“The hardest challenge is myself. I’m the reason I either prevail or hold myself back. Being patient is sometimes a task. Being satisfied completely with the sound of my music can be a challenge, but that goes back to me being the critic I am to myself.”

Check out the interview with Cris Cola exclusively on Skilly Magazine Online.

SKILLY: Where did this all start? Tell us about your journey in the entertainment business.
C.C: It all started with me being a kid in love with music, mainly hip hop, with aspirations of being apart of it somehow. I tried writing my first verse around the age of 9, but didn’t truly start putting my mindset on paper till I was 15. Ever since then, I have been perfecting my craft, being my biggest critic. I started doing showcases around my city at 19 to get a feel for performing. My single at the time was being played every night on the local radio station which was fuel to keep going and become better.

What would be your biggest piece of advice for the young kids out there trying to do what you do?
The best advice I can give is to stay consistent, be fearless, and try to never become discouraged. We are all human so if that does happen at times, remember your purpose and know that the only way is up. Don’t worry or focus on what your peers are doing, just vision in on your goals and know everybody has a time.

What are some of the hardest challenges and tasks in your position?
The hardest challenge is myself. I’m the reason I either prevail or hold myself back. Being patient is sometimes a task. Being satisfied completely with the sound of my music can be a challenge, but that goes back to me being the critic I am to myself.

We all know the entertainment business is very tough, but what do you find is the best way to promote and advertise your music?
These days it seems like there is no right or wrong way to get heard, with it being so many different outlets. The only issue is that it’s an extreme abundance of music being put out now, good and bad. I think the best way is to release visuals with the music on YouTube, send your links around on social media and have friends do the same. Also, hit the road with your music to hand out in your city and nearby cities.

Tell us about your city. How are the artists and the fans?
There is tons of talent in my city, Memphis. There are no major markets which can make the journey more difficult if it wasn’t for the internet. Memphis artists have been overlooked but our time is coming to really stand out. You can get support in Memphis but I have seen that it truly comes when you start to make a name for yourself nationally. Memphis has bad crabs in the bucket mentality forever but I feel that comes from us not having an array of artists that are on. I have a lot of hope for my city though and us all coming together to spread opportunities to provide for our people.

Where do you see yourself a year from today?
A year from today I see myself being more known for my talent on a larger scale. I see myself performing multiple days during the week and being recognized as a true lyricist coming for the big dog spot. I also see myself only having to worry about making great music, without distractions of just making it day by day.

Who and what were your biggest inspirations? Who do you look up to in today’s world?
I draw inspirations from many people and things. Anybody that I feel is being real and original inspires me. Artists like Tupac, DMX, or even Bow Wow when I was a kid have inspired me with Hip-Hop. Kobe Bryant inspired me when I wanted to be in the NBA. Malcolm X, all civil right leaders, and political prisoners have inspired me with there strength. Today I look up to God for inspiration. I know the things I admire to have and the man I want to become, so I put that weight on my shoulders.

How do you feel about the music coming out today? Do you like it?
The music coming out today is mainly the same with a different beat. There will always be artists such as myself trying to push the culture further and be creative. I feel the plan is to dumb down our genre by the people that are in control of what’s being played and marketed the most. I wish artists would try to be more original and themselves. Hip Hop was always a hustle from the beginning but it’s more solely about a buck now that most of it are microwave music. I wish lyrics were still important to the masses but I am glad that it is the top genre nowadays.

Thanks! Where can we contact you and find you online?
I can be reached on Twitter and Instagram @CrisCola_ and you can look me up on YouTube and all streaming sites by searching Cris Cola.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/criscola_