“I actually took a short hiatus just to get to know myself again. I knew I had grown and changed, but I had to take a break from everything to focus on how. How can I speak to thousands if I don’t know who I am?”
Check out the interview with Truth exclusively on Skilly Magazine Online.
Skilly: How were you able to start your journey in the entertainment business? Where did this all start?
Truth: Journey, that’s the perfect word for it. It started in Alliance, OH. I was 19 when I started taking my music seriously. I was doing the usual cyphers at parties and rap battling on front porches. That’s how I established my name in the town initially.
I was approached by a new acquaintance who introduced me to a small local promoter who booked me for several shows and one I’ll never forget. It was in Youngstown, OH at Barley’s Pub. The promoter told me to park in the back and to go in the back door. I scared the absolute shit out of a waitress and the owner got in my face. So I walked around to enter through the front and the owner approached me and shoved me. The promoter ran in between us and explained I was the act. When I did perform, the crowd went nuts. People followed me outside to shake my hand. It was an experience I never felt before.
From there I got booked for bigger shows. I opened for MGK and Dub-O in Cleveland, then Jay Holiday and Red Cafe in Vegas. I was supposed to open for Tech N9ne on his Sound Effects tour, but had to decline because I was in the middle of a huge move. From there, it’s been lights out.
What are some of the creative ways you use to promote your music?
I’ve put a lot of thought into this. At first I used to give out my music for free and expected it to sell itself later. All that did was make everyone expect all my music to be free forever. After my debut album dropped through the Tate Music Group, I put all my faith in their marketing team. I shouldn’t have done that.
After I dropped the first single off my upcoming album 2, I offered a contest for people who bought the album and/or the single. The winner got a Truth hoodie, drawstring backpack, beanie, and two free tickets to my next live show. Sales went peew.
What is the greatest challenge you face in today’s entertainment business? How do you overcome them?
The biggest challenge is and always will be getting anyone to give a shit about your music. There’s a million talented musicians out there. If people don’t know who you are or just don’t care, then you might as well be singing to a wall.
I overcome this by knowing who I am. I actually took a short hiatus just to get to know myself again. I knew I had grown and changed, but I had to take a break from everything to focus on how. How can I speak to thousands if I don’t know who I am? One of the best moves I ever made. As long as you know where you stand with yourself, you can give people music they can relate to. Relation is the skeleton key.
How is the music scene like in your hometown? What do you like about it and what don’t you like?
I’ll put it like this. Alliance, OH has a lot of talent in it. It’s a city right outside of the Rock and Roll City (Cleveland). Most parts are poverty stricken and hip hop is huge there. I like the fact that music is huge there and hate the fact no one believes someone you may know could ever become anything successful. A lot of people in that town are stuck in a mentality that they will never get out of Alliance. That celebrities and big cities like New York and Hollywood are almost fictional.
I love the people in the town. I love how many people express themselves through music in the town. You would think people would work together to achieve something and put Alliance on the map. Make some noise. But it’s the opposite. It’s the thing I hate the most about music in that town and surrounding areas. Everyone wants to be cut throat and prove they’re better than everyone. No one wants to work with each other. So nothing gets done.
Where do you think the future of music is going to be? How do you feel artists can be more a part of it?
It’s really hard to say what turn music may take in the future. It literally could go anywhere. I think the best thing artists can do to be a part of the change is to be yourself. Don’t sell out. Don’t sing about things just because you think it’ll sell. Artists need to be constantly creating.
Artists, especially new ones, should remember the artists that inspired them. What about that artist made you love them? Don’t try and mimic them by any means. Just stay grounded to what made you feel that something while listening as a fan.
What advice can you give to other upcoming artists and musicians trying to achieve success?
Believe in yourself. Even if not one soul on the planet believes in you. No one started out on the cover of Rolling Stone. If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, no one else ever will. Know the difference between criticism and insult. You should ask people their honest opinion on your music. Get honest feedback. It’s like a focus group for your music.
And lastly, never give up on yourself. You’ll fall into a lot of deep holes in this industry. Scratch, fight, and climb your way out. Then look for the one person that’s not getting off and make them get off.
What inspires you to write your next song?
Inspiration comes from a lot of places. It really does. I’ve been inspired from things I’m going through in life to watching an Arizona sunset. When it hits me, I know it instantly. It’s a huge epiphany of things I wanted to say, but couldn’t put in words. I immediately need to be put in the studio. The biggest thing about inspiration is I can’t go looking for it. I have to just let it happen. As to what inspires me, just listen to any of my songs. It’ll speak for itself.
What are the steps you take to make a song?
Step one is to be inspired. I’ve tried to write multiple times just because I felt like it had been too long since the last time I wrote anything. It turns out to be just a bunch of words put on paper that doesn’t mean shit. Once inspiration hits, I work with producers to make the instrumental the closest to what I have in my head for the concept.
Once that’s established, I usually write the verses first before the chorus. I like to build the chorus around the verses. I want it all to make sense and make the verses overpower the chorus. Most rappers want a hard beat and a catchy chorus. I’d rather have verses that people listen to and keep rewinding before they even get to the chorus.
Then I analyze what other voices I want in the song (if any). Then I just get in the studio and do my thing. I stick with the producer for the entire mix down and mastering too. I want what’s in my head to be played through the speakers. Producers get impatient with me sometimes, but when it’s all over the final product was worth all the hassle.
What do you think makes a great song?
A great song to me will be different than a great song to someone else. But I think a great song all depends on my mood. Anything that makes me relate to what I’m feeling is a great song.