Music Mondays: Temisan Osowa (r_ckl_ss)
For this week's iteration of Music Mondays, we wanted to bring things closer to home and feature one of UChicago's very own alumnus, performing artist Temisan Osowa!
So Temi, why don’t you introduce yourself to our readers?
Hi, Iʼm Temisan, Temi for short. I graduated from UChicago last Spring as a Psychology Major, PreMed. Iʼm a musician; while I enjoy playing the saxophone and used to play piano, my current passion is being a singer/songwriter. My artist name is currently r_ckl_ss, which comes from a nickname my best/first friend from UChicago gave to me before school started. The underscores/lack of vowels come from some of my favorite artists like dvsn and spzrkt. I thought it looked cool and mysterious and artistic haha, and I wanted a cool name.
How did you begin your interest in music?
In high school, my best friend named Josh started introducing me to all sorts of music. At the time, I had only really listed to a small amount of Punk Rock, as well as a heavy dose of R&B (my first love). But then I delved deep into the world of Hip-Hop, and became enamored. The way that so many stories are told, so many soundscapes explored, the entire culture and movement surrounding Hip-Hop (whether that be fashion aspects, dance, social, historical, etc.), narratives and perspectives shared and lived, as well as the raw and passionate nature of the music genre drew me in. It, and music in general, is such a powerful and unique tool and way of communication. Then as a student here, I naturally tried my hand at music for fun, especially with friends like TR!C, Chief Wicked, and KSwiz doing such incredible things. I didnʼt take myself seriously as an artist until this summer/ fall when Atrician (TR!C) pushed me to do a few freestyles and verses, and realize that I had a talent beyond being a music consumer/curator.
How would you describe your music or personal signature?
My music signature is hip-hop inspired R&B, or alt R&B. While I listen to a decent number of genres of music, those two to three genres are the modes I find myself most comfortable and connected. While I like to Rap, I am not necessarily a thoroughbred singer, and I am always trying to improve and focus on flows and lyricism, most likely due to my musical background. Simple but effective songwriting as well as melody are the most important aspects of music to me, and that shows in the type of music I am making.
Who and what are your music inspirations? Do you have a favorite genre?
As I said earlier, R&B was my first love in music (Trey Songz and Chris Brown were always on repeat). The Weeknd and Frank Ocean, as well as PND (PARTYNEXTDOOR) were some of my earliest influences/favorite artists, and I naturally aspire(d) to make music like them. As of late though, I have found that my artistic and musical voice has started to sound like some other, relatively more low-key artists like Travis Scott, NAV, Amir Obe, Blackbear, and Eli Sostre. They are some incredible artists and song-writers who have a great aesthetic aspect to their music that suits me.
What’s your current favorite song or album?
My current favorite songs are Chanel by Frank Ocean, Love Galore by SZA and Travis Scott, Let You Go by Eli Sostre, Pull Up With Ah Stick by SahBabii, Teenage Fever by Drake, and Every Kind of Way by H.E.R. My favorite albums from this year is probably More Life by Drake, DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar, and blkswn by Smino.
How has or has not UChicago impacted your journey as an artist?
UChicago is a place where I feel like almost every single student and individual is forced to do a significant amount of personal reflection and growth. All of those life experiences Iʼve had over the past four years, as well as the setting of living in Hyde Park, Chicago has given me so much to write about. Chicago, UChicago, Hyde Park, are all such inspiring environments. Itʼs a dream for an artist to be quite honest… in my humble opinion.
To sum up this interview, how would you describe your relationship with music, now and in the future?
Music is one of the most important things in the world to me. Music has played a significant role in my identity, my interaction with culture, connections with people, and has become the best way for me to express my thoughts and emotions… originally through other peopleʼs music, and now through making my own. Dropping my first song on New Years was one of the best decisions of my life, pursuing passions is a must! Music is an escape, it is a cathartic experience. Listening or making music feels like everything that is pent up within me finally gets a real, true release. The opportunity to make and consume art just makes me so happy, is so exciting, and give me a sense of fulfillment. While I will now be working and positioning myself to attend medical school in the near future, music will always play an important role in my life. I will continue to make and heavily consume music, continue to grow, and continue to expand my horizons.
All images via Temisan Osowa