Squallé’s passion for his craft sings loud and very clear. His old school styled rhymes paired justly with a new-school flow give the indie artist an unmatched vibe that takes listeners on a smooth, yet enjoyable ride. His newest project; Gone for the Summer, Back for the Fall, was to created to signify his thoughts and feelings during the pandemic as the musician took a short break from working on music to focus on making a difference in his community. Founder and Creative Director of The League of Step, Squallé’s organization was created to service at risk youth in his community by providing them with a strong male presence, mentorship, a creative outlet, and a sense of working together to help them navigate being young and black in the world. As an advocate for the youth and musician, Squallé put his love for music to use while servicing the kids. The proceeds from his album were put into The League of Step to purchase a studio to practice in as well as gear for the students to wear at their upcoming competitions.
Did you always know music was something you wanted to pursue?
Not really, in the beginning music was just something I got into for fun. Over time the more I did it, the better I got. I’ve always had a passion for it though. Once I got older I started getting a lot of people tell me that I should take it more serious. What really turnt me up though was the tragic death of my best friend, Kason Dubose, in high school. We always talked about it and when he died I felt a fire in me to make the dream come true for the both of us.
In what ways has your new music changed from when you first started?
It’s become more deep. More of what I want to say rather than what people want to hear. I used to create music just because, because it was cool to do and I was good at it. Once I got older, I started using music as my own therapy and in that process I started to appreciate it more. It saved my life if my honest.
What artist would you like to perform or do a duet with?
Where do I start? Definitely J. Cole, Rakim, Method Man, Kendrick Lamar, Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, Kelly Price, John Legend, Meek Mill, Joyner Lucas, Eminem, Twista, Busta Rhymes, Jhene Aiko, Miguel, Future, Rick Ross, Drake, Usher, 2 Chainz, Case, Mase, Donell Jones, Jadakiss, Young M.A, Queen Latifah and the list goes on. I could name artist all day. So, I’ll stop here!
What inspired you to start your nonprofit The League of Step?
I’ve been stepping since I was a kid and it’s been a passion of mine. In college I started my own step team, we competed and were able to gain a lot of experiences through the art form. When I got back to Athens, I was asked by nieces to come help coach their team, because they knew that I knew how to step. While coaching, we had a lot of success and I was able to involve myself into their lives and into the community. I also learned that Athens had an amazing, competitive step atmosphere through the school system. I wanted to take that blueprint and elevate. Some schools didn’t have teams due to funding or personnel. I wanted my program to be community based so that all kids, regardless of their school, could participate. The unprivileged youth in Athens didn’t have the space, resources, and outlets as other kids and I wanted to be in that gap for them. I wanted to give them the opportunities and teachings that the more privileged kids had. Also thought that since stepping was such an amazing outlet for me that would hopefully be something amazing for the youth. Six years after my return to Athens, The League of Step was born. My staff and I decided that we wanted the program to be more than an outlet of expression, more than just stepping, more than an escape from day to day trauma. We wanted it to be something that instilled values, morals, goals, culture, knowledge of self and self love. So we decided to create programs within the program that would do so. Aside from stepping we offered mentoring, tutoring, field trips, workshops, sessions with black community leaders and activists and community service. These kids get exposed to a lot of different things. They meet black politicians, lawyers, doctors, policemen, firefighters, entrepreneurs and more. They meet people who’ve shared similar experiences, they meet people who just like them were faced with obstacles and made it out. They receive 1 on 1 tutoring with our staff if needed, also group tutoring to promote social skills and communication. We teach the importance of the community and why we do the service to our community. The story isn’t written fully though, there’s much work to do and we are indeed still writing.
Any upcoming projects coming up that you would like to share with readers?
Currently working on a couple of collaborative projects. A rap/trap soul EP with a producer named Swave. A mixtape entitled Black Wave 2 with Kxng Blanco. Lastly working on some BLM tracks with a few rock bands.
What is your favorite album?
My Favorite Squallé is “Gone for the Summer, Back for the Fall” and my favorite album of all time is gotta be between “Back of My Lac” by J. Holiday or “Forest Hill Drive” by J. Cole!
What was one of the happiest moments of your childhood?
If I’m honest I didn’t really have the best childhood. I was always happy if my little brother and sister were happy. I bought them some clothes and shoes one year and seeing them smile was enough for me. Another year my older sister’s apartment was robbed and they stole all my little brothers gifts from under the tree. I gave every gift that had to him and watching him light up was definitely a moment. Til this day I don’t think he really knew what was going on behind the scenes.
If 2020 was a book, what would its title be?
“Are We Really Prepared To Live Without a Government?”
What is your favorite birthday memory?
I was born December 28th and to me it’s the day where people are too exhausted from Christmas and too excited for New Years. One year in high school though I got a MVP award in this basketball tournament we played in. That was dope, I can’t lie.
What is the one book or movie that made you change your point of view on a subject?
“Hidden Colors” did for me.
What are the top three places you need to see before you die?
Egypt, Great Wall of China and the moon.
What’s the most important thing you learned from your parents?
Stand up for what you believe in, never feel inferior to anyone, don’t let your past situations dictate your final destination. Lastly, life is short and you gotta make the best of it, because you never know the future. Pops always told me to live by the code, trust, loyalty and respect. Without trust in your circle you’ll always be paranoid and if you’re paranoid you’re not living your life the way you should. Remain loyal to all those who are loyal to you and respect yourself.
How can everyone keep in contact with you on social media?
You can follow me on Instagram and Twitter at @Squalle_Shottem. Follow my Facebook at Www.facebook.com/Dawiseonesqualle or email me at Bookingsqualle@gmail.com. Check me out. Us artist are nothing without the people who support us.