I just came back from the Rock The Bells launch party the other week. Once again I am not on the list for "added people" to the line up. It takes big power to be in the place to be. It takes a whole team to look at it, develop and grow the artist in a movement. But I am not worried. I am actually going to work hard till I get invited and if someone wants me to be on that list I will. The people who are on that list had a way to get their music out, create and blow up with millions of views.
Artists and brands who are popular are following strict guidelines and not just throwing a buncha shit in the air. They build quality, promote properly and have all the things lined up in order to execute.
I, on the other hand, am one of those OCD artists that needs to really try much harder to get things in order. Maybe you're like me?
1. Do you have a plan?
The steps to doing this first mean utilizing the internet properly. No one just throws a party the day of. They promote the release of the music and party in timely fashion. Don't throw your music online without making a cohesive plan.
2. Are you overstepping boundaries?
Your desire to get on is the real reason why you will get on. If you are in the situation to get on and you don't have the buzz, you will not get on. You will actually piss people off. I have gotten straight A's in pissing people off. My best quality is that I acknowledge this and I am doing my best to do better. I am not bitter because I want to get better.
It's in everyone's best interest to attract the attention rather than promote the attention. Murs is an artist who has helped me here, since I have much experience in overstepping boundaries with him and also being invited. They key thing is to take a look at yourself.
3. Your music is not that good…yet.
Have you ever thought that your shit might not be the best music out? Listen to the people who are succeeding. Study their music. My friend Outasight made his #15 Pop debut in correlation to the single radio push and more. I listen to that dude because he told me about his experience. Not many people will. Ask the people who are getting #1 records on college radio. What are they doing?
4. Stop comparing yourself to other artists who are bigger!
Stop flipping out. You have a long way to go. You have to get more collaborations. You have to help more people. You are not where NAS is. You are not Motley Crue. Everyone had their first demo, blog post, cd and more. Macklemore has taken a long time to connect with his people.
I was locked up at 21 freestyling in jail. My career started late. I was one of the oldest people in the BET cypher. I'm not the 21 year old rapper that Mac Miller is. It's just different. Play the cards you are dealt…not someone else's. My job is to be the best 31 year old rapper I can be.
5. AT THE SAME DAMN TIME:
Is everything happening at the same time? It's not good to do one thing, then another thing, then another thing if you want to blow up! If it all happened at once, FADER, SPIN, ALL HIP HOP, SOURCE, XXL, New Yorker, CMJ Radio, Vinyl Distro, in store Distro, National Tour, European Tour, Festival Circuit?
I really feel Bodega Bamz is happening properly. His team is in line via publicity, song releases, video releases, and calculated tweets.
I had a #1 Super Bowl commercial playing every day…and no one thought to have a major radio campaign for the song that was released on the #1 Super Bowl commercial. The song played continuously. I should have done that. It might've cost me ten grand but fuck…I could've had a different life…or at least spent $10,000 dollars.
6. Do your videos capture the eyes?
This is the time of visual. Your YouTube interaction is the reason to live as a new artist. You can play 50 shows in front of 1500 people to 3000 people or you can have 4000 people contact you about your latest visual and everyone will be on the same page.
7. You are not using your best attributes to help yourself.
Identify your strong points and weaknesses. My strong points are songs and networking and helping others. My weak points are overstepping boundaries and suffering from my OCD in public situations. If I focused more on my own music and helping other people, I would have so much. I recently tried to charge people for consulting. If they ask me...good. But soliciting your own shit will always make you look cheaper. When they come to you, the ball is in your court for sure. Identify your strong points and work it.
8. To do list:
We always wake up and just go. We don't even know wtf we are doing. Unfortunately, you need at least one person to check you and make sure you are doing what you need to do.
A lot of musicians and self-represented people become overwhelmed by the amount of work they need to do for their career and instead do absolutely nothing. We compare ourselves to more successful people, invest our time in the wrong things, and become so self centered/obsessed in our own careers that we forget what we actually need to do. If you can manage to humble yourself and say "I need help," the right stuff will appear. Find the publicist, interns, radio pushers and build a strict regimen of what you need to do.
A career should be like a diet. If you follow the guidelines you will get certain results. Don't worry though...you can follow someone else's.
[Thumbnail image courtesy beccafawley.]
Update: Sometimes you get the call to go into work early. Kosha Dillz got the call to go into work late. With one week out, a trip to Europe with Matisyahu got Kosha on stage in front of 50,000 plus people in four festivals in various countries, kicked out of gas stations, lunch with platinum artists, and personal dances with 20 foot African puppets.
Here's the video!