Kitchener, Ontario native RMSY (formerly Ramsay Almighty) was bred in a musical household with influences coming from almost his entire family so it’s no surprise the hip-hop wunderkind is breaking out, himself.
RMSY’s musical catalogue contains an array of fun, hard-hitting party tracks and is finely balanced with candid and personal lyrical content on his slow jams.
Since releasing his debut album ‘Metropolis ‘ (2013) and the ‘Dear Winter’ EP last December, RMSY has been hard at work on his next project and released an eye-catching video for his single ‘Numb’ last week.
I caught up with RMSY for an interview where he opened up about his inspirations, charity work, and dealing with the death of his father.
You come from a long line of multi-talented entertainers. How far back in your family’s history has music been a major influence?
My grandfather was a saxophonist and it kind of started from there. It progressed to my uncle, Errol Starr, who actually won a Juno back in the day. He had a hit single called, “Angel” and it played all over Canada. Canadian music wasn’t as easy to spread back then without the internet, though. My other uncle was a bassist and then my two older brothers were both rappers and they all gave me guidance in my music career; showing me how it works in the Canadian music industry. Also, my father was a DJ.
Your website mentions some sort of a beat-battle victory from your early days. Can you tell us that story?
Yeah, this was back when I was first getting into music and I really wanted to focus on production. I was really inspired by Kanye West and Pharrell to produce beats and there was this music house in my city called Maxwell’s. I was underage at the time, but my older brother knew the owner so they got me in there for a competition and I just went up and played the beats on my laptop that I had made. It was pretty epic! From there, I developed a good relationship with the owner of Maxwell’s and now they get me shows in the city because they remember me from back in the day. They’re really supportive.
You said before that ‘Metropolis’ was an album representative of your city and that ‘Dear Winter’ was an homage to the cold weather we tend to experience up in Canada. Can we expect any more Canadian themed albums in the future?
I feel like they’ll have a strong Canadian influence because I have to be true to who I am. I’m always inspired by my surroundings and that’s very Canadian right now. Maybe when I start travelling more I’ll gain more insight and inspiration from the different cities and locations, but right now it’s really Canadian.
Last year you were saying that the hip-hop scene in Kitchener/Waterloo was growing. Has it continued to do so?
Yeah it has actually. There are a lot of new artists growing, coming out and everyone feels really confident about themselves, which is a big thing. I feel like that’s because of the power of the internet, though. It gives everyone their own little outlet. People can really connect with the artist. These venues are really picking up more shows now and we’re a university city too. We have two universities (UWaterloo, Laurier) so people come from all over. They’re really supportive of the music and they just want to have a good time. I remember when I was younger we didn’t have a lot of events happening in the city so I’m excited to see where it’s going to be in the next 2, 3 years.
You performed late last month at the ‘Fashion For Life’ event in Waterloo. Can you tell us a bit about the charity and how you got involved?
I met the Audrey Wilson who runs Gemini Modelling Agency and she invited me to this event. We spoke about humanitarian efforts, charity; things like that. And she had mentioned she was doing the ‘Fashion For Life’ show and I told her I’d be totally down to support it. It’s a good cause and I like fashion, pretty women, helping people so it all came together really nice. It wasn’t my typical audience, but I enjoyed it.
In your track ‘Rainy Daze’, you start a verse with ‘Those drugs you take I don’t condone.’ Do you condone any drugs?
I just notice right now in our generation there are a lot of people overdoing it with ‘certain things’. I don’t condone the usage of many drugs. I don’t mind marijuana, but that line in particular was about a girl that I was seeing when I was shooting a music video and she was just really fucked up at the time. I just wasn’t really feeling the vibe and made me disinterested in her so that’s what I was speaking about when I said that.
You’ve recently gone through some very troubling times dealing with the passing of your father and you said making the video for ‘Numb’ was a form of therapy for you. How did you and (director) Kostadin Kolev conceptualize it? Was it a collaboration of ideas?
He came to me. He had heard what happened so he came to me with the idea, sent me a (film) treatment and I kind of went over it. I was really feeling the treatment because it felt like it was really representative of how I was feeling at the moment. We connected, we built on it and we actually changed a lot of things to fit my timeline and where I was at mentally and that’s where the video came together. He has a great vision so we spoke a lot, I told him where I was at and he was able to translate that to a visual which was…perfect.
What are your plans for the summer?
I’m going to the states quickly to do another show, which will be pretty cool because I’ve never done a show outside of Canada. Besides that I’m just gonna be working on a lot more music. I have a lot of music already finished, but I want to focus on creating a really strong project; give something to the people they can really appreciate because I really feel like the music industry is over saturated. There’s a lot of temporary music and I don’t want to be a temporary artist. I want to last a long time. So that’s my goal for the summer: just to create solid music.