Quincy Morales is an artist/entertainer from Toronto, Ontario. He was recently featured in the CBC Music Searchlight 2019 Competition. Check out his track ‘JUMP’ performed with the help of a live band!
*For full list of credits see end of article*
Nathan: The chorus stands out, and serves as a motivational anthem. What inspired your vision behind the song?
Quincy: I wrote “Jump” when I was going through terrible times in my life, probably the lowest period in my life. We had a sold-out show, and we blew it – people were walking out by the end of it. The next day, I found out my girl didn’t want to be with me anymore. That same week, we got evicted, for reasons outside of my control. For me, it was about staying strong mentally, and being strong enough to keep going no matter what hits you. So with the hook, I took it like “Pressure builds diamonds. Diamonds do not fold. I will never ever let the reaper take my soul”. It was about pushing through, being strong and continue going for all the people who are loving you, supporting you, and who believe in you. At the time all this was happening, I still had rehearsals, I still had to perform – I didn’t have a choice because people believed in me that much.
N: What inspired the vision?
Q: Life, and everything that was happening up until that moment. I used the song to give myself motivation, and remind myself that I will be okay.
N: Co-ordinating and arranging such a large band is no small feat. Can you give us some insight into the process behind assembling such talented musicians for the video?
I’ve been performing live with musicians since I was 17/18. Over the years, you plant the seeds when you work with different people. You learn what kind of musicians you like, what kind of musicians work with your sound. When it came down to it, a lot of these people knew what I could do, believed in what I could do, so they were easy to call. When I was 18, I met my producer, Adrian, (who made this beat) at a hip hop jam I was hosting, and we’ve been building ever since. Assembling it wasn’t hard for me, because I was already in the scene. I would say for anyone who wants to do something like that – find your local music scene, find who’s doing what, and get out there. Those who think you’re going to make it by only being online – you need to think outside the box. You need to get out there, meet people and network, it’s important.
N: You have the unique skill set of being able to blend well with a live band – a skill only a few rappers have mastered. How is the dynamic different from rapping over an instrumental track?
Q: Every rapper should start rapping over instrumentals. People think they need a live band to make their sound better…no! You need to be good over an instrumental track. If you’re not killing it over an instrumental track, you are not ready for a live band. I earned my way into working with a live band. I was good enough to a point where I grew out of the instrumentals and I needed a live band. When it came to that point, I was prepared to sound good with a band, and it was now about learning how to fit into that.
You shouldn’t run before you can walk, it’s baby steps. It takes time to build greatness, it takes time to create things that are meant to last forever. It wasn’t always easy to work with a live band, but it works because I mastered rapping over an instrumental. I feel that once an audience sees a live band, they are already in love with it since it’s live music. If you only have an instrumental, you only have your voice, so you need to show up. Once you add in live musicians on top of a great voice, you’re better for it.
N: Collaborating with different artists has been a significant part of your music career, notably working with T.Dot Bangerz Brass. What have been your most memorable collabs? Who would be your dream artist to collab with?
Q: My most memorable collab would be with the singer/songwriter Jenna Bennett. She’s a great singer in the city, and I’ve been a fan of her work for the past two years. Being in the studio with her, vibing with her, connecting with her, having real conversations was amazing!
My dream artist to collab with would be J. Cole. Common, Anderson Paak, SZA, anyone on Dreamville (J.Cole’s record label), Kendrick! I think I would have a crazy track with him. Can’t forget people like Saba, Masego – they’re great and would like to collab with them.
N: Over the years, you’ve transitioned through a few different artist names. What inspired the changes, and have there been stylistic changes alongside it?
Q: The name changes stemmed from me growing up as a human in this world. I started off as Illmind when I was in high school – in high school, everyone knew me as Illmind. As I started to write more vulnerable music, I felt I should go by my first name. If I’m going to be more real, I should go by my real name, Michael Q. Morales. As I started to find my sound with that, I decided I need to dig deeper into my vulnerability, and I saw Quincy. My middle name is Quincy, given to me by my mom. Quincy was a name I was always ashamed of. I thought it was different, that people would laugh at me, and wondered why my mom would name me that. Once I started to become comfortable with myself, I realized that I’m not ashamed of who I am. I’m not ashamed of being Filipino, I’m not ashamed of the way I look, I’m not ashamed of my name. Quincy Morales is me diving into who I am, who I want to be, and being honest with myself.
Stylistically, I’m the same artist. Yet more vulnerable, wiser as a songwriter, artist, and professional. I’m the same, just more honest with myself and I hope to continue being honest with myself.
N: Anyone who has seen you perform live can attest to your energetic performances, which can get the whole room bumping! What’s your key to a great performance?
Q: I would say that the key to great performance is being vulnerable. That doesn’t have to mean sad, it’s being honest. If there are three people in the room, acknowledge that there are three people in the room. My greatest shows have been where I was able to connect to the crowd, speak to them as if they were my friends. I’ve taught myself psychologically that the stage is my home. When people come to see me, they are my friends, they are my family, they are people I want to build and connect with. As long as you’re honest and vulnerable on stage, you should be a great performer. Some people go on stage and lie about who they are and try to be something that they’re not. You have people who want to see you, and you’re acting like they don’t exist. My thing is that it’s all about connection, honesty, and being vulnerable.
N: Following you on IG, it’s clear that physical fitness is a large part of your personal development, which you carried over to music with your 1 vote = 1 burpee challenge for the 2019 CBC Music Searchlight. How else do you link fitness with your music career?
Q: I look at taking care of my body, taking care of my mind, taking care of what I eat as a way of investing in yourself. I want to be a performer and entertainer in this world, and I want to last. If I want to be the best at what I do, I need mental clarity, I need to have my body in shape, I need to be able to run across the stadium. I need to able to last 45 minutes, 2 hours, however long I need to be on stage, without burning out. I should able to go night after night after night. If this is what I want to do, I need to prepare myself for that.
I’m working on my endurance, my strength, my flexibility, and my mentality. All these things add up and play a part in how you perform as an artist, how you think, and how you view the world. A lot of people think I love working out. I don’t love working out – I’m addicted to it. I do it to invest in myself and be the best I can be.
N: Late last year, you spent time travelling to the Philippines. Did your visit to the homeland inspire your music?
Q: It inspired more than just my music, it inspired my whole life: my approach to the world, who I am as a human being in this world, my understanding of myself, my understanding of where I come from, and who I want to be. It’s crazy because for a long time I didn’t resonate with being Filipino, because I didn’t grow up among many Filipinos. I grew up around people who were African, Colombian, and from the Caribbean. For a long time, it didn’t feel as if I was Filipino because I didn’t understand the culture. Going back to my homeland, it taught me a lot. When I go there, they say “It doesn’t matter where you come from, where you’re born, or if you’ve never been here in your life – when we look at you, you’re still one of us.” Being in the homeland, I began to understand that my people are beautiful, my people are strong, and my people are hard workers.
I visited my ancestral home, which has been in my family for over 70 years. When I got there, I cried. I cried going in every single time. I talked to my ancestors, felt the different spirits in the house; they reminded me of who I was, and that they are here to support me. Going back to my homeland changed the way I walk in this world. I know where I come from, I’m not afraid of my past, I’m not afraid of who I am. The only way to move forward is to know where you come from. My visit put me in a different mindset and gave me a new approach to life.
N: Let’s talk about your 2019 plans!
Q: My plans for this year are my shows! I’m throwing three shows, and the first is really soon! April 18th, 918 Bathurst, $15 adv/$20 door. I’m super excited, going to have my full 10 piece band: strings, rhythm section, backup vocalists, horn section. Jenna Bennett and spoken word artist, T. will be performing. It’s one of my favourite venues to perform at and it’s one of the venues that really put me on when I was younger, trying to build a name for myself. Going to be a great show! I’m going on tour in May to the UK, South London. Beyond that, lots of performances, building with my team and making sure we do everything right. Taking our time, not rushing ourselves. Meeting the right people, learning from the right people, finding the right mentors.
I want to shout out everyone in the band, the behind the scenes team, my parents, my little sister, Madison. It’s been a journey. To everyone that supports me: we’ve come a long way, and a lot more to go, so thank you. Taking the time to vote, to repost my videos, commenting on my videos, and even just watching my videos. I wouldn’t be anything without the people that support me.
Produced By: Adrian Hogan, @slwjmz
Written By: Quincy Morales, @findquincy
Cinematography/Editing: Ethereal Lens, @ethereal.lens
Photography: Tethys Studio, @tethys.studio
Behind The Scenes Footage: 6mpire, @6mpire
Tracking/Recording: Phil Lynch, @philynch
Mixing: Ethan Ashby, @eastendethan
Main Artist: Quincy Morales, @findquincy
Musical Director/Keys: Adrian Hogan, @slwjmz
Drums: Coury Kelly, @courykk
Guitar: Michael Perrotti, @x_perrotti_x
Bass/Synth Bass: David Maclean, @le_dmac
Trumpet: KnottRudy, @knottrudy
Tenor Sax: Joel Harbans, @joelharbansmusic
Support Vocals 1: Cienna, @_daretobedifferent
Support Vocals 2: Brooke Whitely, @brookedidit_
Support Vocals 3: Markus Jackman, @mjackman0303
Special Thank You’s To:
Angel, for covering my so shift last minute. Love you.
Mommy, for bringing us Filipino food after a long day of hard work.
Jay, you just awesome bro. That’s it.
All scenes shot at Lynx Music Studios.
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