The Next Sure Thing: A Conversation with Rising Pop Artist Porsh Bet$
Great music is a conversational piece of art that can talk to you. At other times, it'll introduce you to something and someone new. Enter: Porsh Bet$, a pop artist from Harlem, NYC, whose creativity and maturity are well beyond his 22 years. From his respect for women to paying homage to Harlem legends, EDITION had the pleasure of learning about the burgeoning star. With a February 17, 2022 release date for his sophomore EP Things In The Way, Porsh is poised to establish himself as an artist who is here to stay.
I tend to think of NYC as a living, breathing organism. How did growing up in Harlem influence you?
There's a certain demeanor and swag you get from being a New Yorker and Harlemite, specifically. The fast pace of the city always made me a hustler. Not a street-hustler, per se, but I used to make and sell clothes. Even in grade school, I would carry a duffle bag full of snacks and sell them. And even though I've only released one EP, it's been a long journey to get to this point, and that New York tenacity has helped me along the way.
People from Harlem are known for being flashy and boisterous, but you have a very calm demeanor.
I'm quietly confident, and most, if not all, of my bravado, is reserved for my music. Even if I'm not talking about having this and being that, my energy is such that I'm very sure of myself when I'm creating. But I still represent Harlem, so much so that the dollar sign in my name is derived from greats like Ma$e and A$AP Mob.
Paying homage is a beautiful sign of respect, and I've noticed respect and empathy shine through in your music, especially for women. Where does that come from?
I was raised by my mom and grandmom, and I take after their demeanor. And honestly, it's hard for me to understand how people ever disrespect women. Women are the greatest creations to exist on their alone, let alone the fact that none of us are here without them. And as a young man, I'm not perfect, but I try my best to be empathetic towards their plight, especially Black women.
Black women are the most disrespected people on the planet, so I appreciate how highly you speak of them, particularly at your age. You can lead young men by showing respect for women through your music. How does that make you feel?
It would be cool to be people's favorite artist and hear less disrespect of women in music, but it's not necessarily a goal of mine because people have different perspectives; I can only speak to my experiences as they speak to theirs. But I'll definitely embrace it if my values and principles rub off on people. My mom and grandmom listen to my music (laughing), and I don't curse in front of them; it would be weird, so I try to steer clear of using derogatory language towards women in my music.
So, what would you consider your goals?
I want to be around for a long time and have my music outlive me. To be able to create timeless music and have people feel and see my growth as an artist from my first project to whatever would be my last. I don't want to stay the same and do the same things over & over.
Try out different sounds or evolve your own sound?
Tinker with a bit of everything. Trial by error sort of thing. I have so many different musical influences and a very eclectic music palette, from JAY-Z to Ed Sheeran. I'd be doing myself a disservice if I didn't feed that part of who I am.
Speaking to that, the songs on your first EP, I Used To Think Forever, sound nothing like the title track "Things In The Way" on your second EP of the same name.
As I grow, my music grows. "Things In The Way" is about the difficulties of being in a relationship. Whether it's long-distance or otherwise, there are a lot of things that can get in the way, no pun intended.
Listening to the song and watching the video, what was the message you wanted to convey, or is it open for interpretation?
I'm a big fan of action movies. The Town is my favorite movie, and I love Wes Anderson films, so I wanted to incorporate a visual story with the song. You literally see me being kidnapped in the video, and that represents life taking me away from the person I want to be with. That kidnapping could be a job and responsibility getting in the way of a relationship.
When you write songs, are they predicated on what you're dealing with and feeling at the time, or is it more of a creative listening type of thing?
I don't really premeditate it; it's all instinct. It could've been something I was dealing with this morning or someone else's experiences, but I'm blessed with the gifts to communicate these things through song.