What is your name and what city do you rep?
My name is Khalif Smith and my artist name is Young Leaf. I was born in Los Angeles, CA but I grew up in Las Vegas, NV and Upper Darby, PA but move back to Las Vegas, NV after graduating college from Kutztown University with a sport management degree and minor in communication studies of May 2018.
What is unique about you and your music?
The thing that make me very unique is I love to support people on the things that they love to do. What’s unique about my music is I love to sing but I am diverse when it’s coming to my process in writing and recording my songs.
What shaped your music?
When I write my music it is based on my life and real situations that have happen throughout my life. So for instance Like No One a single that I release is a song about how I like a girl for over three years and I finally got the courage to ask her out on a date and she pretty much turn me down. So I wrote a song about how I got to learn my lesson to never like any one no more because they will never give me a chance to prove if I am worth a shot of dating.
When did you realize you were going to make music professionally?
I always knew since the age of seven I wanted to make music professionally but I really never had the resources to get involved right away. So I got involved in choir and just fell in love with music because it is a place I can espace to when I am going to through some things. Two years ago I finally decided to record my first song which receive good and bad feedback but I just knew it was time to make music because I was always talking about it with my best friend Dave.
What type of music do you listen to?
I listen to hip hop, rap, jazz, and pop. My favorite artists I like to listen to is Drake, Michael Jackson, and Baby Face.
Who, to you, is the most undervalued music artist?
The most undervalued music artist to me honestly there are a few artists that I feel deserve recognition for their hardwork. Dax because he is building a foundation of building a family of fans to spread his music and he speaks real stuff that’s a lot of people needs to listen too and incorporate it in their life. Another artist is Dr. Maleek when I listen to his music it remains me back in the 80s and 90s when you just want to impress that special someone or dealing with things that you can’t control. I hope these artists have a break through this year but honestly I love listening to up and coming artists because it shows that people love music. So, I want I feel like my brother D Kirk, D’ajah, A-Money, Yung Trench, and Manifest HB! are artists that people need to listen too.
How do you prepare for your performances?
The way I prepare for performances is listen to my songs like 100 times so I remember the words. Also, while I am practicing my songs to perform I think about ways I can incorporate the crowd in the performance or ways I can be different then everybody else when doing my set of songs.
What ignites your (song) writing flow?
The thing that ignites my flow is by listening to the beat of the song. Every artists is different when they record their songs so at the end of the day you don’t have to be lyrical or have rhymes as long as it makes sense people should understand the purpose of the song that we make as an artists. Music is art so if I am happy with the way I make music that’s all that should matters because we only got one life to live and we should be able to do the things that we love to do in life.
What do you do when you don’t do music (creative or otherwise) and that you are passionate about?
The things that I do when I am not doing music is watching basketball which my favorite team
is the Golden State Warriors and I am also a basketball coach. So, when I coach my kids I always tell them to be yourself and don’t let social media effect them or let anyone tell them that they can’t acheive something they put their mind too.
Success to you is…
Success to me is making sure I am leaving a impact on people lives. I always make sure to check on my family and friends. We all got to understand life is short we can be here today and then gone tomorrow so we gotta to cherish the times we have together. I am blessed to have a wonderful friend in A.J who works his butt off to make sure he is doing what he can do to make people happy with his amazing work.
What do you wish you were told when you first started rapping that you think would help artists starting out?
I tell everybody this I hate being called a rapper. I like to be called an artist because I don’t want to be categorized like everybody else. I want to be my own person who makes music because he really love doing it. So I will tell any artists that wants to get into music is to just do it and don’t be scared. There’s people that are going to doubt but at the end of the day if you are doing what you love to do then people opinions should not matter to you.
Any upcoming projects?
I am currently in the writing phase of working on my debut album called Reflections. It is going to be an album about my life, the mistakes that have made in the past, wanting true love, and looking forward to the future. I can’t wait for everyone to hear this project because this is going to be coming from the heart so I am going to take my time with this project.
Where do we find you music / music project?
You can find my music Apple Music: Young Leaf, Spotify: Young Leaf, SoundCloud: Young Leaf, and you can find my music videos on my YouTube Channel: Young Leaf Music