You need only catch a couple lines from Thunderbird Gerard‘s debut EP T.R.O.U.B.L.E. (which we posted HERE, as well as below) to get a sense of the Brooklyn-via-London-via-Berlin emcee’s sensibilities. Hailing back from an era where rappers actually communicated, it’s not surprising Gerard has such a cosmopolitan pedigree. The debut EP is in fact allegorical, a biographical weave about his time moving from Smalltown USA at the age of 20, living an impoverished life as an illegal immigrant in London, and then making his big move to Berlin. We wanted to know more about the man BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe tagged as  ‘Next Hype’, so we sent him our To Whom It May Concern interview. Read his thoughtful answers below, and give a listen to both the T.R.O.U.B.L.E. EP and the “Thunderbird” video after the Jump…

Allow me to introduce myself, I’m…
Thunderbird Gerard.

You can find me _____, usually posted up at …
In the Krabbe studio in Berlin or at home in Kreuzberg with CC and our dog, Luna.

You might’ve heard of me because…
My first EP T.R.O.U.B.L.E. was just released and has received a lot of love online. BBC Radio 1 and John Kennedy at XFM in the UK have been big supporters.

My next order of business is…
The next EP — just finishing it off now. It’ll drop in September. Its called BLACK

If it wasn’t for _ CC and DJ Stickle _ I wouldn’t be where I am today.

The first piece of music I heard that I remember waking up my ears was…
“Billie Jean” – Michael Jackson

The last piece of music I heard that woke up my ears is…
“BTSU” – Jai Paul

I hate to admit it, but I almost gave music up when…
Just before I signed my publishing deal with BMG, I’d really come to a place where I was wondering why I was doing this. I felt like I had risked so much of my life and future. I just wanted more out of my life. It was only a period of a few months but when you’re in it, as an artist, it can really seem like a lifetime.

But it all came together when…
There wasn’t ever a eureka moment. I don’t believe in those. I think it comes from a series of choices, hard work, and of course, luck. I moved to England, I met CC and fell in love. We started to work together. I met DJ Stickle etc etc. And slowly but surely, you turn around and there’s a publishing deal, and an EP, and videos. But its hard for me to see it as anything but part of the process.

Check out the “T.R.O.U.B.L.E.” video and EP below, and hit the Jump to continue reading our interview with Thunderbird Gerard…

 “We met Pusha T in Paris actually. Very quiet dude! I reckon he’d be a perfect travel partner…”

If I was taking a train from Paris to Madrid, the one person I’d want to share the cabin with would be….
We took a train a few years ago from Berlin to Istanbul, in an attempt to recreate the Orient Express. 1st stop was in Brno, Czech Republic to visit CC’s fam. From there we went to Budapest, Belgrade — where we randomly bumped into an old friend from Liverpool, next to Sofia and then on to Turkey. It was long. We flew back. Paris to Madrid, no… I take planes now. Life is a very valuable thing and I’ve spent enough of it inside trains. The best travel companions are those that don’t talk the whole time. We met Pusha T in Paris actually. Very quiet dude! I reckon he’d be a perfect travel partner for that reason.

If you want to put a smile on my face, you probably want to…
Laugh.

If you want to wipe that smile away, then you should…
Assume.

The last time I saw the sun come up I was…
Packing for a trip to the south of Germany last week. I’d been in London for a whole month doing studio stuff, then flew back to Berlin and went straight from the airport to do a show. We did another the next night in Hamburg. I had one free day where I had to try to see everyone. I turned up at the airport and hadn’t slept at all. I was a mess. I fell asleep in the waiting area and could only find it in me to whisper when spoken to. It was surreal.

Thunderbird Gerard’s “Thunderbird” video below

The person I admire most is…
My dad.

The last time I lied was because…
Too many to tell. I lie everyday, it’s a terrible habit.

If you hit shuffle on my iPod you might be shocked to find…
You might be shocked to find that I don’t have an iPod.

If you hit shuffle on my iPod I’d be embarrassed if it landed on…
See above.

When I get my next really big check, I’m gonna go score a…
My next big check I want to buy a car. I spent a lot of my publishing advance on equipment and stuff for my studio, which was an investment in the future, so I don’t regret it. But next time, I just want something stupid. I wouldn’t consider myself a materialistic person, but damn, heated seats are nice.

But it’ll never replace…
I really own very little. All available closet space is generally occupied by CC. My dad gave me his watch however, that’s something I’ll keep hold of.

My one magic power is…
Sometimes I have very strong feelings about future events concerning loved ones that then come true. Particularly when it comes to dying.

I’d like to give a quick shout-out to…
All the Berlin Crew (Magazines, DJs, TV, Artists) who have been down from the beginning and everyone that’s been showing us love now. And shout out to Chuck D for always taking the time to say a nice word or two.

And lastly, If I was Lost In a Supermarket, you’d find me in the…
Cereal aisle! No question! One thing I miss about the US is the cereal section. I used to love Cap’n Crunch! But then I was stoned much of my teenage years, so it’s worth taking that into consideration.

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