Some call his music “toxic,” but Brent Faiyaz says it’s just a summary of real-life experiences.

As the June cover of Billboard‘s Indie Issue, he says he’s always “keeping my ear to the street and checking the temperature” and simply wants to make relatable music that reflects all aspects of life.

“R&B music is soulful and reality-driven,” he says. “I want to portray the good, the bad, the ugly… I want to have a song for every situation you could possibly be going through.”

“Life can be toxic sometimes, and I have records for that. That word tends to be the narrative because of the shock involved when people say, ‘Man, I can’t believe you said that,’” he continues. “But people who have been following my music know that for every toxic record, there’s a heartfelt record, a sweet record.” He adds that “being toxic was never the vision or intentional identity I was trying to portray,” noting, “I’m making songs that to me are true.”

Brent credited his love of songwriting to Prince, Stevie Wonder, Max Martin, Dolly Parton, Kurt Cobain and more. “When it comes to songwriting, genre doesn’t matter,” he says. “I grew up on a lot of different music, and I’m big on lyrics. I love writing music because it’s cathartic, my biggest form of release. If I leave it on a song, I don’t have to walk around with it.”

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