I started making music when I was 16 years old. It started as an outlet for me to express all that I could not share with the world. I used to sit in my parents basement for hours and sometimes days making albums. I taught myself how to make my own beats through Fruity Loops. I used the PC keyboard like a midi controller back then. I taught myself how to record music through cool edit pro and later adobe audition. I eat, sleep and breathe music. I found myself fixated on every little detail (why that kick drum was used, where the synth drops in and out, why that line was flipped). Every little detail matters. I have a number of influences as a lyricist, which include artists like Pusha T, Freddie Gibbs, DMX, Eminem and Biggie. As a producer, I found myself paying a lot of attention to people like Guru, Dr. Dre, and 9th Wonder. I have been making music for 17 years and I love hearing what people do with my beats… Click Here To Read More About CM Reign
1.) For the folks out there who aren’t familiar with you, can you tell them who you are and why your brand of art is something that they should get acquainted with?
My Name Is CM Reign. I like that phrase, “brand of art.” That’s a perfect description for what I do. My music is something you should listen to because it is my brand. It’s 100% me and 100% unique for that reason. In a time of carbon-copies, I bring a refreshing look on life and the paths that we take to get to where we are. I spent a chunk of my life trying to fit into the mold until I realized I had the ability to mold my own clay. I offer you a chance to free your mind and make your own mold through my music. Dare to be different.
2.) What made you want to get into the music business in the first place? Did anyone influence you to do music? If so, who? Influences? Role Models?
I started writing poetry when I was 16 years old as an outlet for depression. It was a hard time for me and a hard time for my family. I felt like I was exposed to some dark themes way before I was old enough to handle them and I just needed something to take the edge off. One day a poem turned into a 16. Then a 16 turned into a song and then a song turned into an album. I just couldn’t stop writing. I became obsessed with it. I also started battling during that time. I had a pretty decent winning streak too for a few months.
I have a ton of influences but a few of the major ones include Notorious B.I.G, Eminem, and Freddie Gibbs. Each of those three were more than just bars they were storytellers and melodic chemists. They went outside the guidelines of what the art was to bring something different. My biggest influences were people I rapped with or that I knew rapped. The better they got the more I wanted to get to that next level.
3.) What are some things that most people don’t know about being in the music industry (or the creative industry in general)? What can you tell all the people out there who want to get into the industry (or want to pursue their goals and dreams, period)?
The first thing I would tell them is if you don’t get better when people place others’ names above yours then you don’t want it enough. Always be driven to have the only pen worth speaking about. The second and most important thing I can tell them is to surround yourself with people who eat, sleep and breathe grinding. There will be days where you need that motivation to get you off your butt and in the studio. Make sure those people are always brutally honest. You need that in this industry because there’s a whole lot of “Yes men” that’ll tell you what you want to hear to ride your wave or watch you crash and burn. Lastly, have tough skin. The world does not stop because things aren’t going right for you… you must accept and adapt.
4.) As an artist, being original is tough. Music-wise, what separates you from other rappers/producers? We know that the music industry is full of talented individuals who just don’t get any recognition for their talent and/or hard work. What do you plan to do to make sure you stand out and get noticed?
I have a very simple game plan…
First, be a 1-of-1. As I said before, we are in the age of carbon-copies. It is very easy to get lost in the shuffle of sounding like everyone else. It is important to be independent and unique. Your music is like a sexual encounter. You can either “just get your rocks off” and call them an Uber or you can turn them into an addict. If they don’t fiend for what you have to offer you ain’t hittin’ it right!
Second, be relatable. Your music is essentially you building a friendship with your audience. The more that you relate the bigger your bond becomes. You want your lyrics to be in a symbiotic bond with their emotions.
5.) Like many artistpreneurs out there, you’re an artist with an entrepreneurial mind-set who wears many hats. With that being said, how difficult (or easy) is it to wear so many creative hats and still be able to provide quality art to your clients based on their specific needs?
I’m not going to lie… it’s a bit difficult at times being the producer, the artist, and the marketing department all in one but it’s worth it. The beauty of being all in one is that I trust myself to get what I need done by the deadline. Sure, I have setbacks sometimes but that goes with the territory. I think I ultimately get a rush out of challenging myself to bring the best I have to the table in a timely fashion.
6.) Do you think that the traditional music industry model as we know it is dead? Why or why not?
I think the concept of major labels is on its deathbed. They spent so much time enslaving artists and pushing their agendas that no one found them or the artists they stuff down our throats authentic. They keep regurgitating the same narratives (everybody traps, everyone’s a drug kingpin, blah blah blah). For example – Imagine that out of all the shows you watch on TV “The Wire” is your favorite show. Then imagine that the broadcasting networking cancels any show that isn’t like “The Wire.” So now you’ve taken away what draws audiences in. They don’t need to watch that show for how it uniquely depicts Baltimore, now you can watch any show and get the same feeling. Eventually those feelings become numb and you lose your audience.
7.) Social media is obviously an extremely important element in today’s world, especially when it comes to business, branding, marketing, etc. With that being said, do you think an artist will be able to survive in today’s music industry if they’re not social media savvy?
There’s no way they would be able to stay afloat let alone be relevant to anyone without social media. There’s maybe a handful of people who aren’t on social media. That’s where your audience is. If you have no audience then you have no stage.
8.) Artists who try to make music for the general public and make more money are usually seen as “sell-outs.” Do you see it that way and if so, what do you plan to do to make sure you make music that is true to your brand and make a good living at the same time without having to “sell out”?
See, I think people are just too quick to generalize. Becoming successful for what you poured your blood, sweat and tears into does not make you a sellout. Compromising who you are and your message to hoist yourself up on an invisible pedestal makes you a sellout. Never bite your tongue about your vision for your craft and keep those around you who are strong enough to keep you grounded.
9.) Why should a potential client work with you? What are you able to provide potential clients that maybe your competitor(s) can’t?
Every artist will tell you their passionate and driven to bring what you need to the table. I’m beyond passionate. I have an unhealthy obsession with making masterpieces. I don’t need sleep, I don’t need food, I need this music. I give you all of me and more and I’m not afraid to tell you what works and what doesn’t work. Music is beyond everything to me. Put your vision in my hands and I’ll turn the world into a mural.
10.) Creative professionals typically have a project or two that they’re working on. What are you currently working on? What should we look forward to from you in the future?
I’m actually working on several projects right now. I am almost finished putting together the Album “Charles Street.” This album chronicles my life for the past 8 years and it takes you on a journey to self discovery. It’s like a GPS through my soul. I am also working on another project called “Famine” that tackles some very important issues in our society like race and class bias amongst other themes. All of my projects will soon be visible at Thisisreignmusic.com.
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