By Bre Cura // Photos Provided by Artist

Last week Ionika, a current student at Drexel University and Philadelphia based artist, dropped the easy-listen R&B track we all needed right now. Featuring 808 Carter, “perfect” takes a look into what might be going through somebody’s head when they invite someone over to chill.

Versatile in its listening, this song fits into wherever you need it to, really allowing for it to be enjoyed by a large audience. If we could party right now, “perfect” would be the, well, perfect background lo-fi track. Ionika takes a step away from his typical drops by focusing more on his sung vocals and letting 808 Carter really pop with his feature. We got to chat with Ionika all about what went down behind the scenes, his friendship with 808 Carter, and what life looks like for him right now as a college student, producer and artist.

So, tell me all about your new track “perfect”! 

Ionika: “So ‘perfect’ is about asking this girl I really like to come over to spend the night, and you know, ‘Netflix and chill’. I wanted to let this girl know that she’s amazing, and that she’s worth all my time. However, on the other hand, 808 Carter’s verses were more realistic and grounded, basically detailing the negatives in his experience with girls, but also moving on and living his best life. ‘Perfect’ is about depicting two different scenarios, but in the end, you like this girl too, so you still think she’s perfect.”

What were your influences for this song?

Ionika: “I think my biggest influence for this track was Jay Park. He’s probably one of the biggest Asian R&B artists I know out there. His melodies and voice are so smooth, I just wanted to make a song like him. Like “Damn, what if I could be Jay Park”, hahaha. And the track turned out pretty well I think! I think I got the tone and vibe of the track pretty solid.”

How’d you get to know 808 Carter? Tell me about that partnership for this track! 

Ionika: “808 Carter and I have been friends for over a year. It’s funny how we met, because we first never met in person – he slid in my DMs, believe it or not. He sent me like two songs he worked on along with a very formal introduction and I was like “Wow, this dude seems cool”. Now we’re like super close, it’s crazy. So Carter and I worked on this song on a whim. We always work on songs together, and I guess we were in the mood for R&B one night, and we knocked this out together in the studio. When I heard his part, “So maybe, if I wasn’t your baby, would you still tell me that you hate me?” I went ballistic. I was like ‘“Bro, this is IT! The melody is FIRE!” So yeah, we had a great time making this.”

Do you think this track has been in line with your past releases, or does it stand out to you for any reason? 

Ionika: “Oh, nah. This track definitely is different from everything I have ever put out. I used to stick to pretty basic rapping, only utilizing my voice to spit rhymes rather than melodies. However, as time went on, I realized I had the capability to sing (Lowkey was tone-deaf for three years, which is crazy how I can sing now) so I wanted to utilize my voice in different ways, so ‘perfect’ was the best track to start experimenting on.”

Photo by Yilun Cai

What went on behind the scenes production-wise for this song? 

Ionika: “Shoutout Jad Walker, man. He was this producer kid I met at a party (pre-COVID), and we got really close because he knew Carter for years. Unfortunately, my boy had to leave for Atlanta this summer, so he left behind his legacy to me in the form of a beat pack. So when Carter and I were working on new music, and we were looking through his beats, we found the beat for ‘perfect’ and it was just so beautiful. So that’s how the track came about.” 

What’s it been like studying at Drexel, while creating music and experiencing a pandemic? 

Ionika: “It’s been slightly weird. Never done anything like this before. Zoom University really isn’t bad if you think about it because I don’t have to leave my home so I just wake up and open my laptop. It’s pretty convenient because after class I can just open up Logic and start recording new music in my room. I don’t have to go through the motions of walking to class and back, which would’ve been a PAIN if things were normal. However, it’s fun though. I enjoy my classes, especially the music industry ones where we get guest speakers and work on projects that could be done all at home.”

Has studying music business helped you with your own career?

Ionika:“Yes, it definitely has. Man, because of my classes I know topics like contracts, copyrights, publishing, royalty splitting, how much I get paid, how to market music, etc. It’s insane that if you ask me this question like four years ago, I would’ve been like “What’s the music business?” Knowing these topics allowed me to take control of my own career and also be well-versed in the business, so communicating with my manager and professionals is a lot easier.”

Can listeners be expecting more from you in the near future? 

Ionika:“Absolutely. This Friday, I have another single coming, which, again, is also COMPLETELY different from ‘perfect’. I’ve just been experimenting with new sounds and styles, so we’ll see how the audience takes it. I also have an album dropping in February, so I’m SUPER excited to put it out.”

And of course, we have to ask, how have you been doing in these crazy times? Are there any ways that people can help support you? 

Ionika:“I’ve been doing well. I wish live shows could happen and I could go out and promote my music in person, but during these difficult times, we still have to stay creative and find new ways to get our audience to listen to music. There really isn’t much I ask for from my audience, except to just stream and share my song, or add it to their playlist, haha. I just want my audience to enjoy the song. That’s what makes me the happiest.”

Stream “perfect” here!

Keep up with Ionika on Spotify // Instagram

Photo by Timothy Huang

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