Photo: Blaine Mulholland
Phoenix, Arizona-based hip-hop artist NUBS, aka Collin While, recently dropped his debut solo album, Abled.
Talking about the album, NUBS explains, “My whole life I have been looked at as “disabled” or “handicapped” but I was raised to believe that with hard work I can do anything. With this being my debut solo album, I wanted to name it something that not only described me but also inspires people just based on what it could mean to them. No matter how different or alike you might be to others, everyone can relate to feeling like they aren’t good enough, or able to be successful. This whole album is here to remind you that you are good enough and that you are ABLED!”
Born with a rare condition that left him without arms or legs, ‘NUBS’ is an acronym for Normally Underestimated By Sight. But NUBS never underestimated himself. Rather than surrendering to the ordeals of life, Nubs turned to music.
When he was nine years old, NUBS joined the renowned Phoenix Boys Choir where he was classically trained and toured Europe twice. But it wasn’t until high school when he met Snowman who shared his love for music and hip-hop, that he really found his voice. They would later meet A-Factor and the trio formed Odd Squad Family.
Tattoo.com spoke with NUBS to find out more about the inspiration for Abled, how he got started in music and his creative process.
What three things can’t you live without?
My Children, Music, and Good Food.
What inspired your new, debut album, ABLED?
My new album was inspired by many things, the first being, my want for more. More growth as an artist, more fans, more purpose. I wanted to push myself further than I ever have and create the best body of work to date. Secondly, my good friend, The Kaleidoscope Kid. Being around such a talented artist, and genuine person, all around inspired me to become a better version of myself. I want to create real music that people didn’t just hear, they felt! Following my feelings to whatever felt right, I created ‘ABLED.’
You were born without limbs, yet here you are making music and amassing millions of streams. How did you do it?
“How,” has always seemed to be the question, and to be honest, for a long time, we were unsure how we would do any of this. But we always knew “Why.” Our why has always been because we want to change the world in a positive way. Because we knew that if we worked really hard and never gave up and dedicated our lives to growth and expansion that one day we would attract millions of people who would relate to and support this movement. With our ‘why’ always in mind the ‘how’ always seems to just work itself out!
How did you get started in music? What’s the backstory there?
I started singing in the Grammy Award-winning Phoenix Boys Choir when I was in 4th grade up until I graduated from the Choir when entering High School. With the Phoenix Boys Choir, I was extensively trained in music ranging from, Mozart’s ‘Requiem,’ to Broadway pop hits and everything in between. But hip-hop always called to me. In high school, junior and senior year, I attended East Valley Institute of Technology where I took Audio engineering and was given my own studio to do my class work. This is where I met Snowman. I would always finish my class work early so that I could use the rest of the time, making hip-hop records on beats I would find on the internet. From there me and Snowman just always continued following our path in music, and here we are today!
Where are you from?
I’m from Scottsdale Arizona/
Did your hometown impact your sound?
We are all products of our environment, so I’m sure to some extent my hometown impacted my sound.
Are there any recording techniques you like to use in the studio?
I kinda just go with the flow! I’ll flip through beats until one calls to me, then almost instantly I’ll come up with a melody or cadence for a hook/verse via humming, then I replace hums with words until I have a finished hook or verse.
Which artists in your opinion are killing it right now?
Jelly Roll is really doing big things, it’s a pleasure to be able to watch his success blossom. The Kid Laroi is someone I can’t wait to work with. I love what he’s been doing, and Doja Cat, BEEN KILLIN IT, I’m a huge fan.
What’s your definition of success?
My definition of success is no matter how many attempts, you fail, no matter how many attempts injure your pride and ego, and no matter how many attempts seem like maybe you should just give up, you always get back up and keep going. It’s not about wealth, items, or people. It’s being able to look at yourself in the mirror and fully accept and love every part of who you are and the journey you are on.
What can your fans look forward to over the next six months? New music? Videos? Live gigs?
Lots of things are coming! You can expect to see me on tour with the rest of the Odd Squad Family later this year! Lots of new music and videos are slated to drop, and there are multiple other albums in the works, solo, and group speaking!