Austin’s hip-hop scene is shining a light on new talent, and Harry Edohoukwa‘s abilities as a singer/songwriter/rapper make him one of Austin’s most promising players. He shared some insights with TODO Austin about his background and current projects.
TODO Austin: Please tell us about you–your background and family history; your upbringing and how you fell into a music path
Harry Edohoukwa: I was born and raised in Dallas, TX but both my parents are from Nigeria. I was raised in the church, my parents were in the choir and they forced me into it when i was 11. I hated it at the time. Music was just a part of everything growing up. Every family function there’s reggae blaring. My uncle Eli is one of the reasons i’m doing music. I remember one thanksgiving “House of Exile” by Lucky Dube played and he shot up from his seat, closed his eyes and swayed. It was as if he was crying with his body. I don’t remember if it brought literal tears to my eyes but it felt like it. It was beautiful. From then on i associated music with feeling. From then on i knew i wanted to feel that and i wanted others to feel that.
TODO: Was there ever a defining moment that led you to fully dive into your music career?
HE: I went to college on a track scholarship to study pre law. Within the first few weeks i quit track and changed my major. I just knew if i kept going down the pleasing-my-parents path i was gonna go mad.
TODO: This is always a tricky one, but help the audience understand your work by describing your musical concept and genre(s)
HE: It’s really hard for me to describe my music, I don’t think of it in terms of genre or anything specific. I’m just trying to get a point across and using the various “genres” I’ve been exposed to, that i connect with, to do so. I usually explain myself as a house. The master bedroom is reggae, the guest rooms are hip-hop and R&B, and all the bathrooms are pysche-rock/singer/songwriter facets of me. If the beat is like the ice cream man jingle, creating a track is like opening the front door. Whichever kids run out are the influences on the track. I hope that makes sense.
TODO: Who are your artistic heroes and influences?
HE: Uncle Eli, Beres Hammond, Lucky Dube, Bob Marley, Kid Cudi, Kanye West (I don’t wanna argue with you) Jay Z, Jim Morrison, Justin Vernon, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, to name a few.
TODO: How does your ancestry influence your lyrics and your work as a whole?
HE: It’s not something I think about. I feel it in my bones. I feel my roots when I say certain things, and in the way I think about certain things. When I speak of freedom and love especially.
TODO: In your opinion, what are the strengths and weaknesses of the Austin hip-hop community?
HE: I’ve been here for about 4 years and I feel like the growth is great. I feel like the city is taking interest and starting to back it. People at KUTX’s the breaks and EQ Austin make me feel like the city cares about what we’re doing. This is just the starting point though. There’s a lot of work to be done but i feel like the infrastructure here wants to start doing the work and that’s all i can ask for.
TODO: Do you have a project in the works and when should the public expect your next release?
HE: I do. I don’t wanna speak too much on it though because with everyday it changes. I can say that my next single is coming this month [February]!
Catch Harry at Empire Control Room Friday, Feb. 15 at KUTX’s Love Lockdown. After that, keep an eye open for a SXSW showcase.