Diverse Character is an emerging Hip-Hop artist from Trenton, New Jersey. His music is categorized as New Age because of its eccentric make-up, which is something that Diverse embraces wholeheartedly; and after interviewing him; we noticed the striking difference between his sound, and the sounds of others in his genre. Through the eye of a needle, we observed that Diverse has an emoji appeal, whereas, his musical contemporaries are displayed in emoticons. Both are symbolically different, with neither dominating the other, but Diverse’s characteristics are warmer and more colorful; and you will agree after listening to some of his songs. We sat down with the always-jovial Diverse Character, and he talked about winning the "Artist To Watch" award at the 2015 Underground Music Awards ceremony; and then midway into our illustrious conversation, he revealed an interesting story behind his dope collaboration with legendary Bronx emcee Mickey Factz, and the experiences that inspired him to create ‘Golden Memories’ EP.
AXS: What’s the music scene like in Trenton, New Jersey? Diverse Character: It's a bit of a letdown. Not saying the artists, but in the sense that we as musicians don’t support one another. It's like one big competition; everyone wants to be the man on top of the hill; so we are constantly stepping on each other’s toes. There’s a pool filled with talent in Trenton, but if we don’t learn how to unify, then the majority of us will not get to see the pearly gates. AXS: Which artists did you grow up listening to? DC: I listened to a variation of music. I actually remember at one point, Aaron Carter was my favorite artist [Laughs out loud]; and I was a huge fan of T.I., DMX, Nas, Bow Wow, and the Hot Boyz as well. As far as rock and pop music, I listened to a lot of Linkin Park, Three Days Grace, Chris Brown, Usher and many more. I loved the fact that I was an early 90’s baby because I got the chance to be a part of the golden era, and the new school. My favorite artist is Kanye West and Kid Cudi, both for different reasons. Kanye, I feel is the most influential artist of this era (2000 and up); and Kid Cudi has one of the first—extremely different sounds I’ve ever heard. His music changed my life and actually made me happy.
AXS: Your single, ‘Happy Place’, is dubbed—one of the best stoner songs of recent years, and it has been trending in over 52 countries. How does that make you feel, knowing that people are embracing your music? DC: It feels great man, almost surreal, actually. My hard work is paying off, and my dreams are being manifested. ‘Happy Place’ started out as a melody inside of my head, during a time when I was extremely stressed. So I created it, not only make me happy, but also to make others feel that they are not alone. It’s a relatable record, and the controversy behind it is the reason why I think people love it so much. My intention was not the celebration of needles, pills, codeine or whatever else. My meaning of drugs is anything that makes you feel a lil better. Life can be a drug, your girl can be a drug, and even love can be a drug. I say that to say this. We are all going to die one day, but until that time comes, we have to travel through the highs and lows of life. That’s factual; but if I can make one person happy for 3 minutes, then I’ll know that I’m doing right in God’s eyes.
AXS: Is it difficult adapting to your newfound fame? DC: Fame? [Laughs out loud]. I don’t feel famous at all; but I guess you can say “semi” famous because I am not a household name yet; but in due time, I will be. I try not to toot my own horn because God has blessed me with the talent to make great music, and to be able to tell my stories, and the stories of others who couldn’t. Fame is only an illusion. We are all human beings, and it pains me to see an artists getting big, and forgetting where they came from. I thank the Lord for all of the people who support my music and me. Hopefully in the near future, I can walk down the street, and everybody knows my name. Then, I can say that I’m famous.
AXS: What inspired you to record ‘Golden Memories’? Are there any sentimental or past attachments there? DC: ‘Golden Memories’ represents everything from my high school graduation to me enjoying life on college campuses. It’s a mixture of reality and fantasy; and it took me almost two years to complete it. Basically, I used all of my creative energy to make such an epic product. The personal ties are ridiculous; and ‘Golden Memories’ speaks to back packers, dreamers, and lads looking for a reason to be happy. It’s filled with good vibes, melodic tunes, spacious vocals, and a slight fight for happiness. I was inspired to create it because I saw how fast my life had changed, since I failed out of college. I started questioning my purpose, and what God really wanted me to do. I started to notice how partying, smoking and drinking became less and less interesting to me. So it was almost like a race to finish writing down my memories before I forgot what it felt like to truly be happy.
AXS: You and Mickey Factz collaborated on a wonderful track called, ‘Village Of Feelings’, how did that record come about? DC: ‘Village Of Feelings’ is almost a work of magic how it came about. About 4 years ago, I did one of my first remixes called, ‘Paradise Without Critics’, to Mickey Factz’s ‘Paradise’ song. At the time I thought, “Wow, Mickey got the best record out, and the beat is bananas, so why not take a shot at it?” Years passed, and then I received a text from my Mom saying, “I’m sitting next to this rapper on the train, do you know Mickey Factz?” Filled with excitement I replied, “Mom, do you remember my song, ‘Paradise Without Critics’? Mickey inspired me to record it. He’s dope, and definitely one of my favorite emcees!” She gave Mickey the phone, and I remember him dropping mad jewels on me, and answering questions I had about making it into the music business. We kept in contact for a few months, and when I felt as though I had the best-hit possible, I sent it to him and he was impressed, and he called my song ‘amazing’. After that, I went to meet him for the very first time at a recording studio in New York City. That day I learned a lot; and ‘Village Of Feelings’ is definitely one of my best songs to date; so shoutout to Mickey Factz, a.k.a. ‘The Legend’.
AXS: Can you share any memorable moments while recording ‘Golden Memories’? DC: I will never forget the day I recorded ‘Happy Place’. It was like a big... “what the f*ck just happened” type of moment because while recording the chorus, I looked around, inside the studio, at my engineer Jumbo, and my bros Black Mike and King Ooz; and they were looking at me like, “Wow! I never heard this sound before, and will it work?” In my mind, I knew I created the best hook I had ever done in my life; and ‘Happy Place’ became my favorite song off of my ‘Golden Memories’ EP because it was the beginning of a new era, a new chant and a new me.
AXS: How did it feel winning the ‘Artist To Watch’ award at the 2015 Underground Music Awards? DC: It was very interesting. It’s like I was pumped to win it, but at the same time, I was just going with the flow. It was the first award show I’ve ever attended, and it was well organized; and everyone who was nominated that day, win or lose, deserved an award. Being an artist is not an easy thing to do because it takes a piece of your soul every day to wake up and chase something that seems impossible. I was happy to bring something positive back to my city. I brought hope back to my campaign, and for that reason I was elated when I heard my name called.
AXS: Tell us something about you that the world doesn’t know? DC: My favorite food is anything with barbecue sauce [Laughs out loud]. I love video games, and I am a battle rap fanatic, and I want to build a glass house in the trees that oversees a nice view of a lake. I don’t smoke every day, and I enjoy having awkward conversations. I love weird people to the fullest, and I was born with the name ‘Baby’. I’ve never been to the West coast [ha-ha], and I take 45-minute showers for fun.
AXS: Decades from now, when people say Diverse Character, what will they say? DC: They will say, “He was one of the greatest artists to ever live! He inspired many, and he told the story he wanted to tell.” So whether I’m dead or alive, my messages and vibes will live on for many generations; and people will say, “He was my favorite artist because he was okay with not being like everyone else. He was Diverse!”
AXS: What advice would you give to an aspiring emcee? DC: Find your lane and tell your story. Be yourself, know that God has a journey for all of us to take, and if it’s his will, no matter how long it may take; you will get there. But remain humble when you are on top, and remember—people are searching for happiness, and you can inspire them through your music.
AXS: How can people get in contact with you; and where can they go to hear your music? DC: For bookings or features, you can hit my management at BookDiverseCharacter@gmail.com. To hear my music, you can go directly to my website; and my songs are available on SoundCloud, iTunes, Amazon, Google Music, etc. I can also be reached via Twitter and Instagram @VerseCharacter
AXS: Thanks for a great interview, and as an honored guest, is there anything else you would like to say? DC: The key to life is happiness. Not the money; not the fame. It’s the moments that you experience that will live within you forever and ever. Be an innovator and create the world as you want it; be happy, and I love you all. God bless.