INDIE.INDIGO* is Breaking the Mold and Disrupting the Music Status Quo

INDIE.INDIGO* crafts electrifying music while breaking boundaries in film, fashion, and design. From hospital beds to hits, his journey redefines resilience and creativity.

In the realm of music, the journey of an artist is often shrouded in mystery, with stage names serving as enigmatic gateways into their creative universes. However, for INDIE.INDIGO*, the genesis of his moniker unveils a tale of serendipity and introspection, reflective of his multifaceted approach to artistry.

In an exclusive interview with Arkive, the enigmatic rapper and musician unveils the intricate layers behind his chosen name and delves into the profound vision driving his musical odyssey. From the corridors of high school to the confines of a hospital room, INDIE.INDIGO* shares insights into his creative process, his relentless pursuit of innovation, and the resilience that fuels his artistic ethos.

Can you share the story behind your artist name, INDIE.INDIGO?*

Crazy enough, I would have given you a different story last year, so I’ll give you a bit of both in a short, timely fashion. So I invented the name in the last few weeks of high school. And in the first few weeks of college, I guess I refound it in a notebook and was like, “Yeah, that’s it. That feels like a name that’s similar to a corporation.” I felt that if I were to look through corporations in a different country, it would come up and be universal. I feel like you could say it in Japan, or in any other countries that I can’t name right now because I’m bad at geography, and it just fits.

As I was trying to figure out what product the corporation would sell or produce, I thought, “I guess it produces music.” So I wanted it to be the product, kind of like if Jeff Bezos was Amazon and needed to get off the ground, he would just go by Amazon for the first few years until people got it. But nowadays I realize that I just made a name complicated enough that my parents couldn’t find it, because even though everybody liked the music and wanted to hear it, there were things in it that I didn’t really want them to hear.

So I made a name that was like an underscore, all lower case with a dot in the middle, and an asterisk at the end. It probably kept me from having as many fans as I could have had, but I wanted to keep it private more than being worldwide, which was totally not what the name was intended for.

Gotcha. Usually people’s stage names are a nickname they go off of but I like that there was an actual thought process behind it and a vision rather than picking something “trendy” and changing it a couple years later because it’s not cool anymore.

Exactly. Yeah, I don’t sleep so I had time to think about it. You can check a lot of boxes with it. I don’t know what the term is, but it’s like ‘Donnie Darko’. I didn’t want a rapper stage name. I wanted it to stand out. But it’ll be a corporation or something more than just me one day, maybe like a production company or something. But for now, it’s Indie Indigo: the rapper, the musician, the artist.

What initially drew you to a career in music, and what has kept you passionate about it for the past 10 years?

I always wanted to create so I loved architecture as a kid. I loved designing houses. Then, I got into designing products like phones and stuff. So I was always going to do something creative, but my cousin J-MOE, he’s the one who was already making music. He has been rapping since we were like 6, if that’s even possible. But somewhere around 14, I spit the craziest freestyle ever, and he was like, “Nah, you gotta take this seriously.” And I took it as, like, “OK, so I do this now.” So I went by like my government name at one point, and then I changed it, like you said, to a nickname, and I went by that. And what’s kept me passionate is just wanting to create. Like I said, I jumped around, so I wanted to do this for a couple of years and then this for a couple of years and this for a couple of years. But music was the one thing that, once I started, I stayed consistent. I stayed true. Just creating the next song and listening to the last song is what propels me to make the next.

Can you tell us about the evolution of your sound from that first freestyle to the music you’re making now?

Even though it’s still freestyle for the most part, it’s way more thought out. That first freestyle probably sounded like ass, and now they sound a little less like ass. But my mother was a teacher, so I was a great writer (by beatings laughs) and I found a way to take my writings and just wanting to talk and put them into music. So in the very beginning, not to compare myself, it was like a SexyRedd or Chief Keef. Just hype, it’s fun. So I was funny, I would say funny things in songs.

Actually, I remember in middle school – we used to freestyle over the morning show. We had this new principal, and she was like, “These Top 40 songs are too vulgar,” and it was like Bruno Mars, so she would play the instrumentals and everyday, whatever the instrumental was, everybody would turn back and look at me in class and I would freestyle like, “Sweet Home, Tampa, FL,” and my class would get lit every morning. I forgot I even did that. So it was very funny at the beginning.

And then as I got more into making music, I got into baring my soul. It’s like, “This is what I’m feeling right now, and I hope somebody else out there feels this too.” And putting that out and letting it connect with people. The songs had way more density to them after a while, they weren’t just for shock value.

One of your goals as an artist is to create a “new staple sound,” can you describe what that sound is?

Well, I gotta say, like I’m from North Dale, which is Tampa, but I’m not from Tampa. Like I didn’t grow up cranking, and I still don’t know how to crank. I don’t know what a ‘crank’ is. I don’t know what the sound of Tampa is, and I feel like a lot of people don’t know what the sound of Tampa is. And so for maybe two years now, I’ve been like, “I want to create that.” There’s got to be some 16-year-old Indie Indigo that’s going to come and blaze the streets. But I want there to be a sound staple that comes from this area.

Like I think New York and California are the only places that have a sound that you know exactly what it is. Atlanta sounds like a bunch of things. Saint Louis, Texas, all these places sound like a bunch of things. I don’t have one artist to point to. I guess, like maybe Travis’s new stuff, maybe like a Donda, something that just when it comes on, it’s like Scott Storch, it’s one of those beats that’s like, “Oh, what is this?” It kind of makes you have to restart the song because you weren’t prepared to take in this much of a meal. You were expecting some microwave food until you heard what Travis just dropped. And you’re like, “Okay, this is another caliber. I have to open my mind to take this in differently.”

So if nothing else, I don’t believe that we as Tampa make dull music. I just think that’s where the talent lies. But if you raise the challenge, I believe that a lot of people can rise to that occasion. And so if that’s what I have to do to scar the face of music forever, that’s what I want to do.

You mentioned you dabble in various creative areas. How do these different art forms influence and complement each other in your work?

With my other creative avenues, everything else that I do is kind of personal. So I’ve made clothes and garments and just items that said “Northdale.” But I’ve never made over five of the same thing. So even when I made T-shirts, I only had like 5 to sell. I kind of make things personal for me and the people that really, really like it and are close to me and want it, I’ll even end up giving it to them.

But music is the only thing that I love to give away in mass. I want everybody to hear it, so I knew that meant something and I stuck with it. But it all kind of happened at the same time, around 14-15 years old. I guess you have that, like, “I’m going to make my mark, be my own person,” mentality. I started doing my hair differently. I started making clothes because I wanted to dress differently. And my homeboy put me onto the thrift store. Shout out to him. I started making music, I started painting. I probably do everything less than music just because music is a worked-on skill. Like I make 5 songs in a day, but I probably won’t make 5 shirts in a day.

"The biggest challenge was being in the hospital. It just hit out of nowhere, and it was something that I hadn't dealt with before - not too many people have dealt with before. I didn't know what was happening and a lot of doctors didn’t either."

So is that just something that you will continue to keep personal to you or do you see yourself creating an actual company out of the name and releasing a clothing line – or any other products within the INDIE.INDIGO brand?*

Of course if you want to make money from it and you want it to be as worldwide as I initially intended, I’m going to have to mass produce it and make everything. But yeah, I would love to keep it as a small brand. Even if it’s a million fans, I would love to just make 100 T-shirts and have it be that scarcity factor. I think that’s actually cooler, but that’s just how I create. So I guess I would need to. For the sake of the interview, I would say, yeah, I should make this more widespread.

INDIGO, POPSTAR, and SUAVESZN*. Can you give us a glimpse into the themes or concepts behind these projects?**

I would say, POPSTAR* – I really wanted it to be that debut album, and I wanted to drop it last year, but I kind of got off track. It wasn’t that I got off track, life just started life-ing. So I couldn’t really do it then. But the way that I kept creating music, I really wanted to push back and get features from some artists that I respect. So I would love a Denzel Curry feature, because I don’t really collaborate too much. I work with people like Pusha, certain people around the city, but for every feature I have, there’s like 20 songs that’s just me. And it’s always been like that because I created that level. But POPSTAR* is like that debut album sound. So, you know, like Chance has “10 Day,” and then Kendrick has “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City.” I wanted it to be my debut. So for these people that have known me for 10 years, but there’s somebody that hasn’t found me yet, when they find that first album of mine, that’s going to be their introduction. It’s like life is a movie type of thing. And POPSTAR* is that main character.

It might be a series. It’ll just keep growing and you could just watch “POPSTAR* through the ages. But that first album is going to be like, ‘This is what it is.’

INDIGO*, like I said, I want to change the sound of the city. And so I was going to put the promotion and everything behind it. I wanted it to hit with that sound of like, ‘This stands out in Tampa. What the hell is this?’ And yeah, it’s just that benchmarker.

And SUAVESZN* – I came from the SoundCloud era so I love dropping a song when you want, it’s about whatever and it’s different from the last song. SUAVESZN* is more like a soundtrack so it gives me a place to put what people call the ‘throwaway tracks’. It’s not too thought out, just some quick rapping shit that’s like microwave music, but it’s really good. I love making those songs. It’s like my C-tier, but not in the grade, I mean, like in the order. So that’s the difference between those three projects.

What challenges have you faced while working on your new projects, and how have you overcome them? Can you share some details about the project you recorded from the hospital room at Tampa General?

The biggest challenge was being in the hospital. It just hit out of nowhere, and it was something that I hadn’t dealt with before – not too many people have dealt with before. I didn’t know what was happening and a lot of doctors didn’t either. Like the first half of my stint in the hospital, everyone was like, shoulder shrug. But I didn’t want to let that challenge stop me, especially because I was in the hospital on my mom’s birthday, and she chose to stay with me in the hospital for two nights instead of enjoying her birthday. It was just so heartfelt to me that I was like, nothing can stop me. So on her birthday, I put out a project in the hospital called “Puffy” just because it represented what I was going through and how I was swollen in the face and everything at the time. And I didn’t want to call it, like, “ugly”, because I mean, I was still doing my thing, but I just called it “Puffy.”  I came up with a mascot for it and drew him up in AI.

A lot of people were like, “Bro, I really like that album, it took a different direction.” I was listening to a lot of Detroit rap at the time, and that was what I was influenced by. That’s just how I felt. Those types of beats made me feel how I felt in the hospital. I’m drugged up. I hate my circumstance, and I’m kind of angry about it so I’m spice talking. I was nice to everybody in the hospital, I would turn the mic off on my phone like, “Yeah, thank you. I really appreciate the saltine crackers,” and I’d be right back on the mic talking my shit heavy. But a lot of people really liked it – people that I didn’t think would gravitate to it. That project is one of my favorites just because of the circumstances. I mean, I didn’t have anything that hard that went on like that while I was making music before. So for that to come out of it, even though it didn’t express exactly what I was going through and have those sentimental songs, it’s still one that’s at the top of my list. So the main challenge was definitely the medical, which it still is. I’m just learning how to manage it better.

That’s really impressive. A lot of people would become depressed and angry instead of finding an outlet. How’d you manage to keep it together and find a way to stay creative?

I was actually thinking about that today, just like maybe 10 minutes ago – I was asking myself how I managed to stay so positive and I think the answer to that was morphine and pure delusion. I had a bed in the middle of the room with 4 roommates that came and went and they were the only ones with a window. For 15 days, I had no window so I had to rap to create a window or draw to create a window. My homeboy brought me colored pencils and a notebook (his baby ass gift) but he really helped me with that. But yeah, pure delusion. I don’t know how I’ve been this positive. People ask, “how are you still yourself on Instagram and everything”.. I’m like this all the time. I’m going to joke through it. I’m going to laugh through it. And I don’t know how, cause shit really does suck. Like I’ve been getting punched in the face, but pure delusion. I don’t got the morphine no more. So..

Well, whatever works. We’ll take it.

Yeah, if you got a plug on morphine, let me know.

Off the record.
So what are some hobbies outside of music that you’re interested in or passionate about (besides coloring)?

Quite honestly, I love clothes so I love shopping. One of my favorite things is just spending money, and that’s kind of how I knew, like, I got to get rich, like the feeling of spending, I don’t know. Like I don’t have that attachment to money and currency, so like getting it and then putting it back into the flow of money. I like that. I like getting money, you know as well, but I don’t think as much as spending money. I don’t know if that’s a hobby, somebody’s hobby, Paris Hilton, somebody.

That’s how you’ve been coping – retail therapy.

Yeah, let’s bring that back – retail therapy.

Well, that’s good. Actually, not good – you need to start saving.

Yeah. No, I think I learned the hard way. I definitely do that now. I feel like I should have a better hobby, but I love music. I love creating. I think that everything else falls under that umbrella. I don’t watch too many movies. I’m not like a TV show guy. I don’t even really watch sports. Damn, I’m really just a music nerd. Yeah. I just found that out today.

If you could sum up your artistic philosophy in a single sentence, what would it be?

I create to inspire creation. I’m just planting seeds for my garden. So even though it might not grow today, I’m always working for my 40s. Like bamboo –  when it sprouts, it’s gonna go crazy. But it’s gonna be quiet for a little while and I’m okay with that.

Do you have any release dates for your project yet that you can share with us?

I don’t just because I had such a strong one with POPSTAR*. And then I just created so much in between in the time that it was getting done, I had a whole another album and a half. Like, damn, I gotta slow this up, but I can’t slow the process of making music. It’s like a conveyor belt with the shaft broken. Like it’s just gonna keep going. So I either got to speed up the process of getting it off or getting my storage in order. But no, there are no dates as of now but they’ll be ready.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stylist Rubi Rockafella is Breaking Trends and Pioneering the Weird
Kenny H is Committed to the Camera and the Culture
Mack Knox is Conquering Personal Obstacles to Manifest Creative Dreams
Asaru presents “All Praises Due”
We were lucky enough to sit down with ASARU to gain insight on his artistry and discuss his process for his album, “All Praises Due”.
Tampa Beat Weekend 2022 Interview Booth
With a multitude of local shows and panels showcasing recording artists and industry professionals, Tampa Beat Weekend was a vibrant celebration of music and creativity.
“Meet Your Makers” The Creative Mind of Sir Fetti
Explore the creative mind of Sir Fetti, visionary Miami designer and founder of Fifty Karats, in this episode of "Meet Your Makers".
El Encanto Tattoo is Ybor’s Newest Haven of Artistic Expression
El Encanto Tattoo in Ybor City is more than a tattoo shop—it's a haven of creativity and community that offers a welcoming vibe, unique styles,