alk into the room like the presence of God when they see me.
Walking through life with a committed purpose, 23-year-old, San Jose–raised singer and rapper Ervin Wilson displays the self-confidence and conviction of someone much older. He sums up this purpose with the motto, “The Authentic Speaks,” which represents all facets of his life, from his music to his spiritual conviction, to the way he walks into a room. It also connects him to his name, meaning “friend to many,” which drives his outlook on daily life. As he explains, “I try to live my life emulating my name’s meanings and try to represent God the best ways I can.” Ervin presents his best possible self to others through his interactions, his relationships, and most importantly, through his music. He relates, “I’ve committed to spark emotion and connection through music. Whenever I walk into the room, I’m taller and vibrant. I want to convey hype [and] fun, but with honest lyrics from my life experience in an attempt to relate to the people that hear it.”
Ervin’s life has been centered around and driven by the Church, but his musical trajectory wasn’t immediate. Ervin actually pushed back when asked to sing by his worship team, instead opting to play drums. Finally, he gave in. His first time singing on stage in 2019 made him feel like he was home. He never went back to the drums and has since hustled to release over twenty singles.
It’s not religion, I am telling you it’s relational.
While he admits his church upbringing made him sheltered musically, it provided him with a strong foundation of support and inspiration from his family, mentors, and his relationship with Christ. This carries him as he traverses new musical territory and slowly lets in secular influences such as YONAS, Travis Scott, and Post Malone, in addition to Christian hip-hop artists Aaron Cole and nobigdyl. Ervin even had the chance to release “Rings (Remix)” with Cole in 2022. While it may be easy to simply apply the label “Christian hip-hop” to his music, Ervin’s lyrical prowess puts him just outside that box. As he puts it, “I am not the typical ‘Christian hip-hop artist.’ I am a rapper/singer who has a relationship with Jesus.” At first listen, you wouldn’t know he was considered a Christian hip-hop artist until you listened very intently and also knew his personal approach to music making.
I am a teacher and doctor, every day I be testing their patience.
Ervin’s lyrics put his relationship with God in perspective, as he experiences the vicissitudes of life. He strives to be real with his words without compromising his morals, which means being able to rap about the hard things in life, even if it may make him sound more secular to his Christian listening fans. “I don’t want to be boxed into the Christian hip-hop box, where I can’t really say what’s on my mind,” he says. His song “My World” explains to those questioning his faith and intention that it is his world the listener is stepping into. Even when he addresses his naysayers, however, he still displays humility and the acceptance that he is still learning.
“Never traded all the truth for a lie
Ask the day of, I’ll meet you there tonight
Always ask The Lord to tell me which way
Knowing damn well I’m never doing right”
Ervin puts a great emphasis on his experiences in life and connecting with those around him. He says, “I’m here to relate to real people going through real situations, people that want to be real with themselves.” You could say that people are what keep him going and inspire him to do what he does. If he can lift up others around him with his presence and his music, then they in turn can lift him up. For Ervin, however, the beauty of life is appreciating the present that God has given him and having faith that, as he says, “It will all make sense soon.”
With only roughly five years of music making under his belt, Ervin has managed to independently release a healthy catalog, showing off his range, lyrical artistry, and musical growth. He straddles both R&B and hip-hop, giving us singles like “Dream” and “Out of Luck” on the melodic side and then coming in hard with infectious, unbroken flows on tracks like “My World” and “The City Don’t Care.”
What is striking about Ervin as an artist is how much his music and approach to life are one and the same. He lives for moments of inspiration in his everyday life, which means he is content releasing singles as he is inspired. He has faith in God’s timing, releasing music when the timing and resources come together. “I lean on God’s promises, and I trust that He’s going to lead me and work everything out in His timing. I don’t know what my future holds at this point in time, honestly, but I know that everything will work out if I just keep strengthening my relationship with God and focus on serving others.”
There is no doubt that Ervin’s talent and fortitude in his beliefs will bring some great accomplishments in the future. For Ervin, however, the beauty of life is appreciating the present that God has given him and having faith that “it will all make sense soon.”