by Camille Johnson
TimsWhenItsWarm is a native-Detroiter and rapper from Alabama’s Mile High Music Group. Since his 2014 debut, TIMS has had the opportunity to perform on 4 SXSW stages and released two projects included his most recent release -- T.I.M.S. EP2. Camille got the chance to interview TimsWhenItsWarm about his budding career, musical influences, and more.
FROM SPORTS TO RAP
I’ve always been a writer, always been influenced by music. I’m always writing down lyrics and things I want to say. It’s been like that since I was a teenager. I could be in the grocery store and think about something and get a pen and bag a write down something.
But I didn’t get really serious about my music until after I graduated from college. Before I was doing music, I graduated from Alabama A&M with a degree in Sports Management and was interning to be a sports agent, working with basketball, football, and hockey players. During that time I went to SXSW and it changed my life.
At first I was nervous because I was doing so well in the sports world and I didn’t really wanna give that up. But I would go to sleep at night with a bunch of what-ifs in my head and I decided I didn’t wanna live with regrets. Music was what I wanted to do so I went after it.
MIXING DETROIT & THE SOUTH
Detroit is resilient. Out of all the stuff we’ve been through, we’re still strong, we’re still in your face. We know you haven’t forgot about us. We can always rise to the occasion. We come off arrogant with the clothes we wear and the gaudiness of our jewelry, but that’s just the way we were raised. I think the Detroit's influence on music is how smooth and cool our music is, cuz Detroit is a smooth, cool city. People get the impression that we’re a negative, rah rah city, but that’s not true. We’re influenced by the jazz, by the blues.
Being from Detroit and having a southern experience have both influenced my music. The South is all about the bass. Detroit is about the lyrics. I feel like I’ve found the common medium between those two in my music.
In terms of artists, I’d say my music is really influenced by Uncle Luke, Anthony Hamilton, Snoop, Aerosmith (especially their song Jaded), Rich Homie Quan. I’m multifaceted so I can find inspiration from everybody. Everything influences me.
5 things we should know about TimsWhenItsWarm
1. I’m not afraid to travel. I travel everywhere. I’m influenced by travel.
2. I'm very family oriented. I can’t work with you if we don’t have a genuine relationship and I don’t consider you family. I need to have a genuine love for you in order to work with you.
3. I’m in love with my beard. I think it’s awesome. I worked so hard to get it. I love how flossy it is. Other dudes got hard prickly ones, but mine is flossy. I condition it everyday. You gotta take care of it. It’s a part of my face and appearance is everything, especially in this game.
4. My artistry also comes from what I wear and I’m a big fan of the streetwear culture. I love to wear the stuff that I feel like is dope in our culture – I express myself through clothes and colors. I want to be known as the person that’s putting on that streetwear culture through what he wears. That’s why I like shooting videos. I feel like everything needs a visual. Sometimes it feels like I see music. As much as you can tell a person how you feel, you can show a person how you feel, especially through clothes and colors.
5. My favorite color is blue. There’s so many different shades of it. A lot of people see it as representing sadness, but I look at blue as unity, as vibrant, as a statement.
I want my music to be more of an uplifting, get you through your day type music. Feel good music. If my music doesn’t give you a feeling through your body then I’m not giving you good music. It has to be more of a positive influence.
I wanna give off a high but real smooth energy. I know I want it to be positive and a joyous mood. Something that people can grab a hold to. I’m really big on the name that they give Detroit artists – you know, we not always talking about drugs, the new buffs, and the rims on our cars. We also talk about how diverse and how smooth the culture can be. So I wanna bring back that 70s/80s feel, but with an up-tempo beat. The Motown, Anita Baker, Smokey Robinson eras. They gave me the eclectic, well-balanced vibe that makes you feel good. I want my music to have that same impact on people.
I also wanna bring back fun to Detroit music. If you were to put all the upcoming Detroit artists on a bill, it would be more competitiveness than togetherness. It’s okay to tell another artist that he’s dope and to rock out on stage with him. I wanna help bring that type of vibe back.