“The biggest challenge is generating a fan base outside of my general area. I do have some listeners in neighboring cities and states and that’s due to networking with other indie artists who helped spread the singles and the videos that I have thus far.”

Check out the interview with Mike Jack exclusively on Skilly Magazine Online.

Skilly: How were you able to start your journey in the entertainment business? Where did this all start?
Mike Jack:
I started out strictly producing in 2001 (7th grade) making beats for older artists around the city. Around the time I was a senior in high school I started recording, mixing, and mastering my own vocals. Years later I’m still at it; producing, recording, and mastering my own songs.

What are some of the creative ways you use to promote your music?
Beyond social networks and live performances at various venues, I’m an advocate of hosting parties at various locations with myself and other local talent as the live entertainment. It’s a good way to engage listeners on a personal level and those are the faithful fans that come to the shows and know the whole set list word for word.

What is the greatest challenge you face in today’s entertainment business? How do you overcome them?
The biggest challenge is generating a fan base outside of my general area. I do have some listeners in neighboring cities and states and that’s due to networking with other indie artists who helped spread the singles and the videos that I have thus far.

How is the music scene like in your hometown? What do you like about it and what don’t you like?
The music scene here in Pittsburgh isn’t large scale yet, but it’s buzzing. There’s so much talent here for a smaller city. It’s finally starting to boil over. As long as the unsigned artists that are left in the city (myself included) stick together, Pittsburgh’s rap/hip hop scene will be at the forefront for sure. And what’s not to like about that.

Where do you think the future of music is going to be? How do you feel artists can be more a part of it?
The future of music is leaving major labels. Artists are now able to generate revenue for themselves and have tours without a label backing them as long as the fan base supports them. It’s so easy to promote and sell your brand now that all you need is talent and a business plan to get started.

What advice can you give to other upcoming artists and musicians trying to achieve success?
When you get in the studio, or wherever you record, you make the sound that you want to make and not what the industry dictates. Only the innovators are awarded. It doesn’t pay to sound like the next man. They won’t listen to you when they can listen to the person who you got your style from.

What inspires you to write your next song?
I derive inspiration from what I see and do day to day. If I’m having a bad day and record a song, 9 times out of 10 the song will end up having a dark vibe to it. Being around music for so long I’ve noticed the real stuff, the real emotion is what makes great music. That’s what I go with when I’m working on a project.

What are the steps you take to make a song?
Usually I find a beat that I can get generally excited about, then I develop a flow or a rhythm before I even write a word down, then the lyrics flow off of that. Even though every now and then the lyrics and punchlines come to me, and I have to write them down, and before I know it I have a whole song written with no beat in mind.

What do you think makes a great song?
Lyrics above all, a good beat is nice, but if you don’t kill that beat and make that song yours the next man will put vocals on that beat and embarrass you.

Where can we connect with you? Can you give us your social media links and where we can contact you?
Facebook: www.facebook.com/hijacked412
Twitter: @jackjack3oh