Ez Mil turned a lot of heads in the urban music circuit when Eminem and Dr. Dre signed him to Aftermath, Interscope, and Shady Records. The popular rapper is the first artist to have done so since 50 Cent back in 2002.
According to Dre and Em, it became clear from the get-go that the tunes of the Filipino rapper possessed a charm that simply couldn’t be ignored. Their instincts kicked into high gear, convincing them to swiftly secure his talent under their labels. Ez’s lyrical tapestry is intricately woven from themes of resilience, love, remorse, life, aspirations and the depth of human emotions.
In our full-length interview with the new Hip-Hop sensation, we talked about his musical background, being a Filipino artist in the music industry, and getting signed by legendary icons Eminem and Dr. Dre. We also discussed the 25-year-old Filipino-American emcee’s label debut “DU4LI7Y: REDUX” and what his personal and professional goals are.
Read the entire interview below and get familiar with the rising star Ez Mil.
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Yo Ez Mil! Before we get into it, how are you feeling today? How is life treating you?
Yo! No lie man I can’t even complain. But, I hope it doesn’t get too good right away because then I won’t have anything to talk about! [Laughs]
How long have you been making music and who are some of the artists that inspired you to make music growing up?
I would say since I dropped out of college. I was 16 so about almost 9 years now, and I would say I started music getting inspired by Infant Annihilator, Dying Fetus… then Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, and A$AP Rocky.
You were raised in a musical household with your father, Paul Sapiera, being the singer of popular Philippine rock band, RockStar. How did the environment you grew up in influence your music?
A whole lot! As I’ve answered on the last question, it’s also why Metal is how I started making music.
How much of your real life comes out in your songs? Where do you get your influences from when crafting music in general?
I put my whole heart and soul in my music but at times the details can be a little too specific, so that’s where the songwriting challenge I would say comes in. Because it’s easy to spit out what really happened, but altering it into art is another thing.
What was the first Hip-Hop song you ever heard and what did you love about it?
At first it was “Dear Mama” by Tupac, but I think I was a little too young to even have enough recollection of the listening experience. So I would have to say “Kiss Kiss” by Chris Brown and T-Pain. I loved it because it was the first ever record to make me wanna try to sing and dance.
Your buzzing single “Realest” features Hip-Hop superstar Eminem and entered the charts impressively. How was it working with Em and what does it mean to you that people enjoy your music that much?
Working with Eminem is so fulfilling because as the best he is, he also wants to bring out your best. And for people to be enjoying my music, that means the world to me! It’s all thanks to my supporters for keeping me motivated.
“Realest” is featured on your new album “DU4LI7Y: REDUX.” What is the concept and message behind the project?
The “DU4LI7Y” project is an ode to the term “DUALITY” itself. Duality in terms of life, there’s the good and the bad, the light and the dark. You can actually say, me being Filipino-American is duality. My musicality is also a reflection of duality, my love for Metal and R&B, Hip-Hop and Jazz. As I always say, my music is my story. I’m just trying to tell people to embrace not just their individuality, but also their duality.
When did you first hear the rumors that Em and the Shady/Aftermath/Interscope empire including Dr. Dre is interested in you as an artist for a potential signing? Give us some insight into Ez Mil’s emotional life back then and today after the record deal is finalized.
So, yeah, it was just a regular work day. My girl was at work already knowing what was going on and when she got home she was tryna make me guess what the surprise was. Then after all my guesses we phoned the homie Ben from Virgin and he was saying, “You’re going to meet Eminem!” and I said, “Bro, no what?!” Then, he hits me with, “Dr. Dre is also gonna be there!” I swear I felt like I flatlined in my being.
Let’s now focus on your overall swagger. As far as style, delivery and appearance, what do you bring to the table for people that are not familiar with you yet?
I guess it’s that 3rd world charm man! Ain’t nothing like it.
Musically, who’s that one recording artist and/or mogul you look up to and say, “I want a career similar to his?”
Dr. Dre, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky, Jay-Z, Tech N9ne, 50 Cent, Lil Wayne, and Nipsey Hussle.
Being a Filipino artist, what pros and cons are you facing in the music industry?
A first pro to me is that everything can be managed at a distance, whereas if you gauge the space correctly. That distance can benefit an artist, but that same distance can easily turn into a con. Because you can’t go in expecting you’ll have some stuff to manage right away. You have to work and earn the management of your industry.
What is your opinion about the music industry in general? What would you change if you could through the eyes of an artist?
It has its pros and cons. If I can do one thing, it is to encourage equal opportunities despite gender, race or cultural background. Also, the pressure of conforming to market trends. I would love to encourage artistic freedom embracing a whole wide range of genre, diversity and innovation.
What are your personal and professional goals you have set for you and your music?
Personally, my goal is to grow as a person, learn as much as I can, to have financial freedom and to be able to tell my grandkids that I did something for the culture. Professionally, break boundaries, cultivate the community, and if I can to develop an original musical genre.
Finally, is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Get my new album and listen to “DU4LI7Y: REDUX”. Thank you for having me!