I recently had the opportunity to chat with the multi-talented artist known as Wundamike. In this brief Q&A he shares his journey, musical philosophies and drops some gems for independent artists to cling to.
Achickwitbeatz: Who is Wundamike?
Wundamike: Wundamike is simple and complex. A conundrum that sort of defines Michael Deshawn Williams as a human being and as an expression of the many facets of life. I was actually given the name by a longtime friend of mine known to some as Dezy Bars. I was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I relocated to Detroit, Michigan at 8 years old with my mom, my brother and my stepfather and came back at 16. I believe music is a universal language that speaks to the essence of all existence and that musicians and artists are the shepherds and caretakers of its investments. I think music is often abused because so many artists feel they own it instead of owning their own talent and taking responsibility for the impact their contributions make to the whole. I believe its important to separate ourselves as people from who we are perceived to be as artists in order to keep a balance and responsibly wield our creativity. I know I'm long winded sorry... :)!
Achickwitbeatz: When did you first discover that you needed music to be a part of your life?
Wundamike: When I was about 9 or 10, I became very fond of writing in general. I started with poetry and as a young hopeless romantic, quickly became fond of R&B when it was still popping :). I told my mom I wanted to be a singer at 10 and looking back at my 10 year old voice I can see why she probably didn't take me too serious, but honestly she kind of fueled the fire. I watched her tear down churches as she sang, pretty much the whole first 8 years of my life, in church choirs. I remember "Going up Yonder" was her favorite song. Amongst the turmoil of moving to Detroit, my father was killed in Inkster a few months after we relocated which was also a big reason I clung to writting. It helped me express my frustration in a healthy way. I was an 80's baby to the core though, born the same year Run DMC was signed to Def Jam. So when I was old enough to choose the music I liked as opposed to the softer R&B that my mother approved more of, I took to Pac like no other. I accredit the kind of rapping/singing style I have now to the times I would convert his raps into songs. I liked his message among others like Outkast, Arrested Development, and other artists of the time who always seemed to have a deeper lesson encoded in their music. As a teen though growing up in a city like Detroit I quickly developed an appreciation for the more gritty rappers who catered to my "rougher" side.
Achickwitbeatz: What is the most valuable thing you've learned since you became an artist?
Wundamike: That everyone has an opinion whether you like it or not, and they're all important. Regardless of how much heed you give one person or another every opinion counts. Although you can't let negativity feed your creativity, you have to learn to take the good with the bad and still turn it all into good. I wear my heart on my sleeve and one of the hardest things for me to do is accept when people don't like me or what I make. I find that most people who absolutely despise you really love you in the shadows and those who sometimes seem to staunchly support you have secret agendas which can be very painful to discover. But if you can learn to interpret and understand the motivation behind action, not only will it make your skin tough but if allowed it will also give you a broader perspective on life and give you a flexibility that helps you relate to the masses instead of just those who are like you.
Achickwitbeatz: What are 5 attributes/skills would place an artist on your top 10 list?
Achickwitbeatz: Conversely, what are 5 attributes that would place an artist at the very bottom of your list?
Wundamike: Recklessness plagues hip hop and its subsidiary genres and is a pet peeve of mine. So many artist just make songs without caring who or what it effects just to get a check and even worse and more worthless than anything fame.
Lack of lyrical substance is another if I can't get past your first few bars its gonna be hard for me to continue listening to you regardless of who your sponsors are.
Irresponsibility on the part of an artist not just because you say something people don't like either. I tend to ride for the rebels like Pac, Kanye and Kendrick, and even Jay Z. These are all people who despite their backgrounds or "image" broke new ground because they were not afraid to innovate but at the same time gave us something positive to shoot for as young aspiring artists and black men and continue to push the envelope while eradicating the stereotypes the industry works so hard to reinforce. We're not criminals or a fatherless race, or video vixens but we've allowed them to box us in and the irresponsible use of influence by some mainstream artists has managed to stagnate our development somewhat as a culture.
Sell outs! Not those who have adapted a business sense in order to move in the corporate world but those willing to do anything to stay relevant. Also those willing to exploit the ignorant. When you haven't had anything its easy to fall for everything especially when it comes with a few diamonds and a Bugatti...
Achickwitbeatz: What can people expect from Wundamike?
Achickwitbeatz: How can people connect with you and stay current with what you have in the works?
Wundamike: You can holla at me on Twitter: @WundaTheLion, on Instagram: @Wundamillions, and on Facebook: Wunda Michael Deshawn Millions. I'm currently working on a Facebook page strictly for my music and other music related ventures but its still under construction. In the meantime in between time I'll always respond on any of those 3.
If you're an artist who would like to be interviewed by Achickwitbeatz or would like an album review for your recent project on Achickwitbeatz.com, submit your music for consideration.