Mid Coast Vol. 13; ARTIST SPOTLIGHTS: Feel, Isreal Perez

Isreal Perez.

Mid Coast hosted their 13th edition on Friday night at The Cooperage featuring artists Feel and Isreal Perez as well as bands Conundrum and The Unitaskers. They raised donations for the Butterfly Collective, an organization who uplift and financially support Black and Brown trans and non-binary folks in Milwaukee.

Feel is the stage name of Philip Lewis Jr. His music is eclectic and up to this point has encompassed hip hop, R&B, and pop. He shares a bit about his inception into the Milwaukee music scene.

“I found out about Mid Coast through my producer, Jonny B; he’s part of the committee that selects the artists. He’s been putting me through artist development for like the past two years, building my catalog. We’re sitting on something like 300 songs right now…about seventy of them are heat…a lot of them were just experimenting with my sound. I do EDM, I do Afropop, I do alternative R&B and I rap a little bit…I just love music. I grew up as a classically trained instrumentalist and then I found my voice. I haven’t done too many shows; I used to do open mic nights but I was performing other peoples’ music, rapping over YouTube beats…but I wanted to get more professional so I started hitting people up online and asking if I could sit in on their sessions. I’ve sat in with Felix Ramsey, Genesis Renji…I actually have a song with Felix. Everything’s been a learning experience.”

His most recent single “Frustrated” dropped last June.

“It’s a bouncy R&B track with some rap bars in there too. It’s about me and my wife; all my music comes from my personal experiences…it’s basically me saying “you irritate me but I love the fuck out of you” (laughs). That’s pretty much the vibe of the track.”

He shares what’s working on now.

“I already finished my project “Frustrated” and I’ve just been networking and trying to meet as many people as I can. I was asked by Steph from Mood Migration to collab but also to do a couple shows and open up for them, so hopefully that’s an opportunity. I’m already working on my second project and trying to stay ahead of the curve. I’m always looking for people to collab; I see it like blending two colors together – you never know what you’re going to get with my energy and someone else’s energy.”

Isreal Perez’s sound is grounded in R&B, pop, and hip hop, although he takes influence from salsa and reggaeton as well. He shares how he’s been breaking into the Milwaukee music scene.

“My friend at work told me to submit my music to Mid Coast and I tried it to see what would happen, and right away, they were like “yeah, let’s do it.” I would do a lot of shows at my church and other churches, but I just felt like I was limited as far as my audience and who I’m sharing my story with…which isn’t a bad thing at all but with where I want to get to, I’ve got to do more than that. That’s pretty much how I started, but I’ve also done cover art for Milwaukee artists like Von Alexander.”

His album “Levels” dropped last August.

“I wanted it to be beyond anything I’d ever tried before, just because the concept was so crazy. I collaborated with a lot of people that I hadn’t before – I got a guitar solo, and a poet to do an interlude – just to do something different and stand out in a good way. Pretty much the concept is about the different levels of life that we go through – the good and the bad. I didn’t want to be so moody that someone who wants to hear a hype song would be turned off or be so hype that someone who wants something realer would be turned off too, so I caught a balance between the two. It starts off really hype and loud and then it goes more into a somber side of myself. Life is like an arcade, and I made that concept work where some people lose and get to try again over and over while other people get one or two tries and then they go home.”

He shares what he’s working on now.

“I’m working on a couple EPs, so I want to drop like an R&B-pop EP and then more of a rap EP to show both sides of myself. I’ve been doing vocal lessons and singing more; even on stage just now I was trying things I haven’t done before and I feel like it worked; people gravitated towards it. Singing has never been my strong suit but I can write good songs, so now I want to get my vocals up there.”

Isreal Perez just dropped a new single “Just Breathe” last week on streaming platforms.

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