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Artist Spotlight: viisi shares passion, conflict in his discography

Bearing a name translating to “five” in Finnish, viisi is a young alternative and hip-hop artist determined to push the boundaries of musicianship in the modern age. His new single, “i left my hometown,“ furthers the influence of alt-pop, rock and hip-hop present in all of his work.

Matthew Borley, who goes by the stage name viisi, is an artist who released his first rough cut as a high school freshman. Five years later, he was touring Europe and playing packed venues in the south of France.

His work is motivated by the 90s hip-hop artists his father introduced to his music library and one of the most controversial rappers of the past few decades: Eminem. Borley was drawn to the raw and unapologetic nature of the hip-hop scene and has since received praise from Fashionably Early, Sweety High and Grimy Goods as a part of that scene.

His first singles collection, "Run Down," was released in 2020. The first track, "Runner," features futuristic sounds and relentless rap verses to convey that he is ferociously running from the negativity in his life toward something better. The drum machine and violin in the background give the song a dramatic effect to match the title.

Following the first track is "Down," a more mellow track expressing sympathy for not coming through for a loved one. The collection ends with "Professional," which begins with a jazzy introduction leading into a funky, bass-driven rap. The theme is similar to "Runner," sharing that the artist feels he is near the success he has always dreamed of.

In addition to many solo singles, viisi has collaborated with other artists on two of his releases. "one day" was released in 2023 with Kayla DiVenere, whose voice adds an extra dimension to the harmonies and proves her strength as a pop artist. The song is most similar to "Down," handling more melancholy topics and giving the lead instrumental role to a simple guitar.

In the same year, viisi released "chasing ghosts" with Chelsea Collins, whose voice possesses a Britney Spears-esque nasal quality. The verses are simple and tragic, accompanying the song's themes of heartbreak and substance abuse.

Other standout singles from viisi’s discography are "na na na," "god damn!" and "i lost who i am." Unlike the rest of his work, "na na na" sounds darker, similar to the "Blurryface" era of Twenty One Pilots. The song also features a "Rap God" style high-speed rap break influenced by viisi’s musical hero, Eminem.

The single "i lost who i am" displays the artist's capabilities as a performer of ballads. Meanwhile, "god damn!" features musical variety within the song; instrumental lines in the chorus shift from plucked strings to intense, bass-driven synth surges.

His new single is about jumping from comfortability to the unknown, all in the pursuit of a dream.

“This year, I took the leap and moved away from the city where I grew up,” the artist said in a provided press release. “I quit my job and told my friends and family that I was leaving to pursue my passion for music. This song was written about the feelings of being held back and building a new life somewhere else.”

With high energy, "i left my hometown" takes on a pop-punk sound with lots of vocal variation. The artist laments the things he is leaving behind while still looking forward to the future, all in a dynamic and adrenaline-boosting way.

Viisi’s music is characterized by honesty and passion. He writes about personal difficulties, from family conflicts to struggles of self-worth and substance abuse. He is constantly motivated by his dreams and portrays that passion in his intense and cinematic tracks.


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