“Patience is a virtue”, something we all know too well. Good things simply do not come easy, they take time. Few have realized this more than the artists using social media as their main tool for growth. These artists are consistently mocked, seen as the bottom-of-the-barrel artists clinging to any way to get in the spotlight. To be fair, however, a large percentage of these social media artists are lacking in substance and passion, but there are also several diamonds in the rough. Artists like Quadeca, Frank Sativa, Young Wabo, and Shy High all got their starts through some form of social media and have displayed a range of talents multiple times across their respective catalogs. From time to time a new artist will emerge and add their name to the pool of these respected artists, and I was lucky enough to stumble upon one still amid the start of their growth.
ArmstrongWW, a twenty-year-old Cameroonian-American artist, recently appeared in my feed, teasing a future release and I was instantly captivated by his sound. My interest piqued, I looked into his Spotify to get a better idea of what this artist had to offer where I was met with a surprise; Armstrong only had nine hundred eighty-nine monthly listeners. Publicity should never have an impact on how the quality of the music is perceived, but it certainly caught my attention. I quickly dove into his discography and after a thorough listen I was genuinely impressed with the product in front of me. Despite not having an album, Armstrong has consistently released seven singles since 2020. I took a deeper look into his social media pages and I saw a determined man trying to get his art and name out to a larger audience, but there was something interesting about his attitude. He was not trying to rush the process, multiple times he said he understood his position and was just focused on making music true to himself, and you can not do anything but respect him for that.
I felt compelled to get a word with Armstrong, not only to try and get his story out to more people but out of my own personal desire. I came into this interview as not just a writer, but as a fan as well. As I do with all of my interviews, I started by asking him to give a short description of himself. He quickly obliged, saying that he is “turning his emotions into sounds” further stating “Music is honestly a part of me at this point, so my main focus has just been working on how I can better communicate myself through my art.” Turning his emotions into sounds is something that he has mentioned multiple times, and when I asked him to elaborate further on this idea he explained “That’s something that’s hard to explain actually, but I feel like I process everything through music. When I’m sad I hear sad melodies in my head and when I’m lonely I hear eerie sounds. For me, making a song is trying to capture a sound that when I listen back to can give me the feeling I had when I first created it.” He later went on to say, “Any song I have right now was captured at a specific moment in my life and can never be replicated because that emotion has been turned into a sound and I don’t know if that makes sense, but it’s just how my brain works.” Conveyance is a skill that is difficult to master in the realm of music and to be able to get a grasp of it during the infancy of his career is very impressive. Backtracking slightly, I asked him about his early life, wondering if he has grown up here in Cameroon or here in the states, to which he detailed “I was actually in Cameroon till I was seven years old, so there’s a lot of experiences I had there. The transition, though, was definitely a big shock at first because America felt like a whole different world. Funny enough, now being here feels like the norm, so I don’t know what it would feel like being home.” This certainly sets him apart, coming from a very different background. Growing up in a much different environment allows certain artists to express themselves in different ways, being raised in multiple cultures. This adds a certain uniqueness to his style, with his accent seeping through at times, especially in his latest release “Call You”. Keeping the focus on his early days, I asked how long he had been doing music. Interestingly, he told me that he has “been making music since I was six years old but I just started recording and releasing two years ago. Since I was a kid, how everything sounded always attracted me so I would write my own songs to the soundtracks of movies or outros of songs playing on the radio.” Certainly not the cookie-cutter story you hear from most artists, especially hearing that he started at the age of six years old. If nothing else, this proves his raw sense of creativity; the only thing he needed from that point was to harness it, and that he certainly has. He went on, saying “This developed over time to becoming literally obsessed with writing” mentioning that he was even “making songs to even my alarm sounds.” He later said, “I finally decided to start releasing music because I realized it was the only thing that truly had my heart, and I can’t live this one life without showing people that” showing this is truly where his focus and energy is, something you cannot say about a lot of artists trying to make it.
As previously mentioned, Armstrong’s full stage name is ArmstrongWW, but what exactly do the two w’s mean? They stand for “World Wide”, which grabbed my attention when I first learned this. Wanting to learn more about the origins of this persona, I asked Armstrong what led him to this name, to which he told me “My goal is to spread my message to all corners of the planet and inspire free-thinking in every person” explaining that he believes “we are too tied down by the expectations of society so we never get the change to think for ourselves, we just go along with what’s been told to us. So I watch to change that, my name just makes sure I never forget the message.” Armstrong is more than a musician, he’s a visionary, and more than that, he’s simply a good person. He looks not only to bring himself up but to bring up as many other people as possible.
Starting to catch up to the present, I asked him what inspires the music he puts out, to which he said, “My biggest inspiration in my everyday life as of lately has been Saba” explaining that “I think he’s a great example of being independent and staying true to who you are even after the success. Moreover, seeing his come up and how much effort he puts into his craft always pushes me to do the same with mine.” This says a lot about Armstrong’s character; whereas most artists have their inspirations influence their music, his goes much deeper than that. Armstrong allows his inspiration to not only help him develop his sound but to develop his future and keep him working for his future. Armstrong expanded on this idea, stating “It’s hard being independent, and sometimes it feels like all the work you’re doing is going nowhere, so it’s a breath of fresh air to see someone in my career path thriving”, something many of us can connect with. Hard work does not always result in success and fame, as unfortunate as it is. We can only do so much to push our agenda and make it what we want, so to see Armstrong recognize this and be comfortable with the idea is very impressive and extremely respectable; however, if he keeps his work up and continues improving, I see a very long and successful future for him.
Trying to understand the science behind his craft, I asked him to explain his creative process to me. Similar to what he said earlier he explained that “I just like letting my emotions guide me because I feel like when you force music it comes out sounding like something that is not you”, and from a critic’s point of view I could not agree more. There is a clear difference between a performance coming from the heart to convey a message and sentiment and someone sloppily throwing together a melancholy or over-the-top illusion of happiness to try and sway the audience. After a thorough listen to Armstrong’s discography, I can confidently say that he is anything but sloppy. He gave more insight into this description, adding that “Somedays I’m really passionate about a topic and can write a song in an hour, while others I’m passionate yet delicate with the topic so it could take two days instead, so If I create a song and I play it back and I don’t feel it, then it will always be scratched no matter how long it took to make it” describing himself as “a translator of my emotions” stating that “I have to make sure I do them justice, I can never mess that up or that would mean losing myself.” If Armstrong has a grasp on anything, it’s his emotions, and his music is no different, either. That’s what makes his career so promising, not only is his music auditorially pleasing, it has substance. He’s no one-trick pony, though, far from it. For as many songs like “Truth Never Lies”, a song expressing his love and appreciation for someone in his life there is a song like “Imperfect”, where he deals with self-worth issues. The mentioning of these songs now brings me to my next point.
Armstrong is coming up on two years of releasing his music, yet all of his songs have been released as singles. He has not mentioned any albums being in the works, so this caused me to ask him if he has any plans on releasing an album in the near future or if singles will continue to be the focus. To my surprise, he told me that he has “been working on one patiently for a while, just making sure that any body of work I create is the best it could be with no rush” saying that when it does finally come out it “will be something truly beautiful.” Many projects in recent memory have been forced out trying to capitalize off of the market resulting in under-cooked and un-fleshed out works; with Armstrong’s mindset, I don’t see this ever being a problem.
One thing I was very interested in learning about Armstrong was his live performances. When he started, how he started, and what the future of his performances looks like. In the beginning he “started doing open mics around the city, in Houston, there’s many of them” saying that “An open mic is cool because no one knows who you are so you really get to try out whatever you want.” After doing this for a while he “started getting more opportunities to perform through people finding my music or friends throwing events” later explaining that “Performing is always a great experience, so whenever an opportunity presents itself I’m usually the first one there.” He recently mentioned that he is looking to perform over the summer, so I asked him how this has been developing and what cities he is looking at, to which he told me “So far I’m performing in Petaluma, California, I have that locked down. Other than that I want to do a show in Austin, Chicago, New York City, and Atlanta. I’m still in the process of getting those together but if I can’t do so this summer then the fall will do.” If you live close to any of these locations, keep an eye out for his shows. I highly recommend attending one of these shows, as his style of music can become much more enjoyable and impactful in a live setting.
I like to start and end my interviews with the same two questions for each artist. At the start I ask them to introduce themselves, stating their name, age, and letting them describe themselves. To end off my interviews, I enjoy asking the artists what their aspirations are, what they want their career to look like when it’s all said and done. Armstrong took a second before writing back, “Firstly, I want to be able to make a living from music so I can have time to create more, but that’s only the beginning. I’m going to start my own artist management/label services company so I can help out upcoming artists serious about growing their careers. I think this industry is very predatory, so my focus is just creating an avenue for creatives to escape that yet still get paid.” This says so much about his character, even after making it he plans on giving back to those that share his ideals. Just another reason to keep rooting for this man, not only for his success but to in turn allow him to open new avenues. Finishing off his thoughts, he told me “I’m always going to be making music though, probably till I die. But at the end of my career, I see myself on a farm taking care of animals and enjoying nature, that would be cool.” A very interesting outlook, but one that fits Armstrong well.
To say it was a pleasure to talk to Armstrong would be quite an understatement. He has earned my utmost respect, and I truly wish him nothing but pure success as he moves forward in his career. Armstrong is a genuinely nice and caring person, wanting the best for those around him just as much as himself. I look forward to his album as it develops and his upcoming performances. I plan to closely watch over his career as it progresses and hope to see him fully live out his dreams one day, but for now, he will continue to be the hungry, talent-filled artist that he is today.
Armstrong’s Social Media