Q Wants To Face Himself Head On

Q Wants To Face Himself Head On

Dec 12, 2023

In his new song “Changes,” Q ponders: “I’m in this house alone and I question why.” The self-shot music video interprets this line literally, a supercut of the 24-year-old belting out the track in his bathroom, diving in the pool and dancing through the growing pains all twenty-somethings inevitably feel.

The song is the third installment of the singer’s new series of singles, fittingly titled Hello, Everyday Changes. Having steadily released music for more than five years now, Q says that these new releases feel different because they face anxiety and overthinking that consumes him head-on.

“That’s the question I’ve been asking myself lately,” he tells PAPER. “Who is Q? What is unique to Q?” When you look at the Florida native, it’s hard not to see a star. He exudes a natural X factor and effortless musical talent that harkens back to a bygone era of soul-pop acts like Stevie Wonder and Prince, with a classic look that could easily put him front and center of a major fashion campaign. And it’s only the beginning for the self-proclaimed “unsearchable” star.

Below, the rising soul singer discusses being alone, dreading the social media rat race and the impact of meditation.

I've been super into your new singles. “Hello” felt like a fresh introduction to you as an artist, even though you've been releasing music for some years. Was that intentional? Has the response to these new songs felt different at all?

Oh, yes. It was definitely intentional to bring in a new or different sound, a world that I haven't explored, which is more authentic to who I am. I guess all the music I put out is technically authentic, because I made it. I guess it was the first time I wasn't trying to go for a genre. I wasn't trying to go for a certain sound. I wasn't trying to go for an “era” or nothing. I was just making music because that's just the question I've been asking myself lately. Who is Q? What is unique to Q? Without the comparison to other people. That was something I was afraid to explore because I thought it wouldn't be good if I found out what I could do without having to pull from some type of instant inspiration. You know, people [define my music as] “'80s sound” or stuff like that. My intention wasn't really to do 80’s sounding things with Soul,PRESENT. It's just the type of music I like. People will equate it with a time, but to me, they’re just sounds. I guess I was just trying to get out of those boxes.

And the feedback has been good. For the most part, people tell me how it made them feel in my DMs. I get a lot of DMs about the new songs, and I know it has been different. It's not trendy. It's not anything tied to the standards of “industry good,” but it's good, as far as my core fans saying, “Yeah, we rock with this.”

Did you find in interviews that people would always compare you to an artist or loop you into this retro soul 70s sound?

Yeah. Which is true. It's not even a wrong thing, I’m not mad at it. But I find that happening a lot since I dropped Forest Green. It was either Frank Ocean or Steve Lacy. Then I dropped The Shave Experiment and it was Prince and Childish Gambino. Then I dropped Soul,PRESENT, and it's Michael Jackson and Lenny Kravitz. They're not bad people to be compared to, but I want to know who Q is.

How important are your visuals for the whole vision of your work? Because with these newer videos, to me I see themes of isolation, loneliness, looking inward and personal growth versus just straight love songs. Would you say this is true?

Yeah, it's true. I mean, it’s what the title says: everyday changes. Especially for the new ones, Hello, Everyday Changes, it's me saying hello to the everyday changes of life. It just so happened to be that the songs were called that. It was at the last second that I was like, oh, it can be called “Hello, Everyday Changes” because those are the song titles and that's what I'm saying hello to. Whether it's hello to new love, hello to new perspective, hello to moving, just saying hello to all those new things. But in each song it's more detailed.

“Hello” is more about the mental war. I did that visual in New York because you can just get lost in New York real quick. It’s such a big city and I just thought it was fit for that vibe. I shot that visual with my friend Sir, who’s my cameraman. For “Changes,” I did that in my house. I just moved into my home and I'm the only one inside so I thought it was best fit for me to record the video myself. So I actually just put the camera on a tripod and did all the shots myself.

That makes sense. The line from “Changes” that stood out to me was, “I'm in this house alone, and I question why.”

Yeah, all these songs were made over the summer. I was alone. I moved out of my house when I was 18. I’ve been living alone ever since. And I always thought I should be alone. But I noticed I'm always alone at the end of the day, which I always questioned. Whether it's friends coming over, relationships ending, or friends leaving for the day. I'm always alone at the end.

Do you think you thrive being alone? Are you a person who likes to be alone with your thoughts versus being extroverted all the time?

I don't like being alone, and I don't like being outwardly extroverted either. It’s just a balance. When you’re alone, it's like you can just go into your own mind and your own world and then you lose yourself, and then you’re just alone. No one's there to snap you out. And not even telling me to do something, maybe just saying, “Hey, you want to go make some food in the kitchen?” You know, that could just pull me out of my head and make me be present with people.

I was reading some articles and saw a lot of them describe you as “unsearchable” and stuff like that. Would you say you try to keep this sort of mysterious vibe to your work?

No, my name is naturally unsearchable. My name is the letter Q. That's my birth-given name. But truthfully, if it wasn't for having to post on social media, I wouldn't be doing it at all because I don't like to. I wouldn't do it if I didn't have to. That's just how I've been naturally. And even on the visual side, as much as I have a lot of visuals, I wouldn't put out any visuals or videos either. I would just do straight albums and let people have a straight audio experience with an art cover.

If you could choose a different letter to be your name, which one would you choose?


I like that. The final letter.

Yeah, it's just lit. I like Z a lot.

You seem to be very balanced and very in control of your feelings. Do you meditate?

Well, I pray and I meditate as well. But sometimes I just be still. I realize that, for me, life is more than just doing the actions of praying or meditating. Your existence and your actions throughout the day after you pray and meditate are what really matters. I try to create patterns to just make me feel better outside of the whole spiritual process of things. I try to be more practical because that’s important as well. It wavers, you know. It comes in waves.

What age did you get signed to Columbia, and was that a big change for you? Did you feel this new pressure or expectation to start posting on social media and to be more of this outward presence aside from just making music?

I didn't feel a big expectation, but at the same time, you know, I got signed at 19. I didn't feel a big pressure to post, but also the reality is that posting is a part of the world. It’s not just me being creative. It's a business now, so you have to do your part. And it's not wrong to do your part. Something as little as posting, you know, some people have to do more than posting. I'm glad all I had to do was post even though I didn't want to do it. I did it anyway, and it helps.

So you got signed at the end of 2019 and then the pandemic hit. Would you say that affected your writing or how you approach making music at all?

It affected me in a good way because I had time to sit. I always have time to sit, but I feel like during COVID I hit a discouraging spot in life in general, so it bled into the music as well. I had to just dive in and make music and figure out things. I realized that the music that I have is something that I've been doing for a while, so it's something that I can continue to do even if I don't know what's gonna happen next.

I know you come from a very musical family, but growing up, did you have any other niche interests or major hobbies that you did in your spare time?

Photography and videography. I love cinema. I love to shoot those things. I love to take photos. I have a table full of cameras I’m looking at right now. There are about 12 cameras on that table. Video cameras as well. That's something I love to do in my spare time.

What’s your favorite movie of all time?

My favorite movie of all time isn't a cinematically pleasing movie, but it's Rush Hour 2.

That’s with Jackie Chan, or no?

Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. I just love it.

I'm a Titanic person.

Oh, you’re Titanic? That's a long movie right there. I watched it for the first time earlier this year in full.

I could see you acting. Is that something you would ever be interested in doing?

Yeah, I would act. Definitely.

Nice. Well, I guess for your fans, what do you have coming down the pipeline? What can they look forward to in the coming months?

I actually don't know. But not in a bad way. I'm still figuring things out, figuring out what I want to do. It's obviously going to be music. But that's all I have. There's going to be music coming out. I don't know what time period though I’m going to dig in a little bit and take some time to think about what I want to do more musically.

Photography: Domia Edwards