In conversation with NEO 10Y
NEO 10Y, a musician from London is, as they’ve put it themselves, an astral being who came to planet Earth to manifest a protopian dimension of peace. From beginning their musical journey back in 2016, NEO 10Y is a non-conforming, genre-bending and avant-garde being in the pop universe, here to spread love and positivity.
As well as being an activist for human and animal rights, mentor for budding independent artists and even dabbled into the fragrance world, NEO 10Y tells Kindred. all about their journey to where they are today, what they believe they've been put on Earth to do as well as everything to do with their musical pathways.
Hi NEO 10Y! Why don’t you share with us who you are so you can get acquainted with our audience.
NEO 10Y: Hey, I'm NEO 10Y and I'm a recording artist from London. My purpose is to help people choose love. But the medium that I do it with is music, primarily music videos and performing live on stages. I have been creating art for a very long time now. I grew up in London and I studied to become a lawyer, which is quite iconic. But I think I realised really early on that that wasn't necessarily what I was going to end up doing. I guess I don't fit the stereotype of a lawyer. It was a transitional shift from doing law to a self-growth journey, a self-realisation journey. And an expanse of my consciousness and my understanding of my role as a human being. As an artist, and as a futurist, I've always done creative things. I was chosen to model for example so I had a background in modelling and fashion and influencing and doing stuff that I didn't feel very, like as fulfilling as I thought it should be. I think the reason that I am doing what I'm doing now is by creating meaningful art, to help ourselves to help each other to help the collective group, I think that that has come from not connecting with the system. So yeah, so that's what I've been doing.
N: I've been like releasing music for six years. I performed everywhere from raves to the Roundhouse in London, I performed for Billboard, in New York, and I performed in LA a few times. And at the end of 2019, like it was things were looking really good. I was like, well, this is great. I released a song called 'Stan Yourself' and then the pandemic came, but it wasn't the worst for me because I still had music that I was ready to release. And so, I had a music video ready and all of this stuff that was like done. It's a song about love energy, and I felt like it was a really good time to release that as well. And that's why I know it can sound outlandish when I walk around saying I am the universe. I'm like God energy incarnated. I feel like highly connected to the simulation. And this art is bigger than me, is because otherwise I could have just easily just relayed back into the state of capitalism, and I didn't want to do it. Since I've been releasing consistently, I've got sort of good accolades and stuff, and people are connecting with it. Human beings like art and people love my music.
I did want to ask, when did you like feel that shift that you wanted to get into music? When was like the moment where you were like, "you know what, yeah, this is what I'm going to pursue"?
N: I would help one of my friends get gigs and she didn't want to do a gig one day, so I just did the gig for her. It was the day that I thought, "I can do this for real". Also, there was no one like me in 2016 when I started, and I still don't think there is anyone like me, in mainstream pop like genre-bending. The cogs started turning, like rolling more in 2015. But I'm lucky because I knew how to play guitar and piano so, I thought "I can do this.” That was the turning point, to be honest, but also, the turning point for me in terms of me essentially, rebranding and re-identifying, was with the first song I ever released was a song called 'AMERIKKKA' and it was an anti-Trump song. It went quite viral in some places. I'm vegan, right and I'm obviously, anti-racist. Speciesism to me is the root of all oppression. So, I get s*** in my inbox. And I'm "gender nonconforming", whatever that means. I kind of love it, but because I think it's funny. I got a lot of hate for that for the Trump thing. There was a ripple effect from me doing it anonymously, but that's what I did. The whole project was anonymous at first and it was only until I started performing, which was like a year in. And I got put on a list for OUT Magazine and the editor for OUT knew it was me. So, I guess people knew it was me anyway. I feel like you know, things have been like pretty good since then. I've been like much more like living my purpose. Like honestly, like, it's like, hey, yeah, this is it. Like, I'm here to like, f*** s*** up.
I also wanted to ask as well, after listening to your music. Who are your influences? Where do you take inspiration from?
N: I love iconic artists. And I think that’s what I’ve always, seen and related to right. So that’s anyone that you can imagine from Kanye, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, like M.I.A, Madonna, David Bowie, Beyoncé...I don’t know, anyone that you can think of who’s like super f****** iconic. But at the same time, there’s no one who’s like, consistently anti-oppression in the mainstream. Like, where are the famous vegans? We have Lewis Hamilton now. There’s Natalie Portman, Joaquin Phoenix… But you know not even the Dalai Lama is vegan and it blows my mind. I think like one can understand that if someone’s entire brand is anti-oppression, right? Then you got to align it all. I think that’s weirdly become part of my purpose; just calling out the hypocrisy as well. When it doesn’t, add up and I’m like, you can’t like build your whole brand on like, on, anti-racism, and then cause environmental racism directly with your consumption habits.
N: If we can love everyone, every being on this planet equally, then we can solve world hunger. We can feed 60 billion land animals that are being slaughtered for animal agriculture, but we can’t feed the 7 billion people on our planet, right? It doesn’t even add up. So basically, we need to reallocate resources and part of this shift, but it’s already happening. It’s just like it’s a transitional period for humanity to choose love during this consciousness awakening. And that is my physical world purpose, creating art. But my like astral world purpose is encouraging people to choose love.
Well, actually, you kind of answered my next question, which was just, how are you changing the world with your music and with what you do? But I feel like you literally just answered that.
N: I’m creating love to help manifest a dimension of peace on earth and through my music lyricism. The way I present, the way I communicate my art, the media work that I do... Everything is all tied together. And that’s how I create that ripple effect with my view.
To have like, a oneness in all that you do. Have you seen that explanation of my name? NEO 10Y comes from the word ‘neoteny’ which means the retention of childlike characteristics in the adult. It’s the idea of choosing love and going with the instinct of your inner child. Love is God is oneness. Neo is an anagram for ONE is a complete binary code. And my name in Sanskrit is Nikhil. Which means complete. Symbolically for curiosity, energy, but physically.
Amazing. So, I wanted to ask about your music as well. What’s your creative process, when creating a track?
N: So, I always have a concept first, then I sit with an instrument. This can happen quickly or within a couple of days. I have a concept, I sit on it and I’ll marinate. And then ideas will come to me for like, a month or two months. Then, I’ll sit down with a piano or a guitar. That’s when I like to channel universal energy. And that’s the most powerful part of my creative process, is when I get the whole down low of the song. I am gagged because I’m like, for whatever, however, it is worked out, I’m creating masterpieces. And this is now being recognised by media more, and it’s being recognised by people more. People talk about my songs because it’s helping people to expand, and helping people to find themselves and choose love and find self-love. But when I write it, I get to experience that for the first time, like a listener would. Because it’s coming from the universe, and so I’m sitting there on a guitar and literally cry with like, happiness and gratitude, because I think oh, my God, thank you so much. I literally say it because I’ve got the whole first verse to come to me that I think is such a powerful verse. That’s like me recognising that I’m in that moment with the universe. So, I think that’s why people who are conscious and spiritual and have a connection with oneness and have a connection with God, the universe, the simulation, they that’s those are the people that most connect with my lyricism as well. And I think I am the voice of not only the spiritual revolution but of an individual’s spiritual awakening as well.
Amazing. I’ve never like seen someone like you before who’s doing what you do at the same time as well. And like you said, having that oneness and making everything all connect at once, it’s really refreshing actually to see this. And you’ve been doing it for a while as well and only now it’s starting to get some momentum.
N: Yeah. 100% It takes ages. And I’m surprised at myself, you know because I think, how did you do this for six years? How are you still doing it? I was like, that’s something that’s driving me beyond me. I could be on a beach somewhere. I can be like doing modelling and influencing and things like that. Or be a lawyer, I could have had options to not be a tortured artist, but alas, here I am, right? I’m infinitely grateful for it. And I really believe in it.
I wanted to ask what’s your star sign?
N: Sagittarius stellium, Leo rising, so that's the performance, that optimist is the Sagittarius so big Sagittarian energy. My chart has six Sagittarius placements. And then I have Leo rising just another fire sign and that's like very like performance energy and then I'm cancer moon. So, this is the emo in me who's crying when they're writing songs. NEO 10Y was formed in cancer season 2016. All the stuff I read, after I learned astrology in the last three years has so many synchronicities and does this project. Like coincidences that are too big to imagine. Synchronicity is in alignment with the universe, and we are all magical spiritual beings who came to this planet. I think that there’s like a big a learning and unlearning on this revolutionary path. I have been in a really good place lately like place of gratitude and stuff. But I have human life problems, too. As much as I’m disidentified, and live in this hybrid fictional reality, I’m really this futuristic concept that I live in. I’ve been in a stable relationship. I used to be in a toxic relationship and so all these things in my outside life has also changed. And I just feel like much more aligned for it. I think that’s why now this s*** is gonna blow up because I finally found love, not only within myself, but within my whole surrounding.
That’s really beautiful to hear. So, you’re working on a project currently. So what should we be expecting from you next?
N: I have gigs in LA and London this summer, and I have a song out at the end of the year. I released a song on 10/10. because it's in my name. So, October the 10th. I've always released normally on numerological dates or based on the lunar calendar, but 10/10 will be the next single coming out. But I'm not going to tell you the name yet, just because it's one of those concepts. I help independent artists pursue their dreams and like, we have a platform that we share with them. I'm always doing like a bit of juggling, but I'm really grateful for it. I have a shoot with a really cool photographer so yeah, there's stuff going on. It's usual now, it's six years so I've kind of got a flow, but the opportunities are getting bigger and cooler. And the people that are meeting up being more conscious. I feel like I've met you today on a level. And also bear in mind the first three letters of your magazine is the first three letters of mine, Nikhil and NIK. I knew that straightaway and I was like, this is perfect. I just always feel like there's like alignment, I see that alignment in everything.
I wanted to ask as well, because I didn't know that you helped independent artists, why don't you talk a little bit more about what you do? What sorts of people you've been helping and how you're helping them?
N: The ways that I can help is curating playlists. And we have a culture and consciousness platform that we can put artists on as well. We do features if they've got like a video that's dropping then I curate gigs as well sometimes. So, if I ever have the chance to give an independent it's mostly like just sharing my platform in a sense. I also give them advice if they want advice on what to do. But I mean, people drop into my inbox all the time. I'm genuinely quite friendly and if I can reply to stuff I will. I feel like I'm on a path now and I'm making money as an independent artist, whereas a lot of other artists are still struggling. But I think everyone has to remember that it does take more than just music at first. You have to find innovative ways. I have a fragrance and the platform I have my music and I have speaking gigs. I've done projects with the Vegan Society and PETA, BBC, National Geographic... New media is important for independent artists as well because the institution is so wrapped up in like old school communication with PR agencies and stuff like that whereas me as an independent artist, the universe has my back like genuinely the universe has my back.
Check out NEO 10Y on Spotify, and stay up to date with them on Instagram!