This Funktasy Spotlight covers an interview with Toronto native, Ayrsto. Ayrsto is a lyrical master and an avid producer.
How long have you been involved in music and what inspired you to get into hip-hop?
Music was big in my life, every single day growing up. From the vinyls, to cassette tapes, through CDs. In my pre-teens through to teenage years, the expression of freestyling and later, writing really allowed me to open and express my thoughts, emotions and views like never before.
Singing has always been big in my family. My mother’s side had their own bands and my father’s side were huge enjoyers. Both of best worlds, it was natural for me to merge the two. It wasn’t a choice, as it was a calling. After high school, I went off to college for business, because of my devotion to the arts. I found that while others were taking notes, I was creating mine. I was obsessed with making music, and distinctively began to create my own sound. Because of that, I left college to pursue my own.
To better understand and equip myself with further skills and knowledge, I enrolled into a school of recording arts, graduating soon after. From there, I spent some time learning, building, and educating myself not just artistically but mentally, physically, spiritually, learning more of life itself, and the wonders of this beautiful world. As I began to develop my own unique sound, I touched every part of the production. I write lyrics, melodies, record, set my own arrangements, and produce my own music bed.
What message are you looking to communicate with your music?
The message I tend to communicate is trying to lift up others and belief in the power within ourselves, the greatness within and, the treasures found when staying unique and being true to yourself always. To live each day like it’s your last and to be grateful for every moment created. To find solace in each day and the beauty and love for each thing. Creation is bliss.
Who in music inspires you right now; what have you been listening to lately?
Everything and anyone, I study music. I’m an avid listener, and enjoyer of music. Right now as we discuss this, the brilliance of Yanni is being played.
How do you define ‘success’ as a musician?
To define true success from my perspective, is by being able to know and use one’s attributes and ability, tailoring that to create their own niche, transforming those elements into a unique piece that contribute to the overall creation of a song. Having the experience of building upon positives and allowing them flourish and be enjoyed by another. I find that when your able to resonate with another, whether it be miles away or at arm’s length, to able to positively affect their lives and assist them on their journey without knowing so, I find that to be a large part of success.
Funktasy baby, we here to change the game for what it is, to what we want it to be. Live, love, & learn!
How important is commercial success for you?
To be played and enjoyed by the masses, is the reason I endeavor into commercial music. The popular gain of fame and additional benefits in my mind is just a bonus that must be used to assist the universe and all who listens, and accompanies them on their path with whatever they choose. To be a part of the playlist to another’s life moments is true success and a great honour.
What genre of music or category artists do you see yourself as belonging to?
I myself tend not to restrict my music by genre or category, as depending on what I find the project calls for is how I determine what to put forth artistically. At the moment, it may be seen as a fusion between hip-hop/rap and dub/dancehall, but that’s just tip of the iceberg.
Growing up, I was influenced by many genres of music daily. Parents being Guyanese, many songs of calypso, reggae, and dancehall were common. My family being diverse, many other genres were introduced to my lifestyle at a young age. From oldies (1950s, 1960s), rock, metal, hip hop, jazz, and other world genres, all a huge factor in my development as a recording artist, and as a well-rounded listener, and enjoyer of all genres from all around the world.
When you produce your music, what elements are important to you?
Love that kick drum and bass. As a vocalist, I use my voice as the instrument and allow it to be melodious, achieving the ability to open up and compliment an instrumental. If I were building a house, the instrumental would be the base foundation and my vocals, the structure.
How important are lyrics to you in music and what do you think your lyrics say about you?
Lyrics, to me, is the most important. Not because I love to write or because I am a vocalist first, but I find it to be the major communication tool for bringing emotions and thoughts from my mind to a form of understanding. Not that other instruments aren’t able to embrace communication, especially when it involves emotion, I just find as speech being one of the most common forms of interaction, it is the most capable to understand and connect on.