Atlanta-based artist Mercy was raised Mississippi. A month after graduating high school, Mercy’s mother was sent to prison and his father had left when he was two years old. Unbeknownst to the outside world, Mercy began hustling to take care of three siblings in her absence.

Surreptitiously, after linking with friends on Instagram, he was offered a photo shoot at Wish ATL (a boutique streetwear store) and he jumped on a bus to Atlanta hoping the break would lead to more opportunity. The trip was bittersweet: on the one hand the shoot landed him with a modeling agency and on the other, Mercy got a call saying that his siblings had been taken into the custody of the Mississippi Department of Human Services. At 18, he had no family to go back to in Mississippi and so he chose to immerse himself in Atlanta’s thriving creative community.

Soon thereafter, Mercy started making music and caught the attention of legendary promoter J Wise, who ran the renowned Playlist Party at the Department Store venue in Atlanta. The Department Store served as a hotbed for emerging talent in the city. According to HighSnobiety, the venue was “Atlanta’s most pivotal stomping grounds for young burgeoning talent,” and it was also ranked as a top ten spot in the city by The Source. “21 Savage, Kodie Shane, Sonny Digital, Lil Uzi Vert, Young Nudy J.I.D, Playboi Carti and many other artist that are prominent today were regular performers. It was special time,” says J Wise.

After the closing of the Department Store, J Wise continued the Playlist Party and also launched the Playlist Academy to develop young talent in Atlanta. “I started recording with J Wise and taking it seriously. That’s when first knew I could do something with music. That’s when I became confident,” says Mercy.

A year or so later, J Wise connected with Babygrande Records founder Chuck Wilson and asked him to attend Diana Schweinbeck’s open mic competition where Mercy was performing. Mercy tied for first place and then won the tie-breaking performance to take home the trophy for first place. “I was very impressed with his performance and his composure on stage. There were a lot of great artists competing and he took over the room. He’s ready and we are ecstatic to welcome him to the team,” says Wilson.

With his first single of the year, Mercy invites fans and listeners into his world, creating a track that they can celebrate and turn up to. Since his last single, “Only On Go,” Mercy has spent countless hours at the studio, developing his sound and creativity. He’s also explored his interest in fashion, modeling for brands like Champion and Adidas, and his experiences have allowed him to return to music with a renewed mindset. Now, Mercy returns triumphantly with the release of his latest single, “Lil Shawty.”

Watch the “Lil Shawty” video below.