Artists You Should Know: viisi is Unafraid to Open Up on New Indie and Rap Cuts “Episode I: Autophobia”

viisi 2023 photo
Photo by SJ Spreng

First making waves back in 2020, singer-rapper viisi is beginning a new journey with two new songs in the form of an EP, Episode I: Autophobia. Starting his music career in high school when he was fourteen, Matthew Borley has since cleared the way for the kind of music he likes, not held back by strict genre conventions or listener expectations. Landing on the name viisi, which means five in Finnish, he’s since multiplied his talents by five and sounds like an artist who’s already enjoyed his fair share of the spotlight yet still has so much more to say.


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With some assistance from singer-songwriter Chelsea Collins, viisi reminds of burgeoning Dominic Fike in the way he moves between forlorn longing over acoustic guitar and aimless wandering over a trap beat on the chorus of “chasing ghosts.” Collins similarly matches viisi’s melancholy for a brief appearance and some ghastly backing vocals as the two support each other quite well.


But “na na na” is where viisi proves he can sing and rap equally as well. The self-assured confidence juxtaposed with the tired, wandering vocals of the previous track makes for a sudden change that surprisingly doesn’t perplex. Atop a scratchy percussion and electronic beat, he talks a little more about his upbringing, growing up in low income and always having something to prove in the eyes of his people and the world around him. The rapping is impressive and even reminiscent of Eminem, but it’s how he shows off his more gruff and gritty side while still with the same grace he holds onto when he’s singing that distinguishes viisi from the music he grew up on.

artist to watch in 2023

And though there are some clear music inspirations, viisi is not necessarily following any growing trends. He’s mostly just doing what comes naturally and seeing what sticks the landing in hopes of connecting with others through his own development in life.

“Episode I of this creative project is a significant step in a larger world I have been building during a period of both personal and artistic growth,” said Borley. “My aim with this project is to invite others to relate to each episode/story and become completely immersed in places of my vulnerability.”


Words: David Sosa

Episode I: Autophobia by viisi is out on all streaming services. Follow viisi on Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter for news on upcoming music and potential tour dates.