Reach Records signed their 10th artist, Hulvey, mid-2019 after he relocated to Atlanta, Georgia holding down a job at a local Publix scrubbing toilets, bagging grocery and sweeping floors. Hulvey and producer Zach Paradis crafted a project titled, BRKNHRT.which ultimately sold the label of just how unique and God-led of an individual he was. On a mid-afternoon on a Wednesday, before the EP's official release, Hulvey and I spoke during a telephone interview about the project, personal faith and a few things in-between.
Let’s start off with a brief bio/background geared to who Chris Hulvey is and the progression in music from high school until the present day as an artist.
I seriously began to make music back in ninth grade as “Chris Hulvey," before dropping off my first name. I was just in my room, recording, staying up late trying to finish music and sharpen my craft. I would stay up every night, just creating, devoting any free time to the music. Through those experiences, God really began to help me grow and impressing on my heart. When I began college, God’s influence seemed to step up a few notches. I felt God calling me to truly step out and pursuing this passion for music full-time. I moved to Atlanta at the top of 2019 dropping everything else. I dropped out of college during the move and worked at Publix, scrubbing toilets, to support the finances surrounding full-time music. I was bagging groceries, cleaning floors, anything I could do in hopes of finding my music. Stuff started to happen behind the scenes while all the hard work and following God’s calling led me to sign the deal with Reach (Records). All in all, that’s my short, little timeline explaining how music changed my life.
What other artists (doesn’t necessarily have to be other rappers) influenced your music journey from your teenage years until now?
In middle and high school, seriously Lecrae and all the 116 guys influenced my early beginning and fueled the passion into expression through music. Other influences were Drake and especially Kendrick Lamar when I entered college. Music in general, I would even say Josh Garrels is a big influence for me right now.
In a recent interview with Trackstarz, you mentioned the genre of rock playing into influencing your music currently. How has rock meshed with your current direction with music?
There is definitely a rock influence in my songs, especially the music that’s to come in the near future. It’s funny, I was never a “rock head” and didn’t really mess with it like that. For example, if we’re producing something, we always seem to pull out rock elements because I really enjoy them. The influence will play a role, I mean it won’t be a centerpiece, but there are rock elements in my vocal tones and it’s definitely present. There’s no ignoring that. It’s present in the mix when I do instrumentation with production.
Within a month’s time, you dropped the Prelude EP and you just released the BRKNHRT. EP. Is there anything similar between the two projects or what’s unique between the EPs?
The only thing that would be considered similar would be the fact I’m always telling my story in my music. On both of them, I’m telling my story in different ways. One of the main things which differ between the two is the BRKNHRT. EP is like a spiritual experience. I got the vision for it back in 2018. It’s one of those things where it took a long time to make and craft out. Even though there are only six songs included, they’re songs that God has really given me. It’s one of those things where it’s super, super spirit-led.
It’s different from the Prelude EP because that was more of a fun, introductory project whereas the new EP is quite personal. The BRKNHRT. project is heart music. Transparent. Basically, me pouring out my heart with God. The material can relate to listeners and what they’ve been through. It’s super stripped down in the tone and its delivery. Everything is slower but in a good way, it’s very deep. You’ll see the complete transparent side of Hulvey through this project.
Let’s talk about the production of the BRKNHRT. EP for a moment. Who led the production or contributed?
The main producer was Zach Paradis. He's’ incredible and has his own unique sound vocally. Through most of my music, he’s literally been the guy I always turn to for production needs. Zach executively produced the entire EP and did the A&R for it too teamed up with Ace Harris from Reach. Zach is the focal point when it comes to production. There were others who contributed to the project, but Zach handled the bulk of the production.
Have you produced any of your own tracks up until now?
Well, I oversaw all the production on the BRKNHRT. EP. I started out as a producer, so I oversee everything now.
With “Motions” being the first track listeners heard in collaboration with Reach (Summer Playlist ’19), have you been sitting on the track to be released since 2018 as well?
The vision for “Motions” and the BRKNHRT. EP has been in the works since 2018, however, the creation of the tracks all came together in 2019. I made the single and kind of sat on it. The funny thing is, “Motions” was always intended for the BRKNHRT. project. Reach ended up using it as a single, but it wasn’t supposed to drop until the EP drops on February 21. It was going to be on BRKNHRT. regardless. It wasn’t made for anything else as it’s true intention was for the EP. That’s why I kept it on there because I really felt like it needed to stay.
Do you have a personal favorite track off of BRKNHRT.?
Sheeesh! I really like every song on BRKNHRT. I like Prelude, but I’m being honest that BRKNHRT. is something I poured everything into during its creation. It’s personal. All the tracks are so different. We (Zach Paradis and I) chose to innovate on this new EP. I think my favorite is if I had to choose only one; I’d say “Damascus” probably. This track kind of encapsulates every song throughout the project, the stories. The song oversees the whole thing. Lyrically, I kind of touch on everything I’m trying to communicate when it comes to surrendering and my whole message. To be honest with you, I like all of them.
Will there be any forthcoming visuals for other tracks other than “Motions?”
It’s actually an entirely visual experience that’s paired with the project and will release together on Friday, February 21)]. We put out the “Motions” video to kind of let it breathe. Actually, there is an individual visual (video) for each of the six tracks off the EP. I’m really excited about it!
It will be exclusively on Apple Music for 24 hours before releasing it to other digits outlets such as YouTube. What’s cool is on the Apple Music packaging, you’ll see the six videos and the six tracks together in the tracklist which is super cool. It’s another visual interpretation aside from the documentary of who Hulvey is as a person and an artist. It provides listeners an added experience to not only listen to the tracks but to see and feel the emotion behind them with the visuals.
Speaking of visuals, I heard and seen you finally got a haircut! Anything influence that decision?
I did… I did! It was one of those things that as a man it makes things just easier. It’s easier to take a shower and get ready. Bro, I held onto my hair for so long. It’s funny that the new EP is about surrender because I had this long hair and this insecurity that my ears were too big. So I was like, “man, it’s time for a haircut!” Ultimately, it doesn’t matter and I had to let it go.
How important do you see being active and interactive on social media aside from making music?
Man, it’s just as important as your music! I literally feel that way. I love to interact with fans and that’s why I put out the hair discussion on IG live before the project drops. It’s cool to interact with things. It’s crucial for me because if they’re going to listen to my music, fans need to get to know me as well. If they don’t, then really what’s the point?
Then, there are guys like Josh Garrels who doesn’t really engage on socials, but that’s his brand. He’s more secretive and more lowkey. I respect that too.
I’ve heard that family played a huge role in your upbringing not only musically, but spiritually as well. Also, your manager Scott Free (City Takers) had a major influence on both sides too. Basically, ministry over the music. Can you speak a moment about how important ministry is to you combined with the art of music you create?
For me, I’ve always had a ministry-minded heart. The Lord truly put it on my heart that is something I’m called to do. I believe my whole heart is ministry. Not just City Takers or music, but with everything that I say and do. Everywhere I go, I get an opportunity to offer an impression of, “this dude really represents Christ.” For me, it’s just everywhere I go, bro! That’s how I roll when it comes to ministry stuff, Christ should be seen all over me.
On a practical level, City Takers has been huge. It’s just things have gotten particularly busy for me lately, it’s hard to always go to things and be available. But, that’s family. There is actually a conference this weekend which I’m going to attend and help pour into kids concerning ministry. I care about the whole thing, but discipleship is my biggest passion. I feel like when I’m done rapping, I’m still disciplining. I'm a son first. I'm a child of God before I’m a rapper. Crossover ATL is my church home and I wish I had more time to be involved there. It’s just been a busy season of life. However, I think I’m finally figuring out how to prioritize my time. It’s all about priorities, ya know?
Fresh after signing with Reach, are you planning on any touring or hopping on someone’s tour?
Tours are being planned as we speak today! Most likely, I plan to jump on a few tours first. I’d love to do my own, but I’m working on an album right now. Like a full-length album. Hopefully, off the launch of the album, I can launch my own headline tour. For now, the plan is to jump on other artist’s tours and go from there.
The plan for the album is later this year. But first I need to wade the waters a bit. First, will it be created in time and second, gotta wait to see what the traction looks like of these two current EPs and the overall performance. If what I have out now catches steam, it will give us a more comfortable timeline for the album to drop possibly in 2021. The goal is to put out the album this year as that’s my personal goal. We’ll wait and see. It all depends if we can get the album where I want it before the end of the year.
Between the staff here at NRT and myself, what can we keep you in prayer about?
Be praying that I will continue to have peace and to always seek Him first. For me, that’s just the biggest thing in life in general. I’m not flattered with a lot of the things in this like success, this and that. I really just want to continue to know God, seek God, and to love Him more. Bro, just continue to pray for that and that I continue to discipline myself within that. As far as the music goes, just that I never lose sight of why I create music.
(we ended in prayer and closed out the interview)
You can stream the BRKNHRT. EP on Spotify here or purchase the EP on iTunes here.
Joshua Galla is an avid hip-hop head always hip to the latest releases while enjoying the classics. Music is his passion and escape from the mundane.
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