In the era of TikTok, fame can come in ways you least expect. Singer-songwriter Fousheé, whose eminent track “Deep End” took her from obscure to epochal overnight, can speak to this from experience. Many first heard Fousheé's enchanting vocals on rapper Sleepy Hallow’s “Deep End Freestyle,” which was released in April and uploaded to YouTube that same month. It caught the ears of pretty much everyone, including the likes of Dwyane Wade. But thanks to the viral nature of the internet, in which proper recognition is often lost amid rapid content shares, Fousheé didn’t get credit as the vocalist behind the track’s charm until months after it went viral.
“I did like 250 vocal samples,” Fousheé, who is currently based in Los Angeles, recalls over the phone. That royalty-free sample pack would grab the attention of the producer behind Sleepy Hallow’s song. “I didn’t know about it,” she continues. “Until my friend texted me [the YouTube link] and was like, ‘Is this you singing?’”
The song had been online for a month by the time she was made aware of the upload. By then, she says, it was at a million views. “It was just going crazy and it went under my radar.” That’s when her mother encouraged her to come forward as the original artist in a TikTok video, which now has over 6 million views. Since then, she’s been signed to RCA, released a full-length version of “Deep End,” and unveiled a stunning Blaxploitation-inspired music video to go along with it.
“I kind of came out of the womb doing music,” Fousheé, whose mother was a drummer in an all-girl band in Jamaica, reflects. “But it always takes that one unexpected thing to make things click, you know?”
“Deep End” couldn’t have crescendoed at a more necessary time. Written just after George Floyd’s murder, the song was a salve for many struggling to bear the weight of ongoing social injustice amid a deadly pandemic. And its impact was a telling result of Fousheé’s upbringing. The New Jersey native grew up listening to Bob Marley and is inspired by, as she says, “songs that make you feel alive.”
“I probably know every Bob Marley song and now that I look back on it, I think [that he was my biggest influence],” she muses. “I’m like this Jamaican playing guitar. And Bob was all about reflecting the times, songwriting and singing from his heart. I connected with that.” Like Marley, Fousheé is an adept storyteller and says her mission is driven by a desire to amplify Black stories through her experiences as a Black woman. “There’s a whole bunch of different stories to tell that I think are not always in the forefront,” she says. “The goal is to make people feel heard and comforted.”
Her latest aria, “Single AF,” follows suit. It’s an uplifting breakup anthem inspired by a peaceful split from a former partner, one which pushed her to challenge the notion of what breakups can look like. “I don’t think breakups should always be sad,” says Fousheé. “It should feel like a rebirth.” As the saying goes, the only way out is through, and Fousheé's music is here to remind us that, through intent and introspection, life can bring new beginnings.
One could say Fousheé is in the midst of her own renaissance. And as she continues to ascend, she hopes to keep writing the best music she’s ever written. “Values shift from artistry to money,” she says of the music industry, “but the driving force for me always has to be music.”