Parlé: I’m curious where your favorite place (if not Pittsburgh) to perform is and what has been your favorite show you’ve done up until now?
Wiz: Well, I think one of my favorite places to perform is anywhere in the Michigan area, they show a lot of love out there. Lansing, Ann Arbor, Detroit, all those Michican areas. I really like to perform in Chicago, they show a lot of love out there too. The show in New York at the Highline Ballroom was really good. That got a lot of people’s attention because 50 Cent was just there the night before and my show had sold out and 50’s did almost close to that. But, just me being me and 50 being 50, us having almost the same turnout was really cool for me. Also, being in New York, I know how hard the crowd is up there, so that was pretty monumental to me.
Parlé: You’ve been revolutionary in using the internet for a marketing tool. You use Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, and UStream to connect to your fan-base. Talk to me about using the web to build a following and how it has made it easier to reach the masses compared to, say, 10 years ago and what these free services have done for your bottom line.
Wiz: The internet has been completely instrumental in pushing my career to the next level. It’s something that’s been right in front of me this whole time. It took me exploring and figuring out what I wanted to do with it and as soon as I caught on, people just accepted it and helped me come up with new ideas and push it forward. For anybody trying to use the internet to market or promote themselves, it’s one of the best ways because it’s free and it reaches more people than anything else in the perfect amount of time. These days, the fans want stuff so quick and I’m the type of artist that is always working, always creating, so I’m just trying to fit right in there with the times. People want quality music fast and I make quality music and with the internet, I’m able to put it on there fast. I talk to my fans on UStream and show you what I’m making in the studio. It’s just having that access that you might want from your favorite artist that you don’t get. You could get it from me and then I could become your favorite artist and you can grow with me rather than me already being a huge celebrity. So, I think it’s a win-win situation, where the tools are there and I’m just using them.
Parlé: As an artist, it is naturally getting harder and harder to create a new sound and it takes great boldness and a very clear vision to create a truly new sound. You’ve blended rap, hip hop, and techno styles and created a style unique to you. Talk to me about breaking new ground like this and being such a strong individual force.
Wiz: Really, that’s just a blessing. I can’t even really speak for just myself because it has to do with the beats and the production too. It goes all the way into the beat selection and which projects we decide to put out and it’s been something my producers and I have been working on for a long time. I think now it’s at a point where it’s been so consistent to a point where people are like, “Oh okay, so that’s the type of music that he makes.” So, it’s really a blessing because it’s hard to find originality and a consistent wave of good, quality music. The fact that people consider me an individual and a pioneer for our sound is cool man, I love it.
Parlé: Your new album dropped in November, Deal or No Deal, and was immediately successful. It went to number two on the iTunes Hip-Hop chart after only two days, and went to number one shortly thereafter. How does this compare to your expectations for the album?
Wiz: I don’t have any expectations for the album; that was it right there. When I drop a project I just expect the people that have been following to keep following and be satisfied with it. I expect to make some new fans but as far as gratification, breaking records, and all these numbers – that comes with the territory. I think if I shot for that, if I wanted all that stuff and it didn’t happen, I would be let down. Me not focusing on it let’s it all be one big surprise.
Parlé: Talk to me about the current tour you’re on. When you’re performing does it feel like you’re on the top, or have you yet to reach your goal as an artist?
Wiz: I definitely haven’t reached my goal yet. I feel like I’m getting to where I need to be. I’m taking the right steps and doing the right stuff and I’m at the right places along the way, but I have way more work to do as an artist.
Parlé: Watching your videos, you love tattoos and we all know it. How many hours do you think you’ve spent getting inked?
Wiz: I don’t know how many hours I’ve spent total. Probably spent a small child’s life in the chair. I was just in there two days ago, just got like six more tattoos. I’m getting tatted up for the tour.
Parlé: With that, what can we expect from you in 2010 and beyond?
Wiz: Definitely expect another album from me in 2010 and at least one or two singles on the radio and videos and all that. I’ll do more internet promotion and probably some more mixtapes and tours. Everybody who’s been wanting to see me win, that’s what they’re gonna see this year. They’re gonna see big Ws in our corner.
You can find Wiz Khalifa on Twitter (Twitter.com/REALWizKHALIFA), MySpace (Myspace.com/wizkhalifa), Facebook (Facebook.com/wizkhalifa), UStream (UStream.tv/channel/TaylorVision), and all over iTunes and YouTube.
Written by Jake Coughlan for Parlé Magazine
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