By Loren Chaffee
Before this interview, I would not have been able to find Wayne, New Jersey on a map. After this interview, I will be brushing up on my New Jersey geography. Growing up in New York City and not driving much, you don’t really have to learn all of the New Jersey landscape.
There’s the Jersey Shore, maybe a stop at Delicious Orchards, and the massive Jersey Gardens Outlet Mall. Just a short 25 miles outside of New York City, Wayne is home to Paul Siljee and Sam Hwang, members of the group Vision. Though both Paul and Sam contribute vocals and rap equally to Vision, Sam is the producer.
Paul and Sam met through a Facebook rap battle. Kid Future versus Jason was the fated battle where these two men were introduced. Only a few years earlier, they both had attended Wayne Valley High School, but with Paul only transferring in for his senior year, he only had a brief time at the school. Neither music aficionado circulated within the same circle of friends at school. How apt that these two rappers would meet virtually over a Facebook rap battle. At the time, Vision was made up of a lot of individuals. Now, the core is Paul building the flows, the raps, and Sam working his sound mixing magic.
When I asked the pair about their music backgrounds, I got very different replies. For Sam, he had always grown up around music, singing and playing in his church’s praise band and eventually becoming the band leader. He loved music so much that he taught himself how to play all of the instruments that he could get his hands on. Now, Sam dedicates his talents to pursuing his music fulltime. Paul, on the other hand, spent his entire life playing basketball. He always had a passion for music, but basketball was his life’s obsession. He currently pursues a degree in business and a career in music while still maintaining time for basketball.
As for musical influences, those answers were very similar if not the same. Both are avid fans of Kanye West. Sam sees him as a role model since he balances being a performer as well as a producer with both success and grace, most of the time. Justin Bieber, between his talent and his success, has infected both Paul and Sam with Bieber Fever.
Growing up, their idols were very different. Paul looked up to Michael Jordan, both as a basketball player and an entrepreneur, as well as his father who taught him everything he knows about basketball. Sam was always musically inclined, so his idols growing up were Drake – who was able to do what he loved and how he wanted to do it while still being successful – and, of course, Kanye West. As for musical inspiration, their raps and rhymes come from life experiences. Sam finds inspiration in the everyday, but when he has a moment of apathy, listening to music or having Paul choose a piece of music, usually helps jumpstart the creativity.
Where do these guys want to be in five years? On a private jet or in the dopest hotel room in the world, and most of all, on the radio being heard by millions and influencing the musical landscape. What advice do they have for other kids who want to pursue a dream career in music? Sam advises to truly be passionate about it. When you are dedicated to that passion, anything is possible. For Paul, be committed to the dream – do it for the movement, not the moment or just because it’s what’s hot right now. Remember that hard work always pays off.
You can catch Vision live at Bardi’s in Peqannock, New Jersey on Friday, January 27, 2012. You can find their songs on their YouTube channel: youtube.com/thatsvision or like them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/thatsvision for the latest appearances, shows, and releases. To book Vision, please send e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org.