Growing up, Cliz was never a big fan of Hip-Hop/Rap which he blames on the radio. He enjoyed listening to the greats like Eminem and Jay-Z but was always looking for more. All of that changed when he moved to Florida in 2006 and began to fall in love with Hip-Hop. One day, Cliz had an idea. That idea was to grab a guitar hero mic, plug it into audacity, and rap over a Lil Wayne instrumental. On that very day, Cliz was born. The first real song Cliz ever wrote was about his cousin, Ryan, who passed in July of 2006. After writing that song, he was positive that his purpose was to tell stories and paint vivid pictures through song and poetry. When you hear his music now, you hear his pain, struggle, and determination like never before.
How did you come up with the name Cliz?
To be honest, my Dad and my brother came up with the name when I was in 8th grade. I was at school and they had bought a brand new Xbox (1st generation). I was ecstatic to get home to play it and as I was at school, they created a gamertag for me. They put cliz23 for the first initial of my first name and first three initials of my last name. It was originally pronounced C-Liz but everybody kept calling me Cliz and Clizzy throughout 8th grade and the remainder of high school. So it stuck.
Why do you make music?
There are several of us that believe we are the only ones in the world with certain problems. I write music because it relieves those problems and I want to help others get through those same trials and tribulations. I write conscious music that relates to the audience and touches you deep down in your soul.
What do you hope to accomplish in your career?
Longevity is my primary goal. I want to change the world we live in and create a more loving and positive environment. I want to lift the stigma that Hip-Hop currently has (money, cars, clothes) and show the world that there is a wide array of various Hip-Hop artists, not just those you hear on the radio. I strive to push the culture forward and bring this positive stigma because Hip-Hop is the primary genre that our youth listens to. And changing the world starts with helping the youth.
Who are you influenced by musically?
As of late, J. Cole and Logic (because of their storyteller abilities). All time influences are Eminem and Lil Wayne (90’s and early 2000’s Wayne).
What were your favorite albums of 2015?
To Pimp a Butterfly hands down. If Forrest Hills Drive somehow rolled over into 2015, it would have been too hard of a decision. The composure of the project is bar none. The live instrumentation is bringing the actual music back to the genre of Hip-Hop. I just think that Kendrick and his team did an amazing job from the lyricism down to the production. 11 grammy nominations is just shy of Michael Jackson’s record and Kendrick Lamar deserved every bit of them.
Why the move from Mississippi to Florida?
Well I was an army brat and I was born on base in Ft. Riley, Kansas. We moved around countless times after that from Mississippi to Louisiana back to Mississippi to Texas, and on. We had to have moved at least 10 times throughout my childhood. But as you can see, it worked out for the best. I was not a big fan of Hip-Hop until I moved to Florida and without moving here, who knows if I would have ever picked up the pen.
Why did you choose hip-hop to express yourself? Why not another genre?
Strictly because of how much I fell in love with it. I fell in love with the wordplay, analogies, subliminal messages, and the general vibe you get from hearing someone drop a really dope 16. I have always loved music growing up but the way I feel about Hip-Hop molded me into the artist that I am today. That is why I try so hard to keep the culture pushing forward. I want to remove the stigma that Hip-Hop currently has.
What do you want your fans to take from your music?
The music I put out is intended to inspire. The purpose is to lift you up from the depths and keep you pushing forward. My brand, MayNothingStopYou, was started for this reason alone. Music is motivation in its purest form. And if I am able to provide that for another person, my dreams and aspirations are realized.
Describe your sound in three words.
Soulful. Passionate. Motivational
What was the first thought when you found out you won Best Rap Album at Akademia Music Awards?
Before I could even think, enthusiasm filled my body. To win that award with after seeing the amount of submissions is so sublime and is a blessing to say the least. I could not be more thankful. Now, it is time to ride that momentum and keep the progression throughout 2016. There are a lot of big moves coming this year as a result of it.
What’s next for Cliz?
We are in the process of booking shows from New York to Los Angeles so a tour for my new album, Personal Journal Vol. I, is in the works. My brand, MayNothingStopYou, will drop its clothing line during Spring 2016 and we are working on a Youth organization within the brand. Other than that, we are just pushing the music and MayNothingStopYou to the masses.