendra: Time for a side note – with it being summer, I’d love to know your go-to summer anthem? Like what song must you listen to when the weather is perfect and the sun is out?
Tristen Davies: See, I’m weird because I am out of tune with the new music just because so much is saturated now; more quantity over quality. So any song I hear, old or new, becomes the one jam for me until the next, but honestly, my favorite summer song and overall song of all time is probably “Stereo Hearts” by Gym Class Heroes. It brings me back to the summer of 2011, 3rd grade sitting in the back of my aunt’s green ‘93 Honda Accord; happy times for me. So you’ll catch that on my phone, especially in the summer.
Kendra: Lastly, with ‘eve’ out now, what are your plans moving forward? Is there a possible tour in the works?
Tristen Davies: I have an album coming very soon called “oneonefour.” It’s done now, I made 30 songs for the album but want to cut it to 15. I have a collab album with my bro, Brandon, called “unrevised” who I went to high school with. It was five tracks. He’s the producer and I’m rapping. I have a collaboration tape coming with producer momoward who made the beat for my song “tomorrow.” I have some music coming with my homegirl, Nissy, she has the voice of an angel, and I really wanna push her to pursue music full time. As far as tours and performances you can always stay in tune with me on my Instagram!