For a long time, Bernz was never tempted to record a solo album. After founding Miami hip-hop group ¡Mayday! in 2003, the MC was content with his crew. But things change, and with his debut LP, See You on the Other Side, set for release on July 8, Bernz is wishing he didn't take so long to fly solo. "¡Mayday! is my baby," the Pembroke Pines resident tells New Times between radio and magazine interviews on a publicity trip to Los Angeles. "I was always fulfilled, but enough fans asked for a solo record and then my label [Strange Music] asked me to do one. The process was so great I wish I did it before."
Creating the 15-track album, Bernz says, was a giant leap away from the stuff he did with ¡Mayday!. "With ¡Mayday!, we have so much invested with each other that we work as a collective. With this record I had to lock myself in the room a lot more." Still, it's not that different. He's confident that fans of his previous work will really appreciate See You on the Other Side. "I like lighthearted, fun music. It's what I bring to the ¡Mayday! table. I wanted it quirky and left of center. Maybe my next outing will be more serious, but this was a fun summer album."
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With plans to do a big ¡Mayday! fall tour coupled with another ¡Mayday! album and a second Mursday record (the group's collaboration with Murs), Bernz has a busy rest of 2016 ahead, but he's making sure to give his solo album some much-deserved attention. "July 29 in Seattle is my first solo show. It's going to be weird coming from a band. I want it to be at least a quarter as fun as a ¡Mayday! show."
Bernz thinks a lot his creativity comes from his genes. His grandfather was a writer, and his abuela was a lounge singer. But it's his mother who Bernz says had the most influence on the making of See You on the Other Side. "My Mom is a nickel and dime store astrologist. She always suggests places I should be for my birthday. This past year she told me I should be in Las Vegas. And on my birthday in Las Vegas was where I met David Grant, who ended up producing the record and made it what it is. So next time someone talks shit about astrology, I'm going to give them that."