David Bowden or better known as Pink Sweat$ is the R&B artist everyone’s been buzzing about. Philadelphia born and raised, but currently based in Los Angeles, this 29-year-old singer is standing out from the crowd for all the right reasons.
He broke into the music scene in 2018, with his first single “Honesty” reaching number 10 on Spotify’s US Viral Chart. His first album “Volume 1” was released on 2nd November 2018. He has since released two more albums and several hit singles. Fans have also enjoyed hearing his collaboration with several other artists, like Kehlani, and DK and Joshua from SEVENTEEN.
Sweat$ initially had no plans to be an artist. He loved writing songs and figured that was what he’d do for the rest of his life. But after being diagnosed with achalasia when he was 19, he felt the need to let his voice be heard. “…it made me realise I shouldn’t waste time, because I didn’t know if this would lead to me losing my voice,” he stated.
His brand of R&B is different from the usual tunes. “Everybody was rapping gangster, and I’m from the hood, so I was seeing the stuff that these people were rapping about and it wasn’t cool to me,” Sweat$ explains. He wanted to show people that there was more to life than just becoming a gangster or dealing with drugs.
True to himself, his latest two singles, “At My Worst” and “Heaven” are people’s thoughts put into music. With these two singles, he has declared his debut album, the Pink Planet project completed and is ready to showcase them in a livestreamed concert this Friday (12th February).
We got the opportunity to interview Pink Sweat$ to find out more about “Pink Planet”, “At My Worst”, and understand the artist a little better.
1. “Heaven” is coming out on the 8th, and you’ve released “At My Worst”. So, with these two songs, is the “Pink Planet” project finally finished?
It’s finished, the whole project is coming out on the 12th.
2. What has been the biggest challenge throughout this journey of putting together the “Pink Planet” project?
I would say the biggest journey is… you know just feeling like it’s finished, because sometimes you think it’s done, and then you add another song, or you go back in on an old song and you change something. So, I think for me that was probably the hardest thing to just be like “Okay, it’s done, it’s fine, it’s fine.”
Cause, you know, us as humans, sometimes we can be our worst critic, where we don’t allow things to just happen. It’s like, “Uh, I got to edit this, I had to edit that.”
3. How did you come up with the name “Pink Planet”? Does it have a similar backstory to your name, Pink Sweat$?
No, it’s just, I always wanted to create a world. And I feel like my brain, the way that I build… It’s like, I call it world building, like I’m creating a place, a space where people can… You know when they come in, feel free to express, free to learn, free to be vulnerable. And I feel like my music is a gateway to that sometimes.
Somebody can listen to one of my songs and that starts a conversation for them. Like, “Man, I want somebody to love me at my worst! Hey babe, you think you’ll love me at my worst?” Like, I think it just creates that conversation. And I kind of wanted to create a place where people can come, you know, even though it’s not a physical place, it’s a mental place. It’s beautiful when you get there.
4. Did anything spark “Pink Planet” in particular?
I guess what sparked it was, I just wanted to do something bigger. Because like before, all my music was kind of broken down into simple instruments, like just a guitar or something like that. So, I kind of wanted to do something bigger. And I felt like, I’m making it bigger means that it’s gotta be an album if I’m going to go big. It’s like, I gotta go all the way. “Pink Planet” is just like, it’s such a big idea.
5. We love that you’ve enlisted Kehlani on “At My Worst”. And we want to know, how did the collaboration come about? What’s your relationship with her like?
We’re not like best friends or anything, but I met her at a party like two years ago, something like that. And we exchanged information and we’ve admired each other’s music. And when it came time to do it, I knew I wanted (a woman) to do it. So, yeah, we just figured it out. Like, our teams talked to each other. We talked, her and I talked to each other. We just made it happen.
6. Kehlani is known for her defiance and radical honesty. Were there other traits you saw while working with her that you really admired?
I feel like she’s herself, through and through. You know, she tells her truth. And I like that. I think it’s rare. It’s a good trait.
7. You did a remix of “17” with members of the K-pop group, SEVENTEEN. So, what was it like working with Joshua and DK?
I think originally, we just thought it was like ironic, you know? I was like, “Oh wow, I have a song, “17” and their group name is SEVENTEEN.” And then, me and my team, we talked. And we just thought about it, and we were like “Yeah, we should just try to reach out and see if they’re down.”
They’re really dope. We try to pay attention to the things that we can see that are like, you know, maybe not be in America but somewhere else, where we can kind of collaborate and I feel like with them, they are already very successful where they are, you know, and we kind of wanted to just collaborate and show people that, you know, two different worlds coming together. They’re very nice, they’re so nice. Very nice people.
8. We also love that you didn’t miss the irony of your song being “17” and that you invited members from SEVENTEEN.
Yeah! At first, I thought I was like, “Man, maybe it’s not SEVENTEEN. Maybe it’s something else, maybe I’m like not seeing it correctly.”
9. What is your fascination with the K-pop world?
Yeah, I think what fascinates me most is the visual aesthetic of, like, stage performance and music videos and things like that. So, I definitely want to do more collaborations in the future. I guess it just matters when the right song comes along, you know? Like once the right song is there, it’s like “Oh, this is perfect.”
10. We noticed that being different and standing out is your brand. Was there anything in life that drove you to prioritise these two traits and make them your core as a singer?
I feel like the thing that drove me to be myself is, we’re all different. And you never discover your differences until you become your true self. I feel like for me, when I was young, I used to want to fit in. I used to want to be like everybody else. It’s kinda like, “Blend in, you don’t want to stand out too much.” So, people are looking at you and you’re like, “Ah, I just want to blend back in.”
So, when I got older, it just made me think like, “I’m denying myself of my own freedom.” Because when you’re yourself, you’re the most free. You’re the most happy, the most loving, the most caring. When you’re not yourself, you get frustrated. You’re like trying to be like everyone else. Do the same job as everybody else, go to the same basketball court as everybody else… You just get lost in yourself.
11. If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be and why?
If I could change one thing about the music industry, I would change how people perceive music. I will try to make people understand the power that music has to affect people positively.
12. Unlike most of the R&B songs of this current era, your songs in particular have intentionally avoided degrading women and talking explicitly about sex. What led you to avoid these conventional topics of the R&B songs, aside from just being purposefully different?
I feel like I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to challenge my peers. I just wanted to challenge the status quo. Because usually, everybody is like, “Oh, sex sells, sex sells,” and it’s like, “Okay, everybody knows that, right?” Everywhere around the world, everybody knows all sex sells. So, I just proved to myself that I don’t have to do that if I don’t want to. Like if I want to talk about sexual things, maybe in the future I will, but I just wanted to challenge myself. Just like, I wanted to see if I could make something out of myself from, you know, not doing those things.
Check out “Heaven” when it drops on the 8th and listen to “At My Worst” in the meantime. Don’t skip the remixes either, you’d be surprised at how different the songs can be.
We’d like to warmly thank Warner Music Malaysia for giving us the chance to meet this talented R&B singer virtually. We can’t wait to hear more from Pink Sweat$ in the future!