Travie McCoy already felt uplifted after his May set at BeachLife, the L.A. music festival set in Redondo Beach. But the most profound, “poignant” moment happened offstage: During a meet-and-greet, an older couple told the rapper-singer about their late son Jack — a “huge fan” who passed away six years earlier.
“He dealt with bipolar, as do I — and an addiction to opiates, as I did,” McCoy tells SPIN. “I kinda broke things down for a minute, shut it down, so I could have a moment with them. I’m still trying to process it, but it was beautiful. … They told me one of his favorite songs was ‘Akidagain,’ so best believe, every time I play that song, I’m gonna shout it out to Jack.”
These days, the musician often finds himself in these situations, with fans approaching after shows to say things like, “This song got me through this.” All of those moments have made an impact on McCoy.
“I never signed up to be [a role model],” he says. “I think I became one by default, but I’ll hold that role down forever.”