Most artists create in order to connect with an audience. But few have the ability to do so like Donald Glover, aka rapper Childish Gambino.
In town last October to promote his most recent release, Because The Internet (Universal), Glover pulled the plug on the scheduled listening session for media.
Instead, he tweeted a time and location for Toronto fans to get the exclusive. They showed up in droves and got a Q&A with the man himself.
For well-intentioned stunts like this, the writer/actor/rapper has earned an extremely devoted fan base. He's accessible, raw and sometimes uncomfortably honest.
Just before that album's release, Glover posted a series of handwritten notes exposing his fears and loneliness as well as his struggle determining a release date. Despite the unexpected wave of attention and scrutiny (as well as support and kudos), Glover won't change his approach.
Because, he says, it's much easier to be true to you.
"That's the best part about being honest," says Glover, sitting cross-legged in a Four Seasons hotel suite.
"Sometimes I hesitate because [the truth can hurt]. I don't think being mean is good. I want people to feel loved all the time, but being honest, it's not hard. You just have to be okay with being wrong sometimes. That's it."
After leaving NBC sitcom Community midway through its fifth season, Glover's had more time to work on his music (in addition to two studio albums, he's released an EP and six mixtapes).
To find the balance in a still-hectic life, he focuses on being in the moment.
"I have to slow down as much as I can. I've learned to meditate and let things go through me. And be interested in things that matter."
Because The Internet got its name from an exchange Glover had with the musician Beck.
After realizing that "because the internet" was Glover's answer to nearly everything the two were discussing about changes in the music industry, Beck jokingly suggested he make it the album title.
"The internet is the world," says Glover. "The world is the internet. So why am I not talking about it more?"
It was, after all, what launched his career in the first place. Before he was Troy Barnes on Community or writing for 30 Rock, Glover was part of internet sketch group Derrick Comedy, best known for the sketch Bro Rape and the film Mystery Team.
So what's the best thing the internet has given him?
"Being here," he says. "Everything. I wouldn't be here without the internet."