DT: All right, Rakeem, give me the instant reaction. You just got off your set. What were your impressions? How did it go? How did it feel?
Rakeem Miles: Man, it was amazing. I saw people from my school. I saw, like, you know, my childhood friends. That was amazing, you know? And it’s great to actually be in this festival, because I’ve been working to get on this festival for four years straight. And, yeah, I’m super excited.
DT: You talked about trying to get to Firefly for four years. What was going through your head finally being up on that stage here? What did that mean to you?
RM: I was like wow, like we really made it happen. I mean I wouldn’t be able to do it without my boy, Gig, Max, Sam, Joe, Roka, you know, everybody on my team. So, it’s amazing to be able to get to this position, to be able to perform in that festival.
DT: Cool. I saw your parents were here, too. Is that special?
RM: Yeah. That’s my grandparents because I’m adopted. I was taken away from my biological parents, so it’s amazing still, you know being able to do this before it’s too late. You know what I mean? Because they’re older, you know what I mean? So, anything can happen, and you know, I already had, you know, my mom had a health scare last year. She had cancer or whatever, so it’s actually good that they were able to see this. And they’re starting to see me make things happen.
DT: That’s gotta be special.
RM: Because my granddad was like, “Yo, you should go to college. You shouldn’t do this at all. It’s not gonna work out.” So I was like, you know what, I’m just gonna try to maintain the situation as far as music and just try to make it happen. It’s just dope to be appreciated.
Photo by Joe del Tufo, Moonloop Photography
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DT: That 2:00 p.m. time slot on Saturday can be tough. People might be hungover, low energy, but you really got the energy up in the room. The crowd was moving. They were singing along. They were dancing. How were you able to do that?
RM: Man, it’s just like, I don’t know what it is, but I feel like every single show, I just improv, like the entire show. I don’t really go and like practice the show over and over, you know? I just go off of the crowd’s emotion, you know what I mean? I just feel the vibe and I was just like, I kind of figure out what they’re into and what they’re not into. And I just go straight into it, you know?
DT: Was it surprising at all that so many fans knew so many lyrics to your songs?
RM: Yeah, that was dope. Yeah, that was super dope. Like, I didn’t realize it until people started yelling the songs. Then I was like, let me just see if I just don’t tell them the lyrics. Let’s see if they already know the lyrics. And they knew the lyrics already.
Photos by Joe del Tufo, Moonloop Photography
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DT: What do you hope comes out of this opportunity, this performance today? What would be an ideal result?
RM: Honestly, more festivals, more opportunities. Just more opportunities in general. Take this from 0 to 50, 50 to 100, you know what I’m saying?
And that’s really all I’m hoping to get out of it. And, also for people to connect to some of deeper songs, especially “Rose Petal” and the songs that I really feel are heartfelt and mean a lot to me as far as when I was writing it. I’m just hoping that they also took something from that, you know what I mean? And were able to leave, like “Wow, you know what, like I can get through this, whatever situation I’m going through in life.”
And I hope they, you know, people were able to get a positive, like receive a positive message from this performance. And, yeah, that’s all I really want, you know? Kind of help people to just be happy. That’s it.
DT: Did you get to talk to Tyler last night?
RM: Yeah. I actually talked to Jasper for a little bit, too, because I know Jasper.
PHOTO BY JOE DEL TUFO, MOONLOOP PHOTOGRAPHY
DT: [Rakeem’s manager] Max was getting really excited talking about some of the last-minute additions going on with the album. Anything you can preview for us? It sounds like it’s going to be really exciting, and hopefully sometime this summer?
RM: Yeah. It’s probably going to be in the end of the summer, because at this point we’re just remastering, just redoing some things for the project, and it will be out for sure. We only have to restructure five songs.
DT: Anything you wanna say to your fans in Delaware and the region?
RM: Yeah. I appreciate everybody. Thank you for supporting me. And that’s it.