2 years ago, I was living in Atlanta, GA, with one goal in mind: to get my music heard. At the time, I had no support system to help me out. All I had was a laptop to make beats & record songs, and a Kodak 6.1 Megapixel camera.
I didn’t have the best equipment in the world in terms of video production, and, in listening back to some of my older songs, I didn’t have the highest quality of recording, mixing and mastering.
Despite “not having it all,” I somehow managed to make songs and videos that resonated with the public. I put out a new song/video each week for a whole year, and did it all by myself, with no help. Heck, I even managed to make a song that was popular all over the world for several months (and continues to make me money each month).
Now, I’ve said all of the above before… so, why do I mention it now?
In thinking back on these things in the last few days, I’ve come to realize something: since moving to California, I have become very spoiled and lazy when it comes to marketing myself.
Don’t get it twisted: I have done some stellar work in terms of producing better songs and videos. Heck, I even got to use a higher-quality camera, and have recorded all my stuff on the MAC since last year.
With that said, though, being able to use more advanced items and/or receive help have come at a price: I’ve become so dependent on other people for some of my creative projects that they often don’t get done if those elements aren’t around.
Example: I have access to a very high-end camera… but it’s not mine. I may want to shoot a video, but if the camera is not around for me to use at the moment when I want to film something, I have to wait.
That may not seem like such a big deal at first. However, I had my own camera when I was in Atlanta and, while it wasn’t high-end (6.1 megapixels is nothing compared to an HD camera), it did allow me to have access whenever I wanted, to shoot anything when I felt like it. Plus, it had the benefit of being small enough to where I could sneak it into places that a bigger camera may not be able to go.
Another example: I have access to people who make beats. This cuts the amount of time it takes me to make a song in half because the beat-making part is already done for me.
The bad part? It gives me less of my own beats to use for my projects. This may not seem like a big deal, but part of my goal is to also market myself as a producer. With people making beats for me, it gives me less of my own beats to show off to potential music publishers. Yes, getting a song licensed would be great, but if I just own the words to the song and not the beat, I make less money come pay-off time.
All of these conveniences that have been bestowed upon me are definitely blessings, but in the process of using them I’ve forgotten one important thing: I don’t really need them. I became noticed doing what Phillip Michael Thomas told me back in 2001 when he taught a theater class at Hampton: “Start where you are.”
Well, I started where I was, and I was doing pretty good. Now I’m at another place, and I’m about to start doing it all over again – without any help.
What does that mean? For one, it means getting my own camera so I can start making videos on the fly again. Back in 2008, a person would have to pay thousands of dollars for an HD camera; now you can get a hand-held one for less than $200, and the quality of the videos is just… WOW.
It also means re-gaining some of the production stuff I lost and/or sold. I sold my laptop last year because it was getting slower and slower. Unfortunately, it also had on it my Fruity Loops program and the Magix Studio mixing program. I record all my stuff on the MAC now, but I think I actually sounded the best when using the two items mentioned above. I also want to get an upgrade on a microphone, but the USB mic I have right now will do just fine.
As for videos, I have two things to focus on: myself and Non Juan. I think one of the main reasons the Non Juan project faltered was because I didn’t really have a focus for how I wanted him to be. I have a general idea now of what will work best for that project; that, combined with having a camera that won’t require me to spend additional hours loading up footage (these small HD cameras are on memory cards – just click and drag!), will make for much easier shoots and more regular content.
Meanwhile, I’m going to start putting out more songs on a regular basis, as both myself and Non Juan. I’m going to leave the majority of parody songs to Non Juan, mostly because the general reaction people have had when he does these things has been (a) positive and (b) a lot of views on YouTube. As for me, I’ll be doing A.P.T. songs and putting out more music. I don’t know how often I’ll be putting out albums, but after the response that my “No U Aint (Lakers 2010 Finals Remix)” received, I’m thinking it will definitely be more beneficial to put out individual singles, one song at a time.
These various items, including videos, will probably consist mostly of me. So yes, you may see me in videos with no one else in them (save for the occasional guest star if they’re on a track with me), but honestly, that’s the way I prefer to work: by myself. I don’t have to wait on anybody to show up or worry about the other person’s attitude, especially when there’s no other person there . Works out pretty well if you ask me 🙂
That’s all for now, people – I’m going to buy my new camera sometime next week (most likely Friday or Saturday once I get paid) so I can start making videos again. In the meantime, check out the video archives on this page if you haven’t seen them all yet!