“I’m sure for everyone it’s something different, but for me it was overcoming the fear of what people might say or how they might react. I cared too much about how I’d be judged.”
Check out the interview with JDAGZ exclusively on Skilly Magazine Online.
Skilly: Tell us where this all began. What is your history in the music scene?
JDAGZ: I did not have the revelation to make hip hop/rap music until fairly recently. It wasn’t until after I graduated with my business degree in 2012 that I really felt like I had a legitimate shot to make it in the today’s game. I came to this decision only because of a dear friend I met in 2006 at the Marine Corps Air Station located in Yuma, AZ where we were both assigned. Nathan Eaken and I immediately shared a connection, particularly on the basis of hip hop and rap music.
What are the best ways to promote yourself as an artist? Any tips you can give us?
There are several ways to promote yourself as an artist especially in this age of technology and with endless social media avenues. You must take advantage of that, but I still believe in the old “word of mouth.” You have to get personal with your fans, make them really believe in you. Try to become a local celebrity first.
What do you ultimately want to become in your career?
Well of course I want to be very wealthy for a million reasons, but I want to impact the world through my art and entertainment. I want to be known as a great rapper who also has a great message and is a good person underneath it all; maybe even one day be respected as one of the greats.
What is the hardest thing about being in the music business?
I’m sure for everyone it’s something different, but for me it was overcoming the fear of what people might say or how they might react. I cared too much about how I’d be judged. I am my own worst critic the majority of the time.
What is it like in your city? What is the music scene like, and how is it like living there overall?
The city of Boston is small and a bit overcrowded. The people are tough and hard working for the most part. The music scene I feel is on the rise in the Boston area especially for hip hop/rap artists. Boston has always had a solid base of hip hop/rap fans and there’s definitely opportunities for artists to take advantage of.
What are some of advice you can give and share to other artists who are still trying to come up?
I’d say just keep grinding. If you are skilled and diligent you will get where you need to be. Nothing’s going to come in a day or two, you have to take practical steps and you inch your way along. You don’t necessarily get anywhere in fast spurts. Try to keep yourself inspired and don’t stop 3 feet short of the gold.
What is the best thing that’s ever happened in your career?
I’ve been getting a lot of great feedback just about everywhere, so that has been a real blessing. It’s even more so fulfilling because I used to be so hung up on what people would think rather than just letting the music pour out of me. It’s like I can see everything unraveling before my eyes. I’m very grateful for all the wonderful connections I’ve made.
What is your inspiration?
My inspiration is a better life. I don’t want to struggle anymore. I’m ready to be my own boss now more than ever. Most people mistake my movement as a selfish act, but I genuinely care about people and have people I want to help. You can’t just do it for yourself, I got a lot of people pulling for me and who have helped me on my journey.
Do you feel anyone can be successful now in today’s world of music?
We all know there’s plenty of whack rappers who have “made it,” so marketing and promoting is certainly more than half the battle. There’s an enormous digital advantage that artists are able to utilize now. This is why you see so many more independent artists out there. No more need for a label, we can buy and sell directly.