“Keep your faith and stay focused. Understand that the only person that is stopping you is that person in the mirror, nobody else.”

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

SKILLY: How were you able to start your journey in the entertainment business? Where did this all start?
Well, when I was 11 years old, I remember taking my mom’s gospel/church cassette tapes from church on Sundays or Kirk Franklin, etc. Then I would start by pressing down the record and play button to capture some of my favorite songs on the radio at that time, then writing and reciting them until I knew them by heart. 2Pacs’ Song, “Dear Mama” & LL CoolJ’s Hit Song, “I Need Love” is where I wanna probably say I was first captivated by Hip-hop and how it was artistically expressed… so I began to reverse engineer it. 💪🏽😎 💂🏼

What are some of the creative ways you use to promote your music?
I really don’t have a method for real, that is profitable while enduring the day-to-day lifestyle of The Struggle; and because of that, the majority of my marketing & promotion are all done from in-house. I’m just always hearing, “A’yo, you’ve got it man, you just gotta be heard” so I’ve been researching and saving up to go with a few companies of my interest. For my next project, T.S.I.O., I’m working with “PresstownMedia” & “LandmarkEvents” are handling my promotion and marketing campaign, so I’m excited to see the outcome of the nice deliverables coming my way at the end of it.

What is the greatest challenge you face in today’s entertainment business? How do you overcome them?
To me, the greatest challenge in this ever so changing business is trying to keep your sound pure without the contamination of what is temporarily trending and soon to die out during this transition of where hiphop is really going, in turn preparing for longevity in this business. You will hear more ‘no’s’ than ‘yes’s’ simply because you have to be what’s selling, and if you’re not what’s selling, what are you going to do to begin selling? When what’s in style is not yours’, what do you have to do to make it yours? You know, I stay asking myself what I am NOT doing, rather than what I am doing wrong, then I adjust.

How is the music scene like in your hometown? What do you like about it and what don’t you like?
Well, let me first take a breath…alright. I’ve moved around the world my entire life, 10+ different states, 2-3 countries for different reasons. My foundation seemed to have begun here in Orlando for the past 6.5-7 years and this has become home for me, so let me first speak on ours here. I mistakenly don’t immerse myself in the music scene as much as I should because of my situation of ‘the struggle’ with trying to survive, finishing school and staying focused at the same time. I really had the time to put in that area, so I put what time I did have into my craft. Minus that, the few artists that I have heard of making noise for the city are artists from out west like Woop, Skull Boy, Dee Boi, just to name a few. Because of the saturation of wannabe’s and pretenders, it’s hard to run into an artist who is actually willing to invest in themselves like time and money, to the proper way to ensure that they themselves are serious about having longevity in their career. Hip Hop has become such a diverse culture, which is one of the things I like the most about it. I like how open & available it is to make a name on this platform if you have a good product, talent, & proper planning. I wanna share my voice in becoming a voice on the music scene coming out of Orlando.

Where do you think the future of music is going to be? How do you feel artists can be more a part of it?
I honestly feel that future of music is going through a transition since the birth of incorporating music with technology. I feel like we are in the middle of an evolution and honestly speaking, for myself, I find it hard adjusting to and labeling myself as a part of this community that is in the forefront of what is popping at the moment. Not knocking the kids new swag an’ shyt, I just know that when I sit back and compare what I grew up on towards what’s ‘in’ now, I’m old-school and can’t get with what’s trending. Touche’.

What advice can you give to other upcoming artists and musicians trying to achieve success?
To all the upcoming artists and musicians trying to achieve success, I would tell you guys to continue to push forward, touch that shyt everyday…you’ll get to your 1-k hours much faster, keep your faith and stay focused. Laster, understand that the only person that is stopping you is that person in the mirror, nobody else. This music is not for everybody, so make sure it is what you really want to do for a career. A lot of times I see that it’s the passion-driven individuals that are the ones who are most likely to excel in this business. Lastly, I understand that unexpected things in life happen, but remember this; How bad you want it, it will show. How bad you don’t want it, that too will also sho.”

What inspires you to write your next song?
The instrumental, then the rest follows. Music is a Universal language, so whatever the beat is telling me to write about, I tap into my emotions and ponder on my personal experienced and how I felt. But you know, I really wish I had the formula to get me in the mood to write my next hit, but I guess that’s the excitement of it, I don’t know. I just know it’s going to be good because it’s going to be real. Music is my safe haven where I can vent and express how I really feel without any feedback, passing of judgment, opinions, or misunderstanding. I can be 100% me while being a voice for others. Like Bob Marley said, “One good thing about music is when he hits you feel no pain”.

What are the steps you take to make a song?
Well, let me piggyback off the response to the last question and say that it differs with me. I let the beat create the atmosphere, then I just go with the flow and listen to what the beat is telling me to say. Then I put my personal experience on whatever the topic is. That’s when the true emotions simply flow from the pin to the pad. I may start w/the hook first, then began on Bar 9 or 13 of Verse One and bounce around as it hits me. I think a little while, but it works for me.

What do you think makes a great song?
I think that the key elements that make a song great would be that it’s an ‘Original Piece’ of art with a great chorus that people can remember & sing along with. It should also include an unique & easy rememberable bridge. The flow of the song should be to be dynamically stretched with much emotion that can be universally relatable, in some form or another.

Where can we connect with you? Can you give us your social media links and where we can contact you?
Website – www.links-music.com
Facebook – www.facebook.com/hardtolink
Instagram – www.instagram.com/hardtolink
Twitter – www.twitter.com/hardtolink
Linkedin- www.linkedin.com/in/quinnshaw
Youtube –www.youtube.com/hardtolink
Bandcamp – http://hardtolink.bandcamp.com
Email – hardtolink@gmail.com/