KNoWTe is an alternative hip-hop artist from a small town in New Hampshire who is now based in Jersey City. He began his career in 2014 writing and performing spoken word poetry, which later evolved into recorded music. His poetic influences are still evident in his music today, which blends subtle storytelling with complex rhyme schemes. KNoWTe prides himself on making each track and performance unique to the listener, while simultaneously offering a lens into his own life.
Catch KnoWTe’s interview below with V-Henny.
V-Henny: Can you tell us how you got started?
KNoWTe: I started off as a spoken word poet back in 2014. However, I always had a fondness for music, but being a teen at the time I was scared to express myself in that way so poetry was my safest bet. Fast forward a few years to late 2015/early 2016 my love for music grew and poetry alone no longer gave me the outlet I needed at the time. I didn’t have a place where I felt like I belonged, but music spoke to me and gave me a sense of belonging in the lyrics, sounds, energies, and communities that my favorite artists were able to create. Artists and bands such as Twenty One Pilots, Issues, Dizzy Wright, and NF through their music they made me feel heard. Going to their concerts and seeing the sea of people who felt the same, it was awe inspiring. So one day, after asking my Dad if I could use his old recording equipment from back in the day, I purchased FL studio and began creating. I actually recorded my first songs on the microphone that my Dad used back in the 90’s, which was such a surreal experience. I wanted to continue his legacy and create a community of my own to give back to the art form that gave me a sense of belonging during my most vulnerable years as a teen.
V-Henny: Who inspired you to make music?
KNoWTe: Its two fold. The first one is my Dad. He was an artist back in the 90’s that went by the name PHD, which stood for “Poetry Highly Dangerous.” He had me in his early 20’s however, around the time that his music career started showing signs of growth. He had to make a choice, take the risk of an unstable income and potentially not being able to provide for his growing family by continuing to pursue music. OR, leave his dream in the past to work a 9-5 to receive the stable income he needed to create the life for his kids he couldn’t have. He chose to let go of the music, which I know was a hard choice for him and I respect the choice immensely as I’m unsure if I could make the same decision. However, I feel a sense of responsibility to finish what he started and show him that his sacrifice didn’t go to waste.
The second one is my favorite band, Twenty One Pilots. They showed me you can create something truly special by living in your truth and not focusing on what other people are doing. Create something truly unique that no one else can capture, put your fans first, and give them something bigger than themselves to believe in. That inspires me each and every day to continue to grow to be the performer I dream to be.
V-Henny: How long have you had this creative vision and what pushes you to be consistent ?
KNoWTe: I’ve been at KNoWTe since late 2015, so a little over 7 years. Family is what keeps me motivated. Family isn’t just my blood, or the people next to me, it’s the supporters that have joined along for the ride, who I call the Worthy Family. They push me to be consistent and remind me why I’m doing this all in the first place.
V-Henny: How would you describe the music that you typically create?
KNoWTe: High Energy, raw and honest. I typically write for two reasons. Reason 1, I have an emotion I need to get out. This emotion is grounded in whatever is circling my life at the moment of writing. It could be Love, Sadness, Heartbreak, Happiness, Motivation, Anxiety, really anything and everything. Reason 2, to create something that will bump live! I live for the live performance! So the music I write, I create it specifically to for a moment or feeling I’d like to capture from the audience to get them moving and be part of the show! You’ll get the intricacies of a bar heavy or story telling rap verse with the energy of a rock delivery. A hybrid I’ve learned to embrace over the years as it creates some truly special moments live!
V-Henny: Have you ever felt discouraged by the industry and if so how did you overcome the thought/feeling?
KNoWTe: Plenty of times. Those who say otherwise are lying. I’m not the typical artist. I never have been and I never will be. That’s both a gift and a curse on it’s face. The industry says they want “unique,” but through experience I have found that to be false as they only promote the people who replicate what’s working instead of the people creating what’s unique to them. I may sound like a hater, but I’m not. This has given me thick skin as I’ve come to be comfortable with the fact that I’m in it for the long game. I want to build a community that not only believes in me, but believes in one another and themselves. That takes time, and I’m willing to put the time necessary to do that.
V-Henny: What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?
KNoWTe: This is the one question I can’t answer. To me, it’s this music or nothing. I’d find some sustainable living as you gotta do what you gotta do. But this is in my blood so much that I don’t see my life going any other way.
V-Henny: What were some of the steps you had to take to get to where you’re at in your career?
KNoWTe: I had to learn to fail. I think that’s the hardest lesson any one has to take on when they attempt to climb their Mt. Everest. When they attempt to achieve what others may deem “impossible.” It’s not impossible, it’s just the entry fee to enter has you sacrifice and fall on your face so much that most people give up right before they start to make headway. I wrote songs that weren’t so good, I’ve performed shows to just myself and the DJ, I’ve invested in areas and people that I’ll never get my money back from. But the experience taught me so much. Now I’m laser focused on taking this as far as it can go. Not for the accolades, but to fill a stadium as large as the MSG with people I’ve impacted for the better. If I gotta fall a few times to get there, I’m better off for it.
V-Henny: In order to succeed in life you have to know how to give credit and give back . Who would you give credit to for your success thus far? `Who would you give back to ?
KNoWTe: Credit starts at the source. So before I give love to the people in industry who have helped, I’d want to give love to the people who keep me grounded. So I’d like to credit my Mom, My Dad, and my Girlfriend of 7 years Aria Martinez for continuing to hold me down through the chaos and listen to every demo I send them, even the bad ones early on! Then my close friends and fellow artists/Creatives Ki Storii, Saint Wave, and Jex! They’ve become family to me over the years and I wouldn’t be the creative I am now without them!
Industry success I’d have to credit NWO Sparrow who was the first person to TRULY take a shot on me. I’ll forever be grateful for him as he’s the one that’s responsible for flipping the switch in me to show me that I’m doing this the right way, and challenged me in areas where I was short sighted. And then recently I need to give love to MLM Entertainment’s Mike Loco! The rawest realest individual I know who hold’s that sense of family in everything he does. Family is hella important to me so I respect the hell out of that! And then Kanika Moor from Spill It Entertainment for always keeping me on task and placing me in rooms I didn’t think I could reach!
People are a product of their community, and I’m no different!
V-Henny: What projects are you presently working on?
KNoWTe: Currently I’m doing a ton of features with some really cool artists! Not sure when they will be out yet, but as soon as I can name names, best believe people are gonna be flooding to these records!
While those cook I’m always working on the next single! But our most recent single “Unchecked” got a TON of life in it! The momentum is just beginning and I’ve met some really cool artists through this record who want to create different remix versions with me of the song. I think the first one you’re gonna see is an EDM version, but we’ll see!
V-Henny: What’s next for you?
KNoWTe: Features with some really cool artists, new music, and as always, SHOWS SHOWS SHOWS! Don’t got specifics yet, so you’d have to follow me and join the Worthy Family to find out!
V-Henny: What is one message you would give to your fans?
KNoWTe: Thank you for inspiring me day in and day out. The experiences we create online, the memories we build in person at shows, all of it makes every bit of work we put into this worth it! I know I preach trust the process, but you show me that I can. So thank you!
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