Hailing from New Orleans, Detroit Brooks, aka, 504 Detroit, is commanding attention on the music scene. Having grown up in the 9th ward section of New Orleans, Detroit began showcasing his prowess in the church choir and on talent show stages.
The proverbial apple definitely doesn’t fall far from the tree. Detroit’s dad, Detroit Sr., is is the lead guitarist for New Orleans music legends Irma Thomas and Charmaine Neville. He’s accompanied greats such as Wynton Marsalis, Allen Toussaint and Donald Harrison. And, he was featured on the HBO hit series “Tremé.”
Detroit’s first major platform was in 2008, when he was featured on C-Murder’s “Be Fresh” single.
He and his late cousin, No Limit Records’ artist Mr. Magic, created the hit song “Chastity.” By 2009, Detroit released his first solo CD, Doin’ Me. In 2010, he and Young Money artist Gudda Gudda went into the studio and collaborated on the infectious single “In the Club.”
To date, Detroit has performed a number of shows around the world and has opened for Anthony Hamilton, Carl Thomas, Bobby V, Pleasure P, The-Dream, Monica, Slim (of 112), and Lil Wayne’s Young Money Camp.
Read what he has to say.
How do you stay inspired?
My inspiration comes from a combination of it finding me, and my drive to seek it. My father Detroit Brooks Sr., has been the lead guitarist for New Orleans music legends such as Irma Thomas and Charmaine Neville. He provided me with the early inspiration to be involved in music. Later on in life, my cousin Mr. Magic, formerly of No Limit Records solidified my goal to be an artist in the music industry.
What led you to this art form?
Growing up in a musical family led me to this art form. It was up to me to test the waters to see if I had the drive and determination it takes to make it in this business.
What other industries connect to your brand?
In addition to being an artist, I’m in the midst of expanding my brand. The first area of business is the apparel industry. When I was growing up, it wasn’t cool to be what we use to call a nerd. Present day, all the nerds are exploiting the tech bubble and making a lot of money. Being a nerd has a cool factor to it. That inspired me to start my clothing line known as “Squares.” The signature logo is a nerdy looking guy with glasses. You can find Squares apparel at www.504detroit.com
What advice do you have for other artists?
In addition to mastering the art, I recommend artists learn every aspect of the business side of things because you work hard to build your brand and you don’t want anybody to take advantage of you, and you don’t want to miss out on anything due to a lack of knowledge.
How do you stay ahead of the game?
I try to stay ahead of my craft by being versatile and being able to adapt to new trends.
What are the misconceptions about artists?
Misconceptions I noticed for artists is when your intentions are to make good music, but if you test the boundaries outside your genre then some may suggest you’re selling out.
How do you communicate your goals?
I map my goals by communicating with my team on a daily basis to strategize and come up with innovative ideas to make our team successful. Having a team you can rely on is very important when you’re trying to map out ideas and achieve your goals. I have a solid team, with super producer Blaq N Mild, and my foot soldiers Kevin Dandridge, Vince D’Writer, and Lionel Griffith, grinding and putting in work. I measure my success by if I can make the next song better than the previous song.
Who are your peers in the industry?
My peers in the industry are Juvenile, Kidd Kidd, and 5th Ward Weebie.
Who are your role models?
My role models in the industry are my father Detroit Brooks Sr., and my cousin, the late great Mr. Magic formerly of No Limit Records. My role model outside of the industry is my mother Sandra Brooks. She gave a maximum effort to guide me down the right path.
Who do you compare yourself to in the industry?
I try not to emulate anyone because I want my material to be authentic and my sound to be original.
What book has had the most impact on you?
The most influential book I’ve read is A Purpose Driven Life.
Why is lifelong learning important?
I consider continued learning important because things change everyday. To be successful in anything you need wisdom and the ability to adapt.
What is an affirmation that you live by?
An affirmation I live by is to never stop grinding. When things get tough, that’s when you need to get tougher.
What does art mean to you?
Art plays a major role in my community. I’m from New Orleans, Louisiana. Music and dance is part of our lives from birth. Being creative and being your own person is woven into our culture in New Orleans aka the 504.
What role does technology play in your life?
Technology plays a big role in my life. The Internet allows me to research my craft and help expand my knowledge of the business. Social media helps me create and grow my fan base, and most importantly digital distribution such as iTunes gives me the opportunity to share my music with the masses. The biggest technology innovation for me is social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They allow me to communicate with my fan base.
How would you describe your personal brand?
My personal brand can be described as hard working and versatile. In New Orleans, twerking was born due to our culture of a unique sound known as bounce music. In my music I have the ability to make you run to the dance floor, but at the same time I have the ability to slow it down on the sensual R&B tip like my latest song we recently uploaded on YouTube “Unconditional Love.”
What is your favorite travel destination?
My favorite destination is Jamaica because I love the atmosphere and the culture.
If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
If I could change one thing about the world I would make a change in which racism didn’t exist.
If you could change one thing about you, what would it be?
There really isn’t nothing I want to change about myself. I’m working hard and I will continue to work hard until I reach my goal of becoming an elite R&B artist.
What does it mean to be iconic?
To be iconic it takes hard work and dedication to your craft. In my opinion Usher is iconic. He is an artist I’ve had the pleasure of watching throughout the years. With Usher, if you followed his career you witnessed his growth as an artist. He possess the ability to evolve with the times. With hard work and dedication Usher went from a young artist with potential to an icon who is well-known around the world.