Los Angeles — The City of Angels has always been a hot spot for young creatives striving to experiment with their talent. Three years ago I followed that trend and moved from the Bay to Los Angeles for my passion for creating freely, just like East Bay native Steve Ghant Jr. aka “BigTreeSteve.”
The 22-year-old artist switched from being a student at San Francisco’s Academy of Arts to a self-taught rapper, singer/songwriter, producer, model, and actor with only a year and a half of being in his new city. His heavy musical background is an advantage to his craft, but consistently challenging himself gave him the superpower of versatility.
YR Media sat and talked with him about his fluidity in entertainment and what his plans are for the new year.
YR Media: On streaming platforms, your music Is categorized under hip-hop/rap, but your sound is much broader. How would you describe your music?
BigTreeSteve: I consider my sound as a progressive R&B but still alternative. As a rapper, things fall under the blanket statement of being hip-hop. The genre-bending aspect is important because it sets me apart from other artists. Most [artists] are confined to what they can do. But I take a lot of inspiration from what I’ve listened to growing up. I’ve always loved Prince and Pharrell just for not conforming to anything, [even] as producers.
YR: Why were you so hesitant to step into acting?
BTS: My acting experience was minimal. In college, I studied scoring because I loved bringing something to life with music. I worked part-time on movie sets and during a 15-hour day holding the boom mic I was looking at the actors doing takes and I said to myself, “I could do this.” You have to be open as a creative person because a lot of your creativity comes from curiosity.
YR: Was it easy for you to create freely growing up in the East Bay?
BTS: When I first started people in school questioned my music. But a lot of young people are doing the same things as me and found a community among them. When you have like-minded people you don't worry about having a work relationship, creating [with them] feels like second nature.
YR: Being around like-minded people solidified that music was for you.
BTS: I think I've always kind of known. When I first started songwriting I realized that you tell a story to get your point across in the simplest form so people can understand which is important nowadays.
YR: You tweeted that in 2024 you’ll find a fitting target audience for your music. What will you be doing differently to achieve that goal?
BTS: This year it's important, I’m [even] releasing electronic stuff. My target audience will be different people, whoever gravitates toward the sound itself. Having variety is important but tying yourself to a sound when you do a lot is hard.
YR: I did see someone trolling that country music is next for you.
BTS: Haha yeah, DJ-ing as well. I've done a couple gigs and want to do more. I'm never the person who's only going to play like rap caviar. I'm gonna go in there and try to put people on to a lot of different stuff.
YR: I saw you teasing music on TikTok, is there an upcoming project people should be ready for?
BTS: Yeah with Juzi, my brother from the Bay. We have a joint coming out called “No More Waiting” very soon. And then I have my debut album that I’m working on now.
YR: Okay. So, where do you see yourself in the next five to 10 years?
BTS: I'm shooting for a Grammy off some production and I want to star in a major motion Picture. I want to do something challenging like a horror movie. And in 2024 I will be dropping on Soundcloud every week every two weeks, I'm about to start feeding the masses. For my next project, I’ll have events in the Bay and L.A. and just continue to grow the following.
YR: What advice do you have for someone wanting to pursue music?
BTS: You're going to make things that suck but that's how you learn. Keep your head down and focus but at the same time live life and incorporate that into music as well as experiences and don't be afraid to tell stories, it's about consistency.
You can check out more of his music on all platforms.
Sydney Wanguhu, (she/her) is from The Bay Area and is an L.A.-based journalist who covers entertainment and culture. Follow her on Instagram: @sydneyy._
Edited by Nykeya Woods