“Stick to what works for you as an artist, live for the passion, not the money. Stay different and don’t be scared to dive in and fail. Lastly make sure every day you have a reason to call yourself the artist you strive to be, you better be investing the majority of your time to your content if you hope that the world will one day invest their time into you.”
Check out the interview with Shifty Eyes exclusively on Skilly Magazine Online.
SKILLY: Tell us where this all began. What is your history in the music scene?
S.E.: The journey began in my hometown Sylvan Lake where I was just a kid with a dream. I was addicted to drugs and plagued by my past so when I found hip-hop I was all in. It started as a freestyle vent, but I later realized my potential as an artist and pursued this as a career. We started a production company and promoted events to create a scene in the area before there was really anything to work with. Now what had started as a dream was a wild reality, from touring the states to studio sessions with super producers which would later lead to meetings with industry execs. Now with footholds around North America, we are only just beginning. It has been all but easy though, they say an overnight success takes years of back work and we are still working as if we have not yet succeeded. All though through all the dirt of the industry, we have built a brand with an understanding of the culture for what it really is to us, the good bad and the devilish.
What are the best ways to promote yourself as an artist? Any tips you can give us?
To be completely honest we are always finding new ways to the ever-changing world of online promotion. But overall I am kinda old-school I believe in touring and breaking ground to break the record as much as hitting the right markets online. DJ pools are great to get your music to tastemakers, that should be the first step to see what the record may do. Getting on playlists is huge as well if you can lock in a good PR connect they can usually help you with that. The biggest thing though is to make sure the music is great and that the content is amazing and what your confident putting out there with consistency. Without the solid product, all those other processes are worthless as an indie artist, you really have to stay steady and consistent. Oh and above all be real, nobody is looking for the next Gates or the next Drake they are looking for the next original artist to invest in so just be you and keep grinding!
What do you ultimately want to become in your career?
I would love to act eventually, I am kind of a nerd for comics, I see myself as the supervillain of hip-hop, so a super villain role would be an exceptional goal. The focus has always been to tour the world though and perform the biggest stages I can one night at a time. But I do believe in giving back to what gives you life so I want to eventually create an artist development platform to help grow organic artists in a transparent environment. Taking my struggles of an indie artist out of the equation is just fine though, I could really settle for less but the motto is to shoot for the quasar to land on the stars.
What is the hardest thing about being in the music business?
There is a lot of trials and tribulations as an artist coming up, from personal growths to avoiding the hustles of the promotion industry there are definitely many obstacles. I would have to say though that the hardest thing is just sticking with the formula, sometimes it seems like its hopeless right before what you have been waiting for is about to happen. I heard once that this business is like a rollercoaster ride, and the ones that stay on the ride through those slow anxious climbs are the ones with longevity to their careers.
What is it like in your city? What is the music scene like, and how is it like living there overall?
I’m from a small tourist town Sylvan Lake, Alberta, Canada. Growing up here was different, its a small place but in the summer time the population almost triples. I was quite free as a kid so it was easy to get into shit in that environment. As for the music scene, there was never really much out here for hip-hop, a lot of indie rock and country music more than anything. The hip-hop scene where I’m from was sparse and quite underground and grimy. At first, we wanted to just perform as much as possible so we opened a company to provide shows for myself and the artists in the area we worked with at the time. Overall where I live is like any other small town, it’s totally what you make it, the drug scene is easy to get into of course, but its also easy to stay away from as I have learned over the 11+ years staying sober and still residing there. But I do not think I will stay there forever as my career is already flourishing more in the bigger city markets, and really I thrive more in the energy of the city. I will always have a home in Sylvan Lake although there are a few cities in the US and Canada where I want to expand.
What are some of the advice you can give and share with other artists who are still trying to come up?
Stick to what works for you as an artist, live for the passion, not the money. Stay different and don’t be scared to dive in and fail. Lastly make sure every day you have a reason to call yourself the artist you strive to be, you better be investing the majority of your time to your content if you hope that the world will one day invest their time into you!
What is the best thing that’s ever happened in your career?
The moments in this life are surely what make up the worth of our existence, that’s actually why I am an artist, I live in each moment like it could be the last. There have been many moments so far, from rioting fans to crazy adventures flying across the continent, sometimes being trapped in odd unfamiliar places for days on account of weather or other unpredictable forks in the path. Although out of the moments a few stand out more than others, mostly making the connection with the fans. I remember before I really had any music out I was on tour with Lil Durk and NYC was a tough crowd, especially the Drill scene. Being a smaller caucasian dude at first these cats were booing and calling me Eminem, but then I spit my set and two records and the crowd did a total 180 and realized I didn’t come to play I came to perform! The highlights of my travels are connecting with the fans and supporters though overall 100%.
What is your inspiration?
I am constantly inspired by my fails as well as the fails of others. It’s not only the bad that is my inspiration along the way through, what we convey as artists is an emotional being, and I think that has to be both good as well as evil. I take my life experiences/stresses and put them on paper when I freestyle I vent whats plaguing me at those moments. Some days politics really makes me ask too many questions so I write instead of sounding like I’m on the verge of lunacy. I also like to have fun as well so sometimes we just experiment in the lab and do whatever we feel at the time. You cant write life if you haven’t lived it and if you’re a passionate musician you know that the vent of pain through art is a healthy way to deal with what bothers us as humans day by day.
Do you feel anyone can be successful now in today’s world of music?
Yes and no, I think today anyone can push a brand to different limits of success with the tools we have in front of us for online promotion, but I would also have to say that it really depends on what your vision of success is? Anyone can make money as an entrepreneur, especially today, but with that, it is all about how much your willing to invest in yourself and how hard your willing to grind. If your really passionate about it and you work as hard as possible, yes you will most definitely be successful one day if you stick to it and learn from the fails.
Where can we find you on social media?: Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shifty_eyes/