The industry is a circus. Traphouse Jodeci emerges in front of the tightrope as the clowns entertain and magicians perform through smoke and mirrors. But it quiets when the spotlight hits him, the new act right in the middle of the show. A moment of limbo, poised on the rope, somewhere between struggle and success. It's a balancing act, where on one hand his passion for perfection urges him forward, while expectation watches, leaving little room for error.

Indiana artist-songwriter hybrid, Ye Ali knows all about the tightrope as he navigates through a budding career blessed with viral hits, the capacity to deliver more and a fan-base that requests it. He's talented, with melodic coldness, an ear for production and dynamic songwriting capabilities. But he isn't reliant on what comes natural. It's the type of focus that's reflective of being ahead of the curb without arriving just yet. Between the studio sessions and lookbook photoshoots, there's meetings, video treatments, vocal lessons and foreign language classes, for good measure.

Ye Ali is just finishing up in the studio when I call for our interview. He answers with 'Ring 4x' blasting through the speakers and I don't blame him.

You started the year strong with your new single 'Ring 4x'. How did that single come to be and what was the process like of piecing it together in order for it to become the hit that it is?

I got the beat from this producer named Sap from Delaware. Somebody had connected us through Twitter. He sent me some beats and this is one of the ones I started on. I actually sent him a couple voice memos of the idea that I had for the hook and he loved it. We both felt pretty strong about it. Then, I posted a snippet on Instagram and people went pretty crazy. Then, this artist Dutchboy's manager reached out to me to work with his artist and we had never gotten around to it, but then I was like, I got the perfect record for him. He sent it back the next day and then I did my verse the day we released the song.

It's definitely the phone anthem of 2016. No more 'Hotline Bling.'

That's funny. I hadn't even considered that. When I got the beat, I just started yelling on it. I actually have a couple conceptual songs about phones that I've never released.

Your forthcoming project Private Suite, you've released part of it this year with different singles but I noticed that you are the type of artist to just snatch your songs off of SoundCloud on a whim or make your Twitter private. You're in this transitional phase where you're obviously carefully crafting the features that define you as an artist, while receiving a lot of attention and buzz around you. What has been the most difficult part about this spot that you're in right now?

I'll take a song down if it gets enough good comments that it makes me feel bad about releasing such a shitty version of it quality-wise. That'll make me revise it and master it and put it back out at a different time. I'm really particular about what I release now, because I used to drop a lot of stuff here and there and then take stuff down. There's a song on my SoundCloud called 'yours' and it's a few minutes of no words, just music and I rap at the end of it. There's certain things like that I've never finished, but it kind of got the buzz going, but I never deleted those out of respect for the fans who initially started listening to me. The only tough part is, I'm a very private person. It took so long for me to show my face. I was in school, I had a job at school, I didn't want them to know that I made music or anything raunchy that could target my school image. I never posted how I looked on Instagram. Now I need to play into that.

Does that maybe even play into your concept for the tape Private Suite and how your mentality blends into that?

You know what, I never thought of that. The reason I called it Private Suite is because, I was lucky enough to meet somebody who put me in this loft for two months in the summertime and I was able to make music in LA. For two months, I didn't owe them anything. It was just cause they were my people and they had the spot. I essentially had a private suite to myself. I was like, I want to get more successful and wealthy so that I have this on a bigger scale. I like people taking care of me. But right now, I'm really focused on hitting the road. I just recently started working with Isaiah Rashad at my house. I like working with artists there. I dig that. He was the first artist that I let come there. But the Private Suite derived from the guy helping me out but it's definitely a dual title. I just never really even thought about that but it works too.

You're obviously a genre-blending artist. You effortlessly blend trap, R&B and new-wave music together effortlessly, but you also blend a bunch of regional sonic landscapes as well. You were born in Chicago, raised in Indiana, right now you're in LA, you collaborate with artists from Atlanta and you use producers from Toronto. How important is it for you to cover and blend so many regional sounds in your music?

I never identify with my city. I always say I'm from Indiana, because it's cool that I'm from there and nobody's from there but Michael Jackson, maybe Babyface, and those are the only artists that people know from Indiana. I thought it was be cool to say that I represent it, but I never felt it like an identity. I never felt the need to portray anything or say anything. My parents are Muslim. The first rap album I listened to, I was 17 years old. My upbringing was a little different, so I caught onto a bunch of music late in life and in turn, I didn't start doing music until later in life, until college and I realized I liked it. I didn't have a sheltered childhood, just my dad kept me in basketball, karate and choir. I couldn't be out. I had a job. So, I never really lived like a normal kid. I never went to the mall to go shopping. I worked at the mall. Even with that, I would listen to country music, jazz and music with no words, which is what I was raised on. I used to freestyle off of that all the time. That's why I like abstract beats instead of hip-hop beats. My dad definitely had some type of influence on me. Regionally, people assume I'm from Toronto or LA. I think Indiana is different. Even when people call me a rapper or a singer, whatever you call me, you're right. I do all aspects of it. To me, I look at it differently. I can listen to anything and be influenced by it and not necessarily reproduce it. That's just me, I don't rely on being trendy.

What is originality and authenticity to you in modern R&B? The way you explain your focus makes sense, yet a lot of blogs like to compare you, and I guess every R&B artist with some grit, to artists like Bryson Tiller or Tory Lanez.

Having been a song-writer before I did the artist thing, there's a lot of rumors. And I think the one thing that has fueled my career lately is rumors - who I'm associated with, who I've written for or whatever. To me, there is no such thing as originality. If someone tells you that they've created this idea, they're lying. Chances are, the reason something was sparked was because of something else. You saw something, you heard something, you did something and someone else was there, it inspired you to action a reaction. When it comes to music and people want to group and compare music and art, I think it's great when you put me with artists that sound good. People categorize me with pretty good artists. I think everybody draws inspiration from everybody and I think it would make music a better place if artists took their ego out of showing respect and comradery to say, "you inspired this." I never have a problem hitting someone up and saying, "You helped this." But honestly, I don't think I sound like anybody. I will say this, there is a known fact in the industry that I've helped or facilitated, which is why I'm mentioned in these circles. I'm not here to confirm or deny, but there's a reason why my name is mentioned. And I'm from Indiana.