Lifted is not only thriving within the commanding group of talents that surround him in Neilaword, but he is correspondingly making his presence known among the best producers in the underground right now. In one of our most intimate interviews yet, the Milwaukee native tells us about earliest experiences in production, how he’s secured his biggest placements, and the adjustment to his recent success along with plenty of further discussions. 

Tell us about who you are and your background. 

I’m 18, and I’m from Milwaukee, but I just moved to downtown Atlanta around 5 months ago. 

How are you enjoying Atlanta so far? Do you feel like it could be your home for a long period of time?

I love it a lot because in Milwaukee there’s not a lot for music, not many people take it seriously there. There’s not a lot of studios there either. Here, I can probably walk down the street and about half the people I run into know people who do music or do music themselves. All the notable placements that I’ve gotten last year have come from me moving down here.

How did you get into producing? 

This was during around 2014-2015. I was into motion design and I was going to go to school for graphic design originally. There was this group of people I would work with and that whole group of people started to make music, and music was always something I wanted to try. So when they switched over to music, I just switched with them. We didn’t really watch any YouTube videos; we just taught ourselves how to use the software. 

Did it come naturally for you? 

Yeah, it wasn’t hard at all for me. I already knew what I wanted to do but I couldn’t bring it to life because I didn’t know how to use the software. Once I found the software, it just became easy. The software I found was FL Studio, and I still use it. 

How do you know when you make a good beat?  

If I take more than 30 minutes on a beat, I delete it. If I can hear an artist on it without thinking about it too hard, then I know it’s a good beat.

How did you get into music in the first place? 

I was in band class in elementary school all the way through high school. I played the drums there. I listened to a lot of music growing up. 

Who were the first bands or artists you first got into? 

I was brought up on a lot of punk rock in general. Anything my dad listened to, I loved. Blink-182 for example is my favorite band. Green Day, Metallica, Nirvana — bands like that. 

What were you like in high school? Were you extroverted or more of an outcast?

I was friendly with everyone, but I didn’t hang out with people a lot. I started taking music seriously sophomore year of high school and every day I would just go home and make beats until I went to bed. I didn’t even go to my first party until senior year of high school. I didn’t really start being social with people at all until senior year actually. But it paid off, because now I’m ahead of most people my age.

What did you do after graduating?

I moved to Atlanta to go to SAE Institute, which is an audio engineering school. I went for a month and I really felt like I was wasting my money and time. I would sit in a classroom for like an hour and a half learning about reverbs or learning about how to properly wrap up cables. I didn’t want to do any school work either because I didn’t see any point in doing it. My friend’s mom owns an entertainment company and she was the executive of Sony for 30 years. She wanted to sign me so I signed with her and dropped out of school after a month. 

Do you friends and family support your music? 

100%. I feel really lucky that I have their support because I know a lot of people don’t have support from their parents at all. 

When you go back to visit Milwaukee, do people look at you differently because of your music? 

That’s a good question. Before I moved down to Atlanta, people I wouldn’t even know, like little ass freshmen, would say my producer tag to me in the hallways or in the restroom and I’ll be so baffled because I didn’t think they’ll know. People there started making music because of me and kind of look at me like a celebrity, which is kind of weird because I am definitely not a celebrity. 

With the attention and the success you have achieved to this point, how has it been adjusting to the spotlight? 

Adjusting to success isn’t that hard, I’d like to consider myself pretty humble either way. But I see a lot of people from my hometown doing music nice and a lot of people come to me for advice and I love helping them. As I said before most people are very supportive too which I’m grateful for. 

How did you fall into this scene in the first place?

I tweeted out a few months ago how it bothers me that I don’t know how I got into the scene. All I remember is that I had a Twitter for graphic design; it had like 600-700 followers. From there, when I started doing music, I switched it over. I started following people from SoundCloud like Kevin Kazi, he’s one of the first artists I found on there. Warhol.SS, Uno the Activist, and Oliver Francis were one of the first people I found and listened to too. I followed FBK pretty early too without him even knowing who I was. After I found FBK, I just started finding more people in the scene right now. 

Who do you love working with the most? 

Producing wise, I get a lot of loops from my email. So as far as loop makers, I’ll like to say Lukrative. Song wise, BIGBABYGUCCI for sure. He’s my #1. 

You and BIGBABYGUCCI seem to get along so well. How did you guys meet? 

When I first moved to Atlanta, Kevin Kazi brought him over the first day into my apartment. We just kind of hit it off there and he started coming over a lot. I pretty much mix all of his music now, well Joe Dirt does all the final mixes but I do all the rough drafts. 

If you could do anything fluently besides producing, what would it be? 

I really want to learn the piano. I don’t know how to play the keys. I feel like that will help me a lot. 

If being a producer was not a possibility, what career would you pursue? 

Probably graphic design. I do a little bit in my spare time. Every once in a while I’ll fuck around on Photoshop and work on something. My grandma is an artist and I always loved her art so that got me into graphic design. Me and her have always been into art, my love for art came for her. My favorite artist is Andy Warhol. 

What is your favorite placement to date? 

Any of me and BIGBABYGUCCI’S unreleased songs. As far as industry artists, this unreleased song with Lil Gotit and Gunna. 

That is a huge placement. How did you achieve that? 

A year or two ago I took a week off of school and came to Atlanta to link up with Neilaworld. One of the days we had a session at Loud House, a studio in Atlanta. The engineer that was our session engineer has engineered for Gunna and a lot of people around him.  I kept in contact with him and when he started recording for Lil Gotit he asked me for beats. I sent him a lot and that’s how I got three or four songs with him [Lil Gotit]. And one of them, he got Gunna on. Shoutout BeatDilla

So it is all about connections and maintaining friendships basically? 

Yeah, people don’t get that. You gotta do your research and figure out who is around whatever artist. For example, if you want to work with Young Thug, you can’t go directly to Young Thug; he’s not going to answer your direct messages. But if you find out who his close friends are or who engineers or manages him, you have a better chance of getting in contact with one of those people than going directly to him. Build a good relationship with the people around him, you’re more than likely to have access to that artist that way. 

What is something you see in the underground that you dislike or would like to change?

Everyone sounds the fucking same. Also, I see a lot of stuff people do wrong. I see a lot of smaller artists hold music a lot or ask for 150 comments on their post and they’ll drop the song but nobody really wants the song because they’re not popular, so you’re holding yourself back with that. I think they should just be more consistent. 

Do you have any advice for producers who are just starting out?

Work with people in your state, get out of the house and start recording people in your city. Get engineering experience. I taught myself how to mix, but you can look up just about anything on YouTube. Definitely just get out of the house and just meet with people in your city. Build connection in person, it’s easier than meeting people online. 

What about those who experience “producer block” — any advice for them?

What mainly helps and has helped other people is listening to a completely different genre of music. For me, I listen to a lot of old classical music because it generates more ideas. Old classical music like old R&B samples that people use. I listen to the playlist on YouTubes that have old songs and I find some inspiration in them. 

Does music ever cause you stress? If so, how do you deal with it?

Every single day. I stress that I’m not doing enough, but I just keep working and it just goes away for me. 

Who has helped you the most with your music thus far in your career? 

My friend Willard. His mom is the one who signed me. Definitely him. And my friend Stick, he’s an engineer from Florida. 

Who is an underground artist you want to work with? 

Slime Sito, but he’s locked up right now so… but Ssgkobe too, I have one song with him but I don’t like the beat I made for it anymore. Also Tonyshhnow

Give us your favorite producers. 

Pyrex for sure. Influences wise, Southside, Jetsonmade, and Pyrex too.

Name us a song that you wish you produced.

Costa Rica off the Dreamville album. Or Get The Bag by A$AP Mob. 

Do you feel as though you have any underrated songs? 

Philosopher’s Stone by BIGBABYGUCCI, produced by me and Lukrative. It only has 30k streams, it deserves more. Or this song I have with Lil Gotit and Brokeboiboog. 

What is it like when you and Neilaworld link up and work? 

I love the energy. We’re all on the same page as far as what we’re going to do when we make music. We can knock out beats in like 5 minutes. It’s crazy, it’s like we’re all the same person but different styles. 

Who do you like working the most with in Neilaworld? 

FBK, Callari, and Lukrative. I love cooking up with Glasear too. 

Who do you feel is the most underappreciated act working right now?

Corey Lingo. 

Who makes up your current dream placements? 

Future, Gucci Mane, Summer Walker, Young Thug, and Roddy Rich. 

Give us 5 artists you have been listening to a lot lately. 

BIGBABYGUCCI, Gunna, NBA Youngboy, Summer Walker, and Future for sure. 

Outside of music, what keeps you sane? 

The people I keep around me. Having friends that check up on you and people you can talk to about anything helps me a lot. 

What is your overall goal with producing? 

I want to establish a consistent income off music so I don’t have to make beats everyday. And I want to open up my own studio one day. 

What is next for you? 

After I get my publishing and production company set up, I want to sign artists. I don’t know after that, I’m just playing it by ear honestly. I got a song with Z Money coming out with Chino Marley. I don’t really have a plan honestly. Just full speed ahead. 

Any shoutouts?

Willard, my mom, my dad, shoutout Neilaworld, FBK and BIGBABYGUCCI.