In Session: Wavy Cunningham
TROY – Blending a variety of genres that exist outside his craft into his own, Wavy Cunningham is perhaps one of the most unique hip-hop artists around. With a passion that runs deeper than his catalog, Wavy brings an enthusiasm that is hard to match. On the cusp of a new album, Volume 2, the hip-hop artist has recently released a new single, “Woke Up On 10,” as well as an accompanying music video.
I had a chance to sit down with Wavy this past week. What follows is our conversation.
Lucas Garrett: Hey, Wavy!
Wavy Cunningham: How’re you doing?
Lucas Garrett: I’m doing good. How about you?
WC: I’m good. Just got out of work; it was a long day.
LG: Tell us a bit about yourself as an artist.
WC: I’m a hip-hop artist from the Capital Region. I spent a little time in Denver, Colorado, too. I work with bands: I work with The Other Brothers back in the day; I work with The Late Shift on a couple of tracks. I did live performances with both bands. I performed with Formula 5 a few times. I’m friends with their guitarist, Joe Davis.
LG: What got you started with music?
WC: Honestly, my whole family is hip-hop oriented. So, I’ve been writing since a young age. My father, god rest his soul, was rapping before me and I got into rapping because of him. Hearing him freestyle. Then, it just kept going.
LG: You have a new song out now?
WC: Yeah. I have one new song, “Woke Up On 10,” available on all streaming services right now for my project Volume 2. I have one song off of that and eleven more tracks to follow. I’m working with my friend, Courtney, on a proper album release. We’re working on getting some venues lined up in terms of doing a few release parties. Working with her on t-shirts; we just had a photo shoot recently, as well. I’ve done some photography with my friend, who owns the handle, LOVEFURY. We just gave some photography to Hypersaturation (local zine) in their issue that came out Friday, August 25th—excited to be doing music and doing it better than ever.
LG: Who are some of your top influences?
WC: I grew up on a lot of southern hip-hop. That really has been my influence. Other than the quintessential New York hip-hop artists: Biggie, Jay-Z, Nas, Big Pun, Wu-Tang, Dipset, and The Lox. Underground, freestyle battle rappers are who I really grew up on. Branching out from that, when I was experimenting and hearing other artists, definitely started with artists in the South, like: T.I., Young Jeezy, Paul Wall, Lil Wayne, and Slim Thug. That swag… Ludacris. That’s where my influence was growing up.
Artists I listen to these days are Don Toliver. I listen to pretty much any alternative rock artist you can name. I listen to Radiohead to cleanse the palette. I listen to a lot of different genres.
LG: Let’s talk more about the title of the record.
WC: Volume 2 is really Wave Tape: Volume 2, but I shortened it because I felt it’d look cool on photography and t-shirts. It’s a double entendre, a re-introduction.
LG: When are you playing next?
WC: The next confirmed date is Oct. 10th at Jive Hive Live. It’ll be an acoustic hip-hop performance… a Tiny Desk version of the songs with a mix of piano, guitar, sax, and hopefully bass guitar as well. I love smaller audiences – I’ve done huge shows – but I always prefer small shows so I can gauge the reaction from people. We’ll speak afterward, and they’ll provide feedback that I can apply to the next show.
LG: Is there anything else you’d like to elaborate on as we wrap the interview up?
WC: I’m very fortunate to be in the position where I feel a rush to release tracks. I have a vast catalog already released on streaming services, and I’ve gotten good feedback from my last release. I’m taking those lessons applying them towards this release and really hone in on what people like. People deserve to have their faith rewarded – not to quote Christopher Nolan. This album, I’ve really had a chance to hone in and put my skills on display and have a good time, as well. Have fun making the music. I’m blessed and fortunate to still be doing shows, and have people that are willing to support me, and have me featured in their magazines… come to the shows. All this supporting, sending me videos of them listening to the tracks when they hear a lyric. It makes me know I’ve had a connection with them and makes me feel good… It’s been a really strong year, and I’m excited to keep it going.
LG: Thank you very much, Wavy! Have a great night, man.
WC: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me. You, too.