Icon South discusses his relationship with Trippie Redd and more
From EDM DJ to industry hip-hop producer all the way to singer and songwriter, Icon South does it all. For the past six years and counting, Icon has been fully invested in his music career, shadowing and learning from the greats and, over time, maturing into the multi-talented musician he is today.
Recently, Icon South landed a huge placement on Trippie Redd‘s new A Love Letter to You 3 album which, in all, consists of a total of 16-tracks. The album features superstar artists Emani 22, Kodie Shane, Youngboy Never Broke Again, Nel Denarro, and JuiceWrld. This being Trippie’s third part to his Love Letters series, it serves as a huge stepping stone for Icon South and his reputation and credentials. His production comes to life on the tenth single, “I Tried Loving”. This single is a favorite among fans and for good reason. South’s engaging sonic backdrop allows Trippie a perfect blank canvas for him to express his feelings of loss.
Aside from this placement, Icon South does a ton behind the scenes and is quickly setting his future up for further success. His story goes far back, interestingly, when he started DJ-ing the clubs of Dallas and later ended up in LA, working in the studio with the Young Money crew and producing hip-hop hits. Now an upcoming singer, Elevator took a deeper look into Icon South and just exactly what he does in an all-new interview below.
How old are you and where are you from?
I am 25-years-old and I am originally from Dallas, Texas. I live in L.A. right now. Been in North Hollywood since January of 2016.
How did you first get into the music scene whether it was producing or DJ-ing at first? How old were you when that happened?
I was working dish pit at top golf in Texas for about two years. There was a DJ that would play every day Friday and Saturday night. His name was DJ DTrain and I would always go up and kind of just sit behind to watch because I was intrigued at what he was doing. Then, I ended up actually getting in trouble and going to jail for a short amount of time. It was bad for me but while I was in jail I had some thinking. By the time I got out, I was like “yo I need to change some things up”. I had some extra money at the time to buy some DJ equipment and I just started practicing every day since. Later on, one of my friends introduced me to Ableton for production and that’s when I started producing. I was on house arrest and I had nothing else to do but sit and make music all day. So, I just sat in my room and made music for 10-hours a day for nearly a year. That is how that all transpired at first. I would always do DJ mixes. DJ-ing is pretty easy but once I got into Ableton, I fell in love with producing. I spent all my time focusing on making music, focusing on knowing that the end result would lead to where I am now. This was in January 2013, so I was 19 at the time.
How was your experience working for Lil Wayne’s Young Money label?
It was great. I got to meet Lil Wayne many times and hang out with him frequently. I got to see him in the studio and how fast and creative he is. I was always with Lil Twist and he really helped bring me to a lot of places and to a lot of people that introduced me to even more people. Lil twist actually lived with me for a little bit as well. He introduced me to a lot of people that I now still consider some of my best friends and people that really helped me and influenced my life. Milo Stokes, for instance, who now is helping manage me is also Trippie’s manager and he’s certainly helped me a lot. Being in the industry has taught me a lot so far, just being around different artists, there is always something you can learn from everybody, even if you don’t know what it is yet
Who has been your biggest mentor, if you have one, since you’ve been in the music industry?
Milo Stokes is definitely my biggest mentor. He’s my best friend on top of like giving advice and managing me, he’s the most genuine person I’ve ever met in my life.
What differentiates you from any other producer?
Well when I started making music, I was an EDM producer. I didn’t even really start making hip hop until I came out here and Lil Twist came over to my studio. He actually liked the EDM stuff that I was doing and wanted to jump on it. I saw opportunity in the hip hop industry and I started making more hip hop. On top of my EDM and I still do EDM and hip-hop as well as, I’m a singer and songwriter. I don’t know very many people that do all three. I’m heavily invested in all three and I have a lot of stuff going in all areas. As far as from the Trippie Redd placement, I’m working with Dom Legacy, an artist from the New Boyz who are most known for their song “You’re a Jerk”. We have a song titled “Lay Low” together where I produced it and we’re both featured on it. There’s actually going to be a music video coming out soon to it, probably mid-December.
What made you want to start recording your own vocals?
One of my friends from Texas, Neko Savvy is his artist name. When I lived in Austin, Texas for a while, he was the only kid who would ever come over. He was a rapper and I was an EDM producer at the time but I could always record. I would record his vocals on songs and eventually, we ended up living together for a while. Since he was and still is a rapper and singer he was like, to me, why not just do it all? You’re already doing the EDM side and the Hip hop side of it all, why not just try this? I ended up trying it out and I found my voice and what I was confident with. He was a big inspiration for all that. We actually dropped a couple songs after that and now I’ve just been doing my own music ever since.
Is there an end goal for you? Where do you see your music in 10 years?
In 10-years, I see myself being more of a Diplo type character where I’m DJ-ing because that’s what I started off doing. I was always a DJ in the clubs of Dallas and it was always EDM based. After I moved out her, that’s where I got more into the hop hop side of things and the singing.. I really want to headline the big shows but at the same time be able to produce pop and hip-hop singles for all artists. I get bored, I don’t want to limit myself so I just try it all. No matter the response of the people, it doesn’t matter to me. I just send it anyway because I’m having fun either way. In the industry, in 10-years I would like to be an influencer. I really want to influence the children that are growing and the younger community of artists. To show them anything is possible and give them positivity.
Can we expect a producer album soon? Maybe an artist album as well?
Yes, actually both. I could even go as far as three. My own singer/songwriter album, I want to do my own where I am singing with some features throughout. However, I’m also working on an EDM tape. I have about 5-6 songs right now of my own where I’m singing and on my EDM one, I have like another 4 songs. In the end, everything will be about 7-8 songs each.
Where do you get your inspirations from?
Metal music and the technicality of metal music were huge for me. I would say growing up I got into EDM after my metal days. Skrillex and Rusko were big for me and from there I moved onto hip hop. There’s so many ridiculous artists I could name from A$AP Rocky to 50 Cent to Eminem. Some current artists I’m into are $uicideboy$, they are really dope, Slay Squad, they are an upcoming hybrid like hardcore metal/hip hop group. Trippie Redd, honestly I love his music. Young Thug and Lil Wayne, of course, especially because I loved being a part of his group. The Game is an inspiration. I could keep going on. From EDM, I have to say I really like TroyBoi and I stick by that. He’s one of my favorite artists. I’ll just leave it at that. He’s the goat.
Are there any artists, underground or not, you think are going to pop off in 2019?
Other than myself? I feel like there’s definitely going to be a lot for me this coming year. Slay Squad is one of those groups. They don’t have a large following yet, but I think they are going to pop off because of how different they are. Neko Savvy is definitely an artist that is going to blow up in 2019. My gage is really everywhere. I know Felly, I hope that he continues to grow and get bigger and bigger, he’s one of my favorite artists. He does production from singing to rapping.
How is working with Trippie Redd? Do you think the new track, “I Tried Loving” will go platinum?
It’s been awesome. The song that we have together “I Tried Loving” that is out on ALLTY3 was kind of random. I’ve always been in the studio with him. I know him from when he first came out here from Ohio. At the time, he had around 10,000 followers and he was under Lil Twist. So I’ve known him for about almost a year and a half, but we never worked with each other. This specific time, I was making a beat in the studio and he asked me what I was working on. I was working on the beat for about 15 minutes then and I pulled it up. We ended up going to his studio with his engineer and within about another 30 minutes he had finished the song. It took about an hour for the whole thing to be done. And then all of a sudden I got the call that it would be on the upcoming album. I definitely think it’s going to go platinum. From all the love that I received on it so far whether it’s through mine or his Instagram. I haven’t seen any negative comments yet.
Do you personalize beats for artists or just play a beat for them?
I personalize. For example, that day I was in the studio, I made the Trippie Redd beat specifically for him. Usually, if I’m in the studio with someone, I’ll go back and listen to a couple of their songs and then start creating something that is kind of based off their past songs but recreate my own twist to their style so it’s new and inventive. It’s not just exactly the same. To answer your question, yeah I cater to whatever artist I’m in the studio with.
What specifically do you enjoy most about being a producer and same with being a DJ and upcoming artist?
I can’t not make music. I think if I go too many days without making music, I start going crazy. It’s very therapeutic for me. I really enjoy making music, staying in the studio, and being around creative people with positive energy to factor out the negative energy. I know the end result is I’ll be able to help provide for my family while at the same time doing something that I love. I would hate myself if I was to go off and settle for something that I really didn’t want to do. I feel like my subconscious would judge me. I’m just going with what I genuinely love and treat my self conscious right because at the end of the day that’s what’s really judging you. I want to continue to stay happy like that.
Set to be released some time in mid-December, Icon South is eagerly preparing a song and music video release for “Lay Low” featuring Dom Legacy of the New Boyz. While we wait for that new anthem, I would highly recommend streaming his latest produced single, “I Tried Loving You”, off Trippie Redd’s skyrocketing album. Get to know the quality and level of producing he’s and expect more content from him in the coming months as he continues to dip his feet more in the artistic field. Icon’s sound is ever-evolving and we at Elevator can’t wait to see what the future holds for this multi-talented young artist.