“The hardest thing about the music business is trust. You have certain promoters promising this and that to artists, then they ask you for this ridiculous amount of money and produce nothing significant.”
Check out the interview with Leo Sky exclusively on Skilly Magazine Online.
Skilly: Tell us where this all began. What is your history in the music scene?
Leo Sky: It all began in elementary school. I started out playing the clarinet at an early age and then transitioned to the piano some years later. My high school offered a digital music production class so I signed up and I learned all the little stuff. We had Cakewalk and looking back on that now it kind of sucked, but it was a learning experience.
What are the best ways to promote yourself as an artist? Any tips you can give us?
The best way to promote yourself as an artist in today’s society is to do it yourself. Reaching out to music organizations like magazines for sponsorships is a great start. When you do shows, start off your shows by asking people to follow you and when your show is over mingle with people. Go to local festivals, hand out demos, or better yet, play that local festival. Hook up with other likeminded artists and help promote each other.
What do you ultimately want to become in your career?
Lets see … I want to be able to make a living off of my music for starters and I would like to make a good rap opera and I mean a good rap opera. When you ask most artists this question, they say they want to have fame like Jay-Z or Taylor Swift, but I’m going to be realistic about. If I can go to venue to venue with one hundred people showing up to see me and I can make music my full time career, I’ll be happy.
What is the hardest thing about being in the music business?
The hardest thing about the music business is trust. You have certain promoters promising this and that to artists, then they ask you for this ridiculous amount of money and produce nothing significant. You have some people claiming they are the A&R’s for labels or they are using the labels image for their personal gain. When you are an indie artist, you delete a lot of emails.
Another problem in my opinion are record labels themselves. As an artist you are a product to them and if they cannot find a way to market you, they do not want to be bothered. On top of the loan they give you and locking you into contracts, it’s not hard to see why major artists are becoming independent and starting their own labels with equality.
What is it like in your city? What is the music scene like, and how is it like living there overall?
I’m from Baltimore, but I cannot claim an area since I lived just about all over Maryland. We do not have an Apollo that much is certain. The music scene here is existent to nonexistent. For rap there are few bars you can go down to in the city, but in my opinion the hip hop community has a bigger presence in D.C.
If you are a rapper in Maryland, you have a better chance to hook up with likeminded artists and rent a stage hall for 4 to 6 hours or play at a thrasher abandoned building pop up. Some of the strip clubs in the red light district are trying to become the place for rappers because of the whole image thing. Not every rapper wants to perform in a strip club and it also isolates the teenage rappers that rap on the corner because they do not have anywhere to perform.
When it comes to the rappers, it is like a swing and a miss in Maryland. The city as a whole is no different than any other city. We have our problems, but it’s a cool place to live.
What are some of advice you can give and share to other artists who are still trying to come up?
Just be yourself and watch out for vipers. Do not let rejection get you down either.
What is the best thing that’s ever happened in your career?
I don’t even know if I have a best thing that happened. I just focus on my music, play a couple shows, and make new music. When it come to this, I don’t like to live in the moment. I’m always looking ahead about how to better my creativity.
What is your inspiration?
I am a very creative person. If you leave me in a room with nothing but musical equipment for two hours I will have two and a half songs completed before you come back. My main source of inspiration comes from spending a lot of time on Tumblr looking at paintings and sketches.
Paintings allow you to see the whole picture and sketches allow you to see what can or could be the whole picture. I like sketches a lot because they allow you to look beyond the possibilities and allow everything to come to you as an idea.
Do you feel anyone can be successful now in today’s world of music?
Yes, as long as they are willing to make some sacrifices, can handle rejection, take no bullshit off of people that are trying to wrong them, and work hard for what they want; then they will be able to make it. You must also believe in yourself and the music that you make. For every one person that doesn’t like your music five people will.
Where can we find you on social media?
Official Website: www.leosky.bandcamp.com