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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois State chapter.

ISU alumni Tone Themelodymann recently released his long awaited single, FREE. I got the chance to ask him 10 questions about his new music! We discussed how religion and spirituality led to his return to music and the rebranding of his career.

FREE- Tone Themelodymann

Joi Adams: It’s been 2 years since you released music, what was the reason for that hiatus?

Tone Themelodymann: Man, that’s an article in itself lol! To be a brief as possible: Back in 2018, I was creating music for the wrong reasons. I was creating music for myself, for my advancement, and my brand as an artist. While that led to massive productivity, it led to me creating music that did not represent the person that gave me the gift of music in the first place, it didn’t represent God. So in 2018, (out of nowhere!) God took my love of music away from me for a minute, because I wasn’t using that gift the right way. Thus the hiatus was born! God dealt with me internally before I could express myself externally. My insecurities, my mindset, my purpose all of that. In 2020, I completely changed my sound to represent my creator’s message. I realized that he gave me the gift of music to bring people to him, not to bring the world to me. When I realized that, it completely changed my view of creating. 

It’s almost as if you did a total flip from FLEX to FREE, was this intentional? What does FLEX vs. FREE represent for you?

Man that’s interesting to think about, it’s crazy both songs are four letter words. But no, lol this was not intentional. Many of my songs represent my life during the time period in which they were written (FLEX-2018, FREE-2020). Ironically though, both songs do hold some similarities to them. FLEX is about how we as young millennials can commonly get caught up in the material, temporary aspects of society. Money, Clout, Appearance commonly takes away from the true problems and issues in life. Things like Murder, Dissensions, and Suicide Rates. The song is a call out to the youth to stop flexing and do out part in making a difference. FREE is similar, because it’s about being free from society. Being free from whatever may be hindering you from making a change in the world. Rather it’s Rejection, Money, or Yourself.

What was the inspiration behind “Free”?

“Ah, the good ole days” Growing up, there was always something different about me. My view on life, my christian background mixed with my weight, and insecure personality always had me on the outskirts looking in. I developed this mentality that I always had to prove my “normal” to other people. I learned how to adapt instead of standing out. I became a thermometer. I dealt with that for most of my life. Well all that changed in 2018. The hiatus led to me getting closer to God and that really changed my life for the better. God showed me (through his word) that he made me different, for a reason. (Jeremiah 1:4-5). And that’s where FREE came from. Because I wasn’t going to let anyone hold me back anymore.

In particular: What does the word “Free” mean to you/represent?

FREE signifies the breaking of one’s confinement. Every person has something that they need to overcome in order for them to achieve their true purpose. This can be many things; Fear, Insecurity, Anger, Sin, Pain. But it comes a day where we need to look that thing in the eye, and break FREE from it. That’s what it’s about.

What do you hope that your fans will receive from this song?

I want my fans to become supporters of this movement. I don’t want this to just be a “feel-good” song, but I really hope it can be a catalyst for people to find their freedom through God. That’s the only place where true freedom comes from, because God is the one who has the key to unlock it.

You mentioned God as your biggest inspiration behind the FREE single, how do you think your relationship with God will influence your music?

God has blessed me to realize that music is not for the ears, music is for the heart. The ears are just the vehicle used to get it there. Before I create, I pray: “God be with me”. Before I perform, I pray  “God be with me”. Because I realize this is bigger than me. I realize God could be using anyone else in the world to create this sound, but he chose me. I can’t take that for granted, I just can’t. I just want to please him now. 

During the quarantine, a lot of artists have struggled with creating music during this time (Writer’s block, cabin fever etc.). How has COVID-19 pandemic affected your music/creative process?

COVID has been something else man lol. It has altered a lot of things in my life! But, this time in COVID has really allowed me to explore my mind more. Before COVID I was always creating on a schedule, but when COVID started, I literally wasn’t on nothing lol. So I had time to just sit with my mind and explore its vastness, and some really dope stuff has come from that.

This record has a lot of Jazz instruments within it, we don’t usually hear that from artists today. What inspired you to go this creative route? 

Shout out Birocratic [Producer of FREE] man! When I heard the beat from him, it was like a moment in time. It spoke to me and I played it for HOURS. Freestyling here, Pop-locking there lol. I just had to create something, it was like God picked that beat g, he had to. The instruments combine to express a transcendent vibe to the listener. I felt free when I heard it.

I know you released a teaser video on IG, can we look forward to a video for the single? 

IDK man lol. Conversations have been had though, lol. 

When can we expect more music from you? Any upcoming projects?

My heart has really been in production right now. I have been creating instrumentals like crazy recently. So I would love to release a beat tape or two soon, before the year is out.

Thank You so much!

For more of Tone Themelodymann, follow him on Instagram. You can stream his music on Apple Music: Tone Up and YouTube: Tone Themelodymann

Joi Adams

Illinois State '21

Hey! I am a COM major at ISU. I love music, instagram and candles! I own my own candle business at FiveSevenLit.com.  My personality is on a spectrum from Michelle Obama to Cardi B, Okurrr! Journalism has always been a passion of mine. I am so excited to be featured on Her Campus! I hope the stories that I share brings inspiration, laughter, and most of all Joy to your life. Feel free to follow me on Instagram @officialjoi
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