April 2020 Featured Artist: FLYNGZLPHNT
Written by T. Mason on Thu Apr, 2020
Born and raised in Southern Pines NC, producer/artist Ryan Thomas, aka FLYNGZLPHNT (Fly-ing Ze-li-fent) has been creating his own sound since 1999. Early on, he knew that his idea of what music should be was different than what he heard from his peers. He was surrounded by music as a kid. With his mother and father being singers he grew up listening to a vast collection of R&B music but Hip Hop is what captured his attention the most.
“Some of my biggest influences as far as hip hop goes would be Outkast, Lupe Fiasco and Kendrick Lamar. They push the envelope of what it means to be a hiphop artist. The way the tell stories with originality and complexity always stood out to me.”
His first step into music was cosmic. It was just meant to happen. While in New York visiting family, he bought a mixtape that he thought was a mix of all of his favorite artists only to find out later that it was a tape of just instrumentals. Captured by the sonics of the beats, he began to study how music was made. His interest in music was evident and someone close to him noticed.
“My uncle, Michael Thomas was a producer at DCity records. He saw I had an interest in music and he believed in me. So one day he gave me a laptop that was loaded with Fruity Loops on it and the rest was history.”
To this day, Fruity Loops is still his go to program for production. After taking years to master the program, his interest in music grew. Making beats was just the beginning.
“Making beats for other artists was always and will always be something I love to do, but I feel like I have more to offer. I’m not just a producer. I engineer, I rap, I sing..there’s more to me than just the beats.”
Over the years he has produced artists from all over the United States but it took him some time for him to come into his
own as a rapper. It was not due to his lack of skill. FLYNGZLPHNT knew that he wanted to be different. Initially, he dived into the battle rap scene. Although he was capable of holding his own against other MC’s, he did not feel that particular style was authentic to who he was as an artist. After the death of his friend and collaborator Syn Savvy, he focused on finding his own sound. He wanted his lyrics and delivery to have impact and be meaningful. That was the baseline for his debut album “Luvz Toxicity”. He spoke on the importance of putting out his first project independently.
“ At this point, I love being independent. I love the freedom of having creative control and not being put in a position to be involved with something that doesn’t align with my idea of artistry. It was important for me that I make a statement about who I am as an artist with this project. Being independent gave me the freedom to do that.”
Even though FLYNGZLPHNT is an accomplished producer, he enjoyed working with other producers for his debut.
“ I wanted to expand my sound for this project. I’ve put out music here and there but never a whole project. I produced a good portion of this project myself but I also worked with a few different producers. I worked with Illuid Haller, Z.Will, and Junobeats on this album. In future projects I’ll be working with some other producers like Young Swisher, BeatsByEmani, C’mar the producer, Kevin Katana, and FLLS. Maybe one day I will get the chance to work with some of my industry favorites like Pharrell Williams, 9thwonder, No ID, JusBlaze just to name a few. Time will tell.”
Being an independent artist does not come without its struggles. In the age of social media fans can be fickle and the attention span for new artists can be extremely short when you are trying to build a solid following with a debut album.
“The biggest struggles are having to operate through social media. It’s to our benefit, but to our detriment as well. The support is often here today and gone tomorrow. It can be such a distraction that without having a machine behind you it’s just you versus the next “new trend”. My motivation to continue doing music is based on the internal question I ask myself which is, “If I weren’t doing this wtf would I be doing?” Along with the fact that music is the best way to express my emotions and deeper thoughts without judgment.”
It’s not easy trying to make a name for yourself as an independent artist. However, FLYNZLPHNT creativity and desire to push the envelope of what a hip hop artist can be will definitely make people sit up and take notice.