Producer, beatmaker, and self-proclaimed studio rat Yohance' Carter, who performs rolling and atmospheric music as vibesounds, has been married to his best friend for just over a week and his head is spinning.
The pair met while both were attending Wayne State University and are just months away from welcoming their "pandemic baby" into the world. On top of holding down a full-time job, the dynamic producer is fleshing out a long-awaited instrumental-heavy solo project with some features from familiar Detroit artists, including Nolan the Ninja, who teamed up with Carter for the lead single, "GO'HEAD," from his 2020 release, Talk Soon. Despite having big plans for this year, for Carter, it comes down to one mantra: keep going.
"As far as my career goes, you know, if anything, it's going to motivate me to go harder," he says. "I'm about to be a father, I'm married, you know. So with that comes the responsibility of like, OK, yeah, making music is my passion, but it's not just about me anymore. It's about my family and how I'm going to be able to provide for them doing what I love doing."
What Carter loves doing is staying positive and spreading positivity through his art, collaborations, and pushing himself to be better. Just listen to his track "Daily Devotions," a shimmering beatscape that Carter says is a taste of what's to come. But that wasn't always easy. Born in Denver, Colorado, Carter spent most of his life with his mother in Pontiac, where he says he and his peers had limited opportunities. His path, however, changed when his friend introduced him to some audio software, at which point Carter's penchant for video games took a backseat and his world cracked open.
"When you grow up in the city that I grew up in, there's only two choices. Either you're not going to school, you're not playing sports, which means you're subject to a lot of things that happen in the streets," Carter says. "So, like, when my friends started claiming a gang a couple years later, you know, I was already making beats. And after I left Pontiac, like, they chose that life. And I ended up just keeping my head down and working on music."
Keeping his head down would be a work philosophy that would follow Carter throughout his life. In one significant moment during a 2017 trip to Berlin as part of a documentary, Carter ran into Mike Banks of Underground Resistance, who was familiar with Carter's work and had some words of wisdom to dish out.
"He told me, 'Just keep your head down and keep making music. This is exactly what got you here."
Maintaining his level of positivity, Carter admits, has its challenges. He says it's often difficult not to compare himself to those in his age bracket who might take up the same sonic space as he does or hopes to. But in the same way that keeping his head down to focus on his family and his music, Carter knows the importance of raising people up and taking jealousy and hatred out of the equation. He opts to not knock other performers, even if their music isn't his taste, as he views all music as an expression of an interpretation of feeling, recalling a time when the city's music and art scene was considered "cliquish" among producers, MCs, and artists. To thrive both in the studio and out of it, Carter says it's all about leaving egos at the door, freeing up a hand to open the door for others to be heard.
"Instead of being a hater, maybe be like, that's aspiration that inspires me to want to get to that point, if not further," he says. "I'm gonna give you your flowers because I'm gonna applaud you and congratulate you, but I'm not gonna harp on it and try to compare myself. Right now, we're in a pandemic, still in 2021, in the new year. People lost their lives, we got a lot of racism going on, we've got this Black Lives Matter movement. We have the politics and all this turmoil that's going on all over the world. I think a lot of us are starting to realize, excuse me, but we need to cut the bullshit and actually support each other."
Part of our cover story, "12 metro Detroit acts we think will do big things in 2021."
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