- Damaris Chanza
Fuji Don The Famous Expresses His Unique Perspective Of The World Through His Music
Fuji Don The Famous's musical catalog is as diverse as his cultural background.
Fuji Don The Famous, has always expressed himself through music. Growing up, he had what he calls his "head radio." Everything from a good meal to a new experience translates to sound or rhythm in Fuji Don's mind. This continuous soundtrack running through his mind made him eager to share how he perceives the world.
This internal soundtrack is influenced by a long list of artists ranging from well-known musicians and bands like Future and Fallout Boy to local musicians like Jay Valeyo and Lilian. Some people closer to home who have been vastly influential are his high school and middle school band teachers, Mrs. Crowley and Mr. Santino. He's also musically influenced by popular media like Hannah Montana, the character Andre from Victorious, anime intro and outro sequences, and The Dark Knight trilogy score.
"I think rather than individual artists or people, it's more albums, genres, songs, and vibes that influence me. [Everything] from the production, song composition, lyrical delivery and vibe of a song make me feel something – it's influencing me and my mood."
One of Fuji Don's most important influences is his cultural background. He identifies as JapaNegro, Japanese and black. Because he grew up with his grandmother, he has always been significantly exposed to his Japanese culture.
"I think being from a diverse background influences my music by not putting me into a box. It kind of isolated me from a lot groups, but having that cultural understanding that no one else has allowed me to put it into my music and make it different from the rest of the noise."
Fuji Don first started releasing music in high school. After removing his wisdom teeth, he took advantage of his free time and recorded a song using only Apple headphones and Audacity. Finally, a song lived outside Fuji Don's mind allowing others to experience and understand how his brain functions and it was only the start.
When Fuji saw his classmates energized and singing along to his music, he knew he had to keep creating. Seeing how his music could impact someone's mood provided the confidence he needed to continue to express himself through music.
First, he needed a stage name.
The name Fuji Don The Famous evolved from a nickname he had in high school, Gucci Don. Eventually, Gucci was switched with his actual name, and The Famous was added to symbolize confidence that someday he would reach stardom.
Choosing a genre to focus his efforts on was more complicated. His desire to combine multiple genres makes him work towards creating his own unique sound, which he calls Fuji Tunes.
"I don't really make a specific genre of music. But recently, I've been interpolating hip-hop, rap, rnb, dance, & pop punk."
Fuji Don continued experimenting and networking throughout high school and college with people who helped him develop his skills. Constantly creating led to a "stockpile of music" that no one could listen to because it wasn't released. This plethora of music became Fuji Don's first EP, The Fuji Files Vol 1. Because this was his first official release, there was much to learn.
"I view that EP kind of like a mixtape, a compilation of songs for different vibes. I also wanted to show both my singing and rapping prowess. The inspiration was really just to tease who I am as an artist and show people me. I had a lot of fun because there wasn't a lot of pressure. I also learned a lot about how to release music and how to market it."
With so much learned from his 2021 release, Fuji Don was ready to shift his focus to the next project, but this time with a more cohesive vision.
"If The Fuji Files Vol. 1's purpose was to release music so people could search me, the purpose for this project was to create an emotionally captivating experience that could move people when they hear it and go crazy at my live shows."
With only a few hooks, melodies, and lyrics in mind, Fuji reached out to DJ D Willis to start production on his first album. Then came the recording process with sound engineer Lilian.
"I love when you actually work with a producer to create a song rather than just get sent beats and write to it. The best music is made that way."
Fuji Don's first album, Out The Mountain, was ready for release in just a few short months, and this was only a year after his first EP.
The breakout single from Out The Mountain was the dance hit, Miami Mami.
"This song is one of the only songs on the album where I heard the beat first before having any lyrics, so I think the song really captures the party vibe I felt when I heard it."
Even with a hit song that makes people want to dance when he performs it, Fuji Don has no intention of slowing down any time soon. He already has a new single set to release on June 22nd entitled Got Not Time.
"When I heard the beat, the phrase 'got no time' repeated in my head, so I went with it, and now it's a song. This one's for anyone who doesn't want to deal with some bs."
Fuji also promises that Got No Time will be the first song in his catalog with an accompanying music video.
Despite the steep learning curve and such a vigorous release schedule, Fuji Don's biggest obstacle is the time and money that goes into maintaining a career as a musician.
"I think one thing that every independent upcoming artist is going to talk about is a budget. To produce a high-quality song and get eyes on it, it takes work, money, networking, and strategy. You got to invest in yourself and manifest your future."
However, any setbacks are quickly dismissed and solved because Fuji Don has a clear goal he wants to accomplish. Fuji Don has a YouTube theory where if you play a song and leave it on autoplay for long enough, it will eventually lead to a Michael Jackson video. He theorizes that this is because Michael Jackson's music is so well known and liked that all algorithms lead there. Based on this theory, one of his goals is for all algorithms to lead to his music.
"I also always want to move and inspire people with my music. I try to make music for every mood, so just know whatever you're feeling, I probably felt it too. There's hella mini goals along those two paths, like working with certain people in the industry, but everything pretty much works towards those two goals."
For Fuji Don reaching those goals are all about the little accomplishments along the way. Completing every step, from finishing a song to watching it get lots of attention to having large crowds willing to buy tickets to watch him perform said songs – it's all a different form of success.
He wants to reach financial stability, but ultimately it's about the music. Fuji Don wants his music to speak for itself.
"My music is a reflection of me and how I feel the world, so like me, my music as a whole can't really be fit into one box."
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