Englewood, New Jersey artist, entrepreneur, writer, TwonDon, is a man who wears several hats. His craftsmanship expands beyond the booth and bleeds into the heart of the business aspect. With every release, The UpperClass General, grows and steers away from stagnancy.
Twon creates an awe-inspiring medium of being an artist and an entrepreneur. In return, his goals are large. The benefits have been reaped, but, that doesn’t declare the end of war toward his aspirations. There’s more to be done and it doesn’t come without a chase. Be it happiness and/or success — for better or for worse — he’s willing to go the distance that has no end. Despite no finish line that can be met, milestones can and will be reached that’ll bring blissful energy into his circumference and he doesn’t succumb to going against his agency.
He’s released three bodies of work in just a year’s time. Despite the impressive run, there’s quality driven in the output.
In many senses, Twon isn’t chasing bliss or anything for that matter. He’s catching up to what is his, all that he deserves — under the nature of divinity. Chasing Bliss EP is a closer glimpse into his world that’s depicted through sonics.
Interview lightly edited for clarity purposes.
How and when was UpperClass created?
UpperClass was created originally in junior high school — going into high school. It started out as UpperClass Kids due to our youth and it was a group of my current friends involved. The focus wasn’t music, nor clothing at the moment. We just wanted to have a name to call ourselves. It wasn’t until I started writing, recording and creating music, when I changed the name to UpperClass Entertainment and when I started designing clothing, that part of the brand became UpperClass Int’l. Fast forward to today, it’s officially the label I signed myself under. Oh! What a feeling… haha!
I want to be the Roc A Fella of hip-hop and the Ralph Lauren of fashion.TwonDon
You pay a lot of attention to the details of your music, your overall brand is strong. You’re not only a musician. Was the plan from the beginning to be a renaissance man?
Thank you bro! I always knew the end goal was to create a legacy and dynasty for UpperClass. In the beginning, earlier on, I didn’t have the knowledge or resources on how to go about that. Earlier on, all I ever knew was keep making music, keep being visible, keep staying hands on with your audience but in the mist of it – remind them of the brand you’re representing. As I got older, I started to learn more about the business side of things and started making moves that’ll cement us as an everlasting brand. I think that’s why people respect the brand so much and support us so much. They’re witnessing the growth right in front of them. My audience isn’t stupid. They know the quality I put behind both the music and clothing. I want to be the Roc A Fella of hip-hop and the Ralph Lauren of fashion.
Role models are essential to evolution. Who are some of the people that you look up to?
Indeed they are. At this current moment, I’m fascinated at what Tyler, The Creator is doing, Russ, and Wale. Nipsey Hussle was and STILL is very influential to how I move with my brand. Um… Teddy Santis, Ronnie Fieg, Joe Fresh Goods, Woodie White is a legend. Off top, those are a few names of the people who keep me motivated and grounded; they’re shifting culture and doing it their way.
The title of the EP is self-explanatory, but, do you feel like you’re chasing happiness or success? If yes, how has it impacted you for better or for worse?
This is a great question, man.. I’m in this grey area bro.. like I’m chasing success because I know it’ll bring happiness but then again, from the outside looking in, a lot of people can view me as already “successful,” so I should already have happiness. It’s tough to say man, cause I always feel like the job is never done. It’s never over. Everyday I wake up, there’s something that needs to be done so myself and the brand can keep propelling. In a positive light, it’s impacted me in a way that I always want to outdo myself. I have this burning desire to show and prove that I can and will just keep on getting better at this shit, lol, but for worse – chasing that feeling leaves me never satisfied. You get me now?
There’s more people trying to find a way to sonically escape and I want to be that soundtrack.
Summer’s Over closes out the EP. it’s definitive for how we’ll receive your next body of work, next year. Will you be going more in-depth with your struggles with depression, money, amongst other things?
Summer’s Over is definitely letting ya’ll know the mood and energy is about to shift with these next few bodies of work. I was never the artist to shy away from being open and vulnerable with my audience. I don’t want to spoil anything but a lot of topics are going to be covered that’ll hit the core for the people who’s tapped into my sound. I’m going to cover every emotion possible because I believe there’s more people going through their day to day trying to chase bliss; there’s more people trying to find a way to sonically escape and I want to be that soundtrack. I want to be the one you can run too to get through it.. so yeah.. the sun is gone.. expect everything that comes with that.
Your content isn’t aimless — there’s a lot of thoughts found in these bars. Do you soak up any game from books? Podcasts?
Ay, appreciate that bro. I try to consider that my words will live on forever and help cement my legacy so I’m wary of how I deliver my content. A lot of game I soak up is just living my life bro, dealing with everyday experiences, both the good and the bad and translating it into a story. I also know I’m the voice for people around me so I’m speaking through and for them as well. Now when it comes to business and self improvement, I’m definitely watching tons of interviews, listening to plenty podcasts, and reading a lot of books. So yeah, combine it all and these are the results you get.
On “Roll The Dice”, you speak on “these vices enticing.” How have you been able to keep your focus in the midst of dealing with anxiety?
Truth be told, I have been bro. It’s a weird balance because I’m creating a lot of content and plan so far ahead that it literally makes me anxious. But then, if I don’t work in that manner, it’ll make me even more anxious that I don’t know my next move. So if it makes sense, staying busy and creating helps keep it calm but at the same time can ramp it up. But all in all, this year, I think I showed and proved how focus I am and can be.
What’s your creative process like? Do you drown out certain distractions?
I try not to force anything. Whether it’s a new design or writing a new song.. if it doesn’t come out naturally, I’ll stop and revisit it later. After a project is done, I also don’t like working on another one right away ’cause I need to live my life a little and experience new things. The only thing I try to drown out is social media when in my creative process. It’s tough to drown out certain thoughts or things as such because those same things help mold my records and bodies of work – so I embrace them instead. I like to be alone when writing, recording, designing, brainstorming, rehearsing, etc.. it just gives me time to reflect in a world that’s moving at a rapid pace.
We’ve been conditioned to become attached to outcome and void the mindfulness that strikes throughout the journey. Would you consider yourself a failure IF your plans didn’t turn out how you planned out?
I couldn’t agree more with that and I can say I’m honestly getting better at that. At the beginning of this year, I established with myself that I’m going to stop “keeping score” which means I’m going to stop always being attached to the outcome and just do what I have to do. When you “keep score” and don’t get results you think you should get, it can become discouraging. But if you don’t attach yourself and just do the work, the feeling of getting your ideas out is a greater feeling. The journey is important and should be valued more; it’s a part of the story. To all my creatives: value the journey more.