Q: We are obsessed with “Kool”! What inspired you to write this song?
Tonty: Thank you! It's one of my favorites too! The song is inspired by the feeling of going through life trying to pretend you're okay or your "kool," when really you just want to be with that person you have real feelings for and everything reminds you of them. When I have a crush - and yes, grown people still get crushes - I try to act like I'm cool or chill, but really I think about them a lot! It's supposed to be cute and fun. The track is produced by VSHY, and it gives me early Mariah Carey or 80's Whitney's vibes!
Q: Can you tell us a bit about your songwriting process?
Tonty: Well, my songwriting process is very organic. What that means is: sometimes I start with a beat, sometimes I start with just lyrics. I try to do whatever my heart is feeling. My lyrics are always inspired by my own experiences, and I hope others can relate. Lately, I've been trying to write songs that speak to other things besides love or longing, like: mental health, or wanting to be an artist but feeling unnoticed, or even going out and being young.
Q: What role did music play in your life growing up?
Tonty: The BIGGEST role. I have been singing since I was old enough to make noises haha! My mom wanted me to be in medicine, but I've always just wanted to be where the music is. Music is not just my escape, it's my gateway to expressing who I really am. When I sing, when I perform, when I write music - that's the real me. Everything else outside of that feels like a mask.
Q: If you were an album, what album would you be and why?
Tonty: Oooooh, that's a really hard question. I'd say I'm either thank you, next or positions by Ariana Grande. Her and her co-writers always seem to write lyrics that make me think "Damn, they're talking about me." I can be sexy, I can be clingy, I can be a little mean, I want to be alone sometimes (a lot), I can be loving and giving, but above all I am so so grateful for every opportunity that comes my way. I accept the things that have happened so far in my life, learn from them, and am moving forward loving myself and choosing my happiness.
Q: If you could collaborate with any artist in the world, who would you pick and why?
Tonty: I would, of course, love to collaborate with Beyoncé - her work ethic is...ridiculous and I could only hope to be as hard-working as she is. I also really want to work with Cardi B. She's so unapologetic - I need more of that in my life - and I have loved exploring my rapping skills lol.
Q: What can we expect next from you?
Tonty: With luck, blessings, and faith you can expect me to be putting out more music and becoming one of the biggest names in the music industry. I don't say that to be cocky or over-confident - it REALLY is my goal! Haha I don't believe in half measures. Being good isn't good enough. I want to be the best, work with the best, learn from the best, and eventually be a part of teaching the next generation of the best. I plan on earning that right as soon as I get my big chance!
Written By Sarah Curry