Understanding your Power
First off, I need to do some shameless self promotion. I have a show next week and I'm really honored to be part of it. Check it out:
Yes there are two flyers! One is for all you people who are part of The Label Noir family. Odds are you don't know about The Earwaxx Sessions and their wonderful events for li artists, but you do know me. So that first one is all the nitty gritty about coming to see me live. Second flyer is from those lovely folks. Theirs gives you a general picture of what the night is going to look like. Plus it also mentions catered food. So if you were on the fence , and were trying to decide what to eat while drinking, hope that helps your decision. So e-mail us if you're down.
Moving on! This week I wanted to talk briefly about 2 things: 1. knowing your power, and 2. why people support you (in whatever you do).
1. Know your power.
Today I had a great studio session with an old friend from High School who's getting back into his music . One of the things we talked about is how "he is a brand now" and "he already has a fanbase." Its so weird to talk like that where an artists biggest fear is being a corporate sellout, but its true. I guarantee you that whoever you are, and whatever your talent , that there is SOMEONE on this planet who would at least give it a try. If you pulled a Pootie Tang and put up a song on soundcloud with no sound at all (like complete silence) you would get at least 2 plays. If you put up a picture of a blank space on instagram, at least 1 person would double tap that. I could go into this whole thing about how we all have a network of people who are interested in us and our intertwined energies as beings, but I won't . You get the idea... someone on this planet likes you enough to give you a chance. At least once. That is power.
The secret is earning people's trust. Most people will listen to your song once if they like you, and twice if they were presently surprised. That's if the song is free though. Getting someone to buy a t-shirt, or come out to a concert, or even buy your music takes a little more.
I started to understand this as I started inviting people out to shows. I always mental expect a "no thanks" but as I promote my shows, I realize more people are willing to come out than I anticipated . Especially people I tend to write off as non hip-hop heads. They may not know or love hip-hop, but they know me. At least enough to give me a chance.
With that though , you know I need to hit you with a spiderman quote: "With great power comes great responsibility." Yeah... you get it so I want dwell it. Basically, don’t let people down. If you only get one chance for people to listen to your stuff, make sure that 1 song really represents what your about. Getting more than one or 2 chances is hard.
2. Getting people to buy into your brand
Let's be real: convincing someone to watch a youtube video isn't the same as convincing them to spend $10 on your t-shirt, or $5 on your project. It takes a little bit more. (By the way I still am in shock every time someone shows up to our shows or asks me to buy a t-shirt smh. We're humbled.) According to this blog post I read on sonicbids, they have to like your story and what you represent.
Another example: J.Cole. I love him to death and have been a fan since "The Warm-Up." Bar for bar though, he isn't the most lyrically potent rapper. Why are we so obsessed with him then? Cause of his story, and the stories he tells. He's literally just a kid from North Carolina who got a scholarship to NY. He wanted to make it big so he came up here and did what he could to make it happen. He taught himself how to make beats, and started performing. That's inspiring. You could hear the hunger in his earlier work even when it was still rough around the edges. Being with him through that journey though is what makes us all really bond with him. When you listen to Forest Hills and you think of how far he's come, it really makes you want to press play and take that journey with him again and again. Which is definitely why it went platinum! (Plus the music is amazing).
Understand that, in addition to power, we all have a story to tell. Are you an immigrant ? Are you the oldest child? Did you go to private school? Did you sell drugs as a teenager, or were you captain of your basketball team ? See everyone has story. Odds are, there's at least 1 person on this planet who's been through something nearly identical and a few more people who can connect or understand it. I've had people tell me straight up that they support me because they like my message. I know for a fact that my brand of hip-hop isn't on their spotify playlist, but because of my story, they'll add my music and suggest it to friends and family. I have friends who haven't heard a song from me, but bought a t-shirt "just to support." They're not buying it because I'm the greatest rapper or because its the best t-shirt design. They buy it because they gave me a chance, I didn't disappoint them (yet) and my story appeals to them.
Disclaimer: I don't pretend to know everything about this industry or about being a small business owner. All I know is that we're trying for it, and we're willing to learn. If you're buying the shirts or coming to the shows for some secret New World Agenda, please let me know. I'd love to hear it.
Next week's blog might be delayed until Sunday. A lot happening next week, and I want to make sure I share it all with you.
Keep helping REAL MUSIC RISE.
(Oh... and yeah we're not discussing these election results. We're focused on the music. Find your passion, it helps.)