Never heard of Pink Sweat$? We don't blame you. The indie-R&B/soul singer is extremely new to the scene but you wouldn't know it with his credentials - the Philadelphia-born artist has over 40 million streams of his unique sound and is turning heads for his refreshing outlook to R&B in a genre that is typically steeped in stoic masculinity.
Just last week Pink Sweat$ released his latest song, the country-twanged I Know, and it got up digging deep into this discography to unearth some of his other tunes. 2018's release of Volume 1 boasts his biggest hit Honesty, nearly 30 million streams strong, as well as laid-back, sensual jams like Call Me.
His songs are often acoustic guitar-based which elevates his soothing vocals to unforgettable levels, and it's pretty amazing to find out that Sweat$ started recording music only 9 months ago. Prior to that, he was writing for others. He tells DJBooth, "I was in LA and I was working on a bunch of projects and something clicked for me. It was this weird thing, where I suddenly felt like I had a voice as far as something important to say, or a reason or cause. I never wanted to be an artist that was just making music. That’s why I stayed away from being an artist because I wanted to impact people versus making a good song.
"All these songs [on Volume 1]... I made these songs as a songwriter, but it was so personal… I sent the songs out and there were certain artists who really liked them and I had to call everybody and tell them, “Yo, I need these songs back.”
The 26-year-old Philadelphia-born singer never thought he'd be anything more than a songwriter - he would wear pink sweatpants to the studio to write and one day, his engineer called him "pink sweats" and it just stuck. He grew up listening to Kanye, Michael Jackson and Prince, as well as G-rated acts like Maroon 5 and Avril Lavigne because he had a strict Christian upbringing.
Sweat$ finally focused on music after a near-death experience with a condition called Achalasia. He tells Billboard, "It affected my esophagus and I couldn’t keep my food down or anything. It was crazy as fuck. It’s like the strangest disease. It’s kind of light, but it’s kind of crazy. I couldn’t eat and I couldn’t drink. It was for three years and it progressively got worse, but in the beginning, it was like every now and then I just got this weird feeling where I couldn’t swallow. By year three, I couldn’t keep nothing down, bro. After that, I thought I was going to die. If you could just imagine, you open a bottle of water and you take a sip, immediately you gotta run to the bathroom. Just for fucking water. I lost like 40 pounds in like three weeks. I’m a big dude. I finally got checked out and they told me I got this rare situation. I ended up getting that straightened out and I got surgery and everything.
"After that, that’s what made me slow down and look at the world around me. All this time, I’ve been chasing money, girls and material things. I still like those things, but that’s not my fuel anymore. My fuel is helping my culture."
No doubt Pink Sweat$ has an incredibly interesting story, and his music career is just getting started. Can't wait to see where this pink legend goes next.