Interviewed & Written by: Bernadette / Photos Courtesy of TwntyThree
When it comes to music, new isn’t always fresh but the newly released single “Tru Tru” isn’t just fresh, it’s innovative & invigorating.
By the exceptionally talented music composer MVW (aka Michael Vincent Waller), in collaboration with two of the fiercest new female rappers in the game: K-Hip Hop/Hyperpop sensation Lil Cherry & “Freaky T” singer TiaCorine, these 3 artists are making waves with “Tru Tru.” Proving they’re this year’s international rising stars bringing new flavor & sound to the world of music.
“Tru Tru” is a hypnotic track mixing trap, hip hop and r&b into sultry classical sounds with piano arpeggios & flutes that seduce your ears and enchant your vibe. MVW described the single as, “…this psychedelic, anime trap dream world to escape into. That escapism feels especially important right now, and can help bring us together.”
Lil Cherry, TiaCorine and MVW make for the perfect ‘togetherness’ bringing their own unique creativity & individual style to “Tru Tru.” With champion lines from TiaCorine like, “She gonna think about me when they ask her who the best, Sleeping on me like they tired, need rest,” and Lil Cherry poetically spitting versatile rhymes in both Korean & English like, “I never minded a mean bitch, That’s my problem, that’s my bad habit…Wait a second, I do my dance 나춤을춰춤춤 [Out of breath…],” the pair of lyricist bring empowerment over melodic keys as MVW ushers in avant garde into the trap genre. “Tru Tru” isn’t just a freshly harvested song, it’s farming in a new kind of sound.
“Tru Tru” by MVW, TiaCorine, and Lil Cherry is out now via AWAL, stream/buy it here and check out Frank151’s interview with Lil Cherry & MVW below–
Frank151: Thank you both for joining us on this crazy rainy day. I’m in California. Where are you both currently?
Lil Cherry: What’s good y’all. I’m on the rooftop of my house in Seoul, Korea. It’s a sunny day. It’s 12 pm (KST) right now. Blessed to be here. Thanks for having us.
MVW: I’m in L.A. as well and it’s definitely raining for sure.
Frank151: Thank you both for joining. So let’s discuss your newly released single with TiaCorine “Tru Tru.” I must say, it’s seriously so sultry, I love it. It really seduces my ears. If that makes any sense. There’s this sexiness to it and this might sound like a strange analogy, but the song’s almost like an enchanted forest filled with provocative mythical beauty hypnotizing our vibes. The melody and just the lyrics on “Tru Tru” seriously put me in this feel-good mood. I can’t get enough of it. It makes me feel all warm & fuzzy inside…
Lil Cherry: Aw man, thank you.
Frank151: How did the collaboration come about? Were you friends beforehand or how did you discover one another?
“This is actually our first time talking about it. I actually have no idea…”
–Lil Cherry on how she was discovered for the “Tru Tru” collaboration
Lil Cherry: This is actually our first time talking about it. I actually have no idea how you (MVW) came up with this collaboration.
MVW: I was actually in the studio with a friend and we were talking about different music, specifically K-Hip Hop and someone put on “1000 Words” (song by Goldbuuda & Lil Cherry) and I was just kind of blown away.
Lil Cherry: Ah man, thank you.
“…Tia and I– she had just dropped her album and I had dropped my project where she was on a couple songs and I wanted to do something fresh…”
–MVW on choosing the artists
MVW: The visuals in that (“1000 Words”) video and when I first heard that song, I was obsessed. So I reached out to Sauce Cartel’s Instagram and was just thinking about it and at that exact same time, Tia and I– she had just dropped her album and I had dropped my project where she was on a couple songs. I wanted to do something fresh and new with her and your song (Lil Cherry) was on my mind and I played that song (“1000 Words”) for her (TiaCorine) in the studio and she was like, “Oh her voice…” and when we were in the lab…it was just the perfect collab and it was in that moment. It was just very organic timing. While she was in L.A.; while I just heard that song for the first time that week. Obviously it took a few months for it to all glue together, but that was the inspiration.
Frank151: I love that. I mean, it sounds kismet and just the whole collaboration of the three of you is just in-sync. Every little piece (of “Tru Tru”), I can listen to over and over and over again. It’s just so hypnotic and it makes me feel all “cozy” but at the same time, I want to groove to it as well. It’s just too good.
Lil Cherry: Thank you. It is cozy/feel-good but sexy at the same time. I love the way you described it as an “enchanted forest.” I love that.
Frank151: Right?! That’s how it feels in my head. I just see so many different colors and at the same time, yours and TiaCorine’s vocals on it and just the melody & tune…it puts you in this trance. It’s just so beautiful. When you first heard the melody Lil Cherry, what did you think when you heard the tune for “Tru Tru?”
Lil Cherry: I had a similar vibe. “Tru Tru” is one of those feel-good songs I couldn’t wait to release so that I could listen to it any moment of the day. You can vibe to this song, when you want to dance. -When you wake up. -When you’re exhausted. -Right before going to bed. -When you’re out vibing with your friends. -When you go out to get McDonald’s drive-through. -When you’re with your mom and your grandma…your baby– Anyone can vibe with this. It fits with any and every moment. That’s why I love the beat and I love the song [be]cause it’s an “all-inclusive / all-season”-type of mood. The lyrics have an attitude, but it’s this feel-good cozy vibe like you said. So when I first heard the beat and Michael let me know he kind of wanted to make a “1000 Words” part two type of vibe. I went through my list of my favorite Korean lullabies and if you hear the outro, there’s this part where I reference the Korean lullaby called, “섬집아기“ which is “Island House Baby” in English. Going back and forth, I kind of referenced that song at the outro and yeah, it just kind of clicked. There wasn’t too much heavy thinking behind it. We just kind of vibed because the beat was so good.
Frank151: It really is and now that you say that, the next time I’m babysitting my niece or something, I’m definitely going to play the song to put her to sleep because the sound is so good and soothing at the same time. It does work for all ages. –MVW, I know you mentioned “Tru Tru” is like a “…psychedelic, anime trap dream that allows people to escape into,” which I thought was the perfect metaphor for the song’s style and sound. So when you’re composing music/making beats, do you think of it as a spiritual journey? What’s your process in creating the compositions you create because there’s this very ethereal tone to all the music that you create.
“As I’ve been working on hip hop more, I’ve been trying to elevate the compositions into more worlds but still keep that sense of minimal, hypnotic…”
–MVW on composing classical music to producing hip hop
MVW: It’s definitely a spiritual process. It’s very intuitive. A lot of music and the way that I write, it’s usually at the piano– that’s where a lot of things start and it usually takes many months to flesh things out. As I’ve been working on hip hop more, I’ve been trying to elevate the compositions into more worlds but still keep that sense of minimal, hypnotic…like you were saying enchanting. That’s kind of like, at least the adjectives, that I use to kind of transport myself when I’m making music and that is the spiritual process for sure. So I’m glad that it’s transferred over. Even into a world, like dance, and the idea of listening to music in the car to “bop.” It doesn’t lose that integrity of having this intrigue or etherealness which sometimes is not the case in a lot of commercial music.
Frank151: Yeah, that makes sense because again, you still have the catchy tunes/melodies to it but at the same time it still has something beyond just catering to “friendly” or commercial radio. It’s very unique in its own way. Lil Cherry, with you too, a lot of your music as well has this ethereal tone but allows you to vibe and dance to it and move to the beat. Do you feel like there’s a spiritual aspect to when you’re creating music or deciding how? What is your process like?
Lil Cherry: I think it is a spiritual process and not just when I’m in the studio, but it’s gotta be embedded into my daily lifestyle, routine and habit. For me, the story always comes first and I’m always writing poems. I’m always writing something in my journal or on my phone. It’s a healthy habit for me. Even when I’m watching a movie, I write down something along with the movie, maybe it’s a certain word I like or something I felt. I got this giant collection like a “self-encyclopedia” of words, phrases, quotes, short stories, poems and when I get into the studio, I’ll take my journal out and start vibing with a beat or a sound. I’ll go back to what I wrote in my journal. It’s this mix and match type of situation where I’ll start putting the puzzle pieces together. Sometimes I’ll get inspired simply by a conversation I have with someone so yes, it is a spiritual process. It’s a very human process.
Frank151: When you were saying watching movies or having a conversation…what are your biggest inspirations when it comes to making music? Do you turn to other artists or do other artists influence you? What in your life do you feel reflects or helps you to create the music that you compose?
MVW: I think something Cherry just said is something I gravitate towards. Daily life and experiences. That’s why in the pandemic it was really hard because I felt like daily life and interacting with people was such an integral part of why I compose and how I process things. A lot of compositions would be memories of loved ones or just a friend’s birthday might inspire improvisation and I would write that down or record it. Then try to build a piece. Just very personal moments. Anything that’s been really intimate has always been something I try to channel into my work. When the pandemic hit, I was missing that and so I missed the ability to interact with musicians and compose work in the way that I did, but that also gave me a new world where I could sample my existing work and figure out that all my compositions could be reused with drums. That was something I developed through a remix project. Eventually working with Lex Luger (multi-platinum producer), one of the first trap producers I collaborated with… once I heard that, I was just in love. I grew up listening to hip hop. Hip hop was my pop music so it was like a big gift.
Frank151: What was it about rap, hip hop and r&b that made you both want to be involved with that genre specifically? – I know that MVW… you have songs from your Trajectories (album) that makes me cry and then the songs from The South Shore (album) makes my heart ache; both in a good way. It’s like the songs on Trajectories are like fairy tale stories told through musical chords and the songs on The South Shore are like dramatic films getting ready to be nominated by The Oscars [laughs]– but then you go on and complete songs on the opposite (side of the music) spectrum composing hip hop songs like “Tru Tru,” “Mobb Ties;” “Oscar.” What was it that made you (both) decide that this was the genre you wanted to partake in with music? When did you know that this was a genre you wanted to follow in music as a career?
“… Flo Rida came to one of my middle school (events) to perform. That was before he blew up with “Apple Bottom Jeans.””
–Lil Cherry on musical influences
Lil Cherry: For me around four-five years ago, that’s when I was still in school at the time. I took a year off and went to Korea. When I went to my brother’s (K-Hip Hop artist: Goldbuuda), he turned his room into a studio. He had been practicing producing and rapping. He sat me down. He was playing me a bunch of beats and asked me to freestyle so I took out a bunch of my poems that I had been writing recently (at that time). I just started adding melodies to it and that’s how I made my first song “Motorola.” The way I started there wasn’t much thinking behind it. It just kind of all came together. Growing up I listened to a variety of music from Bow Wow, Pretty Ricky, Lil Jon, Soulja Boy, Nelly, Lil Wayne, T-Pain to Ciara, Hannah Montana– but also a lot of K-Pop too like 2NE1, Girls’ Generation, Big Bang– but then also I grew up in Miami (Florida) so I was listening to Flo Rida. Flo Rida came to one of my middle school events to perform. That was before he blew up with “Apple Bottom Jeans.” All of those influences came together and I think that’s how it happened. I don’t think I really thought about it like, “What kind of music can I contribute to the scene.” In the beginning, it just kind of happened super organically.
Frank151: It sounds like it for you and your brother (Goldbuuda) too. You both are so talented. Goldbuuda, his style as well. The way that you both spit rhymes is just so good and so catchy and fun. Did you guys grow up singing together? Did you share music with one another?
Lil Cherry: Oh yeah, definitely. Everything he was downloading online, we shared a computer at that time so the music he was listening to I was vibing off of too. When we were growing up in Miami it wasn’t like we made music, but we would freestyle and try to make each other laugh. That was one of the things we always did for fun. Back then we didn’t think of it as, “Oh let’s make a song or rap.” We just kind of did it for fun just to try and make each other laugh. Then over time, he went off to college and I came back to Korea to finish high school. Then I went to New York for college. That’s when he went back to Korea to do his military and then later on when we actually got into the booth, it just kind of evolved into this real thing where we started actually making music together.
Frank151: When you went to NYU, were you going to school for music or was it one of those things where you were pursuing one thing and then just by the fate of fate, music was your calling?
Lil Cherry: Oh yeah, I found it spontaneously thanks to Goldbuuda I would say because I was majoring in poetry in school so not exactly music related. It just kind of came together. What happened was one of the mandatory assignments we had in high school was that everybody had to join in on this poetry slam. Everybody had to write a poem and that’s when I fell in love with poetry. I decided to major in it in school. Poetry slam is basically like rapping without music in the background so I don’t even think of it as a transition from poetry to music. It’s all kind of the same thing in my mind.
Frank151: I definitely agree because with art, everything blends. I mean art is in all things of life. People like yourself are artistic and poetic at the same…When someone writes lyrics, it can be poetic. They go hand in hand. There are deeper meanings to songs, but even when some songs or lyrics are just fun, it still has this art to it. It definitely is all art. Poetry and lyrics are one in the same when you have an amazing artist like yourself. – And MVW, what about you? When it comes to music, when did you know that you wanted to pursue music as a profession?
“I started listening to music at eight or ten on my own and by the time I was twelve, I was in New York and started listening to hip hop like Biggie and Wu-Tang…”
–MVW on inspiration to pursue music as a profession
MVW: I was born in New York. I moved around five to South Florida. I grew up kind of there and went back to New York visiting my dad. I started listening to music at eight or ten, on my own and by the time I was twelve, I was in New York listening to hip hop like Biggie and Wu-Tang. I was actually born in Staten Island where Wu-Tang’s from. I remember getting into hip hop around that age. I never thought I was going to get into music. My grandma played piano and I had a piano in my house. I would do a little bit with her but nothing I took very seriously. Then I went to NYU; I moved back to New York. When I did that I immediately wanted to be an artist when I was in that community. It was just a very artistic school in general. I thought about making beats and doing hip hop which is what I grew up on. Then I was like, “Alright let me try and play an instrument first.” I took piano lessons and then I kind of got lost in that. I started eventually studying composition; studying privately with La Monte Young and some other composers. I kind of just ended up wanting to be a composer at that point and literally spent almost a decade doing that stuff. It wasn’t until the pandemic “reset button.” I didn’t even think the whole reason why I started composing was hip hop, but I always listened to hip hop even as a classical composer. There were certain things in the melodies. Like you were describing, I appreciate the way you listen to my albums. There is this cinematic quality and melodic loops that are repetitive. Minimal melodies that I always kind of imbued into classical music. You wouldn’t think that it was influenced by hip hop, but it was. Then comes full circle: the use of classical music or my contemporary music to influence the way I use it to make hip hop. It was kind of this elaborate circle.. –It’s cool Cherry that we both spent time in Florida and went to NYU.
Frank151: How coincidence! Did you know each other in Florida or in New York? Did you hang out with the same crowd or places?
MVW: No, I don’t think so. I think I was a little before.
Lil Cherry: No, this is crazy. I did not know that. And you (MVW) were studying music at NYU?
MVW: I studied music and business. I was doing classes at Steinhardt, College of Arts & Sciences, and also at Stern.
Lil Cherry: Ayyye, that’s fire.
Frank151: For each of you, who would be another dream collaboration? Who’s another artist(s) you’d like to collaborate with either together or separately?
Lil Cherry: That’s a good question. Well we definitely need to work on more tracks that’s for sure. When it comes to my musical influences or dream collab? Me and my brother [Gold]buuda, we’ve already made a couple albums together but my dream is definitely to keep making those albums with him as well. There’s so many…we love to mix genres… as time goes on, we’ve become more and more experimental but I’d say mixing and experimenting with more genres with my brother. Someone I haven’t worked with, I’d say, Pharrell. Pharrell is definitely at the top of the list. Pharrell has this beautiful focus on community and the way he always tries to channel this element of positivity in his music is something that inspires me a lot. That’s something I want to keep doing as well. Yeah, I want to say Pharrell. Also I want to say my mom actually plays the piano very well so maybe collaborating with my mom. That’s on my list as well.
Frank151: That would be fire! Imagine that: your brother, you and your mom. I am down for that. Let us know when so we can keep a lookout. – What about you MVW?
MVW: It changes over time and evolves. If you asked me right now, I would probably say Sade or Lil Wayne.
Frank151: It’s like weather, everything’s always changing… – Even when I listen to the compositions you make MVW, it sometimes reminds me of Hans Zimmer so your music can cater to both film and the music industry. I don’t know if that was intentional or if it’s just that your music hits all the entertainment spectrums. Your music I could see being used for scoring films. – Lil Cherry, when I’m listening to all your songs, I’m thinking to myself, “Oh I can see this in a film…” I can see your tracks in different scenes. Someone like Quentin Tarantino doesn’t compose music but he knows how to mix up and choose good songs for his film’s soundtrack. Lil Cherry, you were saying that you watch movies, is film something you’re interested in as well since you’re also a writer?
Lil Cherry: Oh yes, definitely.
MVW: The idea of things being very visual and filmic has always inspired me. Movies and just the idea of a cinematic thing, I haven’t written. I have been in a couple documentaries for some of my classical music but nothing where I have scored a film just because a lot of the way I write is a personal dialogue. A lot of people come up to me and say they see a lot of visuals. I don’t actually see any scenes in my head when I’m writing music. I’m just a visual person who likes painting and galleries. Visual art really inspires me but I don’t actually see scenes, but I always like to hear when people do. Some people have that very visual imagination and they can see all this in their head when they’re listening to music but I just hear the sounds and how they make me feel. I’m glad to hear it, but it’s something I haven’t really carved out I guess.
Frank151: That makes sense and even solely continuing on with just music, the style in the way that you compose music, it just visually puts things in my head. – Lil Cherry, anytime I watch any of your music videos, I could watch you all day. You’re very charismatic. So maybe it’s just wishful thinking putting it out in the universe like, “I want to see both of you in a film.” Your work in a film. – Since you both said you were in New York at one point, what’s one of your favorite food spots in New York that you recommend?
Lil Cherry: I would only recommend this place if you’re into acai bowls. There’s this spot called IC Brooklyn in Bushwick. I lived in Bushwick for about a ~year. ~Year and a half. Towards the end of my college days. The acai bowls there are crazy. I spent like thousands of dollars probably just in acai bowls. A breakfast, lunch and dinner type of deal.
Frank151: [jokes] Dang girl, I thought I was the only one that would do things like that.
Lil Cherry: [laughs] I definitely recommend IC Brooklyn out in Bushwick.
MVW: There are almost too many places to name for restaurants in NYC. I spent a lot of time in Brooklyn and the city trying new spots and I feel like the palette is an opening for aesthetic experience.
Frank151: What about in Florida? How’s the food in Florida?[LONG PAUSE]
MVW: (Lil) Cherry, how was the food in Florida for you?
Frank151: You both were very quiet for that one (question).[LAUGHS]
Lil Cherry: Yeah, I had to think about it. The first thing that comes to mind is the virgin pina coladas by South Beach, but as for food, um… I’m not sure about the food. The food was good, but I’m going to go with the virgin pina colada.
MVW: I would say Joe’s Stone Crabs in Miami is a pretty good seafood spot down there.
Frank151: Thanks for giving our readers some recommendations for anyone in New York or Florida. – Anything else you’d like to share or anything they should be on the lookout for?
Lil Cherry: I’d say, hopefully this is the first of many collabs. I want to thank, MVW for reaching out, thinking up this collab and showing us mad love for – 하늘천따지 (“1000 Words”). As far as what I’ve got coming up next, slowly but surely my solo album is coming up. I can’t give you a date just yet, but I am working on that. From here on out, I’ll be going back and forth more often from Seoul (Korea) to the (United) States so that’s something huge to look forward to.
Frank151: That’s exciting and we look forward to it. – And MVW anything we should look out for?
MVW: Yeah, I just want to thank (Lil) Cherry for this beautiful and organic collaboration. Just hearing your vocals and your style and your sound, I don’t think there’s really anyone doing what you’re doing. You have a really wide range in your music and your abilities. I look forward to hearing what else we can cook up and see what the potential is. Hopefully you’ll be in L.A. one of these days.
Lil Cherry: Hell yeah… Ayyye.
Frank151: And then we’ll have to ask you both the next time around, what you think about L.A. food.[End of Interview]