Interview with Pastel – “You can’t just be an artist anymore”

Oct 1st 2015 by Iain Alexander


Pastel, originally from Uganda and currently living in the United States has been singing since the age of 15. Having travelled extensively around the world, Pastel has a unique perspective of culture from different countries and has released 3 mixtapes and collaborated with several artists during his career. He won the 2010 BMC Award for Best Hip Hop Artist while also receiving critical acclaim during the International Song Writing competition in 2012. He later opened up for major artists such as Big Sean and Mike Posner while continuing to develop his music.

Check out our exclusive interview with Pastel and discover the journey of an independent artist making the climb into a highly competitive industry along with his latest projects. You can also see Pastel’s most recent music videos and tracks below or via his SoundCloud page.

Interview with Pastel

How did you first start in the industry? What was your first move?

I started recording when I was 15 years old. That grew into DJ’ing and open mic throughout Boston. When I got to college I decided to major in the music industry and I performed & pretty much ate every possible place with a stage. After college I did some consulting work for a few companies but wasn’t fulfilled so I, with two other partners took over a studio in Boston, and filed for my own LLC to run my music career and since then I’ve been networking and building my fan base.

Did you know what kind of music you wanted to make or did your tastes in Hip-Hop and Pop evolve over time?

It’s evolved. I actually was previously called “Tha Jist”. It’s a name I had from the age of 15-25. I changed it because my style of music evolved throughout the years to what it is now. In putting out these two projects this year, I wanted to start fresh. Me and my producer, Dark Blue feel we have finally found a sound that’s a mix of all the things we grew up listening to, channelled through our own creativity. That has turned out to be a kind of pop, hip-hop, electronic feel.

How did your latest EP “Passion” come about?

I changed my name to Pastel and I just wanted to make something colorful. As odd as it sounds, I wanted to make something very orange, pink and purple, funky, groovy. I had a few ideas, I brought them to Dark Blue and we spent the summer of 2014 putting it together. I think it captures the summer nights very well and all the nuances of it.

What were some of the hurdles you had to overcome during the progression of your career? Is there anything you would have done differently?

People not taking me seriously. In the early years of my career, during my teen years, I assumed if you made great music you would go straight to the top but I now realize how much more goes into it. You can’t just be an artist anymore, you have to be a marketer, you have to be a promoter, you have to be a PR person, you have to be a bunch of things until you can put all those people in place and even then, still have to be mindful of the fact that it’s you managing all these people: this is your business and you are the CEO. There’s nothing I’d do differently because all my decisions brought me to where I am now and I’m happy with where I am. Maybe being a little more focused in college, but we all kind of wish that.


Do you have any tour plans in the works?

Yes, we plan to kick things off this winter, starting at home in Boston with some spot shows and then really getting into the thick of a full tour at the beginning of next year.

Are there particular artists that inspire you or that you would like to collaborate with in the future?

Yes definitely. There are the dream ones, like Diplo and Pharrell that I’d love to work with in the future. Right now, it’s the local guys that keep me on my toes. We all keep each other busy. Dark Blue himself, Lexx Black, Jona Ferrera, Andre Adollis, Saint Gold; we all keep each other working hard.

Are you working on new music at the moment? What have you got planned?

Yes, we’re in the very beginning phases of my first official debut album. Right now it’s mainly ideas, and we have a few interludes down that we’re starting to build around, but it’ll be a continuation of what you heard on “Passion” except more vivid, vibrant, brighter. It’s gonna be fun.

Check out Pastel’s official website here. You can also connect with him on Twitter.

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