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On A Mission: An Interview w/ Quest Michaels (by Jhantu Randall)

When it comes to any story in entertainment, the one that always stands out is the one told about the underdog. The story about the person that works hard, produces content consistently, studies the craft and still, for some reason or another, stays relatively under the radar. While many may see this as a disadvantage in a sea of talented spitters and artists, some would say to be underrated is the most dangerous because you have the opportunity to remain inconspicuous.

I first saw Quest Michaels take the stage a few months back at an open mic I was performing in at Lady Luck’s in Parkland. I saw him kind of stay hidden in the shadows, watching intently as the other artists graced the stage and spit their piece. Not knowing what to expect, I watched as Quest grabbed the mic and made his way under the spotlight which was surrounded by a dim ambience which played well in the hands of a few acts. With an upbeat, almost reggae rhythm, Quest spit his life in bar after bar which he switched flows on numerous times. The verses were gaining momentum, but it
was the sonic quality and song structure that stayed with you until after the record was ended.

I spoke with him briefly that night and a few months later, he had found some time in his schedule to grant me this sit down. I met him at his house which sat at a coup-de-sac at the end of a dusty, but
regularly maintained road. After the initial meet and greet, he rolled up a swisher that was in the car and began to tell his story. Starting off by saying he had been doing music for 5 years prior but began
to take it seriously as he started hearing the feedback from his peers who he wrote with regularly. At the time of the interview, Quest had just released his first single on Spotify which had already verified him in under 24 hours. Almost immediately other acts began to reach out, Authentic Empire being one of the standout names.

I asked how he navigates such a scene. From Seattle to Tacoma and beyond the region, there are countless rappers, singers and entertainers who all have what it takes, its the ones that continuously put in the work regardless of circumstances that ultimately shines. This is a statement that Quest himself doubles down on not just through his words but through his work ethic and desire to get beyond the local scene. Quest began his journey in this forum by taking his experiences from an early age and recording them in countless journals just to get his thoughts out. “I was a troubled child, so I began to just write what I felt. It began with poetry, then I’d hear a beat and realize that it matched the cadence in my stanzas.” In high school, he was in varsity choir which only heightened his love for music. After he graduated he no longer had that outlet so he knew constructing songs out of his poems was something he had to do regardless of what the reception might be.

At 23, Quest talks with the insight of someone who has lived countless lives in bygone eras. It’s this point of view that separates him from the pack of current drug induced, monotonous club escapism that we are currently being bombarded with. “Everyone has a sob story, everyone grew up rough in some way. I'm choosing to not focus on going against that because all the hell I’ve had to deal with shaped me and made me who I am!”

It was through all that Quest found a way to convey a deeper message at the base of his songs. Sure he has some party joints, but what draws him is the ability to take his own pain and connect to a casual listener who may have not related had he stayed to a formulaic blueprint. In fact whereas most people let the negative comments get to them, Quest invites it as he uses it as fuel for upcoming songs. He has a music video entitled, “Weight of the World” on YouTube as well as “Set em Free”
with Tacoma rapper, Hayday. To hear some of Quest’s work, go to soundcloud and type in his name. The man’s worked so hard that he has to have 3 different profiles just to keep up with his inventory.

We ended the interview on a promising note as I was able to see the love and respect he holds for the craft. The stage is his therapy, the mic his outlet. In a world of cookie cutter copies, to unapologetically go your own way is the biggest test to your belief in yourself that one can possess. The best way to wrap this article up is in Quest’s own words, “There is only ONE Quest Michaels out there, nobody can copy me or even get close to reaching the levels that I hit.” I’m inclined to believe that as I stand by anticipating what he has to show in the future, and more importantly, what he's been holding back until he spots the right moment.



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