On July 14, rolling out hosted the Backwoods Making Smoke music panel. The event brought together local artists, producers and music makers to network and gain skills in their respective fields. J. Sims, J.R. McKee, and Joshua “J1” Raiford spoke to the guests and gave tips and advice for working in the music industry.
Artist and producer African Cowboy was a listener at the event and spoke with rolling out about his heritage and what sets him apart from other music makers.
What was one important thing you learned from the Making Smoke panel?
The importance of target marketing. I put a lot of my music out, and a point J1 was making was is people invest so much in the music, put it out, and they’re like, “Oh, let’s see what happens.” That’s kind of what I’ve been doing, so I’ve noticed that now, even if it’s just $20, whenever I get my check, I try to put it into the music and get it targeted or just marketed. You can’t get anywhere not doing that.
What sets you apart from the artists and producers in the city of Atlanta?
Just staying genuine. A lot of my music stays true to my heritage. I was born in Zimbabwe and raised in America since I was 1. There’s still that cultural mix of living outside of the home and living the American lifestyle, but also cultural things from inside. I want my music to speak on that and shed light on it. I have cousins back home who hear my music and they’re super inspired and they say they want to be like me. That’s important to me. I’m not trying to be a street dude, I’m just speaking about my lifestyle and who I am, and hoping other people can relate.
What’s some advice you would give to an upcoming artist?
Stay consistent, that’s how I look at it. I know as long as I stay consistent and continue to push myself to get better every time whether it’s writing a rap every day, or making three beats every day, I know eventually, I’m going to get better. If I keep on going, I’ll get to where I need to go. Just like Will Smith said, think about it brick by brick, and eventually, you will get a wall. That’s my main mentality and I’m not letting anybody take me out of it.