Joseph Worrell, who goes by Artistry, never wanted to make music. The Winston-Salem native grew up in a house full of classically trained musicians and performers, but he wanted to be an entrepreneur, so he explored ventures with an artistic feel like publishing novels and short stories. 

But between helping family with musical projects and familiarizing himself with different instruments over the years, Worell couldn’t avoid the talent in his blood. He succumbed to the internal urge of a music career and adopted his stage name, paying homage to the fact that he’s well-versed in various forms of art. As a member of PROH Entertainment, he taps into his entrepreneurial background to promote himself and other artists.

His latest mixtape, It’s Just a Mixtape Vol. II, includes five tracks that openly display Artistry’s versatility and was produced by Jhay Asjawn and Travis Lewis, who goes by TravieeTre. Inspired by an array of musicians from different genres like Guns N’ Roses, Kendrick Lamar and Michael Jackson, Artistry experiments with unorthodox rhythms, creates diverse flows and toys with traditional song structure. Despite the intricacy of its makeup, Artistry says there is no underlying theme or message to the project. After all, it’s just a mixtape.

Can you tell me a little bit more about growing up in a musical family? Did this inspire you to make music of your own?

The earliest I remember being in the studio, I was around 6 or 7 years old and I was with my sister [Amanda] and my dad [Shelton] and my dad was working on a gospel project back then. He had my sister and I helping him with vocals, so songwriting, singing in the studio has been since I was a child.

What’s funny is I didn’t want to necessarily do the same things my family did. I knew I was going to be and do something, but I didn’t want to go that route. It seemed like it was not for me. So when I was coming up I really suppressed my artistic side. It was just a hobby as opposed to a career. It’s interesting how that came back around in third or fourth grade when I started playing guitar. I’ve been playing since then, and it’s segued into my creativity continuing to spill out. I can’t mask who I am anymore.

Joseph Worrell aka Artistry (courtesy photo)

How long have you been making your own music? How many projects do you have out? 

Actually going into the studio and making my own projects, it’s been about seven years now.

I have a lot of stuff I was putting out on SoundCloud to get used to the process of releasing music and being an artist, but Vol. I and II are the first ones I have on actual streaming services.

Your upcoming release is titled It’s Just A Mixtape, Vol. 2. Tell me more about Vol. 1 and why you decided to continue the series.

Not that I didn’t put my all into it, but there’s layers I understand about how I fully engage a project. With these two specific ones, I didn’t go as in depth as I know I really can. With these first two volumes, it’s still telling a story, just not the super in-depth way artistry goes into making an album. That’s why I say ‘it’s just a mixtape’ — it’s just a playlist of songs that may or may not pertain to one another and may or may not have a real theme.

How long have you been working with Jhay Asjawn and TravieeTre? What’s that like?

It’s been a fun experience so far. Trav, I met him in high school and we ended up rooming together in college and that’s where we met Jhay Asjawn. Jhay happened to be into music as well, and we were all in this A&T organization called MARCH and we were communed together so it happened very seamlessly. We’ve just been rocking ever since. You can never do anything great by yourself so having my partners is awesome.

What do you want listeners to take away from your music?

The way that I look at music, it’s something that’s so much deeper than a vibe. If you vibe with it, bet! But I want that vibe to offer substance.

It’s Just a Mixtape Vol. II is set to release July 7 on Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, Amazon Music and YouTube Music. Follow Artistry on Instagram @works_of_artistry for updates

Join the First Amendment Society, a membership that goes directly to funding TCB‘s newsroom.

We believe that reporting can save the world.

The TCB First Amendment Society recognizes the vital role of a free, unfettered press with a bundling of local experiences designed to build community, and unique engagements with our newsroom that will help you understand, and shape, local journalism’s critical role in uplifting the people in our cities.

All revenue goes directly into the newsroom as reporters’ salaries and freelance commissions.

⚡ Join The Society ⚡