Payne Keelah dedicated a whole EP to all rappers, artist out there grinding, industry people on the come-up making ends meet. I Feel Yo Pain he called it – and I equally feel your pain too. This EP is not limited to just rappers even people involved in the industry at whatever level are all invited. The journey sometimes takes longer than imagined.
I am not here to sympathise but to echo the message that Payne offered on that inspiring project and also offer some things you can look into while you grind especially within the Arts/entertainment environment.
The hustle/grind is real FAM!
The ground for artists to break is not entirely leveled honestly speaking.
You are going to be Stressed, while you walk, people will tell you not to dump trash where they at, making it is like hunger games. At the end of the day when you make a home coming you will need to have something to show. There will be moments when your career is just going to take a walk and when it runs or even simply tip toes – what matters is staying focused. [Listen to I Feel Yo Pain to see what I did there with the track list]
We all want empathy, we all want someone to take a walk in our shoes – reality is, they might not do that forever. As an artist one is required to recognise themselves before others do.
It is not cool to have no clue in an industry you are so passionate about; here are things you need to know while you grind and making ends meet.
- You are the artist and that might not make people around you happy. Others might be and so capitalize on these individuals who support you, fans will come slowly.
- The people who know you need to love your music; find a way to give it to them and keeping them in sync even though will not bother. You have to stay focused like Payne, keep walking.
- Behind your computer screen or phone is not where you should spend most of your time. Try to be part of events at least five events a year. Every year at hip hop events that I attend I meet people in my circles, writers and artists who have never met me in person. Some get introduced others I watch them show case and take note.
- Ask around for opportunities. Join hip hop circles; that’s how you know what’s happening. Make connects. Know who does what and why you need to make connects with them. Ask people who you know have had radio and TV interviews. Research!
- Learn one or two things besides rapping for a rapper, producing and the rest. Learn to market your content, talk professionally with people and industry influences.
- Build a fan base through social media, word of mouth, networking and also begging for a slot to perform. At the Uganda Calling Event, St. Nelly Sade advised young rappers to always find a way to perform because each time they do they stand a chance to get a new fan. Point is; you never know who is watching.
- See your idols struggle and embrace it with yours and push.
- Your music, beat, merchandise is your product: Brand it! Branding has always been crucial since humans started selling to each other products. There’s a lot of noise and you need to find ways of making your noise heard and beautifully heard. You package your product accordingly. As an artist you can also be a brand or create a brand around you. Don’t treat your music casually:
[You are] in it to win it – Shemy BA hook sang by Shemy B on ‘I Win it’
- Get out of your comfort zone. It might be the only thing slowing you down. This allows you to see the world as it is: The hustle is real!
- You got to choose: Facade of likes and Re tweets or an artist who has reach on local media and the INTERNET too?
- FAM, work within your means. Pay and buy what matters to your career. Treat your passion like a job till its work. You are investing so don’t let that slide. You need a job to support you before you can sell records or get paid to perform or do monetized mentions. Money and money.
- Don’t sell out just push, keep pushing!
In 2014, I had a dope song playing on Radio City, the year that followed I a manged to get an interview at Juice FM having followed the strategies above. As 2015 went on I decided to start NuveyLive to push especially emerging rappers and put my rapping career on hold.
Involvement in the industry requires pushing your product, like a rapper, a producer, beat maker, Merchant and like a marketer or sales person.
Being an artist on the come up is like starting a small business in this digital world.
I am sure there are numerous ways to go about the journey as a person involved in the industry those are some strategies I am sure you can consider while grinding.
If you have any others, feel free to share in the comment section.
WIN WIN WIN!