Former Niceville High School students and musicians Wyatt Coleman and Aubrey West blended their styles in the hip-hop single "Drifting Off."
NICEVILLE – For Wyatt Coleman and Aubrey West, it was really just a matter of when.
Although the two hip-hop musicians live in separate places – Coleman in Gulf Breeze and West in Orlando – their paths once crossed at Niceville High School, they have mutual friends and have praised each other’s fresh approach to the genre on social media. It wasn’t a matter of if they would collaborate, but when.
Coleman knew instinctively when the time arrived.
"I heard this beat one night and it’s one of those beats that stuck with me," Coleman said. "The melody came to my head and then as soon as I started writing to it, I knew I wanted to have (West) on it because we hadn’t done anything together. We grew up around each other’s music, so I knew we were both taking music seriously. As I wrote it, I felt like it fit that vibe."
The two recently dropped "Drifting Off" on streaming platforms. They hope to collaborate again in the future.
In the way of their generation, it started with an Instagram direct message from Coleman to West. She was on board from the first listen.
"The fact that (Coleman) sent me a song with such an awesome message with amazing content – it was a nice vibe all around," West said. It made me feel good, even listening to it without my verse on there. I knew I just wanted to be apart of something that made me feel that good. I also had never done any music with people back home. We grew up with each other. It’s nostalgic in a way."
The lyrics to the song were born one introspective night.
"When I came to reality, I found that where I was in my head was not really what was going on around me," Coleman said. "That’s where I found the message for the song and started writing off the emotion I was feeling in that moment."
Coleman didn’t have to explain it to West; she knew.
"I could hear the content," West said. "I could hear the words. I could feel the vibe."
While both play extrovert when they need to; they partially identify as introverts.
"A lot of the way I feel, I keep inside," West said. "A lot of the thoughts I have I process in my head rather than out loud in general – so it was something I could relate to."
The two recorded their parts separately and Coleman, a sound engineer, combined them at his studio Made By Dubs. When pieced together, it was like they were never apart.
"It’s one of those songs – it just puts a smile on my face anytime it comes on now," Coleman said. "It’s a breath of fresh air."
"It was dope," West said. "I definitely received a lot of feedback on that collaboration – and honestly more feedback than I’ve received on other songs. That one really resonated with a lot of people."
West has a knack for making something fresh with the familiar. She recently released the three-track hip-hop project "Johnson St.," which is named after the street next to Northwest Florida State College where she grew up.
"Oddly enough, a lot of my dreams I still have to this day, the setting is still at my house on Johnson Street," West said. "Right now, it’s all bulldozed and there’s new houses to replace the apartment complex I lived in, but I still think about Johnson Street a lot. That’s where I was raised. That’s where I grew up. That’s where I learned a lot of my lessons."