If you love shaking your booty and pumping your fist to Pitbull you will love Qwote. Born in Haiti and raised in Long Island, New York and Miami, Florida by his Grandmother, this R&B/Pop singer and songwriter seems to have it all. He already has created hit tracks with huge names like Pitbull and Rick Ross with infectious beats that keep your heart pounding. Not to mention a look that would make even the most conservative woman drool. And although the name Qwote is fitting for any writer, Qwote received his stage name when he was just a kid by his local barbers due to the fact he quoted everyone in the shop, which confirms his attitude of keeping things real.
M: When did you move to Long Island from Haiti?
Q: When I was 9 months old.
M: Have you been back to Haiti since?
Q: [No] I want to go back to my country which should I be doing by April. We have a big show that we are setting up. It should be by April no later than June. StarFest, last time they did it was last year, it is for the country and this will be my first time, not only in Haiti but performing in Haiti. I’m looking forward to it.
M: Tell me about living in Long Island and then moving to Miami?
Q: Most of my time I spent in Miami. I love Long Island. Long Island is where I started my growing up and you know I made a couple of friends there. And what I like about Long Island is the hustle of it and the fact that it’s a state that moves fast. It moves fast. With that I think I learned a lot about getting around quick. When we moved to Miami that’s pretty much where the whole marriage of music began. If I didn’t come to Miami, I don’t know, you know?
M: You would have a different story maybe?
Q: I’d probably be telling a whole different story working at some pizza spot or something. No offense to the pizza world.
M: What spots do you like to hit in Miami?
Q: I usually hit this spot called Grazie on South Beach, a nice Italian spot, I love it. And also there is Tap Tap a Haitian spot on South Beach also which I love, and Chef Creole.
M: Where did your love for music come from?
Q: I mean when I first started doing music I think it was therapy for me because it helped me deal with my mother’s death. She passed away at a young age so even at that age it was kind of hard for me because I understood what the meant not seeing her again. And growing up with my grandmother, she held two jobs, and at that point where you know where you lose someone and you need that grieving period at that age and I think my grandmother didn’t really understand that I understood what that meant and that I was going through a lot emotionally, so you know, I had to find something. It was either that or go crazy. I turned to the pen and pad. And even at that age I was trying to find something, you know? My grandmother didn’t understand that. Actually a couple of years later I started writing and I realized that music was a source of releasing my pain.
M: You are one of five children, having three brothers and one sister, how do they feel about your career?
Q: I was apart from my siblings for a long time due to my father but we just recently reunited. There was a little animosity between us because there was the whole situation where was I this and that. I lost contact. And for years it was hard to find them but thank god for Facebook. Facebook is a mother but I found them. We got over that bump and we are cool now and we are catching up and you know they love the fact that I’m in the music business. You know it’s funny I got a brother who also writes. I didn’t even know that. So I guess it runs in the family.
M: What was it like collaborating with Pitbull?
Q: Pitbull was a great experience and is a great experience. At the height of his career; I always say Pit doesn’t have to come back or didn’t have to come back and you know do a collaboration with me, at the entry level of the industry, but he did which shows a lot about his character and his personality. And I learned a lot about being humble through him as well. He is a very hard worker. He is a great friend and has taught me a lot about being patient in this business.
M: What inspires you?
Q: Anything inspires me, from reading a book to watching TV. I used to have one particular spot where I would write but now I write anywhere. A lot of my music is very edgy but the reason why I go there and push that envelope is because when I look at the world we live in it is what it is. It’s an edgy world. I’m not going to clean anything up for you. I’ll let you do that. I’ll let you clean the music up but I am going to give it to you the way I see it. So if it gets a little too sexual or it gets a little too this I apologize but hey this is what I am.
M: How is the process of collaborating with another artist?
Q: Sometimes it is kind of hard especially when you are dealing with someone who has an ego trip and then there are times when writers won’t give as much as they need to give maybe because they feel a little intimidated. But I try to set the atmosphere up real comfortable for everyone and let them know I am here and we are here to make great records and it doesn’t matter if you come with more of the ideas or I do. At the end of the day the bottom line is the record has to be a hit, a smash, if I only get 3 words in that’s fine. So I try to set that ambience real cool from the beginning. So it is not really a struggle for the most part.
M: What’s on the horizon?
Q: We are still pushing the singles of the mixtape. We are squeezing it like a lemon. We’re doing videos for almost half of the mixtape. We just did “Say My Name.” We shot two more videos. We actually did a remix of Rihanna’s record “You the One” and made a video for that. So look out for that. That is coming out soon. Also, keep in mind this year we are dropping a new album with Ultra Records it is called L.U.S.T. it means living under sin truthfully. I decided to name it that because hypocracy ain’t my thing. And we are also dropping a Team Pitbull album in March. So we are pretty busy. The collab on that is crazy. We have Afrojack on there. We have Baby Bash and we have a lot of the big pop artists on there.
M: What do you enjoy about making videos?
Q: I like the acting part of it. I am into that. I want to get into that so I like to see however we can implement that. I like the whole process of it. It is incredible too how a director can take your song and blow it up it to this whole other world visually so people can really see what you are saying. It is amazing. I am at awe every time I shoot a video. There is so much I learn every time.
M: What do you dislike about making videos?
Q: The time it takes. The video shoots take one day to two days. It is a long process. I have a lot of respect for actors.
M: Are there any things you don’t enjoy about being in the music industry?
Q: For the most part I am doing something that I love versus something that I don’t love. The creative part of it is always a plus for me. Every day I get up and come up with great ideas. I go to the studio and drop it. But, sometimes it sticks, sometimes it doesn’t. The hard part of the business, I would say I had a tough time with in the beginning, is being the new kid on the block. You have so much to prove to everybody. And they are coming around now and they are listening and they are giving me my respect now and I appreciate that but it is tough. And when you are that new kid on the block you have so much to prove with everyone else that is on the block who are trying to prove themselves also.
M: Where will you be 10 years from now?
Q: Hopefully, I left a good legacy musically. As far as business wise we are actually working on a Vodka. It is called Toast. I’m growing with the Vodka coming now, so hopefully, in ten years it will be a household name. Hopefully ten years we will have a big conglomerate business with that. Also I want to get into the movie business but with screenplays. I am writing a lot. I do a lot of behind the scenes.
M: Any New Year resolutions?
Q: Keep doing what I was doing last year.
M: The Presidential elections are coming this year. And with every election there is a chance for change. What change would you like to see in the U.S.?
Q: I just want to see more people working, that’s all. The unemployment situation is pretty crazy. It is not a good thing to see our country with an unemployment rate so high. It doesn’t even make any sense. There are a lot of families out there that aren’t really supporting themselves. And there are a lot of situations where things aren’t happening. We need to get more Americans working.
M: Getting back to the music. What keeps you going?
Q: Number one my mother. From day one, I think that she would have wanted something very successful for me. And I do remember certain conversations with her before she passed. And some of things she would say. She wants me to do something huge and successful. So, that is one of my big drives. Success is a very important thing to me, also, my passion for my music. I could win the lottery right now and I’m still going to do what I’m doing.