Florian Gray–a globetrotting, Transylvania-born rapper from the 6 [Toronto]–is probably the most well-traveled [unsigned] songwriter to ever come out of Eastern Europe. He spent his twenties drifting throughout Asia, Europe, and Australia—while further honing his craft. It’s all helped to shape his uniquely broad perspective and give his music a cool edge.
His upcoming EP, The Picture of Florian Gray, is one that he’s seemingly very excited to share with the world. He recently sat with AAHH to discuss the project, his music, and more. Check it–and his latest visual–out below.
Tell me about the music — describe your sound.
– That’s a tough one. I always find it difficult to describe my sound, so I leave it up to others to do it for me. Some people get a Mac Miller vibe; others say I sound “Drake-ish.” I’ve been told it’s like a cocktail of Kid Cudi and Yelawolf. A combination of that mellow, baritone harmonization that Cudi’s known for, mixed with Yelawolf’s rapid, melodic flow. I don’t know what to make of these comparisons. I think they’re all somewhat accurate. But I think I’d qualify my sound as “thought-provoking passages over brain-melting instrumentals.” Yeah. That’s good. Does that make any sense?
How did you get involved in music?
The first albums I remember listening to were the Marshall Mathers LP and one of Tupac’s posthumous projects, Until The End of Time. So right away, hip-hop was something I fell in love with. My love for the music grew because of my brother, who was (and still is) a huge hip-hop fan, had all these classic albums around the house, and so I was continuously being exposed to all these legends at a young age. Guys like Nas, Rakim, Immortal Technique, Gang Starr, Bone Thugs, you know, that kind of dudes. When I was 15, my brother’s best friend (let’s call him Junior), who was a local rapper, started getting some recognition around the city. I’m from Windsor, so the hip-hop scene isn’t very recognized, but Junior was opening shows for guys like D12 and Obie Trice and just really making some waves musically. That inspired me. He had a bad ass studio set-up, and he became my mentor at the time.
Who/what were some of your influences?
Junior—obviously. But as far as the bigger names go, guys like Eminem, Yelawolf, Jay Electronica, Scarface, Travis Scott. The Weeknd is probably my favorite artist of all time. I’m also heavily influenced by writers like Steinbeck, Oscar Wilde, Hemingway. And of course, the filmmakers that I grew up watching, guys like Woody Allen, Scorsese, and Paul Thomas Anderson.
What have you released?
I’ve released two singles: “Used to It” and “Runaway.” Both songs have music videos—you can look them up on YouTube.
What are you currently working on?
My debut EP—it’s called “The Picture of Florian Gray.” It’s gonna be 7 or 8 tracks. I want to release it at the start of spring of this year on iTunes and Spotify. It’s an introspective and personal project, but there are some bangers on it. It’s got lots of old-school flavors, but it’s a new-school recipe.
What have been some of your biggest achievements thus far?
I think my biggest achievement isn’t music or film-related. I believe that it was just being able to go out and travel the world alone and discover these new cities and countries and sights and sounds and people that inspired me to create more and more, to never stop building. Just venturing out into the unknown and coming out a better man because of it. I think most, if not all, of the lessons I’ve learned, have come as a direct result of traveling and seeing the world with open, unbiased eyes.
What are your goals in the industry?
I want to work with artists that I respect. Producers I admire. I want to put out projects that people can relate to and use as inspirations for themselves to become better human beings, better creators in their right. If through my music or visuals I inspire even a single person to do better, I’ll know I’ve succeeded.
What’s next for you, professionally?
Right now, I’m working hard on this EP. It’s almost finished. I want to play more shows locally, provincially, nationally. I want to tour overseas. I would love to do some shows in Romania, my homeland. But for now, I’m focused on this EP. One brick at a time.