NandoSTL’s career has grown steadily since 2019, he has performed at several large events including the music festival S.L.U.M. Fest STL and last year’s Music At The Intersection.
He has also shared the stage with Grammy-winning multi-platinum songwriter, and producer, T-Pain. T-Pain has recently topped the charts with hits including “I’m N Luv ” “Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin’)” “Bartender” and more.
The talented duo are now part of a team since Nando signed onto T-Pain’s independent record label and entertainment company, Nappy Boy Entertainment.
“I feel like when I got there I felt like I was in the right spot,” Nando said.
“I didn’t want to go somewhere big [a major label] because I knew I’d be at the bottom of the roster with artists way bigger than me also being on the label. It’s different with Nappy Boy. Since I’m the new guy now, I’m getting the most attention. My next few projects are gonna do way better than they would’ve if I did them by myself.”
When Nando first stepped into T-Pain’s Atlanta studio he saw the many plaques and writing credits on the wall. Nando says T-Pain told him he’s “not caught up on chasing after another hit anymore. [I’m] more interested in placing his artists in a position for them to be bigger than [me.]”
T-Pain’s label has also taken on Nando’s “team,” which is composed of friends he has worked with throughout his career.
“Since I already have a team, he usually sends an idea then my team and I bring it into fruition,” he said.
Nando met T-Pain while competing in T-Pain’s March Madness contest, a weekly competition hosted in Feb. 2022 on the gaming app, Twitch.
Artists from around the world battled under T-Pain’s watchful eye. Nando lost in the final round of competition, but the artists developed a business relationship and friendship.
“He was already sold on me and told me he decided on me coming over there [to Nappy Boy],” Nando said. “We kept in touch after the competition, shot a video together and I wasn’t even signed yet.”
Nando has started what is amticipated to be a big year.
His new boss, Young Cash, and he have a new song Y.O.T.A. (Year of the Ape) which has a release date of Jan. 27, and his debut album of the same name will be released in May. He also has a song dropping on 314 Day, and he says he and Nelly “have something they’re working on.”
He said he also has tour and festival dates coming up.
“I played drums my whole life in the church,” he said. “Outside of that I played in R&B groups, and gospel groups. I already knew a lot of the musicians in the local scene from playing drums. At the time I wasn’t rapping and I did dabble in piano a bit,” he said.
Nando said after hearing rap music on the radio he thought, “‘If they can do this, then I can do this.’”
At the time he was enrolled at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina studying mathematics. He planned to work with Wells Fargo as a financial planner.
After hearing the artist Smino (they were in band together and graduated from Hazelwood Central High School) drop “blkjuptr” and the song “Oxygen,” he was motivated to take rap seriously.
“It rekindled that fire. I didn’t know [Smino] was gonna blow up. It inspired me to wanna rap outside of getting big. When you have something [a talent] in you, just enjoy it. That’s what I did and it turned into this.”
His inspiration for songs comes from everything that surrounds him.
“It’s hard to write when nothing is happening,” he said. “I talk about friends, family, shortcomings, girlfriends. That’s where my music comes from.”
His creative process is interesting. He doesn’t write lyrics, every song is improvised.
“My producer PDub Cookin produces a lot of my music,” Nando said. “I usually get the track from him then I go to the studio. I don’t really write, I freestyle whatever I feel. I never rap over beats. If I say something cold, I’m gonna remember it.”
NandoSTL’s music is available on all platforms and you can locate his account on most social media networks. NandoSTL’s real name is Fernando Tillman II, however he goes by the stage name NandoSTL.