The man who wanted to be king.
“The most perfect fish. It’s so tender, and it’s falling apart, and the sauce is right. And they bring you out veggies and salad, and you’re like I’ve never had a salad like this one! And then some wagyu beef that’s soft and flown in from Japan. And this amazing dessert that’s their great grandma’s recipe. That’s what my music is. It’s not just one thing. I’m everything you need and everything you didn’t know you needed. I’mma one-stop shop.”
Unashamedly confident and an unashamed go-getter. Pink Sweat$ makes no bones about wanting success and his desire to leave his mark in the world.
“Two years ago, people were like Pink Sweat$ that’s weird, now it’s like you don’t know Pink Sweat$? Ten years from now? He’s one of the greatest.” Sweat$ says.
Philly-born and now LA-based, David Bowden is the 28-year old known as, Pink Sweat$. He got his performing name from always wearing pink. One day, while recording, somebody asked – “Where Pink Sweats at?” The name stuck.
He broke out in 2018 with his first EP, Volume 1, and his break-out single “Honesty”—a beautiful track which contains peaceful guitar lines and a series of harmonies.
He grew up in West Philadelphia, but – according to him – it was far more dangerous than playful skirmishes on basketball courts.
“I held my first gun when I was 7. A 13-year old I knew from round the way gave me one (to hold). He had a gun, plenty of cash and his hat was on backwards. I never saw that kind of money, until then. I thought damn he’s lit.”
Although he was impressed, he realised it wasn’t something he wanted to be involved in. “That shit was normal, but it wasn’t me. I held it, but then I gave it back. I went a different route.”
Sweat$ credits staying out of trouble through being a part of the church, where he used to play the drums. He appreciates the musicality the church gave him but also found the house of God a little limiting.
“I learned a lot of what I know at church. But I didn’t like that every song had the message that Jesus makes everything alright. I thought that doesn’t make sense. I’m still poor, and I have to go to church every Sunday. My day doesn’t always end with good thoughts, so why do I have to write songs like that? It made me feel stifled.”
Pink Sweat$ broke into the industry as someone in the background rather than the foreground, writing songs for other people. When he demoed songs, people would tell him that he should be an artist; however, he was comfortable coasting in the music industry as a songwriter. But then he fell seriously ill. After this, he had an epiphany and decided that he wanted to be front and centre rather than in the background.
“I want people to know what I’m standing for. This music that I’m creating is about diversity globally for people who look like myself. Music needs diversity. I don’t have a black version of those big bands that I love, and that’s what I wanna be.”
Sweat$ keeps a smooth vocal over a variety of strange yet minimalistic sounds. It’s pop music but not as we know it.
The opening track, off his new EP ‘The Prelude’, is ‘Give It To Me’ which has a hook that takes two listens to become unforgettable. And the EP starts as it means to go on.
Standout single ‘Icy’ is built around dominant bass lines that cause an uncontrollable head bop. The fills and outros show off his musicianship too – the synth at the end of “Lows” stimulates sadness; it’s eerily beautiful. The sound throughout the EP is somewhere between Frank Ocean, Kid Cudi and Gwen Stefani.
The whole EP is easy-listening and catchy but elevates itself by being unpredictable. It pulls you in and the subverts your expectations while you’re listening. It hits the sweet spot between catchy yet wonderfully unfamiliar.
Pink Sweat$ is releasing another record later on this year – an album called Pink Planet and soon as he can he’ll be back on the road touring.