As I sit in Charlotte for a layover, I have had more and more time to think about why I love travelling so much. In the last year, I have tackled Austin, Atlanta, Miami, New Orleans and Austin again this weekend. I attended SXSW for the second consecutive year, and plan on making the annual trip to SXSW going forward.
My reasons are simple. The minute you land in a new city with a Yankee fitted on, you are embraced immediately; I do not care where you go. The people want to know all about you, they love our style and our accent apparently; who knew? SXSW was no different than last year in this respect. In a radius of roughly six blocks, the streets were lined with live entertainment and revelers of all sorts, each with a game plan in mind. Flyers, CD’s and other promotional goodies are swapped, ideas are discussed and connections are made.
My game plan this year, was to formally promote www.senecavillage.net, a virtual marketplace for minority and black owned businesses to progress and prosper; a site co-founded with Mr. Nice Tie, aka Petty Post. The site boasts talent of all sorts on a national and international level and is set up demographically. It is complimentary for up and coming businesses and talent and funded by sponsors. I dusted Texas with about two-thousand flyers; the concept was received well. Petty Post and I look forward to working with new talent and moguls in the making; their stories will be told on www.senecavillage.net and we encourage you to check it out.
Another reason I love to travel, is the insight it offers you on your peers in the game. Who takes themselves seriously and who is just talking. This is important to me as it allows me to dismiss people before I invest too much time, energy, effort and money into situations that will ultimately go nowhere. It exposes one’s level of awareness on expanding brands and the value of promotion and marketing on a grander scale. I hate to admit it, but I find New York flooded with talent in an already saturated market; it makes it complicated to stick out. Conversely, out-of-towners are all dying to come to New York with the hopes of making it big. In my opinion, this is why “The New Yorker” is such a coveted visitor in other states. We offer invaluable insight as to what to expect and not expect from New York and the politics that come with the territory.
New York was well represented. Some notables from this weekend were Math of the Vandal Hour, featured on DTF Radio Saturday nights at 11pm. He had a staffed table at Peckerhead’s, complete with step and repeat, cameras and marketing goods. He was in prime position to capture key footage of TI’s performance. Jack Thriller, a SXSW staple, held his annual showcase; the house was packed. What I enjoy most about Jack’s showcases is the variety of talent; demographically and creatively speaking. He is able to attract this caliber of talent because of his fan base; an investment worth every penny for the right artist.
Torae and K.Fhox have been everywhere lately, so I wasn’t surprised to run into Torae personally; I didn’t catch up with K.Fhox but her marketing was all over the place. Choppa Zoe, of Money & Violence, was there promoting his music; his street team was in full effect. D-Teck of Konvict Music and Success of Atlantic Records were there to judge the Coast 2 Coast Showcases back to back on Friday and Saturday night; there was a great turn out of talent there as well.
I ran into Kwan Lee of Kwan Lee TV; it has been a minute since our last encounter and I can see why. He literally had his hands full; one with a camera, the other with business cards. I follow his social media and see him working on quite a bit; consistently. I highly recommend him for your photography and videography needs. He takes himself and the people he works with very seriously; it is clear in his work ethic. In his company, we ran into Cortez, another New York native on a mission.
Yannie, a personal favorite of mine for some time now, was in the mix like no other. She is an absolute powerhouse. I first met her through my work with Money & Violence; she is their publicist and a woman who wears many hats. Yannie is always surrounded by talent who are invested in their careers. This weekend she was with Phresher Dygz, a break-out artist from New York I’m also partial to. He tore the stage down with his hit “Wait A Minute”. I would be remiss if I did not mention Malcom X. He is also an artist, but filled the roll of hype-man in such a way, Spliff Star and Flavor Flav would tip their hats to.
Chase Baker, D. Chamberz, Bad Girl Cris, the Popular Stranger, Berri Life and Twan Da Dude were also in Austin, however, I did not cover their shows personally. I am privileged to live locally to these artists and am well aware of what they have to offer. What I really went to SXSW for was to scout talent from out of town; I had my pick of genre and venues to say the least. The first act I caught, The Wistful Larks, was a Rock’N Roll Group from Chicago. I had just landed and had to hit up a familiar spot, The Nook, for my first Blue Moon; they were mid performance and their energy kept me in the building. SXSW was one leg of their tour on the West Coast; I look forward to more from them in the future.
I happen to love John Legend’s “All of Me”, so when Paul and Julian were doing their rendition of it on the street, I just had to stop. This is part of the beauty of SXSW, literally every corner has its own vibe, complete with its own audience. You never know who you will encounter or impress, so everyone is on their A game. Press and media are key in this industry. I bumper into longtime acquaintance Gray Rizzy, of Shade 45 and Sirius XM, on Sixth; he was a panelist this year. Essince and Brooks, contributors for Hip Hip Weekly, were there to push their newest medium, Royal Heir Magazine. While there promoting www.senecavillage.net, I made it a point to pick up every CD, flyer and business card I could find. I am currently listening to new music from across the United States; reviews will follow on an independent level.
If you are an upcoming artist, looking to break out, this is the perfect opportunity for you. Planning and preparation, as with life, are key here. You should have your hotel booked by the end of the summer and your airfare handled by December 2017 for the best prices and hotel locations. The badges are expensive. I had one last year and opted to go without it this year; in my opinion I saved about $700.00. The key things to bring are business cards, the goods you are marketing, a street team and an amazing attitude. With that said, I look forward to seeing you next year.