Stam Goody On His Debut Project and His Artistic Motivation
To conclude his time as Rising Artist of the Week, TIDAL sat down with emerging MC, Stam Goody, to talk about his debut project, the intention behind how his music is presented and the stresses in life that drive you towards a greater sense of self and purpose.
There is a present tension and drive behind the song, “Clutch.” Does your previous experience as an athlete bleed into your creative process at all?
I wouldn’t say it effects the creativity, because that is a fluid, cerebral thing. I think my preparation and how I enter the studio comes from habits I learned playing basketball. When I know I’m going into the studio, I try to erase stress from my head the day before, so I can approach things with a neutral or positive energy.
Is there anything in your life or any event that drove you to want to approach things with a clear head?
A lot of things in life are stressful, you know. Relationships, whether it’s personal or business. Life is life. Just because you have a record or video people are feeling, that doesn’t stop stress. Sometimes, things actually get intensified because of people seeing new energy around you. I just come from a dysfunctional family, like most of us, and I’ve always been quick on my feet to adjust.
In the Northeast of the country, there is such a culture behind all high school sports and making mini-celebrities of those excelling at them. What was your experience as a high school athlete like?
I think my experience was a bit more unique than the average athlete. I ended moving to New Hampshire my sophomore year. I was one of two African American males in my school. Especially, coming from a place like Camden, New Jersey, you’re a part of a majority. When I got there, I was coming off of being homeless. The culture was a complete 180°, but it ultimately paid off. It was more of a cultural challenge than anything else. Basketball gave me something to focus on, so the change became easier to reconcile. Everyday was eat, sleep, and hoop. I realized it was an opportunity to get myself into college. I was the first person in my family to go to college, so no one knew how to deal with being recruited and all that. It was a bit stressful at the time, but nothing in comparison to where I was coming from.
That’s really interesting. I was the first person in my family to pursue traditional higher education and there is an enormous amount of pressure that you can put on yourself, but it’s also a very isolating feeling. It’s hard when you know you can’t share the same worldview because of those differences. Did you feel that isolation?
I felt it heavy, and I still do. Being the youngest, but also being the person who was level-headed made see the world in a different way. There was an unspoken pressure for me to do things that other members of my family didn’t or couldn’t. My mother eventually pursued more education and degrees after my sister was born. One of my cousins is a lawyer, but beyond that, there were no other people for me to bounce my thoughts off of. As much as your family loves you, they can tend to look at you differently. In the end, you’re still you and trying to navigate these relationships, while sticking true to yourself.
Why did you work so hard to make your debut video and introduction to the public this really involved production?
There’s a lot of intention behind everything I do. We move independently, so there was a certain amount of budget for the visual component. I chose to put that budget into one visual rather than three. My manager Saint and I knew that it had to be important and reflective of my intention. There was a lot of context to the song that a great visual would really emphasize. I wanted to really put my mission statement into the marketplace and into the culture.
My brother Steve-O, who’s also Saint’s partner, called me and said, “if you never made another video for the rest of your career, people can look at the “Clutch” video and know exactly who Stam Goody is.”
In the “Clutch” video, there is a visible helplessness of “what could I do right that is going to make anyone happy?” Ultimately, you return to your hometown and run track with the local kids and retain that sense of self and purpose. Does naming the EP Defining Moments and these feelings of displacement relate to each other?
Wow, damn bruv, you really listen, that’s crazy. Yeah, I’d say we knew it was going to be an EP and there’s a certain amount of songs you have to call it an EP and within a song, there’s only so much time to say what you need to say, lyrically. You’d want to make something that has a concept, but loose enough to have interpretations, while shying away from being too heady. You can put too much thought into a song sometimes. A lot of lines in “Clutch” have double and triple meaning. There’s a part of the song that addresses athletic life, then on top of that being a black athlete, then on top of that, being a black male in America. Sometimes, all in one line.
The song “WWYD” was written from the perspective of my early teenage years of being homeless with my mother. That was my mindset going in to that song. So, Defining Moments is a culmination of all those feelings and experiences.
Did you release the music on Defining Moments understanding that more music would follow it and that there was an intention behind this being the introduction?
Yeah, I was actually working on my album first. I already knew what some of the album would sound like. I’m a very visual person, so I could see the movie of how the album would play out. I knew I wanted to supply people with background and a base to understand who I am and what I’ve been through. I wanted to tell some of the stories of how I gained the perspectives I have. All of the songs on Defining Moments come from a foundational story, like what my grandfather taught me about how to approach life on “Patience.”
You seem like someone who is tied to a moral code, or set of principles. I think that usually comes from a particular set of circumstances. What would be some of those moments that led you to have the worldview that you possess?
I’m not going to pretend that I was some super wise kid as a 7-year-old, you know? Nothing was ever deliberate in terms of how I perceived the world around me. I think I had some close relationship and understanding of what it meant to be human as a kid. You see a lot of things growing up in Camden,[New Jersey] that you probably shouldn’t see. Moving back and forth between Camden and Wilmington, Delaware, I always understood my pops, sis and cousins were hustling, I never knew them to not be doing that. Those instincts on how to survive in the world supplied a lot of those principles. I learned how to be an observant person and wherever I was moved around to, those principles followed. I knew when to speak up, I knew how to be patient enough and know when it was time to strike. There’s a different level of instinct people of color have to possess to survive, amongst all the hoopla and distraction. So you learn to navigate the world differently, in ways most people don’t have to.
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