Yes, I absolutely think it’s necessary. When someone believes in what you do enough to wear it across their chest, that’s powerful. That’s always been one of the coolest things people can do to support us. Because of that, I make it a consistent priority to release fresh and comfymerch – baseball tees, hoodies, thermals, t-shirts,racerback tanks, boy shorts,coozies, stickers, and more. Plus, it has opened the door to collaborate with visual artists and pushes usto be creative in another way.
7. What are the causes that you are passionate about?
Overall, I feel like we all need to lend a hand when we’re able to. Back in 2008, I foundedH4 (Hip Hop Helps Heal). It’s a non-profit collective built on the love of hip hop culture, where egos are left at home and the people involved become selfless. With close partnership with The Intelligent South, BumTheary,ArtLoveMagic, and more, we pledge to throw benefit shows annually to aid specific concerns of the community. We’ve raised and contributed thousands of dollars to organizations, such as Genesis Women’s Shelter, Toys For Tots, American Lung Association, National Breast Cancer Foundation, the Susan G.Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Salvation Army, and Children’s Medical Center. No one involved in our shows gets paid a penny and all profits go directly to the charity we chose. Hip hopfrequently has negative connotations attached to it, but we try to disprove that mentality the best we can.
8. What’s the best thing about playing live and meeting your listeners?
Playing live is an addiction and I go through withdrawals when I go long periods of time without it. Feeling the energy and connecting with people in the moment is amazing. When a listener tells me that a song has helped them through a tough time in their life, that’s one of the best feelings in the world. Music has always been a form of therapy for me. So when someone can relate to something I went through and it directly helps them, I think of it as turning something negative into a positive.
9. Who is your mentor?
I’ve never had anyone that I’d call a musical mentor. There are people that I’ve learned from, but only for short periods of time.
Dr. Paul Tucker and Dr. David Schwarz were two professors I learned a great deal from while studying music at UNT, but I’ve also learned from collaborating and consistently working with other lyricists and musicians. The internet is something that’s really contributed to my growth, but it’s probably stunted it in ways too. Tom Jackson, Derek Sivers, and John Oszajca are a few industry leaders that I’ve been following online for a while. They put amazing info out for indie musicians.
10. What’s your message to your readers?
I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to hear what I’m about. Please feel free to hit me up anytime, it’s always cool to connect. You can also sign up to get 7 free songs on my site. Check out the LIVE IN YOUR LIVING ROOM page while you’re there too!