In honor of Mother’s Day, local rapper Myles Bullen has released a song and video dedicated to his Mom. Providence, RI based rapper and producer jesse the Tree created the music and appears on a verse. The video features fan-submitted pictures of people with their moms and cute animations. I reached out to Myles via phone to ask some questions. For those of you who don’t know him personally, Myles is an eloquent speaker and an open-hearted individual. We ended up talking for quite a while about Moms, as well as finding a good producer, honing in on your purpose in the world, and creating things for people to gather around.
Editors note: The following has been lightly edited for clarity.
Tell me a little bit about what inspired you to write this song.
You know, I didn’t originally write it for anyone else’s Mom, I just wrote it for my Mom. But it can be applied to all moms out there.
I love my Mom. She’s definitely the strongest person I know, and she’s overcome an amazing amount of trauma and hardship in her life. I think that’s the biggest reason why I appreciate her so much, and I look up to her. If she can get through the things that she got through, you know, it gives me faith in the world and in people in general for being able to overcome adversity. Not letting your struggles define you. I think she’s a superhero in that way. Yeah, I can’t think of anyone else who’s been through more than my Mom.
Definitely, I feel the same way about my Mom.
Some of the things she taught me so young have shaped the way I see the world. I consider myself fairly optimistic, and hopeful when it comes to people and the world – even shitty people. Even people who aren’t doing great things, I still have a sense of some sort of compassion and some sort of questioning. Being curious before being judgmental, I think, is the biggest takeaway from that. My Mom will just forgive everyone. No matter what. Almost to a fault. But her ability to forgive people who have done wrong to her is really powerful, and moving on and growing and becoming a stronger person.
I also remember I got the music to this song sent to me from my friend Jesse, who’s on the song as well. He sent me the beat with no lyrics to it, and the feeling of the music brought out some kind of tenderness inside me, which is kind of my focus with writing recently. Just like, vulnerability, being sensitive, and really tapping into “what do I care about, what’s important to me?” and “what do I want to share with the world?” I think the music really just geared me towards something I haven’t expressed in music before, which is dedicating a song to my Mom!
I think it’s kind of something that needs to happen in rap music, there definitely could be some more songs about loving people and being sensitive. It’s like paying homage. I would say that that’s the thing that resonates the most with like, why I wrote this is paying homage to how incredible a mother is, and how incredible my mother is to me.
Yeah, you’ve really been crushing it lately with your own solo stuff and with Planetary Access too.
Haha, thank you! I feel like I’m breaking out of a lot of things that have held me back or put me in boxes before. I just don’t care as much about being perceived, and I think that’s making my art more interesting.
Yeah, I mean, going back to what you said before about meeting people with curiosity rather than judgment. Sometimes the hardest person to do that for is yourself, especially with your own creative work.
I’m definitely my biggest critic and my worst enemy. But yeah, I think this song was pretty natural, it wasn’t really forced. I definitely branched out on some singing parts, where I added more melody than I would usually be comfortable with. I’ve been working on that — singing more often. I recorded with John Zebley, who’s an incredible producer and engineer. When I record with him, he’s just so helpful. He’s like, low-key, a vocal coach. He doesn’t promote himself as a vocal coach, but when I’m recording with him, he’ll prompt me or like make sure I hit the right notes. Working with him has definitely made my confidence in singing go up. I thrive off of that [style], almost to the point where I can’t work with anyone else.
Yeah man, you find a producer like that, you never let them go.
I get the best version of me through him. All of my music has been mixed and recorded by him since my Not Dead Yet album in 2018. He mixed all that, then the Planetary Access album, and then this song he also mixed. You can tell — if the quality of my music is coming across as more evolved and better, it’s definitely because I’m working with John Zebley.
Awesome! And the video for this song — it’s so sweet and so adorable!
For the video, a bunch of fans sent in pictures of them with their moms, which is cool. Yeah, at first it was just gonna be me and Jesse with our moms, but the guy I did the video with said, “What if we got your fans to send in pictures?” and I was like, “Yeah, I wonder if that would work.” Within an hour, I had like 80 pictures, so I was like okay yeah, that’s enough for the video. It filled up so quick. People are just really pumped to love their moms! Not all the people are even in a good relationship with their Mom. They still shared. And they shared that. Or folks who have lost their Mom, you know, their moms are dead, and they shared. It was a really all-encompassing project for the folks who contributed. For some of them, it was out of joy. Some of them it was out of grief. Some of them were maybe coming to terms with their relationship. There are just so many different forms of how people relate to their family, right? So I thought it was beautiful because people told stories with their photos. Which are some of the under-the-surface stuff. It was just cool to see that many people coming together over that one thing.
Yeah, that’s so beautiful that you created and held that space for folks.
Unconsciously and consciously, I guess I’m holding spaces for people. That’s where I find the most purpose, or I feel skillful or good at right now. I’ve wanted to do it for so long. Going back to my Mom, I remember not feeling safe for most of my life, and my Mom not feeling safe for most of her life, like physically. Just knowing as a child, that I want to create safety for people. I want people to feel like they’re allowed to be there. Even if I can just do that sonically with my music, then I feel like I’m making a difference and doing the thing that I always wanted to do.
Watch the video, and from all of us here at Rad Plaid, have a wonderful Mother’s Day!