“I just love the evolution that I’ve been on lately and I’ve just grown so much. Before I didn’t really know too much about song structure and it was just run-on sentences all over the place in my writing. I just love where I am right now with my craft.”
-Mariah The Scientist
Just as the world began to think that the culture could not shift any more than it has already and that the sound of music that we have can’t evolve anymore, we often are blessed with a wave of new artists that swiftly change our minds and make us fall deeper in love with the music again. With so many people feeling worn out and bored with the sound of music today, we were sitting at the edge of our seat waiting to see what the next sound would be, or who would be the next star to take the culture forward and deliver to the best of their abilities.
Mariah showcases a glimpse of her acting skills in the visuals for her song “Reminders”
Atlanta-native Mariah The Scientist has been in the game for a few years now but recently has been starting to catch flame and skyrocket to the top of the game. Her debut album titled Master released in August of 2019, and she dropped off plenty of hits such as “Beetlejuice”, “Thanks 4 Nothing”, and the 80’s-inspired record “Reminders”. Two weeks ago, she released her sophomore album Ry Ry World, and she is not here to play around. With a brand new mindset and an evolved ear for music, Mariah is back with even more hits this time and is ready to really show the world what she is capable of.
She and I sat down and we spoke about her upbringing, where she got her stage name from, her creativity in her cover art, and of course, we talked about her favorite moments from her album. Read our conversation in full below!
LL: Tell me a bit about your early life and things you were into before you got into music
MARIAH: I grew up in Southwest Atlanta, and anytime I tell somebody that, I try to mention people that are known that are from that area too. For reference, Lil Baby is from over that part of town. when I got a little older, that’s when we moved over to the Eastside, and that’s more so like Bouldercrest Road—people like Gucci Mane and Future are from that part of town. I graduated high school when I was sixteen years old, so I never got to experience a senior year. So I was just running around the town with the boyfriend I had at the time getting into God knows what. The following year, he and I went to Saint John’s University together out in New York. We ended up breaking up eventually, and not too long after that, I ended up leaving school in my third year to pursue music and move to Miami. After that, I ended up coming back home to Atlanta. I do think that if I never moved to New York, I don’t think I would have stumbled into making music the way that I did.
LL: What was it that made you want to move around the country at such an early age?
MARIAH: Originally, my parents never wanted me to move out of the state, but for New York, I ended up getting a scholarship to Saint John’s. The guy that I was dating at the time ended up getting a scholarship too, so in my head, it was the perfect situation to be in. Once I quit college, I ran into Tory Lanez and he wanted to work with me. I ended up traveling with him while he was on tour. He basically took me under his wing and we grew a really awesome relationship where I can really rely on him for anything. He and his team were big party people and I was never really a party person though. So eventually, I made the decision to go back to Atlanta and build my own relationships. Me moving around so much I think helped me become the person I am today so I could experience new things and meet new people everywhere I go.
LL: Where did you get the “Scientist” part of your name from?
MARIAH: When I was at Saint John’s, I studied biology, so I always had that name. I originally was gonna change that name, but my label and the people around me loved it and told me to keep it. They said it was super marketable and was more authentic to who I really am.
LL: What was it that clicked and made you want to pursue music full-time?
MARIAH: I was contemplating it for a long time, but I was afraid to do it. My parents were really traditional, so when I get to talking about quitting school to do music, they started to look at me like “Are you crazy?”. They grew up in a different time so they didn’t really understand just how many other ways you can get money nowadays and just how many avenues you can go down to get to where you want to be. For the longest, I just started to get detached from the idea of going to class every day and I started to see just how expensive school was and how much it would be to go to medical school. I really just went out on a limb, and about a year after that, labels started to reach out to me to sign me. At first, I didn’t really want to sign a deal, but it just made the most sense for me at the time.
LL: Was it difficult for you to get your parents on board with the idea of you doing music?
MARIAH: Definitely. The idea of me dropping out to do music, they were not going for that at all at first. My dad really didn’t want me to quit, so I just never told him that I did at first. My mom ended up being a little cooler with it than he was. I remember telling her like “Hey, after this Easter break, I might not go back to school”. She was still trying to convince me to stay, but I just didn’t go.
LL: Who are some of your earliest musical influences?
MARIAH: I’m inspired by a lot of the oldies. Growing up, my dad would play a lot of older music like Motown type of vibe, or like Jackson 5, eventually some Mariah Carey came into play. He was pretty diverse with his music taste. On a good day, when I’m shuffling through my music, I might be listening to some Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, definitely Michael Jackson too. I have conversations with people al;l the time about if I think the older music would still go off if it were released today, and I’m not too sure if it would just because the sound of production has changed so much. Sounds are so much different now and it really has evolved from what they used to be. The game right now is really on some futuristic shit which I respect, but the oldies were a lot more simple and still had that impact.
I do think that old sound could begin to make a comeback though when the right people do it. I’ve had talks with Brent Faiyaz and we had a long conversation about how he wanted to implement a lot of older shit like how Usher made Confessions and that style of production. It just feels very nostalgic and has such a classic vibe and I think that it would be nice to hear more people bring that style back so it can live in today’s world.
LL: How has it been for you so far navigating the industry as a brand new artist?
MARIAH: I think that for anybody, it’s gonna be really hard in the beginning just trying to learn the in’s-and-outs of the industry. It’s not like you can just get one co-sign slapped on you and then you lit for the rest of your career—you still have to put that work in and keep it going. You have to be persistent and your work ethic has to outdo the next person’s work ethic to be recognized. It’s been a lot of ups and downs, and to be honest, there were times where I really didn’t wanna do it anymore. I don’t wanna say that the game is “unfair”, but it’s a very political game and that’s something that a lot of new artists don’t really know. I’ve never really been the type to have to play the political games of having to please someone just to get this and that.
I do wish that there were a lot more genuine individuals in the game now, ’cause I feel like a lot of that is missing right now. A lot of these relationships and friendships are fake, and I don’t do too well with that. We need those genuine platforms to exist for people to be themselves on. Like when I first discovered Lyrical Lemonade and I met Cole for the first time, everything just felt so genuine, and that’s what I love the most about this platform. It made me feel like this is a place where I wouldn’t have to beg anybody for an interview or something like that, just because you all are so tapped in and you don’t play the politics.
LL: Over the past few years, women have been killing the game—not just in music, but the culture overall. How does it feel to see so many powerful women making this much of an impact on the world right now?
MARIAH: I think it’s fire. I won’t sit here and say that women are inferior or superior to men or anything, but I do think that if all the women were to fall off of the face of the earth, a lot of the men would be lost and confused. Some people could say the same about men too, but I think there needs to be an equal balance in general. The idea of everything being cohesive, and just the idea of the feminine and the masculine goes hand-in-hand and complements each other really well. I don’t think we should be against each other anymore.
For a long time, it was this super misogynistic wave of energy that was over this culture. I remember my first or second year of college, Playboi Carti put this video out and it was this girl giving head in the back of the video and I was just like oh my god, the world is gonna end [laughs]. It blew my mind that it was able to be put out like that. But I think over time, some men started to realize that the more you respect women, the more respect you get.
LL: You’re fresh from the release of your second album Ry Ry World. What makes this album different than your last album Master?
MARIAH: I think most importantly, my perception has changed. With the first project, I was just sad and miserable like “damn, this n**** is just making me sick” type of shit, and I’m over that phase now. I remember telling someone else that a lot of types it may seem like I’m talking about someone or to someone, but really I’m just talking to myself. I may change a few pronouns around here and there and it gives the music a completely different direction. I’ve felt new emotions that I never have before and I just view things so differently now than I have before.
Mariah shines with the stars in the visuals for her song “2 You”
With my last album Master, I remember tweeting about it recently saying that I felt like some of those songs were skips. There were a few songs on there that I really didn’t want to put on there, but the feedback around me for them was so strong that I put them on there anyway. With Ry Ry World, I don’t skip shit on this project. I love it so much. I’ve made songs since I’ve turned my project in and even those songs I love a lot. I just love the evolution that I’ve been on lately and I’ve just grown so much. Before I didn’t really know too much about song structure and it was just run-on sentences all over the place in my writing. I just love where I am right now with my craft.
LL: I’m a huge fan of amazing cover art, and I love when artists invest in their cover art or put a message into it. Can you explain to me the meaning of the cover art for Ry Ry World?
MARIAH: The video coincides with the video for my song off of the album called “Aura“. I’m being chased and shot at with arrows. You can’t see who’s shooting me, but it’s missing me at first. Eventually, I get shot and I fall to the ground. While I’m on the ground dying basically, the sky starts to open up and glow. I wanted the cover art to kind of serve as a metaphor really of something that feels like a fatal attraction. Something could be bad for you, and you know it’s bad for you and probably the death of you, but you’re so stuck on it. You can’t really tell that it’s bad for you because you’re trying to look at the brighter side of things. Love can hurt you so much and you can be so blindsided by it because other parts of it feel so good.
LL: What’s your favorite song on the project?
MARIAH: Right now, I love the song “All For Me“. Earlier when we were talking about song structure and how I’ve gotten so much better at it, I feel like this song is a really structured song and I love the entire flow and layout of it. I just had my first concert with a live crowd the other day and I performed it and it was lit. I felt like I was really in it on that one.
LL: A lot of your material is surrounded around the topic and subject matter of love. Why do you think music about love sticks with the fans so much?
MARIAH: I think that everybody, and this is gonna sound corny as fuck, but everybody falls in love sometimes. You really can’t avoid it, even when you want to. Even for the people that haven’t fallen in love, I kinda feel bad for them because it teaches you some things that you won’t learn anywhere else. I think that even with the people who haven’t fallen in love, I’ve done a pretty good job at describing it and portraying it to them to the point where it feels intriguing and they want to try and feel that.
LL: Have there been any songs for you that have been difficult for you to write because you’re so open in your music?
MARIAH: I think the material that I have been working on recently that’s currently unreleased is probably the most vulnerable I have ever been on a song. To be honest, I don’t know how open I will be to talking about it once it’s released just because it’s so open, but I’m very excited to be able to release it one day. I’m sure there will be a lot of questions, but shit, there’s a lot of questions on this project too. I have no choice but to be myself at all times though. People will always question it, but I will always keep doing me.
LL: I saw your tweet the other day and you mentioned that the fans told you “Walked In” featuring Young Thug is gonna be the new club anthem. Have you been out and heard that playing in the clubs yet?
MARIAH: Yes, I have! I also was in the hair salon the other day and I heard it playing too. But yes, I went to the club and they played it and it seems like people were vibing to it even if they don’t know the words to the song yet.
Mariah taps in with Young Thug for her anthem “Walked In”
LL: Are there any other things you would love to get into outside of music one day?
MARIAH: Absolutely. I think one thing that I noticed myself being a science major in school, a lot of the scientific topics are very stale for the younger generation. I want to find a way to modernize it and make it fun and interesting to people. I want to shed some light on interesting topics that people may not know much about. Everything around us is science, like the phones we talk out of are all connected to poles and towers and all of that and that stuff is science. I think that a lot of the things that people may be intrigued by is related to science, and I just want to make those topics fun and easy to learn about.
LL: Why should people listen to Mariah The Scientist?
MARIAH: I would say it’s real and it’s not scripted at all. I don’t have anyone picking my clothes out, I don’t have anyone writing my lyrics. My aesthetic, my cover arts, and all are all me and my thinking. Even if some ideas may be inspired by other people, it’s still an original idea of mine. My sound is really authentic and I believe that I can serve as an inspiration to people. I won’t say what you should or shouldn’t be inspired by, but I personally am inspired by more authentic people and authentic art. I’m just a real ass bitch, and that’s that—and I hope that people can respect that.
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