Photo Credit: Kyle Jetter (@kylejetter)
By Alissa Arunarsirakul // November 2, 2020
Virginia’s Floyd Fuji is spreading life and love with his fantastic new EP, BLACK PONTIAC, and trust us when we say you’ll walk away feeling at least a bit more hopeful than you did earlier. As Fuji highlights the obstacles hungry artists may face, BLACK PONTIAC reminds us how important it is to keep a clear mind. With a fresh take on soulful R&B, BLACK PONTIAC proves exactly why Fuji deserves to be on your coveted radar.
On BLACK PONTIAC, Floyd Fuji reflected,
“‘BLACK PONTIAC’ EP is out now! Thank you for all the love! It’s such crazy times right now, but we have the power to change ourselves and our immediate communities. I hope you listen to this record alone, or outside. Before a protest, after a protest, with someone you love. It’s a life project. Share it with a friend and give them some life too.”
To celebrate the release of his new music, we recently chatted with Floyd Fuji about his beloved grandmother, homelessness, and of course, BLACK PONTIAC.
HH: How would you say you’ve grown as an artist since Kyle Thornton and The Company?
FF: I learned a lot from touring and recording with those guys. I learned what it’s like to work with a team and being in a band that’s so diverse in taste and style really helped me become a better musician and producer. All of those guys are my brothers and are doing crazy things. I’m so proud of them and all they’ve accomplished individually and what we were able to accomplish as a collective. It was really some of the best moments of my life.
HH: BLACK PONTIAC introduces us to some of the obstacles you’ve had to face as an artist and human being. What about this project is so special to you?
FF: I think quarantine has been a really great time to create, but it also has been a time of self reflection. With self reflection comes some really dark moments but being able to work and reason through those moments really makes some special breakthroughs.
HH: Rumor has it the EP name is inspired by a tale from your childhood… Mind sharing that story with us?
FF: I was about four or five years old, and was leaving the YMCA after swimming and I carved my name into my grandmother’s brand new all black Pontiac. My parents grilled into me but, according to my parents, my grandmother wasn’t upset. My grandmother passed away two years ago, but this story really stuck with me. Especially the music she played in her car. A lot of timeless soul classics. Those songs really inspired my music and taste, and my grandmother always encouraged my artistry. So I wanted to dedicate the project to her.
HH: What was it like working with Carneyval on “GELATO?”
FF: Carneyval and I really clicked because we’re from the same state, but we also just love making fun songs that we spend more time dancing to than actually recording.
Carney has a great knack for making these pop vignettes that really groove but tell a special story. With “GELATO,” he had made these drums with trap high hats, which is normally not my sound. But the combination of that with the live instruments really helped me tell a story that I probably wouldn’t have told had I not been put out of my comfort zone.
HH: “SUPERNOVA FREESTYLE” really does incorporate any sound you can think of. What was your favorite memory from creating this otherworldly track?
FF: My favorite moment of “SUPERNOVA FREESTYLE” came from a separate moment where my friend/artist Chasse Ceglie came to visit. He’s someone I really respect, and those few days he was there, he really changed my perspective on writing music. He really encouraged me to freestyle a lot more, which is something I never thought about doing in my music. After that I started recording freestyles over my songs and taking a more impressionist approach; letting the story unfold without trying to sculpt it. Through a few of those freestyles, came “SUPERNOVA FREESTYLE.” I started freestyling about growing up, skateboarding in the suburbs, and the realization of how different I was from my peers at a young age.
HH: Can you take a moment to tell the world what you’re doing with Downtown Women’s Center and the BLACK PONTIAC release? Why is this important to you?
FF: If there’s anything I’ve thought about during quarantine, it’s how blessed I am with the things I do have. I don’t have to worry about where my next meal is coming from, or where I am going to sleep. It’s important to take that into account, even though it feels like the world is falling apart. 59,000 people in LA are homeless and 75% of those 59,000 people lack permanent shelter and rely on tents, makeshift shelters, or their vehicles for their home. And for those of us that “have,” it’s important to try to make a difference in our communities as much as we can right now. That’s where real unity lies and changes can be made.
In honor of the release, I’ve decided I’m going to perform at 15 random houses across LA county. In return, all I ask is you give clothes or food to The Downtown Women’s Center. The Downtown Women’s Center is the only organization in Los Angeles focused exclusively on serving and empowering women experiencing homelessness and formerly homeless women. To enter you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and if chosen, I’ll arrange a time to perform a song for you!
HH: If you could collaborate with anyone in the music industry, who would you pick?
FF: I’m a huge Kevin Parker/Tame Impala fan. He’s just got the drums, man. It’s between Tame Impala and D’Angelo. I can’t choose.
HH: What are your three hidden hits?
FF: “Binge” by Angelo LeRoi
“Like I Do” by Myia Thornton
“Burbank” by Cisco Swank & Tobias Kelly