It's true that you never really know how far you can go until you start testing your limits. Los Angeles native Croosh is a testament to that theory. The twenty-year old writer, producer, and artist gained a substantial following on Soundcloud from a string of quality singles he's uploaded. At first, he was only making beats and posting them but as he began to experiment with his voice, he started making complete songs. This allowed him to mature as a producer, songwriter, and vocalist. It also helped him capture a loyal fan base.
The unsigned artist has spent the last two years growing said fan base, one upload at a time. This strategy has helped him amass over 20 million streams across Spotify, SoundCloud, and Youtube. He's also been able to collaborate with the likes of Young L, Jake Miller, and Felix Snow, to name a few. We sat down at a coffee shop in Hollywood and chopped it up about his origins, how his multicultural background (Persian and Hispanic) influenced his musical mind, the formula for Internet music success, and more. Read our full interview below.
OTW: Where does the name Croosh come from?
Croosh: Croosh is short for crucial. I went by 'Crucial J' in high school when I was only making beats. Then one day, one of my homies called me 'Croosh' and it stuck.
When did you start making music?
I started making music about six or seven years ago. I was playing guitar before I started making beats. I made beats for a while and then I eventually started to rap and sing over them.
What caused you to start rapping and singing over your beats?
I just started playing around to try different things and to see what worked. I barely had any confidence in my singing voice because I didn't consider myself a singer at the time. Now I can confidently say I'm a singer but it took a lot to get there. I don't have a natural singing voice but I worked on it every day to help bring it out.
You're from a few different places but what city do you call home?
I was raised out in Vegas until I was about 13. After that, I moved to Los Angeles. I've lived all over LA though. I've lived in east Hollywood, West Covina, the Valley, Santa Monica, Mid-City, Downtown, and everywhere else. But I just say I'm from LA because it's easier (laughs). I did everything for the first time out here so LA feels like home. I dated my first girl, got drunk, smoked weed, and pretty much did everything else for the first time out here.
What kind of music were you exposed to as a kid?
I was exposed to a lot of different things because my mom is Hispanic and my dad is Persian. My grandparents on my dad's side always played traditional Persian and Middle Eastern music. On the other hand, my mom was always playing Marc Anthony and salsa music. My mom also introduced me to Lauryn Hill, Bob Marley, Metallica, Led Zeppelin, and a lot of different shit.
Since you have a multicultural background, did you start making music to help discover your identity?
It could be partly but it's not the main reason. I started making music because it was fun. My uncle was a producer and he had the MTV Music Generator game. It would let you make beats on the PS2 or PS1. I started playing around with that and then I eventually transitioned to making beats in Garage Band. I never made music because I was trying to find myself though.
Let's fast forward to when you first started posting your music on Soundcloud. What was going through your head at that time?
When I hit my first thousand plays, I was really happy because I would put out beats and they would only get like 500 plays but never anything higher than that. But once I got a thousand, I wanted to do more. That's when I started making complete songs and my plays started to go up. And now I just recently got my first song with a million plays. That's so crazy to me.
Do you think there's a formula for Internet music success?
I think consistency and quality is key. You can't really sustain a fan base by dropping cool shit here and there but even if you're consistent, the music has to be good. You need both. That's why I think people like Russ are killing it right now. He can increase output without sacrificing quality.
Speaking of Russ, you've only dropped singles so far. You still haven't dropped a project yet. Why is that?
I feel like my music is really bipolar. Every song is different to me. I feel like my shit's way too out there to even be cohesive enough to put into a body of work. I haven't dropped a project yet partly because what I'm doing right now is working and also because I feel like I'm not even ready to.
When do you think you'll be ready??
I don't know. I have a problem. I usually make every song I release two days before I drop it (laughs). So that's kind of a problem for putting a project together. I just need to lock myself in a basement for like a week and not have Internet access.
How do you balance the 2017 artist grind? How do you balance being in the studio, networking at events, writing, creating content, etc.?
You definitely need an entrepreneur mindset. It's really hard to just be an artist these days. I have to do the marketing, engineering, recording, and everything else. It's all done in my room. You have to be a one-stop shop. Back in the day, you could just be a crazy rock star and not give a fuck and only focus on the music but now you have to be smart and way more calculated.
What's next for you this year?
I honestly just want to stay low key right now. When I'm ready to come out, I want to be completely prepared.
Lastly, what artists are you listening to right now?
I'm listening to Khalid, Blackbear, 6lack, Russ, Drake, and XXXTentacion.
Check back at Ones To Watch for more updates and new music from Croosh!