WemmyMo Finds Power In His Past
Written by Vocalo Radio on April 6, 2022
WemmyMo’s Holding On To Yesterday EP is powerful and concise in its four songs.
Chicago-based rapper WemmyMo is back with four-track EP Holding On To Yesterday, his first release since 2019 album 10:15. He was featured on Vocalo’s “In Rotation” playlist in February for his dynamic and introspective single “Angel Eyes & Butterflies.”
Morning host Bekoe got in touch with WemmyMo to ask him about the new release, which, after a long hiatus, served as a therapeutic process to redirect his mindset toward making music again.
Holding On To Yesterday outlines hardships he juggled throughout the past couple of years, like heartbreak and losing sight of his goals. On the EP’s second track, “Angel Eyes & Butterflies,” he sings, “I haven’t been feeling like the man I used to be… Imma throw my pen away, I don’t need ya.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, WemmyMo explained to Bekoe in the interview, he had fallen out of love with his “pen,” or writing music. This introspective project helped him delve back into his creative process and rediscover his artistic spark.
WemmyMo will perform at Vocalo’s Chi Sounds Like Showcase at Wicker Park’s Subterranean on Wednesday, April 13, along with fellow Chicago-based artists Ausar, Britney Carter and Oliv Blu.
Stream WemmyMo’s full conversation with Bekoe on Spotify and YouTube or read it below.
Bekoe: You tuned into Vocalo Radio. I’m your host, Bekoe. Alongside me, I have a very special guest. This young brother has been making music that completes the soul. He goes by the name of WemmyMo. How’re you doing Wemmy?
WemmyMo: I’m all good, and you?
B: I’m doing pretty good, man. It feels good to finally catch up with you. It’s been a, it’s been a little minute!
W: Been a while, man.
B: Yeah, let’s talk about it. I mean, what has been going on with you? What’s been up with you? But first and foremost, how have you been?
W: I’ve been great. I know it’s been a while since we last talked, but man, I’m great. I’m in a gray space, man, and music has just been coming. So it’s been, you know, ready to deliver, really.
B: Like you stated and I stated, it’s been a little minute, like, what was going on, you know, with your hiatus? Like, because you were putting out music and then you kind of, like, went quiet for a little bit. Even prior to going quiet, you was out in the streets during the time of the protests. But like, after the pandemic kinda, like, happened, what happened?
W: Yeah, so like the pandemic happened… So, even prior to the pandemic, um, I was working on a project I was supposed to put out, in the midst of that the pandemic hit, had a lot of things locked up. I was even supposed to be on “Rhythm + Flow,” like I had to audition for that and everything. I had a lot of things locked up, and, like, the pandemic just, you know, it did what it did.
After the pandemic hit, the music I was making at the time wasn’t really, like, it wasn’t sitting well with me. It wasn’t even, like, I feel like it didn’t hit the same. After that, it was like, okay, me trying to get back in the mental space of recording. Like, I was, I wasn’t recording as much as I used to. It just came to a point where I was just mentally defeated, because I was just juggling a lot. In the midst of that, I was able to document it, you know what I’m saying, and put it out.
B: What was it that made things kind of, like, downshift for you or, you know, just kind of take you away from music?
W: Just dealing with too much outside of music. From, like, romantic hardships to school, you know what I’m saying? I was on and off with school at the time, I’m still trying to chase that degree right now, though. It was a lot of that, just like the personal life just, you know, got the best of me.
B: You back at it. It’s good to see you back at it, and, you know, listening to your EP, “Holding On To Yesterday,” right off the bat I kind of sensed, like, the romantic hardship. I wouldn’t call it a confessions album, it’s more so of an album where you reflect on what you’ve been through, and it sounds like it was therapeutic for you.
W: Oh, 100%. And that’s what, that’s what I lost that one point, you know, to just, like, in the song “Angel Eyes & Butterflies,” I say, “Imma smoke my pain away,” and, “Imma drink my pain away,” and I was talking about, like, not even wanting my pen no more, as in, like, my pen to write. Because, like, I fell out of love with it. But um, but yeah, just to be back in that space of being able to just find the therapy in writing again and being able to, you know, get back and, like, feel like myself again, you know what I’m saying? You come to a point where you lose yourself. You know, as you go through those emotions and you deal with the aftermath of it, like, you come out of it with appreciation and acceptance for what it was.
B: What helped you get back into, you know, finding that spark?
W: Spending more time with it. Like, I like to play music a lot. That’s usually what helps me, like I play the keyboard as well. So, like, even some of those songs I made, they were inspired by just me playing a chord. Like the hook on “Angel Eyes & Butterflies” was inspired by me just playing keyboard and the hook just came to me. So, like, that’s usually what, like, you know, helps me get back in it, just playing music. It just felt like remembering what it was that made me fall in love with it to begin with.
B: It’s good to have you back. Holding On To Yesterday — let’s talk about that title as well, because I’m holding on to a couple days: yesterday, last week, 2019… I’m holding on to before the pandemic hit! Definitely break down that title.
W: Yeah, so Holding On To Yesterday, is, like I said earlier, like, finding power from your past. The first half goes into dealing with the ups and downs of losing yourself. You know, the second half is like, “holding on to yesterday,” because it’s like, yesterday is, is why you here today.
B: We can all hold on to yesterday. You actually dropped your, was it, I believe it was your debut album, Bittersweet, back in 2018. That was the first project that really put me in tune with you as a person and you as an artist. From album, you go to EP. Was there a specific reason towards, you know, why you wanted to bring the EP amongst the world, instead of an album?
W: I feel like, in an EP, it was real… like, short and concise. Like, even with how times are today, everything is just, you know, fast-paced. People have, like, a low attention span. But I was able to get my message out in those four songs, you know, and sonically, I’ve been wanting to make that project for a while. Like, after making Bittersweet, I was like, “I have to make a project like this, that sounds like this.” So the fact that I was able to do that, especially with not dropping music in a while, just like, “Okay, here, see how y’all feel about this.” Because, like, even the vibe was different, it’s not something that people just really used to hearing me doing. I’m just that type of person. I like to test myself, I like to push the envelope. I like to experiment.
B: What are some of the lessons you learned previous to putting this album together, as far as, like, you know, the… I’m gonna say, “the romantic downfall”?
W: Not being too hard on myself. You know what I’m saying, putting myself first. Understanding what it is that I want and just being real, like, tunnel-vision with that. There’s a lot of distractions that’s going to come at you in life. There’s a lot of things that’s going to tear you from that journey.
B: Is Wemmy still open to love? [Laughs]
W: [Laughs] Yeah, I’m still open, but, I mean, like, I’m still kicking! I ain’t gonna make it seem like I ain’t, you know what I’m saying. I love the ladies. I love my Black women, so. Though, like, right now I’m just, I’m real tunnel-vision, I got real tunnel vision. I owe myself a lot this year, so I just want to, you know, just do what I got to do for myself and, you know, my fans, you know what I’m saying. It’s been a while, people want to hear from me. People want … this great music. So I just gotta feed, I got to feed my people.
B: Look, I’m people, okay, I could tell you that much! Because when you drop, I’m like, “‘Bout time, my boy is back.” We’ve been, of course, keeping you in rotation from some of your joints from your debut album and things of that nature. So, well you, you know we’re some strong supporters. And speaking of support…
W: For sure, for sure. I just actually, I was on Instagram, and somebody just sent me a memory of, like, the first time I was on Vocalo, and they just happened to catch it when they was in the car. That was probably, it was like 2018, 20… probably before 2018, I want to say that was 2017 or 16. Vocalo, y’all definitely family, like, the pushing of the music has not gone unnoticed. I’ve been rocking with ya boy since day one, so I’m forever grateful for y’all.
B: We appreciate you, my brother. As you know — or, for our audience, if you didn’t know — you’re gonna be hitting the stage! April 13, at Sub-T, it’s our first event of the year: Vocalo presents, “Chi Sounds Like.” It’s gonna be Ausar is gonna be on the bill, Britney Carter, Oliv Blu, and you! So you back, hittin’ the stage. How’s that feeling for you?
W: Man, it’s great, man. I’m real honored and grateful for the, you know, just for the opportunity. Performing is my bread and butter, I love to perform. Like, you’ve seen me perform. You know what I’m saying, I definitely feel like I know how to rock the crowd. You know? So that’s what I do. So, just to be back on stage at home, it’s gonna be great, you know, I’m gonna turn it up, for sure.
B: And again, Team Vocalo, April 13, it’s going down. Tickets is available right now at vocalo.org/events. I mean, you know, so the project is out. What’s the biggest thing for you to obtain this year, Wemmy?
W: I’ll say just expanding, you know, expanding my, my audience, my fan base. Just letting people more in … and just the music I feel like the music speaks for itself. So like, that’s really what it is, just dropping more. Like, last year I think I only dropped twice. This year it’s definitely not going to be the case, but… dropping more music, more content.
B: You got to let people know how they can stay in tune with you, how they can follow you, if you got any upcoming events. [Laughs]
W: Yeah, you can follow me on all social platforms, @_wemmymo. Next show is gonna be Sub-T, you know what I’m saying, powered by Vocalo. It’s going up. Y’all make sure y’all cop y’all tickets.
B: Y’all make sure y’all come on out and have a good time, but most importantly, man, please introduce your single “Angel Eyes & Butterflies” for everybody.
W: Yeah, sure. So it’s WemmyMo, and this next single right here is “Angel Eyes & Butterflies,” off of my four-track EP “Holding On To Yesterday,” which y’all can grab now on streaming platforms, out now. Go stream it, go stream it, go stream it.
Follow WemmyMo on Instagram and Twitter and stream his music on Spotify below!
Interview and audio production by Bekoe
Introduction by Milo Keranen
Transcription edited by Morgan Ciocca
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