Fousheé is here to stay

A feature interview with the R&B star whose hit single “Deep End” was the soundtrack to our 2020 downtime.

Breaking out as an artist is no easy feat, especially not during a global pandemic. However, there are certain silver linings. With everybody stuck at home, this year has been a time of discovery.

One of 2020’s most promising acts has been Fousheé, who rose to prominence with her hit single “Deep End.” It’s a confident anthem that flexes some impressive wordplay and flows. The song grew in popularity with the help of a number of remixes and, of course, the magic of TikTok. “Deep End” has soundtracked dance videos, makeup tutorials and comedy routines alike. However, Fousheé is more than a one-hit-wonder. The single helped the New Jersey-bred singer land a record deal with RCA Records, and if her follow-up, “single af,” is any indication, she is on track to assert herself as one of the most meaningful names in mainstream R&B.

I spoke to Fousheé about her introverted upbringing, a monstrous 2020 and keeping a strong mind during difficult times.

Mr. Wavvy: How are you?

Foushée: I’m good! How about yourself?

MW: I just graduated university and found out I’m going to be an uncle so it’s been a great week in a weird year. How has 2020 been for you?

Foushée: Well that’s great news, congrats! 2020, the best way to describe it would be a rollercoaster, but I am on the upswing. It feels really good; I’m in a good place right now. I’m happy, my year is going well. A lot of changes.

MW: I’m glad to hear that. How’s it been breaking out as an artist in such a strange year? We can’t do concerts, people can’t go to a club and hear your songs. How has it been breaking out during a pandemic?

Fousheé: I always describe it as a “virtual reality.” [Sighs, Laughs] I don’t feel the physical shift, I can’t see it but I know that it’s there. It just hasn’t set in yet but it’s fun. I’m having fun.

MW: Do you think that there’s anything about the pandemic that has helped you in some ways? I think the fact that a lot of people are at home means that they’re staying busy with TikTok and streaming as opposed to clubs or radio. 

Fousheé: Exactly. I think my situation, more attention was drawn to it because of the pandemic, because more people had their eyes on their phone. I was just able to connect with more people. It is like the gift and the curse. Also, there’s not that shell shock of feeling that shift of gaining so many new fans and listeners. I think it would’ve been overwhelming if I saw that shift in person, if I showed up to a show and there’s a whole bunch of people. It’s cool that I could just log in and experience it.

MW: How do you think things will be for you once the pandemic is over? “Deep End” has blown up and I feel like it could be a big adjustment.

Fousheé: This is my first time experiencing all of this. I have no clue what’s in store after this pandemic. I’m just embracing it all and trying to prepare the best that I can by just sticking to my craft, trying to keep creative. I think now, this is the perfect buffer time for me to just be introspective and check in with myself so that when the time comes, I can handle it.

MW: Absolutely. I feel like that’s what a lot of people have been doing, just getting in touch with themselves and the things that matter to them. If we don’t have everything else, if everything is stripped away from us — travel, festivals, whatever — those are some things that make you really happy, doing what you love with the people that you love.

Fousheé: Exactly. Who misses being in a tight congested space with a whole crowd of people, all of them stepping on your shoes? I kind of miss it, though! [Laughs]

“Deep End”

MW: You’ve been doing a bunch of press lately. What questions are you just tired of hearing this point? 

Fousheé: I don’t think I’m tired of anything. I think it’s a challenge for me to find new ways of answering the same question, but usually people ask me about the meaning of “Deep End”, which I’m happy to talk about because that was the point of the song, to express those feelings, to bring awareness to that situation. I don’t mind doing it. As a writer, this is almost like a puzzle, figuring out new ways to answer the same question.

MW: I like that you do that though because there’s so many artists, especially older artists, that come up with a one-paragraph answer and say the same thing repeatedly.

Fousheé: I have to catch myself because I repeat a lot of things. You just have to be creative with your words, you know what I mean? That’s my job.

MW: It’s storytelling!  Maybe a little less intricate than songwriting but still storytelling. I want to talk more about your career and everything that has happened so far but I want to take it back first. What is your first memory ever?

Fousheé: My first memory, actually, I remember being a baby and going to my grandmother’s house. She was like “Awwww.” That stayed in my head, [the memory] kind of has this fisheye lens.

MW: Like a Missy Elliott video.

Fousheé: Right! I can’t really pinpoint the timeline of how big or small I was but I imagine I was handheld. She’s alive and well In New Jersey, so I’m grateful.

MW: How was it growing up in New Jersey in the 2000s? New Jersey gets the short end of the stick sometimes, being next to New York and everything but you’ve got to remember, New Jersey early 2000s was cool. You’ve got The Sopranos, you’ve got the 2002 Nets with Jason Kidd who made the NBA Finals.

Fousheé: [Laughs] I guess Jersey was pretty cool. Since then, we’ve had a lot of cool artists come out of Jersey: SZA, Whitney Houston, Redman! We have some culture there, but it did feel very much like a bubble growing up. 

I just hated being there because it felt like most of the people who moved to New Jersey moved there to start a family, to live a comfortable life in that way. I was the opposite. I’m a creative person, I didn’t want a nine-to-five, I didn’t want to have kids straight out of school and start a family right away. My family is music, I’m married to music, that’s my companion. [Laughs] 

It just made it hard for me growing up because a lot of people didn’t understand that. They couldn’t see things from my creative perspective. People thought that my goals were unrealistic. To this day, a lot of people are surprised right now. They’re eating their words, like, “How is this possible?” Even something simple like moving to New York. I moved to New York from New Jersey before I moved to LA. A lot of my family was like, it’s too expensive, you’re not going to be able to sustain living there. And I did it! I was like, “Watch, I’m going to make a career in music,” and I did! I don’t blame them, I just think that’s what you see. That’s your environment when you’re there. I had to get out of that to fulfill my dreams.

MW: Well, another thing you reminded me when you said people go to start families in Jersey is that when we were growing up, there was MTV Cribs that featured a lot of celebrities with mansions out there. 

Fousheé: [Laughs] Well, I definitely didn’t have a mansion! My mom had this saying: It’s better to have the smallest house in the best neighbourhood than the biggest house in the worst neighbourhood. She moved to America from Jamaica and straight into the struggle. She got here and was the first of her immediate family to move here. She really had to fight to get to a comfortable place. I wouldn’t even say a comfortable place but rather to have the access that she wanted to a good school and safe neighbourhood, all that stuff. She just wanted the best for her kids — that was a dream of hers too, to come to America and make it. I learned a lot from that. That’s where I get most of my fight from.

MW: So, you moved to New York from New Jersey and then to L.A. Where exactly were you when the pandemic started and everything shut down?

Fousheé: I was in L.A. I got a little bit of the L.A experience.

MW: How long were you there before everything shut down?

Fousheé: A few months.

MW: What was it like for you? Had you already made a few friends or had a base you could connect with?

Fousheé: Well, I kind of lived in a creative house. Since then, I’ve moved. But I lived in a creative house with other artists. It was fun, we had a lot of fun. We cooked a lot, had a lot of movie nights and created at home. I was able to focus on my craft and I still had a small community of people to hibernate with. But it wasn’t all fun and games! We had the whole pandemic, the racial war. 

“‘Deep End,’” I wrote that song five different times. There was one completely about George Floyd and what happened with that. It was a version that was a diss record.”


MW: Did you find it hard between the pandemic and the racial tensions in the U.S. to stay creatively inspired?

Fousheé: It was a hard time to write. I read something that said while you’re going through things, it’s harder to write about them. It’s easier once you made it through that thing to write reflectively upon it. It was hard to get it on paper but there was a lot of inspiration. “Deep End,” I wrote that song five different times. There was one completely about George Floyd and what happened with that. It was a version that was a diss record.

MW: A diss towards who?

Fousheé: Um, you know, it’s not important! [Laughs] It was more symbolic. It wasn’t sitting with me because the point of the record was to make people feel good and motivated in spite of all these things, and still feel powerful.

MW: I’m just gonna assume that since you’re from New Jersey, it was a diss to Jay-Z since he moved the Nets to Brooklyn.

Fousheé: Never, Jay-Z’s a legend!

MW: I’m just fucking with you!

Fousheé: [Laughs] I did feel a little heartbroken though, when we didn’t have a team anymore. I don’t watch basketball much but I would love to have a New Jersey team. It was so New Jersey, people just treat New Jersey so crazily. We’re like the little bro.

MW: The only time I’ve been is when I had a layover in Newark. All I remember is that a pigeon flew into the airport.

Fousheé: Yeah, that seems very spot-on.

MW: Give me a tour guide: What are the best things to hit up in New Jersey?

Fousheé: Wow. You’ve gotta go to Six Flags. Honestly, I was such an introverted person in my time there. I love my own space and kicking it with my people, my close circle. The best is like, hella highways, just being in the car and driving down highways.

MW: That’s never a good sign about the city, when the best thing to do is going on a long drive.

Fousheé: No, that’s just me as a person! I’m sure there’s more to do in New Jersey but I guess I always used to be in nature a lot. There was a forest behind my house that I always used to dabble in. When I was a kid, I used to collect rocks and funny stuff like that, ride bikes. It’s a good place to connect with nature. It’s a good place to be introspective.

MW: I’ll have to give it another shot one day, past the airport.

Fousheé: Give it another shot! Go to Six Flags.

MW: Going back to “Deep End,” you said you had many different versions written. There have also been a lot of different versions that have come out. I like the Rompasso remix you put out. It reminds me a lot of “What Is Love” by Haddaway. Are you thinking of any other official remixes, anyone you have on your wishlist?

Fousheé: I’ve seen so many remixes of it that I’m just ready to do a new song. It’s been remixed so many times. Unless someone comes out with some ill shit that I never thought of.

MW: I’ve got two people who I think would be great. I think Smino would match your flow a lot on that song. I think if you just want a completely new beat, Kaytranada is your guy. I’m a Montrealer, so I have to throw out Kaytranada because that’s our hometown hero.

Fousheé: Oooh. Wow, you wouldn’t be far off because we worked on something this past week in L.A. He just got nominated for a Grammy!

MW: I’m very happy for him. What was it like recording with him?

Fousheé: We came to each other. We met at the studio and it was fun! Kaytranada is very chill. He is so laid-back and funny. It felt like I was just hanging out with a friend. We kind of just vibed and worked on a few records. When you think of Kaytranada, you think of his up-tempo bops. He has some slow joints in there too though.

MW: I feel like the way you described yourself is very similar to him. He is a super introverted person who also likes to have a lot of fun. I’ll see him at clubs and he’s very to himself but I know that he’s having a good time.

Foushée: He seems kind of shy almost. 

MW: It’s too hard to talk about 2021 with so much uncertainty, but what is your plan moving forward?

Fousheé: Touring is mostly all digital right now. I think my main focus is the project. I haven’t released an album yet. I look forward to encapsulating what I feel like summarizes me the best, what summarizes me in this moment. I’m making a lot of music, I’m trying to write almost every day. I think this project is going to be special. That’s my main focus: I want to make the best record that I could make, write the best that I could write.

MW: I’m so excited to hear that. That’s definitely on my most anticipated albums for the coming year. Aside from Kaytranada, who have you been working with?

Fousheé: So many different people, meeting new people, working with people that I look up to, working with up-and-coming people, working with the Usual Suspects — it varies. As far as people that the world may know, Kaytranada, James Blake and Kali Uchis.

MW: I love it! A large part of “Deep End”’s success has been attributed to TikTok, with various versions of the song getting traction, too. Do you have a favourite TikTok with your song? 

Fousheé: There’s a TikTok with a girl and the song starts as usual: 

“Shawty gon’ get that paper, shawty tongue rip like razor. Shawty got wit, got flavor, pardon my tits and make-up, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh.”

And then it goes into this club beat. I think it’s a Black Eyed Peas beat. The girl’s pretending that she’s choking and then she starts pop locking. Her sister is not too amused by it. That’s my favourite one right now. I’ve seen all types of things. There was a trend where people were reenacting dramatic love scenes, there were makeup tutorials that were going on, too. There’s a lot.

MW: Wrapping up, I’ve got one last question for you and it’s a big one. Fousheé, what is the meaning of life?

Fousheé: The meaning of life is love! I think we all need to experience all of our senses and do the best we can to try and exemplify love. It’s all centered around love. That’s why most of the songs you hear are either heartbreak or love songs! ■

For more about Fousheé, please visit her website.

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