A Conversation With Trace Austin: Interview

Trace Austin, the multifaceted talent is ready to make a name of his own! The Los Angeles based artist, who just so happens to be the grandson of the legendary Temptations founder Otis Williams, is doing things his own way, and it’s time to pay attention.

With a dynamic sound and style, Austin’s approach to music is formulated differently than what you’d expect. With a musical upbringing, he studied the greats and is now playing by his own rules. At just 16 years old, Trace Austin is ever so evolving as he approaches genres such as hip-hop, pop, and soul, with an exciting style that demands your attention.

Not only is his grandfather the one and only Otis Williams, his family tree even spans to Benjamin Wright Jr., the acclaimed musician, producer, and songwriter who has worked with the likes of Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Justin Timberlake, and others. Trace Austin has a strong musical support system, and is using it to do things different that will make him one of the next artists to watch!

CTRL talks to Trace Austin about all expanding beyond his family, his music, acting, and 2021 plans:

Since being exposed to the industry at an early age, what were some of the positives and negatives of being from a musical background?

The positive is I have the contacts and I have the opportunities that would be a bit easier than most people. The downside is I’m a rapper which is a totally different genre than my legendary grandfather, which his fan base wouldn’t necessarily follow my music. It’s a generational gap, and that’s why my grandfather has guided me to be a well rounded musician, so I write, I play drums, and I produce.

Have you ever felt pressured to live up to your grandfather’s name? What steps are you taking to make sure people remember you as Trace Austin?

I can’t live up to his name because he’s got 50 plus years on me, he is passing the baton so I can follow into his footsteps. I’m trying to make music that has longevity, that’s why I mix up Hip Hop with R&b, some signing and rapping. I am from London so I have more of a flare for a sound that is not limiting to what’s on the radio daily.

How were you able to formulate your own sense of individuality as an artist? What were the inspirations behind your style? 

I was able to form my uniqueness from other artists that inspired me such as Pharell, Kaytranada, Anderson Paak. I was exposed to different cultures that kept me from limiting my sound.

You released your first single “Days” at the age of 12! How have you grown since and what would you says are the notable differences between then and now?

I actually had to re record days because I had a totally different sound than I did than when I was 12 years old, but I wanted to re record since it was such great artists on that song.

“Jason”, your most popular hit to date, highlights your fierce flow. How did you come up with finding the flow for the track?

Jason was in my experimental stage to be honest, It kind of happened by accident, I kind of went with it and people loved the song.

“MO$H” finds you layering various different sounds through a dynamic and aggressive performance displayed. What was the process like behind the creation of the song?  

It’s a pretty funny story, I went in to record it one way and it came out totally different, there was also an incident in the studio and it basically evolved from me being scared and there was some suspicious characters that happened to be in the studio at the time and they liked the recoding so much I kind of went with it and it developed into a really cool song.

You’ve mentioned artists such as Kanye West, Kid Cudi, Pharrell Williams, and others as sources of inspirations. What is it about such artists that made you gravitate towards them?

At a young age my parents played Pharrell all the time, I went to his concert at a young age and loved his sound, he has a unique sound and it’s timeless music. Kid cudi is someone who was courageous in the hip hop community to forge his own sound and style, he is really dope in changing his sound up and experimenting with different elements.

Also, you’ve starred in the short film, ‘Curiosities of The Quiet Boy’, which received acclaim. How did you secure that role and when did you start acting?

I started musical theatre at 9 years old, my cousin is a film director which he saw that I had been acting for awhile and asked me to do his film. The film became quite popular from winning an award at the Revolt film festival to premiering in different movie theaters.

Will fans get to see your talents as an musician and an actor intersect in the future? Possibly in a music video, or a film? Or possibly a role behind the scenes such as director? 

My latest single “Back Home” is a film like music video, so I had to use my acting skills because I get kidnapped, rescued, and escape and run away. I currently audition for Tv and film today, so I’m just waiting for them to give me that big role!


With the new year approaching, what are your goals for 2021 to assure everyone that you’re an artist to watch? 

I’m grateful for the fan base I have and hope to reach many more, you can see me on Vevo, I just made the Teen Hip Hop R&b charts in the top 5, I just did a big media tour with my grandfather Otis Williams of the temptations. I plan on doing much more this year when we get this cover pandemic under control, I would like to go back and start performing.

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