Rapper saintwavy, from Radcliff, Kentucky, was born Michael Quann Jr. and has been writing and playing music since the age of 11. After first writing songs that he intended to sing, he realized that he was in fact writing raps instead. This realization was crucial in the growth of saintwavy into what he has become today. While he began making music young, his childhood was fraught with trouble as his father was in and out of prison constantly and his mother was always working, doing everything she could to provide for her 4 children. Spending a lot of time alone during his youth, he used that time to study different styles of music.
Discussing his hometown of Radcliff, Kentucky, he tells us that it is a very small and closed environment without an emphasis on youth creativity. He says that he is working to change that and to set an example for the younger generations in his area. Showing that there is more to life than simply selling drugs or wanting to be a superstar without working hard at it, a commonplace in his hometown. Continuing by saying “I don’t disrespect the grind and hustle, but at some point, you [have to] adjust your dreams and goals in a way that’ll accommodate you,” it is clear that he is far wiser than his age might suggest. Recognizing the lack of a real outlet for himself and his peers to create as individuals, he has plans to change that by paving the path to bigger and better things for the youth in Radcliff. From our conversation I could tell that he makes music for so much more than notoriety. He makes music to inspire, to provide a positive example for his peers, and more importantly to lead the youth into a brighter future because a world without youth creativity would be quite dark.
Now 19, he describes his talent for recording and producing music as a product of years of hard work and dedication. “You [have to] have a strong work ethic if you want to succeed and I knew that from jump.” With wisdom well beyond his years, he knew from the very beginning that success would not simply be handed to him on a silver platter. He expressed to me the importance of goal setting saying that he “started with some short term goals [while having] the long term goals in the back of [his] mind.” Nothing great has ever been achieved without hard work. When talking with saintwavy, his humility spoke volumes about his character and while he was telling me that he has big plans for his music, patience is a virtue.
When asked about his biggest sources of inspiration he referred to the likes of legendary rappers like Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West, while also citing artists who utilize a strong singing voice like SZA, Smino, and Saba. After diving into his SoundCloud profile, and listening to his collection on Apple Music and Spotify, he creates a unique style in which he constantly switches between great boom-bap flows and intense trap high-hats. His metaphors and word play are world class, sounding as if he has been practicing for a century. Using his vocals as much as possible plays to his advantage as he hones in on his childhood passion of singing to bare his soul on the track.
With his signature deep voice, he raps over smooth and spacey vibes on the song above. His prophetic lyrics and metaphor game elevate the bars that he spits over the track. Using a strong singing voice over many of his tracks he tells stories with such passion. Drawing inspiration from his life, he brings you into his world and allow listeners to see his life through his eyes. Although in the new school, he clings to old New York boom-bap roots on several songs of his including Blu. Delivering a smooth and laid back style on the track, he always puts together complete songs with a range of emotions on each.
On SoundCloud saintwavy has been racking up listens for a few years now and his music has certainly progressed throughout that time as well. Carving out his own path in underground hip-hop, his skills in the booth are nothing short of impressive. Effortlessly switching from singing to rapping, old school beats to new school trap; he can create very complex vibes in every track that can take you for an emotional ride at times. Rapping about everything from drugs, to heartbreak, even discussing his views on politics and society as a whole, there truly is something for everyone.
Currently working on a new project with producer Aramis Kelly, he told us that he is very excited about it because of the chemistry between the two of them, as they have worked on a lot of music together in the past including the singles “.Wave Interlude” and “Nighttime,” both of which are available now on Spotify and Apple Music. Two great musicians who are both independently known for releasing incredible music, I look forward to covering that project when it drops. With beats from Amaris Kelly and the incredible flows from saintwavy, expect huge waves to be made after its release.
“Be more creative. Be innovative. Always believe in your craft.” While saintwavy has always used these words as motivation for himself, he also uses it as a way to spread positivity and inspire creativity among his peers and those who look up to and follow him. “Never expect a hand out and always keep your plate full. Never become stagnant unless the circumstance calls for it.” As real as they come, saintwavy is really about the life that he portrays in his music. We closed the interview with a quote from him that I found particularly powerful:
“Ambition is a state of mind.”