SHIFTER’s Jhamesha Milord sits down with Toronto contemporary R&B singer-songwriter Pisceze to talk about her upbringing and musical journey.
Jhamesha: I’m Jhamesha Milord and welcome back to SHIFTER’s interview series. Today, I’m interviewing a special guest who goes by the name of Pisceze. She’s a Toronto-based artist, she’s a singer, songwriter and contemporary R&B soul artist. We will be getting to know her personally and speaking about her musical journey.
I’m just going to kick off this interview with your upbringing, and we’ll just get to know you a little better. So tell us about your upbringing as an artist.
Pisceze: I started as a songwriter; that’s how I really got into music and built a lot of cool friendships with people along the way. It’s funny because I wanted to be behind the scenes, and it’s complete different of what I’m doing now. But, I had really cool people around me to tell me and motivate me, like, “Show your face” because in my first music video I released as an artist, I didn’t even show my face.
J: Kind of like a Sia, right?
P: Yeah. I wanted to be a mysterious artist because I wanted to be more behind the scenes, but people were like, “Your music’s dope; put a face on it. We want to see you and get to know you”, so I was like okay.
J: And you’re very beautiful as well, so I don’t think you should hide your face at all.
So, as you began songwriting for other artists, before releasing music of your own, are you getting more songwriting requests as others see you flourish in the music industry, or do you just write for yourself now?
P: To be honest, I write with other artists and songwriters. I love to take…My thing is called “energy movement”. I move off energy, so I love to work together and I feel like when people are more involved in a project, you create something, more than just one idea, and I think that’s the most memorable part about it. As for requests from other artists, yeah. It’s like, let’s work on a record together, and I’ll be like yeah, super dope. Just because I did start as a songwriter, it’s almost like a project that you’re working on. And you’re presenting it to the world. I don’t treat my music any different. I love working with creatives, other songwriters, other producers and just experimenting. That’s what I feel like being creative is about.
J: I also know that you know how to play the piano. Your parents put you in piano lessons when you were younger. How else did your parents inspire and influence you to get in touch with your creative side and to make music?
P: They put me in piano lessons; they made me sing to my grandparents every Christmas dinner. The thing is, I don’t know how to read notes. I used to hate going to piano lessons because my teacher would talk to my parents and be like, “This girl does not listen”, and I’d be like, “I don’t know how to read the notes. So I play by ear. I play what intrigues me, and I feel like that’s just the creative I am. When I hear something, I just know how to play it. I just figure things out on my own. But how my parents influenced me is that my dad knows how to play everything. And I was, and still am, super jealous, because he knows how to read notes. When I was younger, he would always record music as a hobby. He never wanted to be an artist, he wanted the family life, but he had music as his hobby.
J: You kicked off your music career two years ago, right?
P: Yes, two and a half years ago.
J: So, how was it starting off during a full blown pandemic, while isolating?
P: I don’t have anything bad to say, because I felt like it was supposed to happen to me. It was just kind of like a sign, because if I had just started without the pandemic, I don’t think I would have taken that time to get to know myself. Right now, I feel like, I don’t think I 100% know myself, because there are flaws that I experience everyday, but I do strongly believe that I do know myself. I do know what I want, and if the pandemic hadn’t happened, I think it would have played out a little different.
J: So it was king of like, God’s plan in a way.
J: At what point in your career did you realize that your breakthrough happened?
P: When Timbaland noticed my music. I believe in manifesting so much, because I remember I was in the studio with my boy Kyle, and I told him, “I want to make a Timberland type beat. Can you do that for me?” And he’s like, “Yeah, let’s do that”. Then we worked on this idea, then I released it, and Timbaland liked it. And I was like, “Whoa, okay” and it just helped me keep moving. And then also, I have people messaging me telling me that they love my music and how much it influenced them or how much it helped them. That plays a big part of why I keep going, because I like to help people and heal people throughout my music. It feels good.
J: Yes, I definitely feel that. What was your reaction when you realized Timbaland liked your post?
P: I was going crazy. I called up Kyle and I was like, “Yo, remember what I said. I’m not crazy right! I promise you, I said that in the studio.”
J: I love that, that’s amazing. I’m going to be gearing away quickly, and I just want to know, if it wasn’t for music, what would you be doing right now?
P: Oh easy, gamer. I’d be a gamer.
J: Yes, we’re actually going to be touching base on that in a little bit. Amazing, I love that.
I also know that you use your personal experiences a lot of inspiration for your music. What is the most significant personal experience that you’ve written a song about?
P: It’s probably my song that’s out right now.
J: Your latest song, Red Handed? I love that song. I can feel it in my soul.
P: Yeah, it’s something that most people can relate to. I was scared to release it because it’s too much info, but I was like, “You know what, I’m not afraid. I know that I’m not the only one who experiences this, and if it helps someone, from me voicing my opinion or what my experiences were and what I learnt from it.”
J: Period. If you’re not nervous or scared about doing something, then it’s not as good or meaningful.
J: I understand that you also grew up listening to rap and punk rock, but now that you’re in the R&B and soul genre, what made you decide, or what pulled you to that genre?
P: Songwriting for R&B artists. I love to incorporate punk rock music into R&B. That’s what I did for “Dodging Bullets”. I put a Blink 182 reference and put it into an R&B context.
J: I love that. I find that very cool, not many artists do that. Mix the punk rock with the R&B.
P: If you really take in punk rock music, even rock music, the lyrics are actually beautiful. And I always say this too, I’m like if you take a rock or even a country song, and take the acapella and slap that on a R&B production, it would be a hit. What the lyrics are is kind of like R&B.
J: Someone in the comments said Juice WRLD vibes.
What would you say sets you apart from other artists within your genre?
P: I don’t like to think that I’m too different from any other artist, because every artist has their own creative mind and their own creative way to do what they do. The only thing I could think of if I had to answer that, it would be that I’m Asian. You don’t see a lot of Asian artists, especially females going into R&B. I would love to see more Asian female artists.
J: Although there isn’t a lot, do you know any Asian artists in your genre or field that you’d like to work with?
P: Full on Asian, I don’t.
J: They need more of that for sure.
P: I was thinking of Jhene Aiko, but she’s half.
J: I spotted on your Instagram a highlight with the sub-heading Twitch. Do you still find time to play video games?
P: Yes. I am going to get into that. I’m going to be streaming more, because I really want to tap back into gaming and stuff. I feel like this year, I really focused on honing myself, finding my brand, and really tightening that up. So now, I’m going back to gaming.
J: I’m going to be tuning in.
P: Yes, please.
J: Would you say that your Twitch viewers listen to your music or is it two different crowds?
P: It’s completely different crowds. The Twitch world is the gaming world. I love that celebrities and artists are getting into Twitch to introduce music.
J: How do you feel about the internet’s impact on the music industry?
P: It’s very advanced. I love the fact that now people have a platform to speak their minds. It’s good that there’s social media out outlets that artists and creatives can showcase their work. Before we didn’t have all those types of platforms. We had MySpace. You couldn’t really do much with it, other than have profile pictures. But now, it’s better than before.
J: What impact did it have on your career?
P: Just posting what I want, and expressing myself.
J: It had a positive impact on your career, that’s for sure.
P: Yeah, and connecting with other people. It’s now easier to connect with other people. You get to touch base with people who really enjoy your music – it doesn’t just have to be mail or email. It could be a direct DM. Working with other people and connecting energies with other people, I feel like that has helped me.
J: That’s amazing. I love that. Amazing.
So now, we’ll be talking about your new single called “Red Handed”, and we’ll also be talking about the event where you opened up for Flo-Rida.
So first off, can you give us a bit more insight on your latest release called “Red Handed”?
P: I wrote that on the day that the incident happened. I don’t want to say too much, because it’s a little personal, but that record really did come from experience. Like real life experience. I’m proud of myself for pushing myself to release it and really push it. Sometimes us females, what we do is, we love to put that energy into sadness. But I kinda wanted to put out that short message especially to females―use that energy, and go and make a bag. Go work on yourself. No matter what happened, use that (what you went through), and go make a bag. So that’s what I did with this release.
J: Yes. You got out of your feelings, and in your bag.
P: Yeah, cause I’m like, I’m not wasting my time trying to think about the situation or soak myself in the situation. There’s no way. Females are super powerful.
J: That’s true. I agree. We’re stronger than men.
P: We’re so strong. And it shows, get off your feet. Do what you gotta do.
J: So I also know that you’re very big on the visuals, so when you were writing the song, what was the vision that you had in your brain?
P: The situation.
J: I know in the video, you go and you grab the knife…
P: So that story was…and in the end you can see my body. So it’s supposed to represent, I actually deaded my old self, where I would be lashing out, being emotional, wasting my time on this type of shit. I felt the whole self is me bettering myself. I’m a new woman.
J: I love that. So that’s basically something that you would have done?
P: Yeah, my old self. That is the motto of the visual.
J: Amazing. I love that.
This past Friday, you opened up the show for Flo-Rida at the RBC music series. Can you tell us how it went and how it felt opening for such a big artist as him?
P: That was my very first performance in that type of environment. At first I was super nervous, but when I got on stage with the people (shoutout to them), they killed it as well. I remember seeing my manager, I said I’m meant for the stage. I love this. When is the next show? When I stepped on stage, I’m like oh my god, this is surreal, am I dreaming. After that, I blacked out. I was working the stage, and when I got off I’m like damn, I’m still feeling the adrenaline. I kind of want to go back, can I go back on stage?
J: I’m glad. I’m super happy for you.
If you could perform anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
P: Korea or Japan. Back in my own home.
J: Well, I know that Bruno Mars is someone that you really want to collaborate with. What is it about him that draws you to him?
P: He’s creative aspect in music and how he performs. When I listen to his songs, I’m like, I wish I wrote that song. I wish that was my song. Every time he releases something, I’m like damn I wish that was my song.
J: Well I really hope for you that you guys collaborate. I’m sure it will happen one day very soon.
P: Manifesting. For real.
J: What’s the vision in regards to your career as a musical artist? What are you hoping to achieve?
P: Influence more and more people. And making music with Bruno Mars in the studio [inaudible]. And touring all over the world. I really envision myself going on an Asian tour. But my very end goal is to travel all over the world and save animals, and put them in a farm and call it my sanctuary. I just want to wake up to chicken sounds.
J: You want to become a farmer.
P: I mean, I don’t know if I can do all that farming, you know. I can take care of the animals.
J: That is very different, but I love that idea.
How do you see your sound evolving in the next couple of years?
P: It’s already evolving to be honest. From how I started, to what we’re working on now, is very different. It’s like me but with a little bit more flare.
J: Can you tell us about any upcoming projects or ideas that you’re working on?
P: Yes, we have something coming out soon. I’m not going to talk too much about it. It’s a little different than what’s already released, but I am super excited because I want to see people’s reaction to it, just cause it’s so different.
J: Different is basically your motto, or your stamp. We can’t wait!
Finally, to conclude this interview, is there any specific advice that you would give to an up and coming artist breaking through the industry?
P: Be consistent, don’t give up, and always work with people that actually support you. Work with people that actually believe in you and support you.
J: Well I want to give you a big thank you Pisceze for joining me today and also to our viewers for watching. Make sure to check out her new single, called “Red Handed” on all streaming platforms, Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, check out the video as well. Is there anything you would like to say to the viewers before we leave?
P: Thank you for watching and getting to know me. This interview was super vibes. Thank you.
J: Thank you, I really enjoyed talking to you. Cheers to many more.