Meet Isaiah Guglielmo of fRybby
I’d say everything started in 6th grade when I started writing poetry. I was fascinated by the power of a metaphor. My dad was in prison at that time. I hadn’t formed any conscious memories of him. He would call me a lot and send me letters. In his letters he’d draw me pictures and write me poems. So, naturally I was interested in arts from my earliest years. In 4th grade, I found myself in the back of Mr. Ohalorons band class with a big metal thing with a bunch of buttons in my lap. I didn’t quite understand the Saxophone at first. Lucky for me I had another chance to play the Sax in 7th grade. It felt cool to express myself with such a unique instrument. Unfortunately I gave up the Sax in 8th grade because I didn’t see the opportunity it could give me. I definitely regret that decision now.
A lot of my school life was challenging because I found myself pushed away from the social cliques around me. I felt like I didn’t fit in with other kids. I just wanted to belong somewhere. This is around the time I got expelled from school and my mom decided to home school me. I had met some kids from school that introduced me to underground rap and mixtapes which I thought was the coolest thing on ever. I had a lot of time on my hands so started rapping and instantly became addicted. I was nervous my parents wouldn’t accept my dream to become a rapper, so I began buying equipment in secret to build my own studio. It wasn’t the greatest but it was exactly what I needed at the time. Eventually, my parents ended up finding out about the studio.
Ive had a few friends who’ve made music with me over the years, but I think I’m one of few that’s really taken it seriously. When I was 16 I helped form my first group that I named SNO Music. It consisted of 8 of friends and a lot of them were 2-4 years older than me. Everyone would come to my house to record. I think we still have some of those songs on SoundCloud. That’s when they introduced me to freestyling. We would drive around all day and ‘spit bars’. It was really exciting to feel like we were becoming something more, but we didn’t stay together very long. Around that time my home life started to crumble and I was kicked out by my step dad.
My mom and step dad had a really toxic relationship. My stepdad was extremely verbally abusive and, on occasion, physically. My stepdad worked while my mom was taking care of us. He had very high expectations as to how he wanted his house maintained which fell on my mom and I. When I was younger, I didn’t always understand why my mom was upset but looking back she was in a bad place. He could be scary and I think we were just trying to survive back then.
After I turned 17, things got pretty hard. My step dad didn’t want me around and he made it really hard for me in a lot of ways. Eventually, we got into a fight because I got in trouble with the law for having marijuana. As a result, my step dad told my mom I was a drug addict and I was too unstable to live in the house. That’s when they moved me into the RV they had on the property, changed the garage codes, and locked all the doors. Then he went on to tell my siblings to stay away from me because “I was sick, and dangerous”
I went through a really dark time after that. Probably the darkest I’ve ever seen. I don’t know why I’m here today but I’m so unbelievably grateful that I found my way out.
About 4 months after I was kicked out I moved in with my uncles, Tyler and Aaron. I lived in their living room until I turned 18. When the lease was up, my uncle Tyler and I rented a 2 bedroom together. I finally had my own room again, so I borrowed a friend’s studio equipment and started recording my first mixtape which I named “Abstract Art”. I spent countless hours recording it, by myself. It was definitely a test of my determination. Listening to it now makes me cringe but, regardless, I’m proud of the project and it marks my first accomplishment as an artist.
After our lease was up, I moved around for a bit until I was 19. By this time, my mom finally divorced my stepdad. Somehow I ended up inheriting the beat up RV they moved me into back when I was 17. The generators didn’t work well and the a/c was spotty but it did the job, I guess. Home, sweet, home.
At the time, I was working for LifeTouch as a school photographer. They sent me all over Arizona to take school photos. It was pretty cool job, honestly. But It was only seasonal… being the optimist that I was I figured something would work out after the season was over. Around the middle of summer there was, almost, no work left. I broke my phone before pay role and couldn’t log my hours. So, they couldn’t pay me. Because of this, I ended up getting evicted from the rv park I lived in. It was the middle of summer and the RV AC was useless without a power source.
For the next 2 months I moved the RV to a new location everyday with no tags, license or insurance. It was survival mode again. I stayed in Walmart and Crackle Barrel parking lots until managers kicked me out. I ate rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Eventually, I landed a job with a previous employer and he knew someone with a ranch that had RV spots. I moved my RV there for another month or two before selling it and moving into my mom’s spare bedroom.
Shortly after I moved in with my mom, I met Ky. We met at rave and I fell in love with Ky almost instantly. She inspired a wave of creative energy in me and it inspired my second mixtape. I borrowed studio equipment from my friend, once again, and got to work. This time, I wasn’t doing it alone. My long time friend, Bennet, helped me record the mixtape. It took us 3 months from start to finish and we ended up dropping it October 13th, a good 2 years from my last mixtape. My friendship with Ky was short lived since she was moving to New York in the beginning of October for college. It broke my heart, but we agreed to stop talking once she left. Afterwards, I laid low and started getting ready to move again since my mom’s lease was up and we had to leave.
I moved in with Bennet to a 2 bedroom in Central Phoenix. (Where I live now) This was definitely the biggest turning point in my life. I moved here over a year ago while I was in the middle of wrapping my head around heart break and complex emotional issues related to my mom and step dad. I guess just changing from a boy to a man with no role models. Dealing with the past can be challenging but I began to mature and move forward. There was a lot going on in life but things were finally starting to look up for me.
Right before Bennet and I moved in together I met my current girlfriend, Alice. I was on Instagram one day when I noticed this woman who seemed to be so put together and I realized she’d just followed me back. I remember laughing to myself and thinking ‘what are the odds that someone as intellectual looking as her would be interested in someone as free-spirited as me’? To my surprise, she sent me a DM a few days later. The rest is history.
Alice has really helped me get on my feet. I started working with a producer named beat creep around that time, who helped me release a few of my newer songs. Finally, I was starting to meet more creative people and collaborating with other artists again. However, it became hard to rely on people and getting projects done by a due date was challenging. So I started taking things into my own hands. I did some research and purchased some high quality equipment to rebuild my home studio, but better. Now we are here!
Recently, I’ve been heavily focused on two major projects. The first is my third mixtape that’s heavily influenced by hiphop and rap and the second is JuiceBox Live. I have been collaborating with several underground artists to complete my mixtape and release it by this summer. I’m pretty exited to post this one because I feel like there’s a lot of progress from this project compared to the last.
In the mean time, I throw a concert/party called JuiceBox Live which is a party with live performances by numerous talented local artists that we live stream on instagram. It’s really cool that my friends are all getting a chance under the spot light and I love being able to help host a place that can breed creativity. It’s been really surprising, how fast it’s taking off. I’ve had to put a number of projects off to make room for time to throw Juicebox Live. I have several other ideas and projects in the works that will be rolling out in the next few months. All this in addition to starting school in April to become an audio engineer.
I think one of the biggest challenges in my life would be the lack of support I received from my mom and step dad in regards to my music. Because of this, I fought with myself for a long time about making music because I was told I’d never make it. Or it was ‘pipe dream’ I hated myself for loving something I thought made me a loser. I’m really glad I learned to let that go.
I’ve been on my own since I was 17. Trying to learn how society works by yourself can definitely pose a challenge. Everyone has their ups and downs, at the end of the day my biggest issue has always been myself. Sometimes it’s hard not to lose hope or get distracted by life but learning to prioritize what’s important and taking care of yourself can really help. You’re the only one in charge of your decisions.
My name is fRybby (pronounced: fry baby) and I’m a musician. I would say I make indie rap mixed with some alternative indie rock/rap music. I think what pushes me the most is to help people. I remember being alone during some of the darkest parts of my life and music was the only thing that kept me sane. Because of this, I want to produce music that can help others during their dark times just as my favorite artists did for me. So, I try to put a positive spin on my lyrics and take rap from new perspective. I try my best to stay true to myself in every rap and never make music for money or to please a majority. It’s about what’s real. To me the very most important thing is to never make music to be popular. But to make music that is absolutely me, to be myself regardless of judgement.
I think success can mean a lot of things. I’d really like to see my music be able to support my family financially. I’d love to be able to make music all the time! Most of all I’d like to be in a position to give back one day.