“I am not a fan of most of today’s music especially hip hop/rap. Everyone is following trends and the radio is filled with a lot of mediocre records about drug abuse, senseless violence, and reckless thought provoking garbage. I support the indie scene a lot and I barely ever listen to the radio. We need more innovators and less imitators in the game.”

Check out the interview with DSmith exclusively on Skilly Magazine Online.

Where did this all start? Tell us about your journey in the entertainment business.
DSmith: It all started back when I was 13 years old. My step-dad put a studio in our basement and recorded down there with my uncle. At that point I wasn’t recording any songs yet, but I started writing and learning the process of what goes into making songs and sat watching my uncle produce a beat for the first time. A few years afterward my step-dad got an official studio place with a friend and from there I was ready to start recording songs. I didn’t release my first song until 2012.

What would be your biggest piece of advice for the young kids out there trying to do what you do?
They should most definitely just follow their dreams. Take the time to perfect your art/craft. Don’t be afraid to take chances and never let criticism stop you. Always think outside the box and never follow trends. I would love to see future generations taking a more proactive approach to this industry. Younger kids are the future and they are the tastemakers for what we are going to listen to when we get older. They will define the sound of the future.

What are some of the hardest challenges and tasks in your position?
I would have to say remaining independent right now. Labels offer deals with “good” money, but that’s not what I’m about. The money would make things easier. It’s hard fighting that temptation because it could potentially help push the brand forward.

We all know the entertainment business is very tough, but what do you find is the best way to promote and advertise your music?
Staying socially active across all platforms and doing shows or even just showing up. Twitter has been my best tool for bringing people into my brand and meeting new people.

Tell us about your city. How are the artists and the fans?
Joliet, Illinois, my city. It’s like a little Chicago. We are 30 minutes away from Chicago so people here copy whatever is trending in the city. With that being said, my city is lacking original artists for the most part. The fans only support either big name Chicago artists or local artists that are copying those artists. Anybody doing their own thing or occupying their own lane often gets overlooked. In my city you have to be “popular” or you have to be biting a style that’s poppin’.

Where do you see yourself a year from today?
I see myself in a better space and doing more to increase and establish my brand. I see myself being a lot more established as an artists and more knowledgeable about the business.

Who and what were your biggest inspirations? Who do you look up to in today’s world?
Growing up, the very first rap artist that caught my attention was Busta Rhymes. Then it was Lil Bow Wow, I was a huge fan of his back in the day. Nowadays my biggest inspirations are Chance the Rapper, Drake, Shawn Boyd, and Gentry. The person I look up to the most right now is Chance the Rapper because he’s doing everything every artist dreams of.

How do you feel about the music coming out today? Do you like it?
I am not a fan of most of today’s music especially hip hop/rap. Everyone is following trends and the radio is filled with a lot of mediocre records about drug abuse, senseless violence, and reckless thought provoking garbage. I support the indie scene a lot and I barely ever listen to the radio. We need more innovators and less imitators in the game.

Where can we contact you and find you online?
Instagram: @DSmithXIII
Facebook: @DSmithXIII
Twitter: @DSmithXIII

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