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EXCLUSIVE | One Singer, Three Different Artists: Meet The Husel [INTERVIEW]

One man, three sounds. Meet The Husel, not that other guy.
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Best known as Musiq Soulchild, Philadelphia-bred, Atlanta-based artist The Husel introduced a new persona to the world last year that made us all scratch our heads. Why would someone so accomplished want to abandon a legacy we’ve all come to know and love?

He hasn’t. (Thank God) Instead, The Husel is just one of three personalities that make up the one artist. This one just happens to be hopped up on auto-tune, ambition and “turn up.”

If you visit his website IAmAGroup.com you’ll meet not two, but three different singers, with three different styles, sharing the same face. Confused? Yeah, me too.

the-husel-musiq-soulchild-p-wondaluv-thebobbypen

Fortunately, I had the opportunity to talk to the guy behind it all to gain a little clarity. While I still don’t exactly understand why he can’t just choose to switch up his look and sound while maintaining the one brand we’ve come to love in over a decade, I tip my hat to him for trying something different.

In short, The Husel explains this all as him playing different characters, but not in a movie. Rather, in the music industry. With these three personas– the last of which, Purple Wondaluva whom we’ll meet this June– he is able to tap in the several markets without tainting any one brand. He also believes that he’s helping his fans by not force feeding us something we don’t want, and not stifling his own right to creative expression. He’ll simply serve us three courses, and we can take our pick.

Check out our interview below and let me know what you think. Is this wacky or genius? Chime in!

TheBobbyPen.com (TBP)
 Who is The Husel? Is he a nod to Roger Zapman?

The Husel:
 I am The Husel and no.

TBP:
 can you explain a little more? How does The Husel differ from Musiq Soulchild or your other persona Purple Wondaluva, whom we haven’t met yet ?

The Husel:
Okay. How exactly? Alright. Musiq Soulchild is a R&B singer. The Husel is not. Musiq Soulchild sings about romantic love. The Husel does not. What The Husel speaks about is waking up, grinding, getting yours every day. Whatever that maybe. You know? No judgment. I’m not condoning or condemning anything. I’m just purely speaking about the mindset that we should adopt in order for us to be successful in life, from my perspective.

Every now and again there’s a song that may touch on social interactions and other dudes that are speaking a female interaction, but for the most part my main objective is to speak to that concept of get up and go, do for you and make it happen no matter what. If that answers your question.

TBP:
It does. It does. So, I definitely took a listen to “Husel Music” and with the exception of the first song, which I really like the live element. It felt very much like maybe it intro to maybe a R&B show–

The Husel:
Haaaaaa! (laughs)

TBP:
Do you have a comment on that?

The Husel:
I smiled and laughed. What exactly did you listen to? The Preup or Husel Music? Which one did you listen to?

TBP:
Husel Music.

The Husel:
Gotcha. Okay.

TBP:
So, the song I’m referring to is “Ready.”

The Husel:
“Ready.” Yeah. ” I’m ready.” And you said that sounds like what now? (Laughs)

TBP:
The intro. It felt like I’m expecting Mint Condition to come out or something. It has like a more of a live element than a studio sound, if that makes sense.

The Husel:
Yeah. I don’t get that. I don’t get that at all. Actually almost didn’t even put that on because he felt kind of rappy you know with PT (Pastor Troy) coming on ” Aye! You know what it is ” I thought it was – I don’t now.

TBP:
I appreciated the shout out to DC on that track too

The Husel:
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I just feel like if people would get out of the mindset of Musiq Soulchild they would appreciate The Husel more. I think when you start looking for Musiq Soulchild in The Husel you’re going to be very disappointed which is why I get why people are kind of upset.

TBP:
Definitely. Which is one of my questions. I mean, are you prepared for this image to not go over well? What happens next if this doesn’t work out the way you want?

The Husel:
That’s the crazy thing about it. I know it’s going to go over well. Well at least it’s already going over well. There’s always going to be people talking shit about what you do. That–that’s life. I’m cool with that. But there are people that really dig it and that’s the people that I focus on. If I worried about a person’s opinion on what I did every day I wouldn’t get nowhere. So in my mind I am already successful. There are just some people that are not going to rock with it and that’s fine. Everybody is not going to like everything. Okay.

TBP:
Okay. That’s definitely a great attitude to have. Have your musical peers offered you any feedback?

The Husel:
Yeah, yeah. All the time and I take– you know– whatever constructive criticism I can use. And you know there are the people that may be speaking out of fear and I take that into consideration as well. And that’s probably why a lot of people didn’t want to get in on it at the beginning, but hopefully they may think about it differently once they listen to the project a little more objectively. And understand that I put a lot of work and time into it you know?

TBP:
Absolutely. Just to stay on that question little longer, would you say your peers are maybe 50-50? They get it and they vibe with it, and then the other half doesn’t? Or is it a slant and if so to which direction?

The Husel:
I could try to put a number on it but I do my best not to you know? I just take it for whatever it is. I know everybody is not going to understand it you know? But then the ones I do–some of the ones that do are on the project. There are others I got it but it was just a matter of time and schedule that we couldn’t figure it out but you know like I said I mentioned before everybody is not going to get it because realistically it’s not for everybody.

That’s like expecting everybody to like chocolate ice cream. That’s not a reality you know? However the people that don’t like it that don’t mean a bad people or they stupid or they don’t get it. They just like something else and it doesn’t mean that chocolate ice cream is whack it just means that everybody ain’t gon’ dig it.

TBP:
Gotcha. Gotcha. So, I would say that your sound is like the trail sound right? So you’re strong “Radio.” which came out in 2009 seem like an entrée to this sound for you. What was going on then?

The Husel:
That was– yeah. That was my attempt at the beginning of what is ultimately The Husel. I wasn’t even thinking about The Husel at the time but I did want to contribute to the Southern Hip-Hop culture, that Atlanta sound in particular. But it was a little premature, you know?

TBP:
Okay. Now, is a harder or easier for you to create in this space, and why would you say that? Because the sound is alot different from the Musiq Soulchild sound.

The Husel:
I don’t really think of it as hard or easy I just look at it – – I do my best to recognize whatever works that needs to be done and pray that people get that I put a lot of work in and they appreciate that.

TBP:
How are you able to switch between the different personas? What helps you do that? Do you go in and have a certain ritual that you do The Husel?

The Husel:
Nah. It’s no different than you being at the crib and then going to your job you just got it– you going to present yourself accordingly. When you around your friends you act a certain way. When you’re around your work colleagues you act a certain way. When you’re with your parents you act a certain way. It’s no different. I think people are making this way too– and I know you got asked the questions that you’re asking because you know that’s what you do. But I really feel like people are making his way deeper than it actually is.

It’s really not that hard. I don’t have to go through anything because all of these personas, quote unquote, they are parts of me that y’all don’t just have never been exposed to. I’m just now finding a creative way to give you guys more me if you’re interested. If not then cool. Leave it. But it’s here.

It’s actually I think a way for you to appreciate all the individual ones respectively because then you won’t have to worry about me trying to funnel all of this crap into one lane. You won’t have to worry about Musiq Soulchild trying to “turn up.” You ain’t got to worry about that. I’m a just keep that persona, that brand intact. Meanwhile, over here I got a whole ‘nother thing with another name that contributes to a whole ‘nother demographic of people—not necessarily age-wise, but just preference wise. And the same thing with P Wondaluv.

One doesn’t really have anything to do with the other except for the fact that they’re all me. If I could be multiple people, and I know that may come across a little weird—I don’t know, but if I could be different people I really would. If I could be three of me, I feel like if that were the case then people would—they would take it way better, but I think a lot of people can’t wrap their head around one person full-out being three different people in essence. But it’s not hard for me because I’m all of these things all the time. Ya’ll have just only been exposed to Musiq Soulchild all of this time, but there was always The Husel, there was always P Wondaluv whether I had the name or not, or whether I had the sound or not they were always there.

TBP:
Gotcha. Well, it’s definitely challenging for us to sort of process what you’re saying. I mean, I think it’s awesome. I think it’s very brave of you to—

The Husel:
But then, would you say the same thing to an actor?

TBP:
No. But that’s what an actor does by nature. As opposed to–

The Husel:
But that’s what all creative people do by nature. As a matter of fact eff that, that’s what all people do by nature. It’s just more celebrated and leaned on, or leaned into, rather more with creatives.

More so than any, actors, but even though they’re acting and reading lines, they have to evoke the right emotions in order for it to resonate with you, right? It has to be believable. The best way to make something be believable is have it come from a real place. And that’s what actors do; the good ones at least. They put themselves psychologically or whatever into that space so that they are tethered to some reality in order to get that point come across to you guys.

Now with actors, they gotta dig deeper. I don’t have to dig that deep, because all I’m doing is being different facets of myself. No different than how you are at your job, how you are at the crib, how you are at the club or whatever. You know?

No one person is the same thing all the time. There’s consistency, there’s a way to find consistency within that, but you know—just as sure as you got emotions you change your presentation like the weather. Everybody does.

TBP:
OK. That definitely makes sense. I guess my next question is: Janet Jackson, Beyoncé and most recently we’ve seen Janelle Monae sort of switch up and experiment with different sounds throughout their careers without changing their names. Do you think gender plays a factor into this?

The Husel:
MmmMmmmm… I don’t know. I wouldn’t say that. It probably does. It probably don’t, but that’s not something that I think about. Or even know how to answer.

TBP:
OK. So, on “Husel Music” you had some features that are out of the box, or so far removed from Musiq Soulchild, did you find that their process was any different from what you typically operate to or was it smooth sailing when you got into the studio?

The Husel:
Well most of the songs—the only song that I was in the studio with the person that did it was Bone Crusher and T-Pain. Oh! And no and also Rah Digga and Cyan. The other one’s, Scott King, Willie Henn, Pastor Troy, you know, they sent me theirs. D-A-T out of Atlanta, they just sent me their verses. I didn’t really have to go through any process. It was a matter of, “Yo! I got this joint. You wanna be on it? Cool. Do what you want to do.” And they did it, and it fit, and it made sense and I just rocked with it.

Of course it would be different from Musiq Soulchild, because—I don’t know, man. I really can’t stress it enough. The less you look for Musiq Soulchild, the more you’ll see The Husel.

TBP:
(laughs) Alright. You’re going to hate this next question, ‘cuz you said—

The Husel:
No, I don’t hate anything. Go ‘head.

TBP:
OK I gotta ask it. What would you say to the listener who feels your song “Turn Down” would’ve been better suited for Musiq, than The Husel.

The Husel:
It’s no different than saying somebody else singing a song would be better suited for another artist. I don’t really think of it like that. But that’s because you know Musiq Soulchild, so you’re like, “Why didn’t he just do that as Musiq Soulchild,” because the intention was not to do it as Musiq Soulchild. The intention was to do it as The Husel. You’re always going to hear Musiq Soulchild, because that’s what you know, so you’re going to hear that.

It’s no different than seeing Tyler Perry being Madea. Every now and again you’re going to be like, “Yo! That’s Tyler Perry in a dress.” Yeah, but look past the fact that’s Tyler Perry in a dress and look at the character Madea. Folks like to nitpick facts rather than appreciate what’s happeneing.

TBP:
OK. Now, I definitely know people want to know the answer to this and I’ve heard other people ask you this. I really want a good answer to this so I really hope you’re feeling me. Is The Husel persona more about fun, your fans or money? Very honestly.

The Husel:
All three. I don’t understand why it can’t be about all three. Why does it have to be just one.

TBP:
You don’t think it leans more to just one more than the other?

The Husel:
To me know, because it’s all-inclusive. That’s the thing about this whole persona, it’s all-inclusive. I want to have fun, I want to entertain my fans, And I definitely want to make money.

TBP:
Ok. So my last question: When you consider shows and tours, who do you see yourself being paired up with? Who do you see The Husel being paired up with?

The Husel:
Whomever folks want to see me paired up with. I don’t discriminate, dude. Like, I’m just trying to get to the bread. It doesn’t matter who I’m rocking with. I’m still going to do me.

TBP:
You got any people in mind or just let life play out?

The Husel: Whoever’s available. I could put together a perfect list, but anybody that’s available. I like to talk about right now. I don’t like to do hypotheticals. I like to talk about right now. What’s happening right now? What can we make happen right now? And anybody that’s available—if a promoter wants to do a show and put me on there, as long as the business is right I’m with it.

TBP:
Well, I’m sure you’re listening to what’s going on now. Are there any artists that are influencing you that are current right now?

The Husel:
You want me to give you a—uhh… Kendrick Lamar. There you go.

TBP:
(laughs) Alright. Yes, I wanted a name. Before I let you go, can I get any insight in Purple Wondaluva, because that’s new to me. When I went to your site the other day I didn’t expect to see that other—that third guy.

The Husel:
Well, to be honest I’m actually in the studio mixing the last record to go to mastering so I can put it out in June. So you’ll know all about it in June.