Respect The Neighbors • SPZRKT
Words by Tara Mahadevan
The Internet easily lends itself to mystery, especially in the music world. Releasing music online while keeping your identity hidden is not difficult — and often, retaining this air of obscurity works in your favor. GoldLink and The Weeknd did it, Appleby and dvsn are doing it. SPZRKT did the same thing for a while, and honestly, that’s why we fell for him.
If you ask SPZRKT (pronounced “Spazzy Rocket”) where he’s from, he’ll tell you he isn’t sure. Growing up a military kid, he bounced around from state to state every few years, spending the most time in Georgia, where he currently lives. “I guess that’s part of the intrigue or mystery as well, is that I don’t truly have a real home town,” he says.
Though he began his musical career as part of a three-man music group in high school, he’s evolved away from that, moving from the realm of rap to pop, R&B, and soul. Since embarking on a solo mission, Spazzy has been able to hone his aesthetic, growing into the musical space Soulection has created. Mixing a little bit of old with the new, he describes his music as, “A future feeling with R&B, but also trying to capture some of the past nostalgia.”
Last March, he released a collaborative project with Soulection producer Sango called Hours Spent Loving You, a look into the positive and negative aspects of relationships. “I think that project is what made people… wanna know who I am, wanna know how to say the name, wanna pay attention,” he says. Ultimately, Soulection is what pushed him to a different audience. Spazzy takes pop elements — which aren’t so intrinsic to Soulection — and fuses them with R&B and soul, which are central to the collective’s sound.
Though him and his crew/label STRT TRBL (pronounced “Straight Terrible”) initially came to Chicago to base their music out of the city, he’s already witnessed the depth of the city’s community. He was featured on Noname Gypsy’s second single of the year, “All I Need,” which helped set him on a course to fully explore Chicago’s musicality.
“There’s a level of camaraderie out here with the artists. Everybody wants to work — if they hear that you even have a little bit of talent, they want to help develop it… That’s how you get artists like Ravyn Lenae. She’s 16 and just flourishing because people decided, let’s take the time to help a young artist and bring them up… That’s definitely helped me because people are helping me push my sound and expand it. You get friends and you get connections and everybody loves each other — it’s beautiful.”
“I’m pretty much hoping Chicago adopts me right now,” he adds. In some ways, he already sees Chicago as a new home, and it seems like Chicago is willing to embrace him.