What city are you from/ Where are you based now?
I’m from the Southside of Chicago, I grew up in the Roseland community. I’m still based out of the Chi, just a different part of the Southside.
What is your artist/producer name? What is your real name? How did you get your artist/producer name?
My Artist name is BeeDotKay. I used to just go by BeeKay for the longest, but this feels a lot more like me. I wish I had a cool ass story about how I got the name but it’s really just derived from the name my parents and siblings gave me.
Wait I guess there is SOME backstory; In grade school, my friends knew my first and last initials are B.S…..and well, I obviously couldn’t have folks out here calling me ‘bullshit” so I had to flip it around and use my middle initial like it’s my last before I started getting teased.
You know grade school teasing is a different kind of beast, that shit can follow you for a lifetime if you’re not careful. Anyway, that’s how I landed on BK as a nickname. Somewhere along the way (might have been in the Tagged, Bebo, Myspace era), I started phonetically spelling out BK to give it some uniqueness. I guess folks really thought the nickname BeeKay was cool because everyone was calling me that by the end of high school.
To keep a short story long, the rest was history. By college I found myself using BeeDotKay as my Twitter, IG and FB handles, and people would call me “BeeDotKay” like it was my first name, I just laid into it. Plus, I’m a minimalistic kind of person (most times) so having a simple name that no one else is clamoring for felt like the best move.
At what point in your life did you decide to pursue a career in music?
You know, this has been a lifelong pursuit for me. I started performing on stages when I was about 4 years old. My sister is the one that made me fall in love with the art of rap and back then she would write the hooks and the verses, and she would have me spit the hooks on stage with her while she killed the verses. I was writing my own verses and songs by age 9 or so, and started doing my own shows around age 11. At that time it was all performances for church and church events, but I knew even back then I loved making people feel something with music.
It’s weird though, because as a kid, my dream job was to be an A&R exec. Like I love making music but I never wanted to be THE star, just someone whose name you knew because I worked with everyone you love and know. I was fascinated with the music business (still am), which led me to study the titans of artist development at the time. I studied the likes of Diddy, Lyor Cohen, Jimmy Iovine, Dame Dash and of course Hov.
Music of course was still something I loved making so I never stopped. I was recording in real studios and rocking 10,000 seat church arenas by the time I was 15. I decided to make less religious music around 17 when I was heading off for college and I’ve been betting on myself since.
Has your upbringing played a role in shaping who you are and defining your sound today? If so, how?
My village has everything with the discovery of my sound. I am the youngest of 6 siblings. My oldest sister is 20 years my senior, and my brother closest in age is 2.5 years my senior. That was the set up for this beautiful blessing of being raised by 5 people who were here for some of the best 80s, 90s and early 00s music.
It was through riding around in cars with them, spending days and weeks at their cribs growing up that I developed a love for music my mom definitely wasn’t letting me listen to at home. They put me on to everything; I discovered some of my favorite rappers through them, People like Jay, Common, Talib Kweli, Ma$e, Redman & Method Man, Outkast, Busta, Eminem….and so, so many more.
I’m grateful for that part of my story though because it set the standard for me. I learned the real art of rap, developed a deep appreciation for Hip-Hop culture, a started formulating an idea of the kind of emcee I want to be remembered as.
How would you describe your sound to readers who may not be familiar with you?
My music reflects who I am in real life; multi-faceted with balanced duality. I’m educated, a gentleman, a spiritual man, but I got hood tendencies. It sounds eclectic and refreshing. You’re going to get some of everything from me; thoughtful, introspective bars, creative ideas, vulnerable feelings, but also some turn up for the clubs.
The production incorporates real instruments and instrument sounds as well as trap drums. All in all, it’s a blend of hip hop and rap, with influences with jazz, r&b, alternative, house and soul.
What ultimately inspired you to dedicate yourself to a music career?
I just love making music and playing the songs for people that appreciate them! No other way to frame it; I love the process of uncovering an idea and turning it to something real.
I love the feeling of being on stage and moving crowds, I love the rush of hearing that final mix/master of a story, feeling, idea or message I set out to convey. My love for music, and its ability to reach, console, entertain, energize and teach people drives me each and every day. I want to give folks the same kinds of feels I’ve gotten from artists I love throughout my life.
What’s one reason you are passionate about music and what inspires you?
Music is universal, it connects people that would otherwise be disconnected. The only other thing I’ve seen do that is good food…and while my cooking is good, my music is so much better. (Kinda think I answered this question in the last one)
Do you have any hobbies outside of music? What do you do to stay creative?,
I’m really into photography and visual art. I draw and sketch sometimes too. Other hobbies of mine are cooking & painting. I try and make something out of anything I pick up. But on a more relaxed note; I watch a lot of movies, finding that inspiration comes from all over the place and I’m a sucker for a good storyline with fire dialogue & character development. I stay most creative when I immerse myself in the works of other creatives and artists.
What were you doing before music?
It’s not really what was I doing before music but mores what was I doing alongside music lol. I went to school, got a bachelors and then a masters, then I did what I do 2nd best; mentoring and teaching kids.
I’ve been working in the academic setting since pretty much leaving undergrad Right now, I’m a 7th grade math teacher on the west side of Chicago.
Who are some of your main musical influences?
MJ, Ma$e, Missy, Eminem, Hov, Cole, Kanye, Common, Lupe, Rihanna, Weezy, Jeezy, Pharrell, Erykah Badu, Anderson.Paak, Jazmine Sullivan, Drake and ummm Beyonce to name a few….those are some of the main ones that I’d probably lose my shit over getting the chance to work with.
What are some of your music career goals for the future?
I want to see the world and take my music with me everywhere I go…I guess that’s a world tour. Gotta do that once in my life. Travel and rock stages everywhere I go. Ultimately I want to establish myself as a writer for other artists before settling down into artist management for the next generation.
Tell us the name of the project you are currently promoting? What inspired this project?
IN A MINUTE Featuring Rockie Fresh!!. I wrote this song back in April. I felt like the pandemic was wrapping up and my soul was ready to get back outside to do stuff and see people. On top of that, I’m in such a stronger, more confident place in life; as a man, artist, teacher, father, all around.
When I went into the pandemic, I felt like this was a once-in a lifetime opportunity to rewrite my life and really hone in on the things I felt like I was losing time for. So I spent the whole pandemic leveling up in every way thinkable.
I was restoring my mental and spirit, I bought an income property, I made the best music of my career in those 13 months, like was seriously grinding my ass off, and now it’s time to show the people what I’ve been up to. This song captures the energy of someone who coming back to the scene after the glow up. That’s where I an in life, I went through hell and came back out the other side a better man. It’s time to put rubber to the road.
Also though, I just released an EP with my guys New Context. They’re a jazz-hop fusion kind of group and I’m the faithful emcee. The EP has about 5 songs and I wrote/performed lyrics on 3 of them. Also, I worked closely with Bianca Shaw on her new EP “Get A Real Job,” I wrote a “Roses” and I’m on another song so I’m pushing that heavily right now too.
Date that this project dropped or is set to drop?
Tentatively scheduled to drop May 28th. Chicago DJ’s got it sooner.
What is this project about in your own words?
Coming out of a season if grinding to reap the benefits of your hard work.
What’s one of your most proud moments of your music career so far?
I had this crazy ass backyard party (in the middle of a pandemonium) for my birthday last September where it was part concert and part trap-karaoke. Sooooo many people came out and Chicago called it the party of the year..their words, not mine.
But it’s my proudest moment because it was halfway through the pandemic and when I previewed a few of the new songs, it was a moment of affirmation for me. Like its one thing to feel like you’ve grown and leveled up, its another thing for hundreds of people who have followed you since day one to see the growth and love it too.
What’s next for you? Are you working on any upcoming projects we should be on the lookout for? Include some dates if you have them.
What’s next is a slew of new singles and videos coming every month like clockwork. My next project will be “The Orange Line EP,” no set date, it’s all about the singles and videos for the time being.
What message do you hope fans take away from your music?
BeeDotKay is the one you never saw coming.
Where can we follow you on social media?
Twitter : @AyeBeeDotKay
Instagram : @BeeDotKay
Facebook : @BeeDotKay
Spotify : @BeeDotKay
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