INTERVIEW: Virginia-Native Soul/R&B Floyd Fuji

No  one  knows  the  complicated creative process and all it’s pitfalls quite like Virginia’s own

Floyd Fuji. His​ newest EP, ‘BLACK PONTIAC’, is a heavenly chronicle of all the ways that artists are distracted from reaching their full potential, from relationships gone sour to losing

friends to being poisoned by self-doubt. Every song on the groovy, guitar-laden 5-track project represents an obstacle.

Although it’s been a rough year for most, Floyd​ Fuji has taken this time to reflect and reminisce. He often found himself moved by a certain tale of his young childhood where he scratched his name into the side of his grandmother’s classic Black Pontiac Firebird. While scolded by his mother, his grandmother celebrated him and championed him as a young artist. “Myparents were heated but she wasn’t,” heexplains. “She just encouraged me to continue to push on. This is for her. I love you.” This timeless project is led by focus track “GELATO”​,​ a sunny single featuring Carneyval​ about when relationships melt, leaving you with hard choices to make.

We get to sit with the artist to talk more about the single and more!

  1. Hi Floyd, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hey! Thank you for having me. Very grateful! I’m good, I can’t complain. God is good. Family is healthy, and Black Pontiac is out so I’m feeling very fruitful and full.  

  1. Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Gelato”?

Yeah, Gelato is a song that I wrote when working with producer Carneyval. We had worked with another artist before and really clicked because we were both from Virginia. In the Gelato session, he laid down some drums and I kinda blacked out while writing and can’t remember much. But the song was done pretty quickly. It was a lot of fun. 

  1. Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

I was in a relationship where we were really infatuated with each other. But I felt we were both stagnant in it. I didn’t feel like we were helping each other grow and that’s why it ended. It’s hard to manifest those feelings to a person in real life. Especially because nothing really went wrong to end the relationship. It’s like, “I see things that we need to accomplish, because we both have potential and I feel like we’re both holding each other back.” When writing Gelato, I didn’t consciously say to myself, “I’m going to write a song about this relationship.” It literally just flowed out of me and then after listening and reading the lyrics, I was kinda shook. 

  1. How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

It was really fun! I’ve been trying to make visuals a fun project and something that brings me joy. I found, “Dogface,” the skateboarding cranberry juice guy on Instagram in February last year, and when I saw it I thought it was amazing that he captured that moment of him skating down the sunset drinking juice. It just shows the simplest things in life are what bring us joy and are the most memorable. So I wanted to recreate a childhood moment of me skating the streets of my neighborhood eating ice cream and just enjoying the ride. 

  1. The single comes off your new album Black Pontiac – what’s the story behind the title?

When I was about 4 or 5 years old, I was leaving the YMCA after swimming and I carved my name into my grandmother’s brand new Black Pontiac Firebird. My parents grilled into me but, according to my parents my grandmother wasn’t upset. My grandmother passed away two years ago, but this story really stuck with me. Especially the music she played in her car. A lot of timeless soul classics. Those songs really inspired my music and taste.

  1. How was the recording and writing process?

It was fun. A real experience for myself. I just took my time to find what I wanted to say and how I wanted to approach topics like blackness, relationships, mortality, and make them groovy, but also make it unapologetically me and my story. Besides Gelato, everything was written and recorded in my house. Nothing fancy, just my guitar, a bass, keyboard, mic, and computer. Producing during quarantine has been great but most of all, just the perfect time to experiment and reflect. 

  1. What role does Virginia play in your music?

Virginia plays a huge role in my music. All of my favorite artists are from Virginia: Pharrell, Missy, Timbaland, D’angelo. So much talent here. I think all of the artists I listed have really been game changers in their genre because Virginia’s music scene is so eclectic. I grew up playing guitar and singing in church, but also gained a lot of musical knowledge from playing in indie bands growing up and watching skateboarding videos. There was a huge hardcore rock scene growing up and not many indie bands so we’d share bills for shows with metal bands, rappers, singer-songwriters. So much talent in VA. 

  1. How did you get to toy with nostalgia with time around?

Nostalgia is a tricky thing right? In my opinion too much of it can be harmful and make a person stagnant. I think the best way to catalyze nostalgia is just to fully be in the present and let time do the rest. We don’t create nostalgia. Time moves those moments and experiences to the corner of your brain to recall and experience some sort of elation or comfort. So to fully “make” nostalgia is to not think too far ahead, and to not look too far back. If you’re having a good time creating, being with family, friends, being the best version of you that you can be at that moment (the good the bad and the ugly), then regardless of circumstances and things surrounding you, you’ll find yourself somewhere in the middle.  

  1. Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

The inspiration really came from everything that was going on in the world. From COVID, the election, and constant police brutality and injustice towards people of color and women. To what’s going on in Armenia, Nigeria, and Lebanon. It’s been a hell of a year. But it’s the first time we’ve been able to stop and assess and re-evaluate what’s important, our upbringing, who we are and where we fit in the fight against these issues. And if we’re not fighting for certain things, finding ways to help our communities and empathize and be a place of comfort and a resting point for the fight. I just wanted to capture all of those aspects. From the fight, to the cool down. 

  1. What else is happening next in Floyd Fuji’s world?

I’m partnering with the Downtown Women’s Center to get donations and supplies. More details on that to come. But new visuals are on the way as well, collaborations. I’m working on my next project right now. Really excited about the direction of that. But yeah, just more life!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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