Plugged In With 12AM: Meet The James Dean of Pop Music
In what began with him drinking the last of fellow artist Jez Dior’s Jack Daniels, I had an in-depth conversation with 12AM regarding his journey to becoming the artist he is to date. His elusive songs and mysterious nature paint him to be something like an Easter egg: easy to miss, but often one-of-a-kind and incredibly rewarding to come across.
While on tour across Europe, the 22-year-old Toronto native allowed us the opportunity to get to know the head behind the music that we cannot get enough of since he appeared on our radar.
You recently returned from a European tour with Jez Dior, how was that experience for you?
It was completely life changing. I’ve never been to Europe, and to be around those crowds that come out and know the words, it’s an insane feeling. It is one of the most humbling things I have ever experienced. I think we hit like 15-16 different countries and played about 22 shows in like 25 days it was insane.
Because we live in a society obsessed with labels, do you believe you fall under one? If so, how would you describe your style/label yourself as?
I don’t think I fall under a label because I just love to do all types of music. Right now I’m just making whatever I love, so that could be anything from R&B to something hip-hop. I’m really just trying to show people exactly where I came from.
What is it about where you come from that shapes your current sound?
Toronto definitely has a distinctive sound, and it is incredible when you think of artists like Drake, The Weeknd, Tory Lanez, and Jazz Cartier coming from there with all of these unique sounds. I’m trying to take what Toronto is doing right now, and make it a hybrid of all that I have gathered for my own sound.
Who are some of your greatest musical influences?
Michael Jackson, Kanye West, Eminem, and I really like everything come out of Toronto right now. Like I mentioned before, people like Tory Lanez, The Weeknd, Drake, everyone doing big things and change lives because they have a lasting impact on the culture. Outkast is another one of my favorites as well.
Following up with your greatest musical influences, who are some artists you would like to work with in the
I love collaborating with almost anyone. I could make a song with Andre 3000 and then even make a song with Shawn Mendes because I love sifting through different genres. I really just want to make my music accessible to everyone.
Now when you take the stage, what goes on through your head as you essentially aim to leave your mark on the crowd?
I honestly feel the most comfortable on stage. It’s truly where I can be myself because I have wanted to do this my whole life, so when I go on stage it’s like home. I want people to go to my shows and think “this is one of the greatest nights of my life.”
So I mentioned Jez earlier, how did you two end up crossing paths and what has your experience been like working with him?
I was making music with Wes Period and he was producing stuff for Jez, and they’re pretty close so he sent my stuff over to him and told him “dude you need to listen to this kid.” Jez wanted to meet up so I came down to LA and we did “Couple Pills” and he ended up signing me.
“Couple Pills” was your first release. What did the journey to the creation of this song entail?
I basically made the song in Toronto, and I sent it to Jez and he agreed it was the first song we should put out. He did his verse in LA, and I honestly didn’t know what to expect from the song, but to see it do so well right out of the gate was the most insane feeling.
Now in comparison to “White Winter”, “Save Me” and “Couple Pills” are a lot heavier, darker even. Can you explain the reason behind this sudden mood shift/darkness?
When my EP drops, it is going to show a lighter side of me so that’s really exciting. You can’t have light without dark, so I try to make sure I cover all aspects of everything so there’s something from everyone.
And you have a new EP on the way, what should fans be expecting from this project?
I want this EP to be a breeding ground for my future. I make music for myself, but I want people to relate to it. I want to do something out of my comfort zone as well and see how people react. This EP will give you every type of emotion: there’s love, sex, drugs, everything.
There is so much being said, and even a greater amount of music being released lately, what about 12AM do you want for people to derive from your music?
I am just trying to focus on making the best music I can possibly make because I want every song to be incredible. I am very devoted, passionate about music, and I just want people to be able to relate to what I put out.
Now aside from the EP, what else does the future hold for you?
There’s a lot going on currently, and it’s incredible. Tour is life changing and after my EP release, Jez and I will be doing a collab EP. After that, I will be putting out an album, along with some music videos I have on the way.
Great, thanks for taking the time to chat with me!
Be sure to stay plugged in with 12AM on all forms of social media @ilove12am !
Written by Tracy Smith