‘Pell’ returns home to rock Buku for first time


Alec Schwartzman, Print Arcade Editor

Jared Pellerin just wants to connect. Pellerin, known by his rap alias Pell, grew up in New Orleans before being forced to relocate after Hurricane Katrina. The 21-year-old will return home March 13 to perform at Buku Music + Art Project.

“The closest thing to success, for me, is access,” Pellerin said.

The up-and-coming rapper has taken an interesting approach to the business side of the music industry. Unlike most artists, who reluctantly struggle to scrape money from depreciating record sales and streaming services, Pellerin focuses on getting his music out to everyone, at any cost. He has been chosen as an emerging artist on Spotify, and he charges only $3 dollars for his latest album on iTunes.

“I wanted the album to be $1, but they wouldn’t let me,” Pellerin said. “If you really love the music, all you have to spend is a few dollars … That’s really the whole idea behind it: to allow everyone to hear it. We didn’t want to take it away from any platform that could help it grow.”

Pellerin’s released his debut album, “Floating while Dreaming,” in May and received a significant amount of Internet buzz. The earnest effort saw Pellerin open up to his listeners.

“It comes from a sense of music being therapeutic,” Pellerin said. “I take my life experiences and I apply them to my songs to help me understand where I’ve been, why I’m here, and where I’m headed. That’s why I do it every day, it’s a guiding force. Hopefully, I can be a light for other people’s lives. I just want people to be able to connect.”

Pellerin’s approach comes from an extremely personal place. The rapper found great inspiration from a variety of artists who take the same vulnerable approach to their songwriting. Pellerin mentioned Lauryn Hill’s storytelling and Travie McCoy’s ability to represent the underdog as particularly influential. Though self-described as a “so cliche” choice, Pellerin could not help but be impacted by Kanye West.

“He definitely connected with me,” Pellerin said. “He was a middle class African-American that didn’t want to go to school  I, myself, dropped out of college. He spoke to me unlike any other artist has at this point in my life.”

Pellerin’s particular inspiration for his release “Floating while Dreaming,” however, comes from an unlikely source called ‘Waking Life’ by Richard Linklater.

“It put me on an existential trip about lucid dreaming, so I decided to experiment with it,” Pellerin said. “I was writing my dreams down in a journal and actually paying attention to things in my life that I never had before … I wanted to take it away from the fantasy and apply it to reality.”

Pellerin’s wavy journey through the subconscious treats listeners to a distinct aural experience, breaking new ground for an established genre. With an incredibly smooth flow, euphoric vocal talent and ethereal, atmospheric production, Pellerin will command attention at the music festival despite his youth.

“I think this will be a great opportunity for me to showcase what I can do, being from New Orleans, being up there on the stage,” Pellerin said. “The people out there have dreams and aspirations of their own. I am there to make that dream a reality for those kids.”