“Please learn as much as you can about the business. It’s 90% paperwork, 5% looks, and 5% music. Understand there’s a million people doing what you’re doing, so you have to separate yourself from the pack somehow.”

Check out the interview with Deadman Rashaun exclusively on Skilly Magazine Online.

SKILLY: Where did this all start? Tell us about your journey in the entertainment business.
D.R: My mother Pastor Inez Cook wrote gospel music when I was younger, and I followed her footsteps as far as writing music. I was in a band, chorus, drama, and theatre classes all through school, so it was a no-brainer what I’d be doing as an adult. As a late teen, I won numerous contests from South Carolina to New York getting opportunities for record deals, but none really panned out. It’s not like I couldn’t get signed, I just didn’t sign any of them because of the construct of the deals. You know, going in you’re gonna get raped as a new artist, it’s how much of your choice.

What would be your biggest piece of advice for the young kids out there trying to do what you do?
Please learn as much as you can about the business. It’s 90% paperwork, 5% looks, and 5% music. Understand there are a million people doing what you’re doing, so you have to separate yourself from the pack somehow.

What are some of the hardest challenges and tasks in your position?
Getting labels to work with you with signing a contract that works for both parties. You don’t have to rape an artist if that artist has talent. Put the money behind him, get the higher percentage, but give that artist his fair share. If labels do that, you wouldn’t see so many one-hit wonders that are out now.

We all know the entertainment business is very tough, but what do you find is the best way to promote and advertise your music?
Through magazines and live performances. You can post on social media all day long, but only 2% of your followers are gonna buy your music if you’re not on radio or TV. As an indie artist, live shows and magazines are your best way to get your music out.

Tell us about your city. How are the artists and the fans?
Well, I’m from Columbia, SC but I live in the Atlanta, GA area now. I can truly say it’s a vast difference in the way the streets see you between the two. In Columbia, the artists there are cutthroat as they can be. Nobody will help you and most DJ’s there have a rapper of their own so it’s nearly impossible to get them to spin your record in the clubs, especially if your music is hitting hard. In Atlanta, it’s totally different. Now the DJ’s will play your music, but artists will still shun you if you’re not apart of their crew. It’s kinda like gangs, only nobody’s getting killed.

Where do you see yourself a year from today?
At the Grammy’s or hopefully touring worldwide. My music is primarily for real hip-hop and mainstream audiences. Even now, I get more love overseas than in the US, but that’s because you have to pay a king’s ransom for radio play over here. Overseas, if your music is hot, they’re gonna play it. I love the UK, Australia, Japan, Sweden, Germany, Pakistan, and so many other countries that support my music more than my home country. But like I said, in the US, you gotta have a major budget even though you’re independent.

Who and what were your biggest inspirations? Who do you look up to in today’s world?
Rappers like Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, Granddaddy I.U., Queen Latifah, Masta Ace, Will Smith, Monie Love, Ed Lover, Sway and Heather-B and so many other folks who continue to show love to hip-hop and let us come and give our voice a chance to be heard. I look up to God, Allah, Jehovah, Yahweh, El-Shaddai or whatever your religion calls the highest.

How do you feel about the music coming out today? Do you like it?
Personally, I can care less about the music of today, but I know this generation has to have a voice just like ours and the ones before us, so I have nothing bad to say. I just really wish urban radio would play all forms of rap music just like pop radio plays all forms of mainstream (White) music. Urban radio is the only form of radio who only plays this or that. Bottom line, if the program directors at black radio stations played all forms of hip-hop, we’d all sell more records. That’s why hip-hop artists tour overseas. As of now, it’s not cost-effective to concentrate on The US market.

Thanks! Where can we contact you and find you online?
I’m on twitter as @cryptkeeper2010, Instagram as @Deadmanrashaun, and Facebook music page as @Deadman Rashaun & my public page as Lamonica Duane Williams, Spotify as Deadman Rashaun and of course my website at https://deadmanrashaun.com/