A while back Samsung came out with their “We All Aspire Campaign” and left me speechless. The commercial, although more than a minute when played in it’s entirety can be summed up as this: we come to win.
No one aspires to be a one hit wonder. Being an artist isn’t about making that one hot song. It is about being a voice and speaking to your audience. If you don’t have the cosign of a major label deal to back you up when you are pushing a song, a large digital footprint and social media buzz can be just as powerful in getting the attention of the decision makers.
This fact came up when I caught up with HOT 97 DJ Funk Master Flex a few Saturdays ago. He was just coming off the air, and it seemed like the perfect time to pick his brain and have him break down what it takes to get that coveted prime time chance to shine. Specifically I wanted to know what it would take for him to drop a bomb on an artist that isn’t signed to a major label. In true Flex fashion he was very to the point, but said a lot by saying a little.
CB: Everybody’s that’s anybody who’s trying to make it to be somebody, they want you for one to drop a bomb on their record and they want that Funk Flex freestyle. For someone that’s unsigned to get either one of those things what would they have to do?
Flex: Well, of course make the record, then you have to have, I think it’s equally important, an internet presence, a digital internet presence, and a mixtape and radio presence. I mean it’s not just the DJ’s that are playing you on the radio, but what do you mean to the people that matter. A lot of the people that matter are online and they’re digital, so I keep track of who’s buzzing digitally. People like, you know Wiz Khalifa at one time, A$AP Rocky, artists like that, you just kind of pay attention to them as they are buzzing, as people are downloading their music and paying attention to them. For me, if I see all of that going on there is a possibility of them spitting a freestlye or getting their record played.
CB: But then there are those people that say their song isn’t necessarily poppin on the blogs and sometimes they get overlooked – that a record could be hot and not get a lot of notoriety.
Flex: See, but that must mean that it’s a hot song – that people like the song but the artist isn’t someone that people are interested in… that’s usually when that happens. If you are not really being looked at on the internet, but your song has a little buzz, but they don’t know who the name of the artist is… it’s not an issue it’s just a start. It is something that has to change.
Most artists reaching for mainstream attention aren’t in search of shine just for the sake of shine. They are aiming to establish successful careers. One hot song wont make people care about an artist overall. People often complain to me that a song by a major artist isn’t as hot as a song that they recorded. Truth is, regardless of how often that statement is true, there is a lesson those words.
People don’t check for artists just because they are on a label, and being on a label does not guarantee that your music will get radio play. Every time you complain about an artist making a wack song, remember that you know who that artist is. Aspiring artists should aspire to have the public know them, not just their song. That is why a strong social media presence is so important. It shows that someone somewhere is checking for you. It is the quickest way for someone to find out that you are more than just that one song that you emailed to them.
Tune into HOT 97 Monday through Saturday from 7 pm to Midnight to check out @Funkmasterflex and make sure you check out his website In Flex We Trust.
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