Aloha and Happy New Years from Hawaii and Rap's Favorite Lumpia!
I know that a lot of my viewers are artists so I salute you for your diligence to the Hip Hop craft and aspirations for 2016. This will be a reflective blog post as I reminisce on my musical journey in 2015 and look ahead to the rest of this year.
2015 was by far the most eye-opening years for me as an artist. At the beginning of 2015, I realized that if I wanted to be taken seriously, it had to start with me. I've been droppin tracks since 2010 but never really had any good mixing or aesthetic editing for them. On top of that, I never tried anything competitively in the Hip Hop arena aside from local open mics and performances in my city. Then I came across the online auditions for Team Backpack's Mission Underground Los Angeles 2015 event, and I knew I had to try it. I wrote my verse, did a video with my videographer home girl, sent in my submission, and the rest is history. In March, I got the word that I was accepted to compete in the live auditions and immediately set up a crowdsourcing campaign to fly my girl and I to LA. Reaching my fundraising goal in less than 2 months was honestly an accomplishment on its own. It was the first time I received any funding for my music and it was awesome to see how many true supporters I have. The buzz from my campaign and the entire MULA experience landed me my first on-air radio and TV interviews, bigger gigs in the Honolulu area, and a stream of music connections that continue to strengthen.
Secondly, vlogging was a big part of my life in 2015. It got exhausting to continuously shoot from my iPhone 5 but I think the quality and consistency was sufficient. I think if I do decide to vlog this year, it will be more organized and shot on a real camera. It was nice to share what it's like to live in Honolulu on a daily basis and for yall to see some of the back-end things that independent artists have to do like drop off merch to the post office and paying out of pocket and all that. Overall I believe vlogging was a rewarding experience.
Lastly, yall really dig the "Friday Feature" and "Track Tuesday" blogs I created on this website and that is definitely going to expand this year. Not to mention the fact that I have my own website now, which is really cool because I can make it whatever I want. Blogging is something I've always wanted to do and it is humbling to see that artists and their fans like to see what I'm writing. The artists I've covered have also expressed their gratitude for what I write about them and many also say that their impressed at how "academic" I can make Hip Hop sound (because it really should be taught in schools). Lol. I do have to say that I will start charging and/or taking minimal donations for my collaborative music projects and especially for my blogs this year. More info to come on that in the next few weeks though. Trust me, if I could do this for free I would, but like many of you I have bills to pay and skills that I can make some profit from.
Overall, I have so much to be thankful for. 2015 was filled with challenges- my car broke down so now I'm a public commuter, my girl and I had to get our wisdom teeth pulled out unexpectedly, and school was really a challenge this past Fall semester. However, I'm proud to say that I passed all of my classes included Calculus and Accounting, which are major courses as a business student. I'm glad that as a Marketing major, I'm able to use my academic and professional skills in my music plans and executions, along with being able to share my challenges and successes to my fellow professors and classmates because I use Marketing in music so prevalently. I'm more than thankful for the small but loyal following I have and I hope to grow my music network bigger and more strategically this year. Nothing would be possible without the grace of God, the support from my family and friends, and all of you. Peep my newest track above, got plenty more to come. Mahalo and Aloha.
OTDHipHop is an independent music blog and network, curated by Rapper/Blogger Jehzan Exclusive.