“I see a lot of artists trying to emulate what they see famous people doing and rapping about the same things … The advice I would give is to bring something different to the table.”
Check out the interview with Steve Young exclusively on Skilly Magazine Online.
Skilly: Tell us where this all began. What is your history in the music scene?
Steve Young: You could say my sister put me on to hip hop, but high school was when I started writing. I was listening to a lot of Lil’ Wayne and similar artists, so I drew inspiration from their content. I was a white kid in the suburbs talking about guns, drugs, and bitches. In College I started listening to more conscious artists and that’s when I started creating music based on my own thoughts and experiences.
What are the best ways to promote yourself as an artist? Any tips you can give us?
Promotion is a tool that I’ve barely got a grasp on. I personally prefer getting out on the scene and meeting people in person. It’s really tough to promote that way, but if I’m trying to create a fan base I’d like to meet people face to face. I think that’s a better way to trade energy with a person and create memories.
What do you ultimately want to become in your career?
Above all I want to spread optimism through my music. Having a positive outlook on life is something my mom has instilled in me since I was a kid. I want my music to brighten someone’s day. I also want to bring people together through my actions on and off the mic.
What is the hardest thing about being in the music business?
The hardest thing is that this is an all-encompassing business, you have to balance the creativity with the money-making aspect. I’ve gotten into big-time slumps from stressing the business side of things too much. And the way I try to combat that is by shifting my focus so I’m working on music one day, seeking out promotion another, and performing another.
What is it like in your city? What is the music scene like, and how is it like living there overall?
I came to New York City because it’s the city of daily opportunity. There are always going to be artists to check out or collaborate with. People are always heading to the next goal. I love performing at hip hop venues, but I have a little more fun when venue is playing to no specific genre. So there are a lot of open mics I like to go to in the Lower East Side.
What are some of advice you can give and share to other artists who are still trying to come up?
I see a lot of artists trying to emulate what they see famous people doing and rapping about the same things. That’s one of the most annoying things about going to hip hop venues. All of these young guys rapping about the same thing with the same sound. The advice I would give is to bring something different to the table.
What is the best thing that’s ever happened in your career?
As a long term move for building a foundation for myself as an artist, I think moving to New York will be the best decision I’ve made so far. As I said, there are so many opportunities for the taking. I now live in a city where so many people are striving for similar goals in different avenues and with different mindsets.
What is your inspiration?
Common is my inspiration. I don’t try to be Common, but I admire every facet of his career and accomplishments. On the mic, he is a positive and as talented as they come. Off the mic, and through his Common Ground Foundation, he provides support and opportunities for the less privileged.
Do you feel anyone can be successful now in today’s world of music?
Absolutely not. I think anyone can be portrayed as being successful in today’s world of fast-paced, online music. Success to me means longevity. It’s so rare in today’s world of music that an artist has relevance for more than a few months or a couple years.
Where can we find you on social media?