The Daily Collegian sat down with Penn State sophomore Tony Black to discuss the release of his new music video, “Save Me.” Black is a public relations major from Hayward, Calif. He has been an artist for about two and a half years. The video is available on YouTube and at tonyblack.bandcamp.com with Black’s last mixtape, “Little People Big Dreams.”
Q: When did you start rapping?
A: I started rapping my junior year of high school. I was in a speech and debate program with my friends and we found beats and freestyled to them. We formed a group called the “Amateurs.” It was something that people take so seriously but we made a joke out of it. We got more serious and made songs together.
Q: What bands or artists have influenced your style of music? Who is your favorite artist?
A: My musical influences are Childish Gambino, because he is up-to-date with pop culture and he has lines about something that happened two weeks before, LL Cool J, because of his old style of music. I’m not limited by the genre of music but I don’t listen to too much rap because I will sound like the people I hear so I try to stay away from it. I listen to indie music, like Mumford and Sons and Coldplay because it calms me down. Andre 3000 is my favorite artist because of his ability to tell a story through songs. One of the hardest things about music is getting people to relate to what you are saying.
Q: Can you describe your new video “Save Me?”
A: This video is completely different from the last video; the last song was called “Rolling” and was a feel good song in the sense that you are doing things and in the long run everyone wins. The original title of this video was “Robot” because the beat was robotic but the concept is different than the beat. In the video, I’ve gone crazy due to people negatively speaking about my music and all of the different opinions drive me crazy. We planned and shot the video in two days. My video editor, Harris Barakzoy of Lost Boy Productions, and I went to Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store and bought black felt to cover my entire garage. We bought black lights and glow in the dark spray paint and created a party environment. We used different effects and illusions to show the effects of what people can say to you.
Q: Explain your writing process and your writing style.
A: I don’t rap about anything I don’t know about, so I won’t rap about drugs or a particular lifestyle. I write what I know, with reference and background to a specific subject. I envision a video for it and write it as a story; I write to see how it would look in a video so that makes storyboarding easier.
Q: This year you preformed as the lead, LeFou, in Greek Sing for Sigma Phi Epsilon and Sigma Kappa sororityin “Beauty and the Beast.” Can you describe your experience?
A: Greek Sing is really fun. I was the lead last year but the experience this year was really different. Beauty and the Beast was funny and there were more lines and story behind it. I really enjoy performing and I always have fun with it. I don’t really practice, but I put 110 percent into the actual performance. The other lead, Joe Budka, played Gaston. We went out and our performance worked perfectly. I’d say we are natural actors.
Q: What is next for you? Can we look forward to any more videos or mixtapes?
A: I am going to shoot two or three videos over the break and release them in increments. I don’t want the visuals to look the same so I don’t want to release a video every other week. I want the videos to be fresh. I’m working on an EP of original songs but I want to make sure it is perfect. I only release a video when I’m confident in it.