Welcome to Sui Generis!
Nikke Stiletto: I’m your host, Nikke Stiletto, and we are here with my friend G’Sparkz to talk about “The State of the Music Industry”.
So, let me begin by welcoming you to the show, G, and thanking you for being a part of this project! And, for those who may not know who you are, help the fans get to know you by telling them a little about yourself and any upcoming projects they should be looking out for from you or from people you’ve worked with.
G’Sparkz: My name is G’Sparkz. I’m a producer and songwriter. I’ve worked and produced for French Montana, 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, Macy Gray, DMX, T.I., Raekwon and others. I [turned] 28 this month, been producing since I was about 16 years old. I’m also affiliated with The Secret Specialists Production Team alongside with my partner Caviar Kross & Oz (his brother).
FANS SHOULD LOOK FWD TO THESE UPCOMING PROJECTS IM CURRENTLY WORKING ON: CEELO GREEN (2013/2014), MEEK MILL, FRENCH MONTANA, Raekwon, JADAKISS
A few songs we’ve already recorded, but nothing has been released as of yet, we still working.
NS: Well, before we get into the questions, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! And we will definitely be on the lookout for those projects!
Alright…so we know that the music industry has been around long before you or I was a figment of our parents’ imaginations. Radio broadcasting began in the 1920’s; fast-forward a few decades and we have Motown (and where would we be without Motown, right?). [Laughter] Fast-forward again to the 80’s and 90’s and the music industry seemed to be heavily focused on the “Big 5” record companies (EMI, Sony, Universal, etc.); a time when labels tended to “find” their talent and develop their artists as they went along.
Now, there are independent or “indie” record labels popping up all over the place as well as indie artists promoting themselves and bypassing the record labels completely. With all of the changes we’ve seen in the music industry, in what direction do you see the music industry going?
GS: The Music Industry has no set direction. Personally they’ve gone so far left, music ain’t the same. The game ain’t the same. Publishing ain’t what it used to be. Royalties’ ain’t where it used to be. Anybody can come up with a quick rap and sell. Back then, you had to have the full throttle: Image, voice, talent, persona…the whole nine. Look at the Jackson 5, for example, if you wanna bring it back. Their father was hard on them because they were able to sing, but their pops thought that if they ain’t have the whole Sha-Bang they wouldn’t be as big as what they became.
[The music industry] took the term “Dumb it down” literally. Now everyone rapping is trying to flex to get a quick check. No one gives a f*** about long-term any more. They only see money and (temporary) fame.
And it’s true. Labels don’t develop artists anymore. And if they do, they’ll shelve them for a min until they feel [the artist] is ready. It’s like a priority list. They gotta focus on all the other artist’s first, project how their album or single will do. Then, according to that, maybe they’ll fund your project. Nowadays, labels [will] accept anyone. If it’s catchy, and fans like it, and they see they can bank off your record, then they’ll invest in it. They don’t care if your album doesn’t sell, just as long as your singles do. I mean they [care], but yet they don’t. It depends on your situation. Everything varies. Eventually the “Head Honcho” over the label that actually “funds the label” would be like: ok 3 singles is nice and is booming, but I want an album now. Get him to do a 14 track album. I wanna see if he’s gonna sell.” Then that’s when artist development comes into play. [The artist] makes a quick rap that makes them a few hundred thousand, maybe rake up like 2-3 mil off one single. But when it comes to “developing an actual body of material”, they get stuck and can’t do it. Everyone ain’t an artist. You see now where artist development comes into play? It all makes sense.
NS: Well if the fans didn’t know before, they definitely know now that there is a LOT that goes into being a music artist and “getting signed”. From what you’re saying, getting signed is the easy part. Holding up your end of the bargain (or the contract), as an artist, is where the real work comes into play. I hope these new artists coming into the game are paying attention! And speaking of the artist, specifically, what makes an artist “special”?
GS: What makes an artist so special is, for one, their talent and how they use that talent to persuade others that they are “that nice”. Image isn’t everything nowadays. If you can blow, labels are gonna try and snatch you quick.
NS: So what if the artist can blow but they used a ghostwriter for all of their work. Does “ghostwriting” hurt or hinder an artist’s authenticity, career, etc.?
GS: Ghostwriting doesn’t necessarily hurt nor hinders an artist’s authenticity in my opinion. Personally, I believe it helps. Everyone needs advice about something everyone once in a while. In this case, artists ask others “what you think about this, should I keep this? Or add this?” There’s nothing wrong with ghost writers. Ask DIDDY! LOL
NS: “…Don’t worry if I write rhymes, I write checks!” [Laughter] Right!! Well I am sure those who have ever used a ghostwriter, and those who are ghostwriters themselves, agree with you. But some people believe that using a ghostwriter is a bad thing and refuse to use one. To each his/her own. And I am sure we could run down a laundry list of things we despise about the music industry, but what is your biggest pet peeve about the music industry?
GS: The biggest pet peeve about the music industry is how some major artists puts themselves in a certain space, where they make you feel as if you gotta chase them to get on a record even with you having a relationship with them. That’s why some people I f*** with, and some others I can’t. Not to say any names, but not everyone is cut from a different cloth. Especially when you all go to the same tailor!
NS: Well allrighteythen! I’ll leave that alone for now! [Laughter] On a lighter note, in speaking about people you do like to work with, who in the music industry do you enjoy working with the most and why?
GS: Believe it or not, I enjoy working with Ceelo Green, Macy Gray, 50 Cent, and Lloyd Banks because they like to actually build a record. They value your opinion. They’re motivational. Banks loves crazy melodies especially all the piano sh** I do for him. I rarely sample, but when I do it’s icing on the cake hands down. Fifty’s the same way. I did the “Ain’t Gone Lie” record and that joint peaked like 8 million views on YouTube and 250,000 downloads off datpiff. Sh** crazy!! To be honest, the joint I did on his mix tape that was the biggest record of my career.
NS: Nice! Congrats on that! I see you doing your thing out here, and I’m glad things are working out so well for you.
To touch on another aspect of careers in the music industry, how important are the fans to you?
GS: Fans are important! They’re your best friend, family…they’re your everything. They shape your career. Listeners play a major role in this game. It’s obvious. That is why, it’s very essential that you show luv and give back, no matter what level you’re on.
NS: That’s awesome! I definitely agree with you, too. Without fans, how can there ever be fame? Fans can be fickle sometimes and an artist’s “success” can be gone in an instant. How important is it (or is it important) for artists to have a “Plan B”?
GS: I don’t really like Plan B’s…depending on the situation. [I think] it pulls your drive away from Plan A. It’s almost a sensibility of “doubt”, basically saying “if” it doesn’t go as planned. When you point your entire energy and focus on one thing, especially your dreams then you’ll see it come true, eventually. It ain’t on your watch, it’s on God’s.
NS: So very true…but we can’t predict the future, so if you HAD to choose a career to fall back on, what would it be?
GS: If I had to choose a career to fall back, away from the music game? It probably would be something relative to kids. Potentially, I probably would be a Pediatrician, or a social worker. I love kids, I have a 1-year-old baby girl and that’s my heart!
NS: I know she is! And she is so adorable, too! And that’s great to hear that you would want to do something that helps to provide healthy and positive environments for children. The world needs more people like you!
Well, I’ve definitely enjoyed this interview with you, G. As always, you know we keep it straight up, no chaser. I have the nothing but respect for you and your craft and I look forward to working with you again down the road! But before we go, is there anything you want to say to the fans?
GS: Chase your dreams, and be yourself. Don’t chase these rappers. Build relationships and copyright your music. Build your brand and own your own publishing under ASCAP or BMI. FYI, Please learn the industry before you just hop in it, because if you don’t know what you doing, you can make yourself look really crazy out here! Oh yeah, log on to http://www.GSparkz.com for that heat! Look out for my EP coming soon titled “Dreams on a Paper Plane”. It’s gone be crazy!!
This interview is brought to you courtesy of Nikke Stiletto, LLC. and is intended for entertainment use only.