Maurico is a hip-hop performer hailing from the music city, Nashville, Tennessee, and he’s a true embodiment of the growing hip-hop scene that’s often overlooked in a city that’s more known for country music.
Although Nashville is predominantly known for country music, Maurico is making his presence felt in the city he has called home since birth. A city that has raised him to appreciate all types of music. A city that inspires him to be more accepting, and drawing inspiration from other genres of music. The city has inspired him to be different as Maurico aspires to really hammer home the fact that the “music” part in the “music city” moniker is much more than just country music.
We had the pleasure of sitting down and speaking with Maurico about his music, Nashville, and what is in store for him in the year 2016 and beyond.
Brennen Jones: Any particular meaning behind the name “Maurico?”
Maurico: Maurico is actuallu my real name given to me by my mother and father.
My father’s name was Maurice so I guess my parents decided to drop the “e” off of Maurice and add an “o” to get Maurico. A little bit of word play I guess(laughs), but basically, I was named after my father to sum it up. As far as my artistry goes there isn’t any particular meaning behind it. My record label just thought that my real name was unique enough to be my artist name as well. So we went with it!
BJ: So you’re from Nashville, huh?
M: Yessir! Nashville, Tennessee born and raised. Been here since day one and I absolutely love my city. To me it’s a pretty well-balanced city, not too fast or too slow, it’s kinda neutral. It a great place to raise a family and also a decent place to start a career. It’s something about the Nashville air, though; no matter where I travel nothing feels better then coming back home once I’m done.
It also works really well with my music career. We’ve got some of the best music studios in the world and we are a music-centered city so it makes it all the better. I think what a lot of people don’t know about Nashville is that we have an extremely diverse music scene. Although we are nationally known for Country music, we also have hip-hop, jazz, blues, pop, rock and plenty other genres of artists who create here. There just hasn’t been a lot of light shown on us yet but we are definitely on the way. My hopes are that the world will soon be able to understand why we are truly called the music city.
Maurico – “Autograph”
BJ: What or who are some of your musical influences? Describe your upbringing?
M: Musically I’m influenced by life as a whole. As a child, I was brought up in different environments that exposed me to various music styles. Whenever I was with my mother or grandmother I listened to lots of old school music like Al Green, Temptations, Luther Van Dross, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson and many more. So I was able to grab the authenticity and organic feel that came from the music of that era. It was something about the way those songs made you feel that I thought was amazing.
As far as an artist in today’s Era, I’m influenced by anyone staying true to themselves no matter what. I admire this attribute because sometimes being yourself may not help you with popularity or sales etc. It takes a strong and special kind of individual to do what they feel and not worry about what others think. I like Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Drake, Kanye, and Jay-z just to name a few. I also like Chris Brown, Usher, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, Sam Hunt and Matchbox 20 lol (and not just because I’m signed with Kyle Cook). I found myself singing their songs even though I didn’t even know whose song it was.
Music is therapeutic for me. To me, those songs seemed heartfelt and genuine. I felt like they were really honest when expressing themselves and I find that important as an artist. That’s the beauty of being artistic, freedom of expression and creativity. Freedom period! Coming up in unstable living environments, living in low-income housing, changing schools sometimes twice a year was stressful for me as a child. Losing my father at the age 7 and then my mother about 2 months before graduating high school made music my go-to source of coping.
BJ: So is it safe to say that these unfortunate life-altering experiences are what drives you?
M: I feel that way and honestly, my life could have gone the opposite way as a result of what happened to me growing up, but it didn’t. I could have turned to drugs, violence or anything unhealthy to soothe the pain, and addiction could have taken place. I remember even experimenting with marijuana for a brief period of time and somehow I was able to leave it and never look back again. I was surrounded by drugs and street life through family and friends but by the grace of God I was able to shake the urges and temptation and not become a product of my environment. I believe if I can do it, anyone can.
You just have to want better for yourself.
BJ: If you were to take our readers on a tour of where you come from, what would we see? What experiences can you share with us that led you down this path of chasing your dreams?
M: You would see real life. You would see a young African American man that came from nothing. I was raised up pretty much without a father because he was out of my life before I could even appreciate having a father. I was 7 when he passed. My mother struggled to take care of me and my three sisters on her own. She then became addicted to drugs I’m guessing due to the overwhelming circumstances of life. As a result of this, I didn’t get a lot of guidance as a child. A lot of things I found out about in life were due to experiencing it for myself. At the age 16 my son was born. I wasn’t taught about safe sex nor was I taught that I should wait until I was mature enough to bring a child into the world. I had to find out the hard way. You would see a young man who has been feeling around since the beginning trying to figure out the right route to follow in this thing called life. You would see a fighter. I keep fighting every day to see a brighter future for not just me but my family, my friends, and the world as a whole. I try to carry positivity with me everywhere I go.
Although life can be tough I think it’s important to hold on to the positives to maintain strength and encouragement to push forward. Despite my circumstances I don’t just settle because my life hasn’t been ideal, I continue to go after my dreams no matter what. We have to remember that 50-100 years ago and even further than that, life was harder for people back then. There are people in other countries to this very day in way worse situations. So I remind myself how fortunate I am despite it all. Furthermore, I try to use my experiences to guide and help someone else so maybe I can save them from some of the heartache and pain I suffered. In the grand scheme of things, I think it all works together for a bigger purpose. So nowadays I’m learning to live life, enjoy it, and help other to do the same. What better way to do that than through music? Music helped me and my plan is to use music to help the world. I’m not perfect; I’m not here to preach. I’m just here to shine my light and help you do the same. We all we got!
BJ: How do you come up with the ideas for your songs? Is there a particular method to the “madness”?
M: There is absolutely no method to the madness. (laughs) Actually, that’s a pretty funny question because just the other day I was speaking with my brother from another mother on this subject. I go at it in so many different ways. There is no formula, just a desired result. Sometimes I may write thoughts down and then turn them into a verse all without even having a beat. Usually, when I do this I end up writing really long verses because the thoughts keep flowing and there is no barrier or bar length from a beat to stop me so I keep going. Once I reach a stopping point and determine what type of verse or song this is then I search for a beat or create one to match the mood and atmosphere of the lyrics.
Sometimes I may have a beat first and depending on the mood and atmosphere of the beat I can determine what type of lyrics needs to go to it and the context of them. Other times I may have a chorus idea in mind and or a certain energy in mind that I want to convey to the listener which will result in me working from that angle. There are dozens of ways to go at it and I probably use them all! The main thing to me is to just let it flow naturally. Don’t try to over control what is taking place. Sometimes you have things in you that you don’t even realize until you just let it flow. As a result, you can enjoy the excitement of surprising yourself as well as your listeners. That’s what makes creating fun. If I ever lose freedom and creativity then I probably wouldn’t create anymore, because then it would just be work. And we all know what work is. It’s just plain, boring, and lifeless.
BJ: Who are some of your favorite producers to work with? And who are you working with now?
M: Well as you know I have released a single with the Justice League out of Atlanta which is actually a remix beat to my song entitled “City come alive.” These guys are very talented and I had a blast working with them. I actually have a few more new projects brewing with them. Also, I have in-house producers Kyle Cook and Mike Fiorentino that I do a lot of writing with it’s always a pleasure. I’ve worked with DJ K.O. and Jared Sculio with Phivestarr Productions on my first EP, great guys by the way. Here lately I’ve been reaching out to up and coming producers to find a fresh new sound and also to network, but more often than not I find myself producing my own stuff. Usually, when I work with other producers it’s to get a vibe that’s different from what I’m doing myself. Even though I’m diverse in the production I do, it’s still sometimes good to get another producer’s perspective and style to keep everything from sounding the same. I just think it makes a project more dynamic as a whole.
BJ: What do you prefer, producing your music yourself or working with someone else?
M: I like producing my own music because sometimes I can dial into the exact result I’m looking for quicker, but I love working with other producers also if we share cohesive visions. It’s just one of those things. A true mechanic has lots of tools, each tool has a purpose! The main idea is to use your tools to get the job done.
BJ: Take us through your “City Come Alive” song. What was that about and how did the song come about to be Nashville’s theme song of sorts?
M: “City Come Alive” to me is every city’s anthem! I wrote this song for every class of people who work hard and deserve some free time to enjoy life! It was designed to motivate people to be productive and when done enjoy themselves afterward. If the whole city is working hard and being productive as well as having fun and enjoying themselves, then ultimately the city comes to life. The people are the city. If the people don’t produce and are lifeless, then the city doesn’t function to its full potential. Which means your city is dead! So all in all, this was designed to be the ultimate motivational city anthem and make my city, your city, everyone’s city “come alive.”
Maurico – “City Come Alive (Remix)”
BJ: Nashville has a very underrated hip-hop scene. When most people think of Nashville and hip-hop, Young Buck is probably the first artist they think of. How are you handling the pressure of trying to really put Nashville on the map? Are there any other artists in Nashville that you work with?
M: Honestly, to me, it isn’t pressure. I think Nashville Hip Hop artists as a whole carry the burden of rising above the current perception of having a weak hip-hop presence. Unity is the key. We have lots of amazing artists down here but a lot of people are doing it on their own. One trumpet can sound good, but when a full orchestra plays together the idea is better conveyed and more noticeable. Or should I say when more than just one artist is making noise the sound becomes larger and more powerful. I think we are moving in the right direction. I have lots of artists I’ve worked with here and currently there are a few others in different genres I’m working with. I don’t want to name drop because it’s too many to name, so you guys will find out who when I release new music in 2016. I think what we have been lacking is an infrastructure for hip hop to be channeled through. In the last 10-15 years, that has been changing slowly. Nashville has been one of the fastest growing cities in the last couple of years and getting bigger. More opportunities and platforms are being created for Hip Hop artists to showcase their talents. Once this becomes full blown I believe you will see some great talents birth from Nashville and it will never be the same from then on. If I happen to be next to break through then I will politely carry the torch for us if it is someone else I will support them just the same! Just know that we are on the way! We will be heard!
BJ: What artists out now, if you were to compare yourself to someone, would you compare yourself to? Who would you want to work with?
M: I would compare myself mentally to artists like J. Cole, Big Sean, Kanye west, Kendrick, and Lupe Fiasco just to name a few. I don’t really compare myself to their styles, just their mind. I think there is a common goal or underlying message that these artists want people to get, and I believe it’s similar to mine. I would like to work with all of these artists but not limited to just them. I’m sure there are lots of new artists out there with bright ideas that I could mesh with also.
BJ: What’s your favorite thing about being an artist?
M: My favorite thing about being an artist is the outreach to people. Making an impact on someone’s life is a joy to me. That’s one of the main reasons I’m an artist.
BJ: What’s your future plans? What are you currently working on?
M: My future plans are to continue to generate great quality musical and visual content for the listener. Lots of singles are coming your way to satisfy that craving. And most definitely, later this year we are planning to drop my first album. I can’t release a date and a name for the album yet, but just know it’s coming! I think it’s time for my supporters to get that from me.
You can listen to more of his music through his website.