Getting to know artistic introvert Okay Ché
Emerging hip hop artist Okay Che’ was the lame awkward black kid growing up, it wasn’t until he heard Childish Gambino’s ‘Camp’ and ‘Heartbeat’ that he realised that it was ok to be one. Since then he’s gone on to making music and his track ‘Patience’ has clocked up to half a million plays on ‘Spotify.’ His latest release ‘Chasing Waterfalls’ captures Okay beautifully as he reflects on his previous relationships.
We chat to Okay about the time he was friend zoned in 12th grade, how discovering Childish Gambino changed his life, and why he describes himself as an artist introvert. Margaret Tra writes.
You describe yourself as an artist introvert, could you elaborate more on this?
I call myself an artistic introvert because it's the simplest way to describe myself without just vaguely saying I'm an artist. I've always been shy and introverted only talking to one or two people outside of close family and as far as I can remember I've always been into the arts from drawing to music to graphic design. So it's a more personal way to describe myself without being too open yet people still understanding and getting a gist of my personality.
You just released "Chasing Waterfalls" with Night Swim Radio, could you tell us what inspired this track?
Honestly, a lot of my music just writes itself, like as soon as I hear a beat and I catch a vibe my brain just unloads so I never really get a chance to find a songs inspiration or purpose till I really sit and listen to it while looking back on my life or exploring my thoughts. So with this track I figured since I've always been the type to be extra caring and intimate in relationships as well as being very busy it's hard for a lot of girls to keep up with the constant shift of one minute I'm there giving all my love then the next I’m giving it all to music (which will always be the top priority until further notice). So they tend to start asking me for a lot or trying to force us into places and things that I feel they aren't quite ready for yet and vice versa, which is how I came up with the outro "If you chasing waterfalls better keep up with the waves" Its kind of a warning to all who want love or anything in life really and have a tendency to try to force it before it’s time (even though it doesn't exist) because you never truly know what comes with it until you're there and in some cases there's no looking back.
How do you think streaming services affect your music?
I think they are super dope and beneficial like literally key. For example I have a song called ‘Patience’ that through the power of the internet and streaming services hit almost half a million plays on Spotify, however I'm still very unknown in my city and around the world. So imagine if I had to just sell the single or an album on CD in stores, with the internet you can preview, find, and get hip to new things without actually having to purchase them unless you genuinely want to. I knew the track probably wouldn't sell but I damn sure didn't expect all the streams it got which to me, the fact that people even take the time to listen to my music is what matters so yeah streaming is definitely has the Ché guarantee.
Do you have a favourite story of when someone friend-zoned you?
(Laughs). Umm, without getting too detailed and specific, in 12th grade after I switched schools the year before I started talking to a girl from my old high school and we were always cool but we actually got kind of close and everything then not too soon after she stopped hitting me up as much and told me she just wanted to stay friends only for me to find out she started talking to one of my old best friends which was just fantastic (laughs). It was trash water but I ended up making a damn good song out of it in 2015 that I may never release *wink wink.*
What's the first track you purchased growing up? And how did it make you feel?
Well, I didn't get a job until I graduated high school and I only spent my "allowance" on video games till then (laughs). But the first album I ever got myself was ‘Camp’ by Childish Gambino and seeing as though I heard ‘Heartbeat' almost ever night before I went to sleep on the radio and saw the episode of Regular Show with him and Tyler I still never knew who Donald was. But after a breakup I had in the 10th grade that really messes my heart up and I watched the Freaks and Geeks video for the first time only to see the ‘Camp’ cover and the song ‘Heartbeat’ in the recommended I got the whole album immediately. I listened to it on repeat for 3 days straight. That album made me feel like I was actually understood and that feeling how I was feeling as far as the break-up and being a lame awkward black kid growing up in general was okay. It helped me regain confidence in myself and as an artist (because after getting told I rapped to nerdy and white and that I was trash for not sounding like radio rappers around that time I "quit" rap and stuck to producing) and all around embedded in my mind forever f*** what they all like say and do and be me. That album showed me no matter who I am or what I like or make I can be successful doing it which ended up changing my life and placing me where I am today.
What Stimulates Your Soul?
The thought of showing kids like me that we can do anything and we're untouchable. The fact that I can make us lame kids the new cool kids and change that clout based and follower mentality that makes kids cool nowadays and when I was growing up. Also knowing that I can put love positivity and good vibes and energy into the world in my own way and knowing people are actually grasping it and reciprocating. That's what stimulates my soul and motivates me to be me stay true and go hard till infinity.