Representing Southside Chicago, CW Allen brings a new creative and vibrant sound in his new EP entitled, “Still Dreaming.” Often time we wonder what does dreaming looks when the dreamer is out of college, working in their full-time career, no longer dating or even raising their children. In his new EP, CW delivers curated Hip Hop sounds for individuals dreaming in the midst of life’s modernity. We had the pleasure of speaking CW Allen and learning more about him.
Q: What is the meaning behind your stage name?
CW Allen: I’m a very transparent artist and I pretty much wear my heart on my sleeve. As I release music I just want my listeners to feel like they are in the stories and lyrics with me so it only made sense to use my real name. Plus, I would never be able to find a stage name better than my two-letter first name.
Q: Who inspired you to make music?
CW Allen: My earliest influence was my youth leaders when I was in high school, Aaron and Ro. They rapped with me at open mics and our homie’s closet studios. I was terrified but they pushed me to believe that I could actually do music for real.
Q: Tell me about the first song you have ever written.
CW Allen: My first song was called “Heaven”. I’m cracking up thinking about it. My cadence and style were so funny but I can still hear where I was going as I grew. Heaven talked about how great it will be in heaven with God and away from all the pain of this world.
Q: How would you describe the music that you typically create?
CW Allen: The music that I create is very soulful with a hint of synths and trap vibes. I would say that I am a songwriting storyteller who happens to be a rapper. I love making thought-provoking music. Listeners who love lyricism, and artists like Kanye, J.Cole, or Lecrae will feel at home with me.
Q: What is your creative process like?
CW Allen: Honesty, varies depending on the project. I’m still very much a project-based artist. I write one-off songs but usually begin my process with a full album or ep in mind. I have a phone filled with bars and voice memos that I have collected as I live life. If I get an idea it typically gets jotted down and swings back around in a project.
As I begin my actual writing process, I’m usually humming to a beat to develop my cadence and delivery. Next, I’m penning my lyrics to the hummed melody. From there is just adjusting and making sure everything feels good sonically.
Q: What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?
CW Allen: Wow, that’s a great question. I would either be pursuing a career as a sports analyst, voice actor or ministry worker. I know that’s diverse but they are all areas I have had a lot of passion for and found joy in doing.
Q: Which famous musician(s) do you admire?
CW Allen: I admire Jay-Z a lot. His business and music moves have always caught my eye. I admire the musical abilities of Lauryn Hill, Kanye West, and H.E.R. Lastly, I admire Kirk Franklin. Kirk’s ability to transcend the gospel genre but still stay true to his convictions, and make amazing music, is very compelling.
Q: What is one message you would give to your fans?
CW Allen: Keep loving God and people. We live in a very divided and hurting world and I believe those are the best things we can do as good humans. Don’t give up on the hope of seeing people unified. Also, keep dreaming. Some people will ignore you, write you off, and you can’t allow that to define the dreams God put in you. He wants to use our dreams to better the world around us. We need your dreams!
Q: What is the best advice you’ve been given?
CW Allen: YOLO! You only live once. Since I only get one life, I’m really trying to maximize mine. I want to enjoy every moment without living recklessly. I have a baby now, a wife I love with all my heart, and a God to think about as I make decisions. Most people say yolo as an excuse to wild out, but I think of it as a reminder that one day I won’t be here, so I need to set my baby up well and enjoy life while honoring Jesus. He’ll ask me what I did with this life one day and I want Him to get the nod of approval.
Q: If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be and why?
CW Allen: If I could change the music industry I would have more black and brown ownership in various parts of the industry. I feel like black and brown people provide so much talent to different genres, but we get locked out of ownership because we have little to no leverage when we start in the industry. I would love to see that cycle broken. I would also add more mentorship on the independent level. I see a lot of it with famous artists but rarely in our scene. I’m assuming that because the folks who begin to level up are too busy trying to stay there.
Q: What’s next for you?
CW Allen: I will continue to promote my new ep, Still Dreaming. I have an event at a Virtual Reality bar in Chicago on May 23. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do the same in a couple of other markets. I’m also in the process of recording a special project that will release in the fall. I have a lot of cracking and I’m looking forward to rolling it all out.
Take a listen to CW’s EP “Still Dreaming” down below and let us know what you think.