Joony on His Rise From Restaurant Employee to Brent Faiyaz Collaborator

Joony is only at the beginning of his career in the music industry, but the artist is already experiencing exponential growth due, in large part, to the company he keeps. He was recently featured on Brent Faiyaz's album "Wasteland" along with other standout collaborators, including Drake, Alicia Keys, and Tyler, the Creator.

While the 21-year-old rising artist has many musical strengths, he's always been more accustomed to singing over rapping. That's why when Faiyaz requested that he rap on his song "FYTB," Joony was surprised — but, of course, up for the challenge. Joony tells POPSUGAR, "The next time I was in LA, I went to the studio, I recorded it, and Brent pulled up. That was when we made that little snippet that everybody saw on Twitter and Instagram." He continues, "'FYTB' became amazing. He had the vision for it, so I just executed it the way he wanted me to."

It's been quite the trajectory for Joony, who was working at a restaurant when the COVID-19 pandemic first began in 2020. "They had to shut down the restaurant when COVID first came out," he explains. But the layoffs proved fortuitous for the performer: Joony decided to channel his free time and energy into his creative and musical aspirations. He tells POPSUGAR, "COVID is what really turned me up for real, and then a year into COVID, the money just started coming in from this, and then that's when it kind of started turning up."

"I just go in the studio, play beats, see what's sounding good, and then I'll go off that."

Since then, Joony has been putting in work in the studio, now on creating the deluxe version of his latest album, "Pretty in Black," out Aug. 16. It's composed of 10 new songs, and Joony anticipates mixed reactions. "Some people are going to say it's better than the original. I don't know. I think they're neck and neck," he says. "That's for the people to decide." Like many artists, Joony's music draws on experiences of the area that raised him, so it's only right that he has a hometown show for the deluxe album drop. "It's been a long time since I did hometown for real. Home is Maryland, DC area. Montgomery county, [Prince George's] county, and DC are what I consider home for real."

As far as his creative process, Joony tries to take inspiration as it comes. "I'm not really out here being too methodical about it," he tells POPSUGAR. "I just go in the studio, play beats, see what's sounding good, and then I'll go off that. It's never premeditated, kind of underwhelming." The results are far from underwhelming, though. With over 10 million streams across digital streaming platforms, Joony's presence continues to grow.

With this, he has gained a new perspective: "You're never going to please everybody. I'm used to only receiving comments or feedback from my fans. But when it's millions of people listening to it that don't know who you are, they have no bias on your side. I've never been on that platform before where I'm there just for everybody to take a poke at."

Stream the deluxe version of "Pretty in Black" here.