I met this next artist at a talent competition for local hip-hop artists around the surrounding areas in Dubuque, Iowa. We connected on our similar backgrounds, prior to our civilian purpose as artists. Now I sit down and converse with another veteran turned artist about his music, his philosophy with art and life, and how the military shaped him as an artist.
You have an astounding resume prior to your music career. Care to tell the readers about your background?
Klazik: Sure, I’m originally from East Cleveland, Ohio. I joined the Navy in 2003 and did nine years active duty. After going through training in Great Lakes, Illinois, I was a Tomahawk missile technician on board the USS Mason DDG 87 in Norfolk, Virginia. I did three deployments from ’05-’09, and went on to be an Instructor in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Now I live in Marion, Iowa.
First and foremost, thank you for serving our country. As a fellow veteran for the armed forces, do you feel art is therapy or an essential outlet for people like us? Why or why not?
K: Some type of healthy release is definitely necessary, everyone isn’t artistic, but alcoholism is heavily encouraged in military culture. I’ve never smoked anything and have only taken a handful of drinks in my life. Making music is an escape for me, all creative expression. I’m confident in my music and comfortable on stage, it’s fun.
During your time in the armed forces, has your service strengthen your philosophy with life or had it evolved during those years?
K: It shaped my philosophy on leadership, because I saw first-hand the type of leader I don’t want to be. The nature of military leadership is abusive and hypocritical and there are a lot of people that meet qualifications for positions of authority that don’t deserve to lead.
Have you ever found a time where it has weakened your beliefs? If so, how did you overcome those moments?
K: Something that really affects me is when people that I have committed myself to show me they don’t care about me. I don’t like being taken advantage of or manipulated because its something that I have had happen to me from people that I trusted. Times like that can make you bitter if you allow it and the way I’ve learned to deal with it is by reflecting on the situation and everyone involved once it’s over. When you look back you can gain a better understanding of who you were at the time and why you allowed those people in your life, then you can grow from that understanding.
Presently, what is your philosophy in life?
K: The law of attraction is very real to me. The things in your life are drawn to you. They echo who and what you are back.
Where did your name “Klazified Sick” aka “Klazik” originate from?
K: It actually came from a line I wrote in a verse. It was during a time where I needed to come up with a new name for myself because a name I used previously was taken. I came up with the lyrics and thought “that’s pretty clever” and ran with it.
When it comes to your music, not only are the lyrics leaning towards a spiritual deliverance, but you carry an old school vibe in the beats. Who in the old school era influenced your flow and sound?
K: My style is directly influenced by the music of the mid 1990s to early 2000s, so that includes Notorious B.I.G., whose my primary influence, as well as, Jay-Z, Bone Thugs -N- Harmony, Fabolous, Kanye West, 50 Cent, etc.
I’m also studying and learning the history of rap music and hip-hop culture, so I connect with older artists like Big Daddy Kane and Rakim. However, I don’t hate new music, that’s just my style of creation.
Is it your path in life that influences the lyrics you deliver, or do you feel the influence from within?
K: I guess it’s from within because I don’t think about it, I just let it come to me. I haven’t written a verse down in over ten years.
Music isn’t your only creative outlet. You are also an amazing photographer. Is that another career move you have considered in the past or currently? Or is it just a hobby of yours?
K: Well thank you! It’s just a hobby now. I’m not as confident in it as I am with my music. I got into photography, because I wanted to learn to shoot videos. My thinking is, since video is just a series of pictures and if I can take a good picture that would help my videography. I am going take a more professional step forward with pictures this year though.
In 2018, you dropped six singles for your fans. What should we expect from Klazik in 2019? Can we expect any music videos from you?
K: I like to release music in small doses, so its either a single or a three to five song project. I have a single that I just need to get mixed and get cover art for and Ill put that out in the first quarter of 2019. Also, I want to book some more live performances this year.
Is there anything in life that you haven’t done yet, that might be on your bucket or goal list?
K: The biggest goal I want to accomplish is to be able to make enough money from my music or any work that’s music related to fully support my family, and I’d like to make a song with Big Daddy Kane.
You can find Klazik’s music on Spotify, ITunes, or check out his website by simply clicking on http://smarturl.it/KLAZIK