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“Grand Rising, how far?” Floyd asks via text, reminding me of our scheduled video call interview. He is in Los Angeles, approximately 12,401 kilometres away. His crystal eyeglasses and denim jacket blend perfectly with the clear blue sky backdropping his frame. “I just like to go with the flow”, he says about his creative process in a way that exudes quiet confidence. For a talent he developed early on, that confidence is an attestation to his musical prowess. He was raised in the church and so took an active role performing in the choir. “Music has always been a part of my life. I’ve always been on stage,” he explains. Floyd Miles is just as gentle and expressive in person as he is in music. It almost feels like I’m catching up with an old friend.

The singer has come a long way and is long overdue for his big break. He looks and sounds the part. Perhaps, the most impressive thing about his artistry is his fluidity on records. One moment, he’s serenading a host of women using contemporary R&B melodies, next thing you know, he’s gliding through complex jazzy rhythms, heavy percussions, and synth-heavy drums; a hybrid of what we all know as Afrobeats. A lot of artistes around where he’s from have tried to make crossover Afrobeats records, but only a handful have managed to evoke a genuine connection. He’s one of them. His most recent music video aptly titled ‘Ifemi’ would have fit perfectly as an album cut on ‘The Gift’, Beyoncé’s Afro-inspired soundtrack album curated for the 2019 remake of Disney’s ‘The Lion King’. 

The most shocking revelation from our half-hourlong conversation is his origin. You could easily confuse him for a Nigerian: he effortlessly passes the vibe check and his Pidgin English is flawless. Nevertheless, he is yet to visit the Motherland but has reiterated his intention to do so someday.

Floyd Miles talked about everything from self-introspection, embracing Afrobeats, to working with New York rapper Dave East. We also learn more abot the inspiration behind his debut album and plans for the future. 

Your debut album, ‘Save Yourself’ was released two years ago. What mindset was behind its creation and what were you hoping to achieve with the project?

When I was creating that album, I was in the space of enlightenment. I was learning more about meditation, learning more about myself, and it led me to realize that I just needed to be better as a person and take more control of my life. So basically with ‘Save Yourself’, I was in a way battling with myself and focused on ascending and becoming a better person. Understanding that if anything is gonna change, it’s going to be up to me. The actual song titled ‘Save Yourself’ was written in 2015. I found it going through my stash of old songs and it became the last song I submitted for the album. At that point, it just felt like the stars had aligned.

Were you impressed by the reception you got from the album’s release?

I did appreciate the feedback because people only knew me from Dave East. They didn’t know I had a strong R&B side as I was mostly known for crafting hip-hop hooks. It showed where I could reach musically. People responded well to it.

The album was really good.

Haha. Thank you.

How did your collaboration with Dave East happen?

So when I moved to New York, I was moving around with my cousin and a producer called Buda The Future.  We began working with other producers like Jerm, as we were all mutual friends. I was working on this song and Dave came into the studio like, “Let me hop on this”. After that first song, we just kept a working relationship till now.

It seems you moved around a lot. Where did you grow up?

Yeah, I moved around a lot. For the first half of my life, I lived in Connecticut, then the Midwest; Indiana, for high school and college. After that, I moved to New York. New York holds a special place in my heart. It’s where my parents are from. My Dad is from Harlem. I’m based in Los Angeles now and I love it here. I don’t see myself leaving for a while.

You’ve stated in the past that your parents didn’t want you to do music. Have they come to terms with your career path now?

I don’t think I’ve given them a choice. I know they care about me and their concern is stemming from their beliefs, but I’ve let them know it’s not about what they feel I should be doing cuz it’s my life at the end of the day. They love that I do music anyway. People are always going to want to influence you to do what they’re doing or what they feel like they would have done or what they think is better. You just have to respectfully stick to what your purpose is and what you’ve chosen for yourself. However it goes, that’s how it’s meant to.

Are you independent?


What can you say is the most challenging thing with being an independent artiste?

I would say there is not as much consistent push to people unlike how things would be under a major label. So with being independent, it’s more like trusting the process and investing in where I see fit. I think the most problematic thing is getting the music across to people. Getting heard. Whenever people hear my records, they always like my music, so the issue is with getting others to find me.

Last year was tough. The lockdown when COVID-19 hit was unprecedented. How did you spend your lockdown? Did it affect your creative process?

I think I even recorded more that period. Constant studio sessions at home. I spent more time focusing on how to be better as an artiste. It didn’t change much. 

What would you categorize your sound as?

I wouldn’t classify it as anything. I usually just go where the music is leading me. I just let it flow. I feel like I never limit myself. It’s how I embraced Afro music.

Aside from yourself, which artistes are you feeling right now?

I’ve been listening to a lot of Afro because that’s the space I’m in right now. I’ve been listening to a lot of Rema, Lojay and Sarz, Oxlade, and this group from the UK called Disclosure.

What can you pick as the best song you’ve ever recorded?

I don’t even know if that’s possible to answer. It just depends on how I’m feeling at the moment. They are all great.

What has been your proudest moment as an artiste so far?

That’s a crazy question (laughs) because I went through it in phases. As far as being an artiste, I’d say it was when I moved to New York City and got that Dave East placement because those records showed people responded well to my voice. Then when I dropped my album, it showed I had the full capacity to shine.

What moment in your career will likely make you feel accomplished? A Grammy win? A billion streams?

Honestly, for me, it wouldn’t even be winning a Grammy. That would be dope for sure but having a sold-out tour worldwide will make me feel I’ve reached the pinnacle. I think the biggest accomplishment would be to see the people you’ve inspired. Connecting with millions of people who love my music would be a big blessing.

Any projects you’re working on right now?

I’m working on an Afro-inspired EP right now.

Any features on it?

I’m working on that. I don’t want to say anything till it’s solidified, but definitely, the project is next up.

Is it coming out this year?

We’ll see about that. We have to read the room to decide.

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