Name: Squallè (Squah-LAY)
City: Athens, Georgia
Favorite artists: J. Cole and Meek Mill
What does your artist name mean to you?
Everything. My “artist name” reflects who I am as an artist and a person. The translation alone is a direct definition that sums up how others view me and my experiences. I learned a while back that in Swahili, Squallè means to be “young in age, yet wise in mind.” Most people would relate to this term as having an “old soul,” which in a nutshell, is definitely me. Growing up, I always hung out with people who were older than myself. My older brother and his friends were about 15 years older than myself, and I loved to be around them.
Why did you start making music? I used to always listen to the song “No Limit” growing up. [I was inspired by artists like] Tupac Shakur, Biggie Smalls, Wu-Tang Clan, Rakim, KRS-One and many more. My old neighbor used to have notebooks full of rhymes that he would always rap after school. From there I started writing and rapping on my own, which developed into a skill over time. I wanted to have a voice, and the artists that inspired me had a voice through music. To me, music is a way of life. It’s the missing link that connects us all. It’s not only a form of expression, but it’s a movement, political statement and a love declaration. It’s me.
What is it like being the CEO of your organization, Black Liaison ATL? What inspired you to start this?
Black Liaison, is a nonprofit organization aimed to help kids express themselves through extracurricular activities. I wanted to be the connecting piece between music, education, culture, experience, expression and truth. The organization is designed to aid the African American youth who may not have the opportunity to be exposed to different styles of life and expression. Hence, the name “Black Liaison.” We are all about being connected to others and making a difference.
What is it about your music that makes you different from other artists?
My music is a combination of many different styles, rhythms and techniques. It’s like a fusion of jazz, R&B, disco, funk and rap. My style is spontaneous. You never know what to expect because every song I create has a different flow. You can feel and relate to every line.
In what ways has your music changed from when you first started?
Well, at first I started off by just flowing on a beat. Overtime, certain experiences [have] helped me perfect my craft. I rap about what I’ve been through and where I’m going. These days, I even add a little jazz, disco and funk to my music. Ultimately, my growth in music has inspired me to push harder, because like the title of my first project says, Real Rap Ain’t Dead.