Today, Harlem native WavesOnGianni is premiering the music video for his single “Houdini” on our platform. Showcasing the rising talent’s viral energy as he flexes around his hometown, “Houdini” not only offers an introduction to Gianni’s music but the high school senior’s rapidly growing career as well.

In between school and baseball practice, Gianni found some time to do a Q&A with me about the making of “Houdini”, his experience modeling in New York Fashion Week, and how his Harlem upbringing has influenced his vision as an artist. Read our conversation and watch the Goldie Harris-directed video for “Houdini” below!

MDR: How has growing up in an area with so much cultural influence and hip-hop history influenced you?

WG: In Harlem, we’re really flashy and into fashion. Every time you step outside, you gotta’ put your best outfit on. We’re always trying to outdo everyone else and I look it at as the city’s red carpet. The Harlem culture is a part of my DNA. The influence is undeniable. For example, seeing other artist like ASAP Rocky, combine music, style and culture motivates me to do the same for East Harlem.

MDR: Who are some of your other biggest influences in music, outside of just Harlem?

WG: I would say Uzi, A Boogie, and PnB Rock. They stand out musically as well as visually because they take chances while staying original. They inspire me to go in and work on creating my own style for the next wave of youth around me. That’s my goal.

MDR: How did you first get into making music?

WG: A year ago, I used to play baseball 24/7 (I still do), but at the time I had an injury so I was bored most of the time. My friends kept encouraging me to record music and I listened. I began randomly freestyling at school, home and around my way for fun and to kill time during my recovery. I went ahead and posted a freestyle on my Instagram. Everyone went crazy. I was surprised. Then I actually dropped a song called “Stop Calling” and that went viral. My female fans started reacting to it by posting their own videos and my DMs started to stack up. That’s when I realized I could really do something with music and I just fell in love with it from there. Aside from my injury and other things I was going through, My aunt passed away and I looked at it as an opportunity to rap for her in hopes of making her proud.

MDR: Does coming up with catchy melodies come natural to you or is that something that you practice?

WG: It’s a little bit of both. On my way to school, I’ll play an instrumental and jump in with a flow or rhymes that i’ll save in my Voice Notes then go back to it later. I’ll listen to my influences and watch interviews about their process too. A lot of the times it just comes natural by just hopping on the wave of the beat and putting my drip on it.

MDR: So far, there’s been two distinct sides in your music. There’s songs that are softer and more vulnerable and then there’s songs that are colder and more about your own success. Do you think these reflect your actual personality?

WG: Yeah it reflects me a lot. I like to speak to the females because I think I’m a ladies man Lol , but also I like to have a balance and make turn up music for my boys . You’ll get a chance to hear that in my upcoming song “Need a Mop” where we brag about how drippy we are and love to have fun.

MDR: Another thing that comes through in your music is strong self-confidence. Where do you draw your confidence from?

WG: The confidence comes from people telling me that my music fire and they excited to  hear what’s next . I just want people to feel good and relate. I want them to be like “I’m that guy” or “I’m that girl” when they listen. It’s in your DNA when you come from Harlem. Our swag, style and charm is unmatched.

MDR: What has this past summer been like for you with your career starting to grow quickly and your songs getting radio play? 

WG: It’s been a dream.  I was super excited to hear my song playing on the radio, Also walking on the runway at New York Fashion Week, shooting videos and watch the support just grow. It’s all just been a dream come true, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I’d love to hear my music become the Anthem for the Yankees one day because of my passion for baseball.

MDR: What have you been working on recently?

WG: I have an EP called ‘The Heartbreak Kid’ in the works. It’s gonna be a mix of who I am right now as a Senior in High School who manages relationships and being a teen living in Harlem. You’re going to hear a lot of real emotions, songs you can play at parties and dance to. A lot of energy. Besides music, I’ve been practicing for the new season of baseball too.

MDR: Are there any artists you’d like to collaborate with in the future?

WG: A Boogie, PnB Rock, and Uzi for sure. I’d love to work with Lil Tecca, Lil Tjay. I love what they’re doing and how they’re putting on for the young crowd.

MDR: What was your experience like walking the runway for Andy Hilfiger?

WG: It was amazing. It brought me out of my comfort zone and really showed me I have a lot of potential. I would’ve never seen myself walking in a fashion show, and it’s definitely something I want to do more in the future.

MDR: Tell me a little bit about the making of “Houdini”. How did the song itself come together?

WG: The phrase “Houdini, I’m workin’ my magic they call me a genie now” was stuck in my head. It took me awhile to get the flow figured out, but then it hit me and I was able to make the whole song. I’m speaking about things that I go through and how I am in control of my destiny regardless of anything.

MDR: What was the process like behind making the video?

WG: Goldie Harris is talented and really helped get the job done. One day we was like “let’s just shoot this in NYC and make sure it has energy.” From there she made sure the frames and transitions were on point.  We added some Special effects to give it some swag. Houdini music video is showing my non-stop energy, who I am, and having my brothers around me along the way.

Watch the new video for WavesOnGianni’s “Houdini” and keep up with his music via Soundcloud.