I'm a pop artist

I'm a pop artist and I'm officially okay with it.

In the whirlwind of the two years I’ve been a solo recording artist, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned a lot about the music industry and even more about myself. I’ve closely examined how badly I want to achieve my dreams, which sacrifices I want to make and what defines my subjective definition of success. I’ve made some strides, like regularly getting back into practicing my craft, eating (slightly) healthier, and skipping the occasional night out and instead investing more money into my career. I’ve finally found a lifestyle that works for me and puts me on the right path, albeit a very alternative one. However, there are still a few things I’m getting used to that make me a little uncomfortable. One of them is officially coming to grips with the direction my music is going and calling myself a “Pop Artist.”

It took some time for me to be secure in even calling myself a recording artist. I feared people would assume I was broke (I was, for a bit) or I was living with my parents (I was, for a bit). Although I didn’t have the societal standard of success, I was doing pretty well for myself from the start. But eventually when I got to that point I stuck to my hip-hop guns, playing the rap role as hard as I could despite most of my success coming from my pop tunes. I loved the reactions it would get out of people, especially in a millenial suburb like Arlington where I would venture to doubt no other rapper lives (maybe GoldLink has an apartment there?). New acquaintances would ask me to play my stuff for them and I’d always opt to freestyle, stating “most of my music online is pop music, you don’t wanna hear that shit.” 

For as long as I cared, there was always a negative connotation with the word “Pop” when it came to music. People tend to think of multiple criticisms of popular artists, saying that they “lack talent” or they’re music is “overrated” or “heavily autotuned”. I strayed as far away from the qualifier as I could, striving to be cooler with every radio submission or blogger interview. I’d say “War Paint is a masterful crossover tune, blending genres from Funk to EDM, with a glimmer of trap as well.” I fooled a lot of people, even myself for a little while. I had no idea the War Paint was gonna be a pop tune until the pre-production was finished. I remember rueing the idea of rapping over Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” for fear that it’d be too predictable. Without a doubt, those two are my biggest hits and I can’t believe I fought against those musical choices so hard and didn’t own them sooner.

So after a little bit of soul searching and a lot of writing, I took the same approach to putting together my new album as I did with War Paint. My pre-production culminated around the end of October (I promise it’s coming guys, I PROMISE). The result: A pop album. A soulful, hip-hop influenced, drum-banging, guitar-laden, funky bassline-backed pop album, but a pop album nonetheless. I’m taking the necessary strides to make my web presence look the part too and removing some of my hip-hop tunes (don’t worry, you can get them HERE until the end of the year). A lot of people at my current part-time gig ask me what kind of music I make and I’m finally responding the way I’m supposed to:

“I’m a pop artist.”
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