Could you share the story behind your latest song and what inspired its creation?
I had the beat for a while. I sat on it really contemplating how I could make something incredible with it. I didn’t want to waste the opportunity. The beat is just out of this world. I made an anthem basically about coming from nothing to something. The song is literally like Dart Vader. It’s Black and seductively menacing.
How do you approach the process of songwriting, and are there any specific themes or emotions you tend to explore in your music?
I just find a cool, positive zone and stay there. I know it sounds cliché, but it’s that simple. I get there first before a creative process can even begin. Like a computer, you put good data in, you get good out. I approach songwriting like a philosopher. That means that I explore themes of observation and self-awareness. I also like to make stuff you can say in the mirror, self-affirming theme songs.
As an indie musician, how do you navigate the balance between creative freedom and commercial appeal?
I don’t navigate anything. I live in the moment, laugh, have fun and let things fall into place. I’m not enslaved to the industry. I own stocks and real estate. I am part of a management team that runs a 7 million dollar a year upscale sports bar. That is where the groceries come from. So, I move like a true independent and do what I feel like. That guarantees that decades from now my music can be respected and felt because it comes from a sincere place.
What do you find most challenging about being an independent artist in today’s music industry?
My main challenge is idealizing success by who I am a fan of. Everyone has their own story; everyone has their own blueprint. You can’t pocket watch. The main difference between you and those you define as successful is fate, connections, and intangibles you can’t explain.
Can you talk about your experiences collaborating with other artists or musicians? How does it influence your creative process?
I really need to collaborate more. The handful of collaborations I have done, I am very proud of. I compete on a track and show out a bit more. Plus, I only work with people I am a fan of. I don’t do money grabs or gimmicks. I work with those that help put something new and fresh on the table.
What role does technology and social media play in promoting your music and connecting with your audience?
It’s everything. I have come to terms with it. If you don’t exist on social media, it’s like you do not exist, period. You are competing with a flood of content that folks are exposed to daily. You are competing for people’s leisure time. They could be doing anything. So, it plays a major part. I try to keep various content coming. I have some serious stuff coming down the pipe. I got some serious material already out here. I connect with my audience with emails, direct messages, and out cold raw Hip Hop they can hear everywhere.
Are there any particular artists or genres that have had a significant impact on your musical style?
I’m just another child of beautiful, Black music. That is the genre that created all. Black music is the motherland of sound. Lyrically and sonically, I am impacted by the 90’s Bay Area hip hop scene, particularly Hieroglyphics and Sik Widdit Records. I am equally influenced by golden era boom bap and the Dungeon family. I’m a smooth mixture.
Indie musicians often have a close relationship with their fanbase. How do you engage with your fans and build a dedicated community around your music?
The number one way I use is making more and more music. I world build it. I have a Facebook community called “STRANGE, TX”. I have a solid email list where I funnel exclusives and news to my listeners. Everything has a look, style, and theme. I treat my rollout like a dope indie action movie made overseas.
Could you describe a memorable live performance experience or tour that has had a lasting impact on you and your music?
We have a monthly event in Dallas, TX called Final Friday’s. It’s a highly respected big deal, it’s been around since the 90’s. I have been fortunate enough to be in a few of them. Salute to Fatz and Viz, the promoters. They are completely good people. So when I do those shows, I pull out all the stops. I got lasers, a projection display, a fog machine, costumes, the whole damn bit. That is my best live experience.
In an era of streaming platforms, how do you feel about the changing landscape of music consumption and its impact on independent musicians?
You must work harder for the audience. You must give them as much as possible. The impact is you must now view yourself as a true brand. Any time you are seen online you got to shine. The landscape is bigger than it has ever been. However, with the right material and strategy, you can be bigger than you can imagine very quickly, God and the Internet willing.