Interview by Jordan Edwards
In 2018, Neptune teamed up with Post Malone for the single "You." It put him on the musical map, and laid the path for future releases. This led to a series of singles including "Fallen Angel," "Strawberry Lemonade" and "Wyoming." Like his mentor Posty, Neptune shifts between heartfelt pop and melodic hip-hop. He prefers hazy, light night beats mixed with passionate vocals--a sound that's allowed him to stand out and earn fans like will.i.am.
With his latest single "Monochrome," the 18-year-old moves forward with a powerful pop ballad. The music video, featuring stunning cinematography, has proved to be popular with fans, racking up nearly half a million views in two weeks.
We recently talked to Neptune about the making of "Monochrome," working with Post Malone, and the evolution of his music.
Tell me about your latest single “Monochrome.” What was the production and songwriting process?
The production for "Monochrome" went fast; we were given the beat, but it was just lacking vocals and lyrics. By far, the writing part took the longest. It was a challenge to find the right tone without being too overbearing. Ultimately, I'm proud of what came of the time spent.
In terms of production, you gravitate towards darker sounds. What influenced that?
A big chunk of my music was made at a point in time where I was moody, so a lot of that emotion influenced the finished track and lyrics, since I usually go off whatever I’m feeling that day.
How involved are you in your visuals?
I play a significant role. While I might not always come up with the initial concept, I actively collaborate with the team to see what works best with the given track.
What did you learn from Post Malone while working on “You?”
Working with Post Malone and other artists taught me that collaborations can be spur of the moment and fast-paced. Sometimes, everything just naturally falls into place.
What do you remember about that video shoot?
For one of the shots, I had to sing the chorus while in this big group of people and just getting the worst stage fright. I felt so nervous being the center of attention. To be honest, sometimes I still get that anxiety of looking like a dummy, but I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable performing, having been in so many shoots now.
Neptune - Monochrome (Official Music Video)
When did you first start making music? Do you remember the first song you wrote?
I started singing and recording music around 8 and started making original songs at 10. The first song I actually wrote was “Outcast." While I had help from my team, it was my first song where I was the one putting words down.
Vocally, who do you look up to?
There are many talented artists, but Post Malone and The Weeknd stand out for their expansive ranges. Sometimes I try to sing Posty's songs to see if I’ve vocally gotten close to his level but every drop, he always expands his range further and further. Bruno Mars is in there somewhere too; the list just goes on and on.
If you could be a musician in a different era, which one would you choose?
I'd choose the '80s or '90s. The music was so cool and to this day holds up. Plus, I can rock a mullet.
What have you been listening to lately?
My music library is super cluttered. It can range from recent albums to game soundtracks all the way to a jazz fusion album from the '80s.