Name: Jamal HD
Years in the business: Eight
Label: Insomnia Music Group (IMG)
What big names have you worked with?
Lupe Fiasco, Chip tha Ripper, Trina and hot up-and-coming artists from other genres like Grace Potter and My Morning Jacket.
Why do you think you have been so successful in the U.K.?
A lot of fans out there love that I involve samples from different times and genres. Europe loves oldies. Plus, I have a strong love for European fashion and urban lifestyle.
Why is it so important to garner success in the Houston market?
To be honest, it wasn’t at first. My team would push me to do it and [I’d] be like, “why? They don’t like what my music is about, so no.” Now I can see what they mean by your city’s love can do wonders. I had to learn to embrace it, but now I love my fans in Houston. As independent artists we have to remember that even if our musical style isn’t what our cities are used to, we can’t just abandon the streets. We have to keep pushing the music and find its fan base.
What advice would you give other independent artists breaking into the Houston market?
Be yourself and make music that you like to listen to. It’s a business but you have to want to entertain and be dedicated to it. A lot of artists take on a lot of the same techniques and characteristics of some of the already established artists. Imitating other artists will never set you a part. You have to find your audience and create your own lane.
How will HDMI differ from your mixtapes Sin-thu-sis and the mixtape with the Kung Fu Grip?
HDMI has progressed so fast in such a little time. To sit and see and feel yourself grow as an artist is crazy. From the beats I picked to the lyrics and hooks I chose, HDMI is a totally new me, a better me. I was still growing on the other tapes, but not this one. I’m where I need
to be right now.