Words by Charles Odugbesan
From the outside, usually one can only hear of Washington D.C and picture the political circus of grandeur that is The White House – the most coveted office in the land. But beneath the surface, the nation’s capital is a hotbed of brilliance and creativity. It’s rich culture has nurtured and produced excellence in a variety of different fields. Wale, Marvin Gaye, Duke Ellington, Dave Chappelle, Kevin Durant to name but a few, all hail from the D.C area, excelling in everything from music to sports to comedy at the very highest level. Recently, we got the chance to speak to another D.C native and lifelong musician Corbin Canvas, who after the release of his first solo body of work is looking to the rest of 2021 to make huge strides.
So September of 2019 you released you’re first EP “jive Jive”. I’ve listened to it through a few times and it really is a unique body of work! talk me through some the ideas you had.
“I’m quite theme driven. So “Jive Jive” for me was about future. I wanted to make some black futuristic music in that moment and (with each song) I wanted to give different experiences. I consider myself a multi-genre artist.”
And following on from that you’ve just recently released a remix of jive turkey, track one on the ep. Congrats on that and the collaboration with walshy fire! What was that experience like?
“As far as electronic music goes, he’s like an ambassador for the Caribbean! He’s a vibe man. We were working on some records and he turned to me suddenly and was like, “Bro, I’ve listened to some of your music and I wanna work on something with YOU!” I was still thinking like a producer at the time, working with him and making a bunch of songs. I showed him “Jive Turkey” and he liked it and wanted us to do a remix of it.”
You can play a host of instruments and you produce as well. What do you listen for when you’re in that creative process?
“When I listen to music in general I don’t really care about what genre it is. It just has to feel good, and I like to jam out! So with producing, “Jive Turkey “ was me putting together disco and house and a bunch of instrumentals into one song.”
Is there any pressure you put on yourself to be so genre fluid?
“In the beginning it was hard because I like so much stuff, and the more I think about what other people might want, the worse (my overthinking) would get. So lately I’ve just been doing me.”
Production wise, If you were making an album and had to assemble a team, dead or alive to collaborate with, who’s making the cut?
“Okay so myself, J Dilla, Kanye and probably Darkchild. Artistically anybody that’s doing themselves to the fullest. I’ve always wanted to do something with Andre 3000 as well. If I could get him to make music again that would be a dream for me!”
Corbin also spoke very highly of Kanye West. Whilst he may not be completely pro Kanye when it comes to certain decisions he has made in his career, Corbin instead highlighted his admiration of how much freedom and lack of constraint that Kanye thinks and acts with. Especially as a black man in America. His endeavours as a producer/artist speak for themselves.
Are there any lessons you’ve learned from the music business thus far?
“Yeah! Lemme give you three. Number one, show it, don’t tell it! When you have an idea, protect it and just do it. Don’t worry about if everyone is gonna like it or not. Number two, you’re an artist but not everybody else is. So don’t take everything personally, because not everybody is gonna feel you. If somebody doesn’t like you then move on. And third is just to maintain relationships. Having good relationships is way more important that clout. I try to treat everyone on the same level and not turn my nose up at anybody you know.”
Who’s your sports team? Dc united? Capitals? Wizards?
“Ahhh we’ve never had good sports teams in Washington bro! I mean I like the Wizards now that we got Russell Westbrook but I’m actually a Lakers fan. But I have the DC pride in other facets like the music, the fashion and the way we talk.”
I did also ask Corbin when we were due to expect some new music. I was also given a detailed answer. But for the sake of self-preservation, the only details I will reveal at this point is to expect a brand new single on May 6th! In the meantime, please immerse yourself in the sounds of Jive Jive the maiden EP of Corbin Canvas..