“A year from now I see myself as an even stronger emcee, lyricist, performer, and producer.”
Check out the interview with Xolisa exclusively on Skilly Magazine Online.
Skilly: Where did this all start? Tell us about your journey in the entertainment business.
Xolisa: I began with singing and dedicated my time to taking vocal lessons. I’ll never forget, I was on the phone with a friend of mine jokingly rapping and he said to me “you actually sound pretty dope.” I don’t know what exactly happened in the days that immediately followed that phone call but the next thing I know, I’m sending a long email to a friend of mine, a dope producer and emcee by the name of Lord Quest, telling him that I want to rap.
What would be your biggest piece of advice for the young kids out there trying to do what you do?
Believe in yourself. This is something I am forced to exercise every single day. On some days believing in ourselves comes easy, effortless almost. While other days, believing in ourselves is quite the struggle. Regardless of the level of challenge it poses, believing in ourselves in so crucial to not only succeeding but surviving both this industry and life – period.
What are some of the hardest challenges and tasks in your position?
I’ve come to realize that some of the hardest challenges/tasks in my position are not actually musically related. My biggest challenge comes in ensuring that my overall wellbeing is attended. So far gone are the days when I viewed myself as just a music artist. What I am now, is a small business owner.
We all know the entertainment business is very tough, but what do you find is the best way to promote and advertise your music?
I have 4 general guidelines that I follow when it comes to promoting and marketing my music
Intention: First, think of the intention behind the music that you’re going to be promoting and marketing.
Creativity: Secondly, ask yourself, “How can I creatively and artistically show that message visually in the songs cover artwork, music video, social media promo, etc.?”
Strategy: Thirdly, you consider the strategy and planning by asking yourself, “What marketing streams will I use to push the intention behind the song and the creative representation of that intention?”
Action: Last but definitely not least is the action. Just get up and do it. Sadly, many artists never get to this step. They intend, they create, they plan and they strategize yet do nothing.
Tell us about your city. How are the artists and the fans?
Toronto is a beautiful place. Speaking specifically to our music scene, Toronto over the last few years has become a place of focus and conversation. However, it is a reality that you could be living in this city and have absolutely no clue that an underground scene of incredibly dope emcees, singers, and producers even exist.
Where do you see yourself a year from today?
A year from now I see myself as an even stronger emcee, lyricist, performer, and producer. I see my catalogue of music continuing to soar and build and really just expand in its sound, its quality, and its creativity. I see myself continuing to dig into myself and accept myself and continuing to reflect that in my music.
Who and what were your biggest inspirations? Who do you look up to in today’s world?
My sources of inspiration change as I continue to grow and navigate this world. Right now I am inspired by my circle of friends whom are all artists and entrepreneurs in their own right. It truly leaves me with a deep level of admiration and a burning sense of encouragement to continue doing just the same.
How do you feel about the music coming out today? Do you like it?
When coming to the music that is being released these days, it’s really just a take it or leave it kinda deal with me. Sometimes I become so withdrawn within my own music that I stop listening to the music around me for short spurts. This usually happens when I am working on producing or writing a song.