Micah Davis is easily one of the coolest cats we have ever interviewed. He spoke with us this past Saturday, relaxing at his crib with a horse voice from a show the prior night. Stage named Masego, the 6 ft.5 inch Virginia based multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer lives for innovating as a musician, personality and business man. He creates and inspires through a refreshingly unique approach to his music, projects and life in general.
Masego first started experimenting with music at a young age in church. It is safe to say he is a natural, as he has has never taken saxophone, piano or drum lessons. He first started expanding his repertoire by playing sax over electronic future bounce beats. He claims, “it was weird for my audience. I was supposed to play jazz music and I was playing trap and drums.”
Continuing to innovative within that sound, Masego eventually went on to coin the phrase TrapHouseJazz, which is used to describe his unique mesh of smooth sax and piano melodies on hard hitting trap & bass beats. This musical ingenuity has contributed to some blue chip collaborations and an official affiliation with renowned record label Film Noir. He has done guest mixes for Soulection, has been recognized by national media outlets, plays high end gigs and is absolutely poppin’ off right now on the road and across the web.
Additionally, Masego is constantly applying creative energy to producing super interesting projects like Sample Hunters (a video series) and building businesses like The Network (a social network). His biggest piece of advice? Don’t box yourself in. He doesn’t like copycats and believes you should constantly switch it up and push your boundaries creatively. That is how you gain respect from other artists / producers and build lasting power.
Peep the full interview below.
What is a typical day like with you?
I start my day with juice. I’m obsessed with aloe water. I swear in like 6 months I’m going to be sponsored by them and have all the juice I want [laughs]. After that I’m all about getting some quiet time, like walking and thinking. After a juice I’ll head to the bank or something like that, really anything to get in my car and start cruising. I throw on some new music off my SoundCloud and everything kind of just starts in that vehicle. I’ll start coming up with ideas and sometimes I actually even pull over and start recording. That really directs how the day goes. From there I’ll hit the studio at my school or come back home. I have a pretty flexible schedule so where the day goes is really up to me.
When and where are you most inspired?
Probably in the car. That is literally where most of my ideas form. Then I voice memo them to recall them later, but the car is where they usually start. Especially in traffic.
Where did the name Masego come from?
When I was in high school I did a project on African culture and the main thing I learned was they pride themselves on their names and the meaning behind them. So I took a quick trip to the library just for giggles and looked for something similar to my name Micah. The name Masego popped out to me and I read the meaning was “blessing.” Prior to this in church, everybody would always say that I was blessed because I haven’t had lessons with the sax, keys and drums. I share this story at lunch with my buddies and they all start joking with me and whatever. A month later I entered this talent show and I asked them to call me Masego and it stuck ever since.
You say TrapHouseJazz is best described as “ignorance meets elegance.” What do you mean by that?
My area has been big on trap so I’ve always been around that style of music. I’ve always been a hidden fan of house music and I love synthesizers. The first person to put me on synth leads was Cory Henry. He is a progressive, R&Bish, gospel organist and keyboard player. Synths shine through music and they are such an expressive way to solo and speak with music. As for jazz, Cab Calloway really put me on. I watched a documentary on him and admired his energy, positivity and “call and response.” I’ve always been a fan of bringing together everything I’m interested in one entity. So one day my buddy said he was a big fan of my music and said it’s kind of like “ignorance meets elegance.” I thought that was cool and sat on it. After a while it settled and just felt right. Eventually I came out with a beat tape called TrapHouseJazz.
I read on Smoothie Tunes that you picked up the sax to impress a girl? We want to know…how much does the sax help you get laid?
This man…dude…hold on, lemme drink this tea [laughs]. All I’m going to say is this…one of my boys in LA is this singer guy and we’ve had this talk about music being this super power. If I wanted to be a savage out here and play sax for these females and lure them into my bedroom, I could do that. There are so many guys out here that are doing the same old tricks. Honestly though I’m a well behaved guy. I got my lady and I’m just chillin. But it is good to know that I have the option.
This Stevie Tribute EP is incredible. How did that come together?
Michell Clark is the leader of Artistic Manifesto and he thinks we should pay homage to people we love in music. I brought up Stevie because of his musicality and genius. We put it off and off and then the day before his birthday we whipped that up. I sent it over and he thought it was cool. I had no expectations for it, just thought it was something to pay homage to an artist we loved. Then Hot 97 hopped on it, this blog over here and it did really well. I feel very blessed for it.
You are a very tall dude. Ever play ball?
Yea man, ball used to be all I did. I built a basketball court in my backyard and people from all over this area would come through. It was kind of like, if you wanted to not be joked on or beat up, you had to at least play me. I’m not going to say I was the guy, but I could J anyone in the face. With music I remain humble, but I’m cocky when it comes to basketball. I would dunk on people and all that.
Ok, so say you are down two with eight seconds left on the clock and you get the ball at the top of the key. What is your move?
If we are down two I’m pulling up for the 3 ball. I used to do really risky, stupid things, like pull up with four people guarding me.
If you performed at The White House Staff Inaugural ball… what do you play?
Probably something more aligned with my Stevie record. It has that classy, we-all-dressed up type of feel, because of the sax and keys being so dominant. But my drums will always hit so President Obama is going to have to hold his neck a little bit. I’m going to have to balance it but the beauty is I can do whatever I want drum wise, but once that sax hits people deal with it. This one female once said that she didn’t know if she should twerk or slow dance when she listens to my music. I think that’s pretty cool.
If you could executive produce a collab and bring in whoever you wanted (dead or alive)… who would you bring in?
I would probably have to bring in Cab Calloway, Michael Jackson and Kaytranada. The thing with MJ is that he has this preacher-esk grip to his voice when he gets really passionate, which I definitely take influence from. For the beat probably Kaytranada. I think me and him would put together something tight.
Would you rather have your own fedora or bow-tie line?
If it was a good business opportunity, I’d do either.
What do you have upcoming in 2015?
Right now we’re figuring out the best way to put out the Pink Polo EP so it reaches as many people as possible. That’s going to be dope. I have a headliner show in NYC at SOB’s on July 1st and we just announced another larger tour through the summer.
Get tickets for Masego’s 7/1 show at SOBs here.
Peep the Pink Polo EP below.