Summer Set Music Festival played host to a slew of local Minnesota talent, maybe none more exciting to watch than Mr. Why Wednesday himself. In just a year of being in the cities, I have watch immense growth in an artist who was become an instant favorite from the first time I heard him when he took the Saloon stage at Summer Set last year as a featured artist in J Plaza's Set. As he, alongside with friend and DJ Cam Smith and Tezzy the Manager, has begun to expand past the mere music and into creating a brand and experience that is Why Khaliq. The advancement in career was personified in him moving from a small part in J Plaza's Saloon performance to being asked to perform on the Mainstage to kick off the entire festival.
UHH: Let's start by talking about this journey. You were asked back to Summer Set this year to play the mainstage, what was that like for you and were your expectations met?
Why: It was cool to be here and just kick it last year and perform but this year it's different because it's all from my [music] and I played all my songs. And the stay is different, its way bigger so there is way more room to perform. [Everything is amplified] and you got screens and [everything].
And last year being brought out on stage you kind of just go with the flow of the artist performing, so what was the difference in mentality and set up for this year playing your own set?
Exactly, last year I didn't really have the option of putting together a set, but this year we got super serious about the cohesiveness of our set. And we spent the last month rehearsing and putting together the right songs and I performed a lot off [my upcoming] album.
For those in the cities, this album has been highly anticipated. From the teaser of the name with his cinematic debut of the Mustard Seed movie to hear a few new tracks here and there, along with a heavy dose at Summer Set, Why and his team have done a great job of building anticipation.
So let's get into this album, what can you tell us about the new work; what are you most looking forward to? What did you guys change up with this album? What do you want the fans to know going into this album?
It's coming soon. I don't want to talk too much about it because I just want people to listen to it, but it's just a personal project about my life. The song writing is [exponentially] better and my penmanship is precise.
Your penmanship and personal attachment to music, along with your unique voice, is something that sets you apart from many acts in the Twin Cities, but what really puts you among the top is your team's ability to truly create a visual experience with your latest videos. Can you tell me a little about this direction you are branching out into?
What's crazy is [our first movie] The Mustard Seed, we had the idea years ago, not necessarily [that storyline] but the idea of what we did with the Mustard Seed, but we didn't have the opportunity to do it until we did the Mustard Seed. From there every video seems to be elevating and we just try to focus on creating something that is out of the box. We [also] try to focus on cinematography and not just your normal video.
Why Khaliq went on to further explain the video process as one that starts the instant the song is completed. Telling me that once he finishes a song he can visualize a storyline with it. A lot of times this process will even begin within the songwriting itself. Understanding that if he can't see a storyline, the song doesn't have the direction that he wants out of his music. This sets a bar for where to start each path. He explained that it's also a matter of not being satisfied with the quality they put out in that they are always looking to one up themselves. This mentality is what separates the Why Khaliq movement from many others I've experienced because he realizes not just that what he is doing is unique and worth experiencing, but that he is constantly battling himself because he is the standard. Why left us with one last message for those waiting for his album to drop.
I just think they should expect a way higher quality of music and that's not just from me but it's all my n***as as far as the songwriting, the production, the mixing. All that shit is way better and I think people should be ready.
Watching an artist's growth is one of the most exciting aspects of my job and it is even better when you watch a man and his friends succeed together. In a short year the Why Khaliq brand has exploded and if he can move from a spot on the Saloon Stage to the Main Stage of one of the biggest festivals in the Midwest, it leads me to see so much truth in his last sentence that “the people should be ready.”