Interview: Juicee and Freedom Stratton ask you, “What’s The Vibes?”
It’s not often that you meet two people who are as creative, driven, and multi-talented as Albany artists Freedom and Juicee… What’s even more surprising is that they are brothers.
The Stratton Brothers are busy and poised for success. Tune into their new tape, “What’s the Vibes” and come along for the ride as we go in depth with the dynamic duo.
Brian Chiappinelli: Can Tell me a bit about yourself as an artist? What’s at the core of your music?
Juicee: “I’m just a truly authentic person all the way around. Basically, in my music, I just want to portray that. “
BC: What themes are you about and what message do you want to convey to people through your lyrics?
Juicee: “A lot of my music just comes from what I’m going through and personal experiences at the time. It really portrays my life. If you listen to my music I’m telling you how I move and how you can move in your life to achieve better.”
BC: What do you hope people take away from your music?
Juicee: “I just hope people take away valuable information. Like, although I want my music to be entertaining, I want it to be informative.”
BC: What are your goals right now? In music, in life, whatever it may be.
Juicee: “My major goal is just to be successful and stable. To not have to worry for nothing. To not have to worry. That’s the ultimate goal. And specifically with my music, I just hope I can get through to people dealing with things, breakups, life. When I was going through stuff in my life I always resorted to music. Always turned to music. So I just hope that someone can turn to my music. “
Freedom Stratton is a name you’re most likely becoming familiar with if you’re a fan of live music in the capital region.
BC: Freedom, you’ve had a lot of successful releases and great shows in the past couple of months. Do you have any performances coming up?
Freedom: “Yeah I have two shows. One in NYC is called Cyburfest (10/23) and I have another show coming up in Albany called the CNYS Black Expo (11/13). Those are the only show I have announced right now but more are coming shortly.”
BC: How do you stay focused, being so busy with your family, art, interviews, shoots, writing sessions, recording sessions, shows, and everything else?
Freedom: “I would say the best thing is time management. I just pay a lot of attention to the clock. I’m ready to go when it’s time to go. Hashtag Blastoff (#blastoff)”
BC: So, Freedom and Juicee, can you tell me about your upcoming project, What’s The Vibes?
Juicee: “Well, this upcoming project is exactly what the title says. We’ve got many vibes for anybody and everybody to enjoy whether you’re in the party or in the house. Whether you tryna cry, live, sip, drink, get some money…It’ll be there for you.”
Freedom: “I would say the album is like a compilation of heartbreak, come up, and success, you feel me? Like Juicee said there are a lot of different moods in the album so each song has a different vibe that we want everyone to embrace. Everybody has their own vibe, so what’s yours?”
Juice: “Everybody is trying to come back from Corona right now. These are the vibes to listen to while you do it.”
BC: I know you both have your own independent musical projects.
How did you come around to make this collaborative project?
Freedom: “ This project came to life from having a catalog of songs waiting to be dropped. We were thinking of dropping them as singles but we felt that we should give them the vibes. Give them all we got and then come back fresh”
Juicee: “Every time we make music it’s just a natural vibe. It’s great chemistry any time we come together to make music. It gets done, for real. Put a beat on and get to it.”
Freedom: ‘Game, set, match. Hashtag Run Up (#runup)”
BC: What was it like growing up together? Did you always want to make music?
Freedom: “So I feel like I started music more from mom singing all the time around the house. That was a big influence on both of us. And Chorus class. I’ve always been in chorus. I didn’t know I was gonna be making my own songs but I always knew I would be singing. That’s a fact.”
Juicee: “Like he said our mom was always singing around the house. And we had speakers with microphones so we would always be doing something whether we were freestyling or doing karaoke. I remember Six Foot Seven Foot. That was the one. I remember I always got motivation from the cypher, freestyling, rapping. I was always writing new songs, new sixteens. That motivated me to actually start doing music.
There were really points where we were just sitting down more recently listening to beats and trying to come up with music right before I went off to college around 2016. We had a song we had never recorded called “Rewind”. Finally, we dropped that, and then we started making music together more seriously.”
BC: What was the writing process like for you two?
Juicee: “We just really go off how we’re both feeling in the moment. “
Freedom: “Usually we’re both just vibing but then we hear a beat we can’t ignore.”
Juicee: “You might not even be in that mode but when you hear that, you get in that mode because it’s undeniable.”
BC: There’s a nice variety of beats and sounds on the tape. How did you meet the producers you worked with on this project?
Freedom: “Through my manager/producer/engineer/production teacher (B. Chaps). He was showing me one of his student’s works, Paranoid (Maceo Pray). It was something he was ready to work on with someone so I had to grasp that opportunity.
My boy is humble. Cool Cat.”
BC: How old is paranoid?
Juicee: “He’s 14. He’s definitely doing his thing.”
Freedom: “ Kasino Kam (another producer on the project) I met through an Instagram promotion. “
Juice: “He produced the track Paperchasin”
BC: You guys have anything exciting planned with the project?
Freedom: “We’re trying to shoot two videos and one of them is going to be edited at home base. So stay tuned for that. Lights, Camera, Action!”
BC: You gonna play any shows with the music?
Juicee: “We’re trying to. That’s the plan. “
Anything you want to say to the readers?
Juicee: “I’m only getting better and I’m just getting started. You feel me, get in tune cuz it’s a lot more heat coming.”
Freedom: “Freedom, Fresh prince of Albany…when y’all gonna make him king?’… They gonna be like “This guy got some nerve”
Make sure you check out What’s The Vibes, dropping on all platforms on September 25th!