Florida has always been a staple in the rap game when it comes to catchy anthems, hard hitting bass, lyrical surgeons and one of a kind slang. T. Givens music embodies all of that with an added twist, he really can sing! Let’s see what we found out from the Jacksonville, Florida native once he got Caught N’Da Web!
Spyder: How long have you been doing music?
T. Givens: Man, I’ve been doing music I want to say for probably a good 15 years. Well, I’ve been recording for a long time but I didn’t start putting stuff out for everybody to hear until about 3 years ago.
Spyder: I know you are a dual threat artist because you rap and sing, when you first started off was it one or the other or you always did both?
T. Givens: I had some friends that rap, so when I first started all I did was sing. I was just doing R&B songs but then when they came around and started rapping, I thought about it and was like I’m going to try this. To be honest, CeeLo was a big influence on me as well, so when I started rapping I noticed people would feel it. I got better and better at that so I started combining the two. I would rap a verse then sing the hook but I started out strictly singing then I gravitated into doing both.
Spyder: Being from Duval, Jacksonville specifically you all have some dope artist that I listen to regularly such as Balize, Lil Poppa and Nardo Wick to name a few, what do you feel you need to do to get some of that light your city already has to be shined on you, especially being a dual threat artist that rap and sing?
T. Givens: I’m trying to make those connections now, but here once you get a big DJ to play your song in a crowded spot if people are feeling it, it’s going to blow up from there. So it’s just getting that right DJ to play your song and I’m meeting people now so I feel like it’s on its way.
Spyder: There are plenty of debates that R&B isn’t the same anymore, could you see yourself doing an entire R&B project or possibly a double disc with one side being R&B and the other side being rap?
T. Givens: [Chuckle] It’s crazy you say that because I was thinking about doing my next album as a double album and having one with me still kind of doing my dual thing that I do and then the other being a straight R&B. I’ve been thinking about this for a minute, so that will probably happen.
Spyder: I personally think that would be a dope idea and definitely a way to set yourself apart from a lot of artist today because most can’t do both, especially on the scale of dropping an exclusive R&B project.
Spyder: Have you ever considered writing for an artist, especially on the R&B side?
T. Givens: Most definitely, as a matter of fact I have had a couple of friends reach out to me about writing for a couple of different artists. I am interested in that because I just love everything about music so if there is someone out there that has the talent but has trouble writing, I would love to write for them.
Spyder: What do you feel are some of your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to music?
T. Givens: When it comes to music, man that’s a tough one. So with strengths I would say like we’ve been saying I’m versatile and I don’t really feel you can put me in a box. I can do a drill song or a smooth Drake type song and I personally feel I can do any song there is. So when an artist wants to work with me they don’t really have to think about or think hard on what type of beat to get me on because of my versatility. So I will definitely say that is a strength. Now, I would have to say a weakness in music is that I don’t produce my own music. When it comes to that I would really like to learn because when you can make your own beats and write music, you know exactly what you are looking for. So I would say that is a weakness because I am not a producer as well.
Spyder: If you could go back and change one thing in your music journey what would it be? Like if you look back now and say if I would have done this, it possibly could have made the journey easier or if I wouldn’t have done this it could have made the journey easier.
T. Givens: Ok, there are a few things. One, I wish I would have gone harder at it like I am now earlier. I feel like I had the talent but I doubted myself too much at that time and also I would have curved my enthusiasm. I say that because I met a lot of people and a lot of people were making promises saying they would put me in contact with this person and that person because I definitely had the talent. This led to me getting all excited because I would see the person that I am talking to actually does know the people that could possibly get me connected in the music industry. It’s a lot of false promises, so I would definitely say I would have curved my enthusiasm because that at one point is what made me lose my love for it.
Spyder: Where do you see yourself in the next 12 months and the next 2-5 years?
T. Givens: Let’s see in the next 12 months on a smaller scale I would say just being known in my state, not even just my city. In the next 2-5 years I want to be making a great living in the music industry in some capacity. Whether it be me as an artist or writing for other people I am open to all of that because I just want to be in the music industry.
Spyder: What do you feel has been your greatest challenge so far in the music industry?
T. Givens: Greatest challenge so far, I would have to say just breaking through. Breaking through that wall because one thing you learn after being in the music industry is you can have all the talent in the world but that’s not all it takes. Like you have to figure out this marketing thing, you have to figure out who it is you need to get in contact with, you have to network etc. So it’s been really difficult just breaking through as far as getting to the right people. You know because sometimes you may know a lot of good people who are in certain places, as a matter of fact I just met one who is a producer named “MGeezy” and he produced a big hit song that came out of Jacksonville called “Hello Love” a while back. So that was a good connection to make, so I am going to see where that goes but breaking through has been the biggest challenge.
Spyder: Outside of music, what are some of the things you like to do?
T. Givens: Well of course spending time with my kids, doing things with them that I know will make them happy. Weightlifting has been a passion of mine since I could remember but that’s something that is a lifestyle for me. I am very athletic so I enjoy playing any type of sport other than baseball [Chuckle]. I would also say learning, I am not a big reader but I read to learn. That is something I do a lot of in my spare time when I’m not working out, reading to learn. If it is something I want to learn like marketing which we spoke about earlier, I would get books on that to self teach and find ways to improve myself in that area.
Spyder: What’s one thing you would like your fans to know about you?
T. Givens: I would like them to know I am a genuine person. When you listen to my music it’s like what you hear is who I am. I am not one of those artists that just do songs and it’s nothing like who I am. All my songs are giving you a piece of who I am so I want them to know that it is genuine and it’s real.
Spyder: If you could collaborate with one R&B artist and one Rap artist, who would it be and why?
T. Givens: R&B artist I would have to say Tank! He has been doing it strongly for so many years at a high level so when I look at other R&B artists and not to take anything away from them, Tank has just been doing it at a certain level for so long and he is still releasing R&B music. That music that still has a feeling to it, you know what I’m saying and he is probably my favorite R&B artist too. So he is definitely the R&B artist I would have to work with. As for my rap artist I am going to have to say Lecrae and I say Lecrae because me and him have a lot of similarities. When I listen to his music, I can tell that’s really who he is and he is transparent in a lot of his songs. A lot of people don’t do that, a lot of people want you to think they are tough 24/7 but in all actuality that is not how life is and we are all human. He brings that human aspect to his music no matter how big he gets, so for that I would say he is for sure one that I would have to work with.
Spyder: This question is going to be a little more personal, listening to your song “Legend” which is talking about the passing of your father. How has his passing affected your music positively and negatively, if any at all?
T. Givens: Negative effects, not now but the negative effects were earlier on when recording because I had a lot of anger at that time. I had way more songs that were displaying anger and just not understanding certain things that would happen, so negatively I had a lot of anger. Positively I would say just from everything he taught me. He taught me to be a genuine man, he taught me that you can be tough as anybody but don’t be so tough that you don’t have compassion and you can’t show people that you are a down to earth person and you have feelings. He influenced a lot of what I do now as far as when people listen to my music, they get a variety and wide range of emotions throughout my albums.
Spyder: You have been active and consistent with your music over the last couple of years, so based on the pattern of your work ethic we should be getting something from you pretty soon, right?
T Givens: Yes, I have a video out now called “Loner Baby” off the “Inferno” project and another video releasing soon called “Where Do I Go” off that same project. I am working on a new single with an artist named Tony Redd from Duval that is going to be some heat! The song doesn’t have a title yet but lock in to my social media and be on the lookout for that soon.
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