Into the depths of 'Azure' with Flint music artist Matthew Wiley

“I want people to know it’s okay to be different and a little out there, ya know?”Matthew Wiley
FLINT, Michigan — Three years have passed since my virtual conversation with creative artist and Flint native Matthew Wiley, where he first introduced me to the title of his musical experience, Azure.

Now, in person and inside his mother’s home on a windy November night, drinking hot chocolate and eating sweet potato pie, we bond over the moments of his life that revolve around a few somber topics of dealing with issues of belonging, accepting the things that are, and reconciling with the truth that not everyone who started the journey with you will stick around – all of which and more are critical themes for the project.

In a reserved tone, he explains, “I didn’t feel like I belonged — I never felt like I belonged. [Not] in my family [or] in my community because it didn’t feel like an environment for growth. I said with [Azure], how can I use my voice and everything I’m going through to translate this?”

Although his ideals are rooted in Christianity, the depth of how he explains Azure and its structure resemble something spiritual — a word and language that, in today’s era, is more mainstream than ever. Azure’s name stems from how “that color was pushing out at me. I knew I wanted to leave this planet.”

And that feeling and color led him to tap into the “4D reality [which] gave me the optimal space to express [that] I hit a wall. I hit a wall with everything and had to go to the 4D reality. Even talking from this standpoint is crazy.”

Matthew Wiley, pictured inside his mother's house, discusses the ins and outs of his forthcoming project 'Azure' on Nov. 30, 2023. (Anthony Summers |
Crazy, perhaps, but it is a reflection of the times we live in, predicated on manifestation, vibes, energy, and burning sage to cleanse our houses. It used to be labeled weird or alternative, a word Wiley ascribes to himself and his artistic endeavors. It’s a nuanced label to use, and it has provided Wiley with a unique sense of self-acceptance.

Having grown up in the ’90s and ’00s, watching Japanese anime, wearing skinny jeans, and having musical aspirations beyond rap and Hip-Hop were considered weird but are now wholly accepted.

But in this instance, the label alternative isn’t what Wiley likes, the music he produces, or the legacy he intends to pass on. It isn’t a what. It’s who he is.

“I grew up to black for White kids and to white for the Black kids. The different people I did connect with were all just different. I’ve always gravitated towards things that challenge me, and that made me feel like this is something different, or I’ve never seen this before,” he says. “Alternative isn’t the same thing [today], but that’s why adding 'alternative' to Hip-Hop gives me another palette to have all the leeway to make content you’ve never heard before – synchronicities, sacred geometry, prana – and translating it to Hip-Hop.”

"'Azure' kind of goes into this whole space of me leaving the Earth," explains Wiley, pictured outside underneath the sign street on Nov. 30, 2023. (Anthony Summers |
Azure has been a multi-year journey of self-discovery, realization, and divine intervention. It’s an attempt through music to create a world within a world where everyone can be who they are and become inspired — “freedom music,” as he calls it. It’s a tall order and something that has and is wearing heavily on Wiley’s spirit.

However, creating “freedom music” has come with being branded as narcissistic,  hyper-fixated, and thought to have a God complex. But to him, like one of the songs on Azure, it’s simply being a stargazer.

Azure kind of goes into this whole space of me leaving the Earth, and I was talking about it from the standpoint of being extraterrestrial-driven. I don’t want to write about getting girls and getting fly. I didn’t want that to be something I’m known for in my music. How can I write songs about stuff that makes people feel free?” he explains, slumped in the chair.

In his pursuit to elaborate on these and other ideals, his head slowly tilts down. His legs become folded as his hands caress the tips of his elbows. His long dreads droop past his shoulders, covering his face slightly and blending into his black t-shirt and jeans ensemble. And just like that, a bit of loneliness settles into the air. When words don’t work, he begins to share sneak peeks at some of the songs on Azure, and the haunting melodies reflect the internal melting pot of experiences that make Wiley who he is. However, these memories, experiences, and musical happenings come with a cost.

Under the light of the Christmas tree on Nov. 30, 2023, Wiley dives into the sacrifices made to pursue his dreams and creative visions. (Anthony Summers |
“This is all a sacrifice. I’ve sacrificed multiple things – my living situation. I had to give up everything to sit in this room right now, but I had to have that discipline and strength to know what’s for me is for me.”

And that discipline and strength have proved beneficial. These days, Wiley is moving towards creating the experiences he wants to have, personally and creatively. While some things are still unclear, his connection with God is never better, and journaling — like writing letters to his future wife — has given him stability on a journey that’s everything but.

“I’m at a place where I want to make everything better as an individual, a man, in my career. When you get to a certain point where you’re like, let’s go back to some of the things we originally wanted to do and find purpose-driven outlets. In my personal life, going back to therapy and doing physical therapy has been one of the biggest things in my life. I’ve been journaling and closer to God than I ever have. I want people to know it’s okay to be different and a little out there, ya know?”

You can find Matthew Wiley on Instagram and stream his music on United Masters. 'Azure,' his second studio album, will be released soon.
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Read more articles by Xzavier Simon.