by Marisa Torrieri Bloom
Earth Day comes and goes every April, but rarely do I hear a song about the planet that gets stuck in my head, and lifts up my day. But after listening to Bronx, NYC family musician Fyütch’s new single ‘Pick it up (Earth Day Rap: Music Adventure for Kids!)’ that’s all changed.
The song has a cool, catchy dance beat, as Fyütch launches into the rallying cry, “pick it up/put it back/switch it up/swap it out” while showcasing dance moves with his crew in Central Park, NYC.
We recently caught up with the dad (whose name sounds like the first syllable of “Future”), to talk about zero waste, landfills, recycling and making social changes.
Rockmommy: So what inspired ‘Pick it Up’?
Fyütch: Earth Day has taken new importance in my life as a teacher and a Dad. I live in NYC and unfortunately there’s a lot of littering here. My daughter noticed pretty early on people throwing trash on the ground, like gum wrappers and napkins. At only 2 years old she asked me why they did that! So that was one conversation starter.
Next, this idea of refusing items we don’t need, finishing the food on our plate, turning off water when we brush our teeth are just basics. She loves to play at the playground, but sometimes I’m so tired I just turn on the iPad or TV for her. So I’m also challenging myself to be a good example to get up and be active. Most holidays and special days are reminders of things we should always be mindful of. I like to say everyday is Earth Day, because there’s always simple adjustments we can make to be more eco-friendly. My songs closely reflect my personal growth, hence the Earth Day song.
Rockmommy: In January, you released the track ‘Black Women in History.’ How did that come about?
Fyütch: Very quickly actually! During the 2020 Holidays I was with my family. We were enjoying the response to the Kwanzaa song featuring Pierce Freelon. I knew I wanted to follow that up with a song for Black History month. It all started with a few lyrics in my phone notes: “Black women in history. Gotta say it loud so it’s not a mystery.” I started making the beat on my parents’ couch right after Christmas.
I’m a fan of Rissi Palmer, so I emailed her and introduced myself. We spoke on the phone for the first time and hit it off. I pitched her the song idea and she loved it! I spoke to Snooknuk on the phone shortly after. I had just recently met her on a zoom call, and I really liked her music. So we kept in touch. I told her the idea and that Rissi was on board; and she was ecstatic!
On New Year’s Day I finished the beat and the lyrics, and sent them a rough demo. They recorded their parts within days! Thankfully, we all have green screens at home, so they sent me their video footage and I edited it the weekend before we released it. Very quick collaboration process, but honestly it didn’t seem rushed because we were all so excited to release this into the world.
Rockmommy: What do you hope to accomplish through your art?
Fyütch: Educate, entertain, and empower. Normalize telling the truth in school. The songs I make about social justice and racial equity shouldn’t be ‘radical.’ History isn’t squeaky clean. And the present isn’t perfect. Sometimes these honest, transparent conversations are difficult for adults to have, for teachers and parents to have. But kids are usually just fine tackling these complicated issues at face value with curiosity and excitement.
We don’t have all the answers all the time and it’s ok for them to know that. I can’t think of a better way to prepare them for a complicated world. Music and art in general are wonderful tools to teach and learn, especially at reaching different types of learners. In my family, there are a lot of teachers and pastors. I grew up with inspirational, community-minded people. So it’s just in my nature to want to inspire. I also think there’s something truly powerful about being a Black man in classrooms. I didn’t fully grasp it until my educator friends opened my eyes to it. There are kids from certain backgrounds whose entire impression of Black people comes from the media. So I’m very proud to represent and tell my truth, and hopefully open the door to different perspectives.
Rockmommy: What lessons do you hope to impart on the next generation?
Fyütch: Think for yourself. Do your own research. Ask lots of questions. Never settle. Dream big, set goals, and work hard for what you want. Work with each other to create the kind of world you want to live in. Empathy is key.
Rockmommy: How has parenthood influenced or shaped your perspective as a creator?
Fyütch: My daughter is my life. I really had that proverbial switch turn on in my brain as soon as she was born 3 years ago. My hustle kicked into overdrive. Everything I do is for her. It’s all about legacy at this point. How does she see me? What are my non-verbal cues teaching her? Patience is a word that comes to mind. I can’t bury myself into my work. I have to find balance. Trust the flow of the day. Have a schedule but be ready to adapt. Be present. Appreciate the time we have together. These are great lessons for life.
Not too long ago, she asked me why I was busy at the time. I jokingly told her “I’m working hard and trying to get rich so we can live wherever we want.” She said, “Daddy, we’re already rich.” Wow! The truth is we already have everything we need, and she knows that. Love, shelter, food, health. More money won’t equate to being a better Dad. So, I’m learning to trust the process and enjoy the journey. The same principles apply to my art. I don’t have to force creating. I’m in a great space where it just happens. And so far these genuine moments of creating have been striking a chord with my growing fan base and I’m super grateful.
Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy.