Toosii on Country Music, Summer Walker, Homelessness and “Favorite Song”

Crossover star Toosii knows his way around a recording booth.

Videos by American Songwriter

Whether offering slick lyrics, a country twang, a smooth singing voice, or tight rap bars, the burgeoning music star can hang with the likes of Summer Walker or kick out a song solo with ease. A fan of Tim McGraw, R&B, and more, Toosii has a new music video out this week for the track, “Favorite Song.”

American Songwriter caught up with Toosii and discussed his origins as an artist, how he survived homelessness, what it was like growing up in the South and upstate New York, and much more.

American Songwriter: When did you first find music and what made you fall in love with it? 

Toosii: I first found music when I was about 13. Music was a coping mechanism. I used to write songs in my closet. I would lock myself in there and just get away from the world and write in the dark when I was going through stuff. 

AS: You grew up in a pair of cities. How did Syracuse, New York, and Raleigh, North Carolina, influence the way you think about music and creating songs? 

Toosii: I consider myself to be the Arnold Palmer of hip-hop, a mix of both cities. New York is a little bit more fast-paced and living down South is a little bit slower. So that’s where the mix comes in.

AS: How does formerly being homeless impact your work ethic and drive as an artist? 

Toosii: I would never go back to that. Just remembering where I came from and understanding that I’d do anything not to get back to that place in my life.

AS: You used to play football. Do sport and music have any crossover in your mind? 

Toosii: Oh yeah, football taught me discipline. You can’t be successful without being disciplined. So I try to stay really disciplined and listen to everybody’s opinions the best I can while at the same time still having my own head on my shoulders. 

AS: How did you develop your songwriting style and your digitally-enhanced singing aesthetic? 

Toosii: I used to rap a lot, and I wanted to try something different. I felt like the rapping was cool, but the rapping style that I was doing didn’t really fit what I was looking for. The aesthetic, the lifestyle and just the things that I desire. 

AS: What makes you such a prolific artist, with dozens of singles, guest features and mixtapes released to date? 

Toosii: I would say being able to step in my own lane. Musically, I can create whatever I want. I am having fun with it and not really trying to impress anyone. Just living my truth. 

AS: You’ve garnered millions of streams. What does this success mean to you today? 

Toosii: It means everything. It means even more that I’m able to share it with the people that are around me.

AS: What was it like to work with Summer Walker on “Love Cycle?” Why do you think it resonated with fans so much? 

Toosii: She’s a beautiful person with a great personality, and I love that about her. I think “Love Cycle” was my breakout song. Nobody really knew who Toosii was at first and then that song came about. I was just another new artist coming onto the scene and that song changed everything.

AS: What was the genesis of your new track, “Favorite Song”?

Toosii: Riding in the car at 7 in the morning. I was driving, put a beat on, and the beat really stuck with me so I started writing to it. I wrote it in the car and then recorded it when I got back to my house.

AS: How did you develop your country twang and what do you like about bridging rap music with Southern trap and country? 

Toosii: I listen to country music in my free time. I listen to a few country artists, like Tim McGraw. And similar to country songs, I write about love and heartbreak too. 

AS: Where did the inspiration come from for the official video for “Favorite Song?”

Toosii: Honestly, I really wanted it to fit the vibe of the song, so we had to include a stage scene with a piano in the background. My co-star is a famous TikToker, Sienna Mae Gomez.

AS: What’s next for you – new LP in the works? 

Toosii: New music is on the way! 

Photo by Julian Burgueño / Courtesy UMusic

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