Interview with Sage the Fox

Originating from Tampa, Florida, rapper Sage the Fox discusses their recent musical transition from rap to funk, as well as his experience in the Harrisonburg area. Interviewer Campbell Wood talks to Sage about their similar perspectives on the value of music and the importance of being true to oneself. 

CAMPBELL: This is WXJM Harrisonburg 88.7 on your FM dial. If you're tuning in, welcome to a Saturday edition of The Camp Out with me, Campbell Wood. We're so excited to have Sage the Fox on. What's going on? How's it going? How you feeling?

SAGE: Great, man.

CAMPBELL: Wonderful.

SAGE: Recovery.

CAMPBELL: Awesome. Yeah no, that performance that you just did on air, that was beautiful. It was amazing. I really I hope you all listened to that, because just your voice... beautiful, beautiful stuff. Have you been singing for a long time? 

SAGE: You know, it's crazy. I actually started out as a singer when I was doing like choir and like chorus and other stuff. And then I went into rapping. And my mom was heated. She was like, no, no, no, go back! I can't play this for my friends. Honestly. I guess I just slowly transitioning back to, you know, what I know best

CAMPBELL: Right? That's so cool. Yeah, so yeah, tell us a little bit about yourself, you know, what kind of music you make, where you're from, just, you know, give yourself a little introduction to our listeners right now.

SAGE:So originally, born in Oklahoma, so I got that country in me. Moved down to Tampa, pretty much been out there my entire life. Basically raised in Florida. As far as the type of music I make, I used to, like I said, I'm just now making like a transition. Before it was just like straight rap music, but I just feel like rap is like super oversaturated right now. So, you know, I've been dabbling into funk music, stuff like that. So I wouldn't really say I really have a style, it's just, I just kind of just go with whatever I'm feeling that day.

CAMPBELL: And that's great. I really respect artists who you know, do kind of branch out and, like do other stuff. Because, you know, I just love to see people branch out. Yeah, so let's just like start from the beginning, like, when did you first start making music? You know, when do you realize that this was something that like you wanted to do for a career, you know, that you were really like, this is your thing.

SAGE: So I mean, like making music, I mean, I've always, you know, made music since I was like, a kid. But I just never really took it serious or anything like that. So I really, I would say within, like, the last five years or so, was when I was like, alright, I mean, I could probably do this, I could see myself doing this for a living. And then, you know, that's when I really started studying it more. You know what I mean, because at first it was just like always, like, get drunk with some friends and get in the studio or something like that. It was never something that I took, like, serious. But, you know, recently, like I said, after doing some studying and just looking at it from more of a, like a business and scientific mindset, versus just playing around with it. You know? Came out. Great. 

CAMPBELL That's awesome. Yeah, you just came out with a single “Sleep,” is that right? Tell us a little bit about that. Like the inspiration behind it, you know, what really went through like in the process of making it and all that.

SAGE: Man. So like I said, I always look at things from kind of like a, you know, scientific business mindset, especially when it comes to music, but it's a creative process, obviously. But you know, when you like, really pay attention to things so prime example, sleep just came about for me, just paying attention to what people listen to, you know what I mean? I've just been hanging around some women, I've noticed they don't, they don't play rap music. They don't play like that, that hard stuff. You know, I mean, they like that R&B. You know, I'm saying funk-type vibes. And I was like, I could do that. And I'll probably do it better so. So that's, you know, I mean, it just came about I would say it's inspired, I guess more Thundercat vibes. You ever listen to Thundercat? 

CAMPBELL: Oh yeah I love Thundercat, I saw him back in October,

SAGE: Right. The up was Dragon Ball Durag. Yeah, that's it, right? Yeah, him. I guess, Anderson .Paak, we'll find out a little bit. But yeah, I just figured I'd take a step into the front lanes. See how good I was at it. 

CAMPBELL: That's great. Actually, that leads me to my next question. I know you're like, you're switching genres right now. But what kind of like other artists, like you talked about Thundercat, Anderson .Paak, what kind of artists inspired you to make rap music and then just wanted to get into like the funk game, the funk music? Like what kind of really, I guess like, what are the artists in each of those genres? Like really inspired you to like, make music and like go forward?

SAGE: So I would say, you know, Kendrick, definitely Kendrick Lamar. Not really a huge J. Cole fan, but I'm saying some of his stuff that inspired me as far as like the rap cycles. But even then with the funk side too, because if you've ever noticed, Kendrick will like dabble in something like that like on To Pimp a Butterfly? Yeah, Wesley's theory and stuff like that. Yeah. So I don't know, he's a huge inspiration, I would say so. And then, like I said, on the on the funk side, it's Thundercat. Anderson .Paak, Flying Lotus. You know what I mean, I hit the button right there.

CAMPBELL: Ugh, I haven't heard Flying Lotus from like anybody else. 

SAGE: Right, right. Yeah. That's crazy. I love Steve Lacy, Steve Lacy is another one. Yeah, so

CAMPBELL: What a good lineup. Yeah

SAGE: Oh, my God. That will be great.

CAMPBELL: You hit the nail right there.. I saw Steve Lacy too back over the summer. 

SAGE: I haven't gotten a chance to see him

CAMPBELL: He's such a, such a good performer.

SAGE: I know. I've seen like some of his stuff on YouTube. But I can't even like enjoy concerts anymore. Like, every time I go to a concert now it's just like, I'm in study mode. Like I'm, I'm sitting here like paying attention and everything. I'm listening to the music, the sound I'm looking at the lighting. I'm like, Alright, how's he performing? You know, what, what's the crowd interaction? All types of stuff. So I try to stay away from concerts. I'm locked in the whole time.

CAMPBELL: Yeah. So like, when you're like, you know, when you're performing your songs do you ever, like, get that kind of vibe from you know, seeing Thundercat perform, or like, just anyone perform like, like, do you get inspiration? Performance wise, when you're performing for audience like, what do you really want to bring to show people like who you are?

SAGE: I would say I just try to keep everything interactive. I mean, because you gotta, I don't know, you just gotta make the people feel good, like you're in this moment. Right here. You know what I mean? The music speaks for itself, right? Especially if you make good music, but I don't know, like prime example, you'll watch like Drake perform or something like that. And he's like, talking to the crowd the entire time. You know, just paying attention to the little things like I'll call people out. Sometimes I'll be like, "Hey, you with the pink hat!" Or something like that? And just, you know, give them like a more personable experience. It makes people memorize what just happened.

CAMPBELL: Yeah, I mean, no, 100%. No, those like, crowd interactions are always like, my favorite. Yeah, great. So now that your music is changing into you know, funk, like how do you think your own creative process will change as you start to make new music like, just like from how you made music before. Like, how do you think-

SAGE: So, I would say I'm more intentional with it now. I mean, because there's just so much more that goes into funk music, versus just rapping. I mean, rapping is just like, quick, drop the, drop the tape, you know, I mean, put a little adlibs behind it, maybe turn it up a little bit, boom, and we're in and out. Like, I can make a rap song like that. But funk is just so much more like intricate, you know what I mean? You got stacks and harmony and all this other stuff, you just got to throw into it to like, make it clash well, with the beat, so it's just.. I will say it just makes me more intentional with it. Like prime example, I used to go into a four hour session, you know, pump out like six, seven rap songs. You know what I mean? Now, a four hour session is like maybe three, four songs. I'm taking like an hour a piece on one song just to get it the way I want it. 

CAMPBELL: I mean, of course. Yeah. No, great. So what did you do before making music? What did you do before rapping? Did you ever have like, hobbies or anything that you know? 

SAGE: I just work, man. I run a- I run a business outside of this as well. So that takes up a majority of my time. But as far as like what I like to do for fun outside of, you can catch me on Call of Duty. I'll smoke anybody. You know what I mean? I'm the Warzone God. You don't want this problem. But yeah, chillin, hanging out with my brother. You know, I'm saying, I've been enjoying the little stuff. I'm a simple dude, man.

CAMPBELL: All right, I love to hear that. So let's say there's a person who has never heard of you, never heard of you music, has never listened to you know, rap, any funk like that. How would you kind of sell yourself to them? How would you introduce yourself as an artist to someone like that?

SAGE:I mean, I wouldn't. I would just let them hear the music. It's just how it goes. I feel like that's the thing, like people focus too much on trying to like, sell themselves when it comes to music. And that's how you end up like, it's like I was telling... like I was talking to this guy Wyatt yesterday. Like I was telling him, it's just like, you know, I feel like people focus too much on like, the image when it comes to being an artist, right? So you go out there, you got this whole Dior fit, you know what I mean? Pulling up in the Sprinter van, you got the gold chain, you got the watches all this other stuff. So it's like you're looking the part, you look great, right? He's got to be a rapper. He's got to be a singer. It's all right. Somebody's important, right? And then you get on stage... music's trash. You know, I mean, so it's like, you just put a whole lot of meat on that sandwich and no mayo. Ain't no sauce on that sandwich. So, you know, I just let it play, man. Let it play. Like I said, real, real people appreciate real things at the end of the day.

CAMPBELL: That's so real, I think yeah, music speaks way louder than actual words. I see that.

SAGE: Yeah, that's literally yeah.. So we went out to I guess, we went out to The Golden Pony and hung out a little bit. Afterwards, we went over to that spot, The Texas Inn, and I think that was-


SAGE: Yeah, that.. I think it's a TNT burger? Oh, I had like, put some jalapenos on that thing. Oh, my God. I was like oh man, this is fire. But nah so you know, everybody was just like, he says I'm always modest. So they were like, what do you do? I'm just like, I'm just, you know, in town doing a couple of interviews and stuff like that and I'm leaving, he's like, nah. Nah, tell him what you're really doing. You're doing a radio station interview. I'm like, yeah. And they were just like, well, what's your style? And I'm just like, here, we just put it on and it just spoke for itself. That's how I want it to be I don't want to have to sell you on anything. You know what I mean? I'm just gonna be me. And you're gonna hear what I got to offer. And that's it.

CAMPBELL: That's all they need to hear. Of course. Agh, it's so funny you say that, we at WXJM love Texas Inn. 

SAGE: That burger was slapping all the time.

CAMPBELL: They have something called the "Cheesy Western." That's our like, signature burger. It's like egg and pickled relish. So good.

SAGE: So I have pull back up to the Texas, you said cheesy Western, alright I'm writing that down!

CAMPBELL: And they're open late! They're open until like three, three in the morning. 

SAGE: So that was the only thing that was still open. Like I say, I'm from Tampa, right? So Tampa was like a whole different vibe. Everything's open to like four in the morning out there. I mean, I get, it is Easter weekend, praise the Lord. But yeah, I was like, hey man there's nothing going on out here? But Texas Inn was just vibing, we were kicking it!

CAMPBELL: Exactly. So what is one of your favorite songs that you've written yourself? And why? 

SAGE: Ah, man. So favorite song, I would have to say is "Bang." That was like one of the first ones I performed. Reason for that song I would say is just because that gives me like, super Kendrick vibes. I mean, I try to like, don't get me wrong, I like music that's just, you know, feel good music and all that. But at the same time, I do like to get deep about it. So the story behind that song is basically, it's like the evolution of guns in society. So, in the first part, I'm talking about how I'm just basically I'm speaking from the viewpoint of a caveman. Right, you know, I'm saying I'm out here just hunting for food. With old school spear with it. You know what I mean? Fighting off lions and tigers and stuff like that. And then basically, I'm starving because I ain't ate nothing, because I'm trying to kill it. I come across, you know, some little berries or whatever, take a bite. And now I'm transcended into this whole different world. And I basically get a glimpse into the future and I can see you know, something that I've never seen before. A man out here killing his food with this contraption that just- one shot is over with. And then in the second verse, I transitioned into like today's standards to where it's just like all right, now guns are everywhere. You know what I mean? Out here just enjoying my day, kid just graduated from college or whatever, and I got caught up in some gun violence, you know what I mean? So yeah, that's why I feel so hard, like so good about that song, just because it's a real journey you're writing. 

CAMPBELL: It's a story right? You're a storyteller! That's really like, what I think you know, your music is telling story. That's what I love to hear, man. 

SAGE: It's a lost art, bro. People sleep on the art of storytelling, like to be able to tell a good story. It's powerful. I mean, that's how we've been, it's how society has, you know, gone through everything. You know, I mean, basically all we're doing right now, you know, say history is just what? A story. Something from somebody else's viewpoint, right? So if you could tell a good story to make it stick to wear it lasts for years and years and years and years. You got a gift.

CAMPBELL: If you can put that though music too, then that's like just a whole 'nother way to like, you know, spread your message and put that out there. Wow, that is incredibly inspirational. What are your next steps? You know, after this is there any like recording plans or like an album, any new music?

SAGE: So "Sleep" just dropped, that's doing well. It's been out for what, probably three weeks now? 40K+ streams or something like that. So it's doing great. I'm gonna drop "Hello Kitty" probably sometime next month. Still getting the date solidified. But then after that, I'm probably going to drop an EP around obviously like June, July. You know, get ready for the summer. Really drop all the feel good music on 'em.

CAMPBELL: There you go. What a perfect time to do it too man. Any other live performances or any tours you know, anything else you got?

SAGE: So I've been actually like laying low on like tours and performances right now. I mean, I'm getting word that I may be booked in Cincinnati, Ohio. That you know we're still getting that solidified you know. Possible, possibly being at Soul Fest as well. With Musiq Soulchild and like a bunch of other different like, soul type artists. But like I said, nothing's set in stone right now. I've been kind of just like laying back. I've been trying to stay out of performances for now until I just get everything super solidified with the sound, you know what I mean? With the bass, everything, and then that's when I'm really starting to go back into it. You know what I mean? Because I always look at it like it's already like opening up for people or anything like that, because it's just like, come see me. You can't you came to see somebody else. So of course, you'll catch a few people out there like wow, that was amazing. Of course, but my main thing is when I get back into performing I wanted a sold out show. We're all here to see Sage. I don't like wasting my time.

CAMPBELL: There you go. What a perfect way to end that's all the questions I got on my end. If there's anything you want to say to, you know, the Rockingham County area, Harrisburg, JMU area, you know, this is your chance to do it. 

SAGE: Ay man, I had some fun last night with y'all man. Whoever was at The Golden Pony, it was lit. Appreciate it. The lady that made that TNT burger. Oh my God. God bless your soul.

CAMPBELL: God bless Texas Inn. Yeah, all right, awesome. Well, thanks so much for coming in. I really appreciate it! Everyone. This was Sage the Fox. Go check out his new single "Sleep" that came out March 1st. Thanks for coming on the show, I really appreciate it.

SAGE: Thank you guys for having me.

CAMPBELL: Of course, of course anytime!