G io & Ajani
About Gio & Ajani
Gio: I'm a 13 year old producer/beat maker from Seattle, WA. Currently I am in the eighth grade at The Bush School. Right now I use my nickname Gio, which is short for Giovanni, my real name, as my stage name. I currently am in a duo with Ajani in which he writes/raps the lyrics and I make the beats.
Ajani: I’m a filipino rapper from Seattle, Washington. I’m currently an eighth grader attending The Bush School. I go by my real name Ajani, but if you want you can call me A.J. I’m also in a duo with Gio, he produces beats and I add the lyrics.
Tell us a little about how you discovered your love for music. What are some of your greatest influences?
Ajani: I’ve been surrounded by music my whole life. My dad is in a group called the Blue Scholars so having a parent who’s also a rapper influenced me a lot. I’d have to say I’ve always had a love for music, but when I started to discover my passion for making music was last year in 7th Grade. Last year around the summertime my dad had just set up a little studio in are house and told me I should try making some music. I made a song with my boy Gio back in July called “Summer Vibez” it was a terrible song but we had to start from somewhere. Since then Gio and I have been working on this EP named “Intuition” which came out March 2nd. Right now I listen to a lot of BROCKHAMPTON, Jaden Smith, Kendrick, Drake, and Post Malone. Those artists do have an influence on the type of music I wanna make, but my greatest influences I have to say would be my parents. They are both super hard workers and push me to my full potential. I know I can improve twenty times more as an artist, and I also have Totem Star to thank for helping me get to where I want to be.
Gio: I have always been experiencing various types of music for as long as I can remember. Each of my family members has different taste in music and I've heard that through them playing and singing it around the house. I am classically trained in the cello which I have been playing since I was 5 years old. My interest in this instrument began when I was 2 years old. Because the earliest you could begin taking lessons was 5, I experimented with various other instruments like the banjo, guitar, toy violin, etc. for those 3 years until I could begin taking lessons. Also, when I was about 10 or 11 years old an interesting sparked in producing beats. I really enjoyed listening to music, especially rap/hip hop and trap, and made beats for fun on a phone app for a while. Once I really started to get interested in it my dad bought me FL Studio 12 for a laptop. I self-taught myself through YouTube tutorials and messing around and have been making beats ever since. It was just a hobby for a while until middle school when Ajani and I started to become friends. We realized how my beats and his rapping went hand and hand and we made a song last summer called “Summer Vibez”. Looking back on it it was pretty bad but it was our first song and we have evolved and learned a lot from it. Then when eight grade started up this year and we learned about the Experiential Independent Project (EIP) at school we both had the idea of making an EP. The experience of having this project with the deadlines really pushed my to work way harder at making beats and turned it into more than just a hobby. In terms of artists my greatest influences would probably be Migos and Lil Uzi Vert. For producers, my greatest influences would have to be Metro Boomin and Zaytoven. My Indian heritage has and will continue to influence my work as well.
Tell us about your song. What inspired you? How do you hope listeners will receive your message?
Gio: Ajani and I have worked on our EP "Intuition" that we recently finished over the past few months. We made this project as part of our eighth grade EIP project experience. In our duo, I make the beats and Ajani writes and raps the lyrics. For this EP Ajani wrote his lyrics based off of the certain emotion that the beat made him feel as each beat made us feel a certain way. I hope that listeners will pay attention to the thought that went into the lyrics and the overall music and be able to connect with the emotion associated with each song.
Ajani: Over the course of around 3 months Gio and I finished our EP. “Intuition” is my first ever project I’ve worked on as an artist, and when I was writing to Gio’s beats I wanted to write about what the beat made me feel like. I feel like every song or beat has an emotion connected to it so when I’m writing my lyrics I base it on what I’m thinking of and feeling of. The song “Lucky” on the EP talks about how lucky we are to live life and see the world, and that's also what the beat made me feel too. I hope listeners enjoy the songs, but also see the difference in every song.
What have you learned from your experience with Totem Star? What are some of the biggest takeaways?
Ajani: There’s obviously the technical sides of making music that I’ve never learned before like mixing and leveling, but there’s also the mindset that Totem Star has given me. I feel like I’m more driven and more eager to make music or try new things. Without people like Daniel Pak, Thaddeus Turner, Paul Laughlin and Matt Sablan. I would have never finished my EP, or meet the people I’ve met. I can’t thank Totem Star enough for giving me this opportunity to find the artist in me that I’ve been looking for.
Gio: First of all, I’ve learned more about the aspects of music making like recording, leveling, etc. which has been really helpful as I am trying to become more independent. Also, Totem Star has also provided me with many connections to other artists as well as great opportunity to become a better musician. I would also like to thank Totem Star for all of this knowledge and opportunity that they have shared with me.
What advice would you give to other young artists?
Gio: I would probably say to chase your dreams and to never give up. Don’t get to caught up on getting popular and instead perfect your craft. Try to be original, still use your inspiration/influences, but take them and make it your own. If you love making music you should definitely follow that passion. Also, take advantage of opportunities to progress yourself in music, especially getting your music available to be heard my people as well as creating connections and collaborating with others.
Ajani: If you really feel passionate about making music and getting out there, you should really take risks and join programs like Totem Star. It gives you chances to meet people that have the same passion as you, and gives you the chance to grow as an artist, producer, whatever you wanna be. Trust the process and let yourself branch out into the world so you can become your best self.