Recently he took time out of his busy schedule to give us his thoughts on the state of independent soul music, social media and other topics.
SFCB: I’ve talked in other interviews about how growing up a major label contract is seen as the ultimate accomplishment for aspiring musicians. They view that record deal as the end all be all acknowledgement of their hard work. Yet as we get older we see the industry for what they are, and their snake-like behavior in often cheating their artists out of money, and structuring deals that are to the artist’s detriment. What are your thoughts on the industry and your decision to go the independent route?
DJ COME OF AGE: It's interesting that in 2011 we are still talking about major labels and the stranglehold they have on the industry. I mean for all that the internet has to offer, for all the lessons learned from artists who have gotten burned, there are still those who seek to call a major "home".
I personally would never sign with one but I don't knock anyone who wishes to do so. The fact is, if you are making great music then that's a good start. Truth be told, you need to have a marketing strategy in place that gets you, the artist, in touch with your audience. That's part of the wonder that the social networking sites offer. People can literally "talk" to you and connect with you beyond the liner notes of your cd.
Secondly, take time to study the business. I'm still surprised at the number of artists who don't copyright, don't trademark, or for that matter, you can't even find their music available for download. Go figure! Do this first, know your business and your self worth and you you'll be much better off.
SFCB: You, like myself, are a fan of all types of music across many genres. I remember the moment I realized that there was more music out there than just what I heard on the radio, and that was when I was about ten years old and I heard Paul Simon’s album Graceland. It featured several artists from South Africa, and just the sound of the music was like nothing I had ever heard before. It definitely wasn’t what was on the radio. And listening to THAT, started me on my way of finding other types of music, which led me to hip hop and soul music. What got you into listening to all different types of music?
COA: As early as I could remember, I would always seek out different sounds and musical styles. Listening to radio used to be cool back in the day. The stations I "subscribed" to would have guest djs who would come in from places like New York City or Chicago and play crazy long mix sets. There was a lot of freedom in the playlist.
Traveling to different parts of the world helped broaden my horizons too. Music is always entwined with culture so that part was easy. Outside of that, I think it's something inherent in some of us. I mean, how many people do you know who will spend a whole day in a record store and still long for more? LOL I'm one of those guys. I think they call us addicts!
SFCB: Explain for those reading this, about the “DJ Consortium”.
COA: The natural progression took me from making mixtapes to actually wanting to own music of my own. Once I began looking into publishing and the various opportunities out there for song placements, I had to start a publishing entity to handle that part of the business. I wanted a name that was indicative of a team, a group of people who not only were united but who set a new standard of quality produced.
By definition alone, consortium seemed to fit the bill. In short, the DJ Consortium is a team of music producers who have pooled their resources to procure music placements in film, videos, commercials, and all other media outlets. We create, license, and promote original music for all commercial purposes.
SFCB: You’ve established yourself on social media, whether it’s twitter or facebook to Itunes and CDBBAY. Prior to my signing up for twitter or facebook I initially resisted it, because I didn’t really “get” it, and couldn’t see how it would benefit me. Once I got on though, it was off to the races, as they say. Now I’m always on there. Talk about how you’ve incorporated the Social Media aspect into what you do.
COA: My man, where do I start. I love the Social Media aspect of it. For me, it's not just about numbers. I see cats feeling good because they have a million followers. Half a million autobots! LOL It's about really, truly making a connection and not just to sell yourself. I mean, after a person downloads every song you ever released there has to be something left to discuss, right?
I keep in mind that behind that profile picture there is a real person with real issues and that he/she could use their precious time doing something else. Well, for that brief moment, they are paying attention to you and what you have to say. That means a lot to me and it has helped me grow as I find myself learning from folks I call my "followers". I don't even like that term. I like to think of them as, hmmmm, shareholders. :)
SFCB: As someone who has lived on military bases and moves around a bit living in various countries like Germany and France, you’ve been exposed to musical cultures all over the world. Compare the musical cultures of the various places you’ve lived, if you could?
COA: I've lived in some very nice locations. While living in Germany we were about two hours from Paris (by train). Honestly, living in Europe spoiled me quite a bit. Depending on which direction you drove, you could find be in one of seven different countries in about an hour. I loved the scene in Paris and London.
Both have so much to offer for the music connoisseur, that goes without saying. Now I'm in Omaha and there are those promoting, spinning music that I really enjoy. The larger the city, the better your options. Chicago has a style that reminds me of Europe in terms of energy, variety, and breadth of style.
SFCB: You have your own podcast, Soul Music of the World that can be found on your own website along with Itunes as well, featuring the best in indie soul and hip hop from all over the world.l. What are some other podcasts that you listen to that is featuring good independent soul and hip hop music?
COA: First of all, we began to podcast my fellow DJs and their mixes about a year and a half ago. There are some phenomenal folks out there like DJ Eric, Jay Soul (Shanghai), DJ Nerstylist, Sole Profit, and others. I have to give them credit because they contribute regularly to my show. I listen to Vanessa at Muphoric Sounds and Nikki at Soulrific has my ear all the time. Also, I wouldn't dare sleep on DJ Phaze, Brent Crampton (Omaha), or the podcast of New Jersey DJs with DJ Purple.
SFCB: Over the past year I’ve discovered several really good artists that I had never heard
before. Artists like Malcolm & Martin, Aloe Blacc and Lecrae to mention a few. What are some good “under the radar” indie artists you can hip us to, that you think have a chance to get some play in 2011?
COA: Amber Ojeda, Ursula Rucker, Lando, Gabbie McGee, Koku Gonza, Prosthetik Intelligentz, Salakida, Aniesia Williams, Anthony Mendez, Stevy Mahy, Jaleenah Birdland, Twin Spirit, Meldeah, Jon Bibbs, Paul Mac Innes, (long breath), and a host of others!
SFCB: I’ve been on record as loving the Roots album, “How I Got Over” and felt it was shortchanged in only being nominated for Rap Album of the Year, rather than overall Album of the Year. Also, they’re collaboration with John Legend was fantastic as well. What were some of your favorite albums that were released last year? Not necessarily independent, but just overall?
COA: I absolutely love Ursula Rucker's "She Said". She's just timeless to me. There's another joint by Mr. Windmill and Jay Soul called "Shanghai Lights". Wade 3 (not the ballplayer) released an album titled "Dreams" that is just outstanding. My podcast continues to grow and we keep the focus on albums like this that are deserving of attention!
This is the year of the producer and in my opinion, the likes of Shade Cobain, BusCrates, and Sole Profit will make their marks on the industry in a very short time.
SFCB: Thank you for sharing your time with us, today and I'm sure we're going to be hearing more from you in 2011.