The Portfolio: ByLwansta

“People can bite your flow, but not your story.” It sounds way more profound in my head, but I say this a lot in interviews when the question of originality and uniqueness as a musician comes up.

I think it’s the way I say it that makes it sound a little corny. I always have a cheeky grin on my face as the words come out my mouth, like I know this one’s going to have everyone yelling “Preach!”. As if everything else I’m saying is spoken in Arial, and suddenly I switch to Akzidenz Grotesk Bold Extended just for that quote.

Corniness aside though, it’s true —the quote, that is. I’ve subconsciously lived by it for the most part of my career as a musician and consumer of music. My favourite music artists are Bill Withers and Eminem, to name just two. They were storytellers who told their tales vividly with specific details embedded, and therefore were very unique and original musicians.

Descriptive writing, the art of painting word pictures (not typography), coupled with rhyme schemes and/or melodies fascinates me hugely. Many of my favorite songs in this style never needed accompanying music videos, outside of those that would debut in my mind. While not intentional, listening to music that way was always fun.

My multisensory relationship with music would evolve over the years, from creating literal music videos in my mind from the lyrics, to creating relationships between music and a more abstract visual accompaniment, colours.

At that point I’d invested at least two years in my graphic design studies, and I would continuously apply my learnings to how I packaged my music, my stories. When it came time to present these stories-in-songs, colours became an instant point of departure, laying the foundation on which I would build my visual translation of the music — the cover artwork.

I’d become obsessed with cover art for obvious reasons. It’s the perfect meeting ground for music and design.

Studying would eventually become quite tedious during my last year, up until I decided to inject music as a theme into every remaining assignment where we’d be given creative reign with the briefs. I’d go on to write my final year research paper on The Significance of Visual Communication on the Consumption of Music in the Digital Age.

All this, just to enhance the listening experience. I’m still figuring it out.


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