The London-born producer moved to Miami to find a receptive American audience, and hopefully make it a little more diverse.
[UPDATED] Electronic dance music found its first home in underground clubs, secret parties, and developed outside of the mainstream. People that wanted to hear live electronic music had to attend secret raves in covert venues. Its founding fathers were black Detroit artists Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins and Derrick May, but now that the music verges on mainstream, it is likely that you will hear The Chainsmokers or Calvin Harris on the radio during your commute to work, in TV commercials, at sporting events, and even in restaurants. Although our exposure to electronic music has increased, the diversity hasn't. TroyBoi hopes to connect all cultures and attitudes toward electronic music.
London native TroyBoi will play Buku's Float Den stage Friday at 6 p.m., and his ethnic makeup includes Nigerian, Portuguese, Indian, and Chinese, so its no surprise that he feels his role in the industry comes with some responsibility to help bridge cultural gaps in electronic music fans. He hopes his production style will accomplish the goal of reaching the ears and hearts of all kinds of people.
TroyBoi recently moved to Miami, the land of opportunity for the entertainment industry. He left London because his hometown is "more occupied with grime than trap," he says. Although he does not like to define his own music as trap, his sound does align with many elements of trap electronic music. Grime on the other hand, is a fusion subgenre of reggae and dancehall that began in East London based on urban ethnic culture. Grime is often compared to hip-hop, and like hip-hop in the States, grime dominates the mainstream amongst the black population. TroyBoi describes his own music as "world fusion and trap hybrid."
TroyBoi's parents exposed him to a wide range of music from classic R&B & hip-hop, to Nigerian and Indian folk. "I've had a love for world music since I was a kid, and that is surely due to my parents and my ethnic background," he says. Underground radio stations exposed him to electronic music, and now he not only fuses global styles of music, he even fuses different subgenres of electronic music to create a sound that represents where he is from and who he his. "Coming from London I grew up listening to a lot of UK grime, garage, and house styles of electronic music," he says. "These elements sneak their way into the tracks I make now."
London didn't have clear niches or career paths for a black producer and electronic artist, so TroyBoi decided to move to the States. "My music fits better with American audiences," he says. He believes Americans are more receptive to new types of music and hopes to bring world fusion to wider audiences in order to draw more types of audiences to his own music, and electronic music in general. His songs touches on influences from Africa and the Caribbean, as well as rock, pop, jazz, and R&B. One of his tracks, "Wallz" uses sound bites from Michael Jackson's "Off The Wall" to give it a haunting trap overhaul. "ili" similarly transforms "I Like It" by Debarge.
TroyBoi's samples aren't limited to '80s pop though. He also uses Indian sound bites in his track "Do You?" and Japanese pan flute in "Sensei." His music embodies the globalization of electronic music, and he is excited for the opportunities for potential collaborations, now that he will be living in Miami. He believes there are more artists here in the States that complement his own style, and you can hear some of that in the deep house vibe of "Hear Dat," his latest collaboration. "There will be many more collaborations this year, and I'm looking to explore many different production techniques."
Still, he is in an industry where the faces of electronic artists look like hedge fund managers or skaterboarders, and the audience is as white as most of them. TroyBoi brings some color to the image and, because of his roots, his sound. He hopes he can have the same effect on the crowds in front of him.
Updated March 10, 6:35 a.m.
TroyBoi moved to Miami, not Los Angeles as first reported. The text has been changed to correct this.