We caught up with Richard Pigkaso last week as he’s gearing up for Pride month with a powerful song and visual. Pride is normally recognized in June in correlation with the Stonewall riots in the West Village years ago. Let’s start by wishing all of our LGBTQ readers a joyous and safe PRIDE. He is an artist from the birthplace of Hip Hop, the boogie-down Bronx and he has a story to tell you.
Tahyira Savanna: In your story you mentioned a few times that people perceive you as a loner and a misfit. Do you make your music for those type of music lovers?
R. Pigkaso: I try to make music for all people, but the loner and misfit has a special place in my heart since I’ve always felt that way. Its actually all over the place if you really know my music. It can go from calm to outrageous from track to track. Whatever I feel at the current time I am writing is what I will write. When I am not, I prefer to spend time alone mostly thinking about my life with the world.
TS: The video comes at a perfect time as we are approaching June which is Pride Month. Was that intentional?
RP: Not necessarily … Things just worked out that way due to timing… I actually released the song about a year ago, shot the video shortly thereafter. The production of the video took a while and I had several other videos lined up which I released over several months. I decided to release “A Different Hand” last because it was my most creative video with what I felt was the most impactful message. If you look at the picture in the trailer you’ll notice I am black and white like most heterosexuals while others surrounding me from the LGBTQ community are colorful and creative – I think that photo is a great depiction of the world.
TS: Would you consider yourself an advocate for LGBTQ issues?
RP: I would say I am an advocate for people, what’s right, and for love. There are a lot of social issues in the world and the issues facing the LGBTQ community are significant given the history and perceptions most people have who are not Gay / LGBTQ. We live in a society where we don’t know how to love because of society’s definition of love. Everyone should love whoever they want regardless of what the world says.
TS: Can you tell us a little bit about your creative process? Do you hear the words before the music or do you hear a melody and find the words?
RP: I would usually hear the melody. I would put it on my phone and constantly hear the beat it until something sparks inside. It could happen instantly or it can happen months later. Within that moment where the creative juices are flowing is when I start getting so inspired, I cannot stop writing. I will cling to the song until the juice is gone, and then my normalcy begins again. I was in a trance, and something got me out of the spell.
TS: How has Covid-19 shaped you creatively?
RP: It has given me a different perspective on how humanity really is. There are so many people putting their lives at risk, working long hours with a mask on their face on, hoping they won’t bring anything home to their family is very inspirational but terrifying. Fortunately for me, I still have a job I can go to and provide for my family. I’m able to sit and reflect on how grateful and short life is, that I have to write about the world around me. I draw some energy from the madness going on and make art.
TS: What’s the last book you’ve read? Should we read it too? Why?
RP: The Principles of the Path: How To Get From Where You Are To Where You Want To Be by Andy Stanley. It’s a book that gives you a harsh reality on how you should look at your life from the moment your born to the day you die. It’s a step by step on the best case scenario to get through life with some mental clarity and satisfaction on the decisions you’ve made. If you really want to understand why you cant figure out which way your life is going, I recommend this book.
TS: When indie artists (unsigned artists) are asked, what genre they create in or who they are most similar to, we always get the “I don’t sound like anyone else”. This is how new music artists are DISCOVERED. So tell us, who do you sound like? Who are your artistic inspirations?
RP: I was heavily inspired by 90s and 2000s hip-hop. I have been inspired by 3 artists that make me who I am. They are Eminem, Redman, and Busta Rhymes. I tried to draw some of their style and make a mashup that is uniquely my own. I love the speed-rap done by Busta, the silliness of wordplay by Redman, and the “out-of-the-box” punchline by Eminem. These rappers influence everything I am to become the character that is me.
TS: Have you ever experienced depression, anxiety, or extreme life lows? How were you able to cope?
RP: Everyone experiences highs and lows in life, it’s just how you cope with those moments that determines how you make out. One of the most recent being the loss of my grandfather from Stage 4 Colon Cancer. Seeing my grandfather in pain and the tears flowing from my grandmother and mom struck a core that broke my heart. I knew I had to be strong for them and try to accept the loss. I always try to be positive and look at the brighter side of things, hence my therapy through yo-yoing when I’m feeling not so good. “Yo-Yo Therapy” is good medicine and takes your mind off your problems. I have my own line of yo-yos that I donate to charities for kids and adults to keep things fun and different – I guess that’s the misfit side of me. I would even cry yoyoing, and all of this pain in my body comes out like I took medication. Yoyoing is apart of me as much as anyone having a heart to survive.
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