“Know The Importance Of Finishing Ideas And Concepts, As Creatives We Tend To Be Scattered And Jump Onto New Ideas”
11 Industry Insider Tips With Music Artist A.R.T.
“As creatives we tend to be scattered and jump onto new ideas because we have so much going on in our heads. It’s good to complete each burst of input then go back and clean up until it’s ready to be considered for play or release. There’s something special in moments. Sometimes you can’t replicate or get back the vibe you had when you first started.”
I had the pleasure to interview A.R.T. A.R.T. is a singer, songwriter, producer, and musician based out of Philadelphia. As a songwriter and producer he has collaborated with fellow artists such as John Legend, Ludacris, David Guetta, Jermaine Dupri, Kelly Rowland, Wyclef Jean, The Wanted, Estelle, H.E.R. and many more. His productions have been featured on hit shows like American Idol, Blackish, global campaigns like NBA Cares, as well as the Democratic National Convention for president Barack Obama. A.R.T.’s musical versatility makes him a well respected songwriter and producer, but this young man from Richmond, VA, as an artist and performer, has just started making waves. While he continues to produce music for others, it is time for the A.R.T.ist in him to make his debut! He is the now the Co-founder of his own music label hoping to be a force behind the independent movement of artists. A.R.T. is also a humanitarian with his work with the non profit U.G.L.Y. , where he helps young men in the urban communities with character building and communication in a non-violent way, through U.G.L.Y. MUSIC PROGRAM. He is very excited to finally be debuting his work as an artist with his new single FRIENDZONE. It is a great introduction to this new sound leading his forthcoming body of work.
What is your “backstory”?
I currently live in Philadelphia, PA by way of Richmond, Virginia. I was blessed to have the opportunity to be discovered by Jermaine Dupri. I was honored that he saw something in me; that was the launch of my career. I was given the opportunity to work with, write and produce for some of the world’s greatest artists. I spent a number of years writing and producing for other people. I loved my work and was grateful, l but I always felt like something was missing. I came from a church upbringing so lending my background vocals to records came very naturally. Launching my solo project is a dream come true and I can’t wait to share my music.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your music career?
The funniest thing I would have to say is that almost everywhere I go, people think I’m Chance the Rapper. One day I was sitting in a restaurant eating. A guy came over and said “Hey Chance, I really like your music and was wondering if I could get a picture with you.” When I told him I wasn’t Chance he told me I didn’t have to lie. If I didn’t want to take a picture with him I could just say so. I said “Hey man I’m really not Chance.” He said “Yeah right man.” I showed the fan my I.D. AND HE STILL GAVE ME THE SIDE EYE AND STORMED OFF!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
In addition to my work in music, I have strong ties to humanitarian action. I get to teach kids music and give them a chance to express themselves and channel their creativity. My non-profit organization U.G.L.Y. (U Gotta Love Yourself) helps educate young men in urban communities to handle conflict in non-violent ways. Often times in these areas, physical/gun violence is seen as the only method of problem solving. The U.G.L.Y. program seeks to teach children more logical, safe solutions to their issues through character building and communication. They are also educated on trigger phrases, including “don’t hate” and “don’t shoot”.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
I’d have to say Will Smith is one of the most interesting. For years I watched this really goofy guy as the Fresh Prince of Bel Air only to later meet him and realize he has this incredible energy. He has this ability to make everyone in a room feel relevant regardless of where they come from. I find his inspiration and motivational techniques timeless and infectious.
Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?
I’d have to say Diddy. I am inspired by his steady “can’t stop, won’t stop” mindset. We’ve all watched him take on many different facets of entertainment, fashion and lifestyle endeavors. Diddy always keeps his finger on the pulse of the people. He always seems very sure of himself. We all know life deals unpredictable roadblocks. He seems to always have a way to overcome and be greater than you last saw him and that’s inspiring. Diddy is a true visionary!
Can you share 6 “non-intuitive tips” to succeed in the music industry? Can you explain?
- Identify what you want to accomplish. Establish who are you doing it for and why.
- Use the majority of your time in pursuit of accomplishing your goals.
- Regroup when necessary. Exercise self-care which includes healthy eating, sleeping and scheduling enough time for loved ones. Improper work-life balance is emotionally draining.
- Recognize the difference between friends and associates. Create boundaries. Everyone in your life should have different levels of access.
- Practice, practice, practice. Always strive to be greater like your life depends on it, because it does.
- Never give up!
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I was able to co-write a song for President Barack Obama’s 2008/09 campaign. It was a very touching song to get people motivated/inspired for change, challenging everyone to “be the change they want to see.” I like to take advantage of all opportunities. My mission is always to encourage and inspire new thoughts for everyone.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- No one ever told me that celebrities are just like the rest of us. I had built them up so much in my mind, creating an unreachable scenario. I thought of famous people as super humans. In reality celebrities are just like everyone else but they have fame and more money.
- Writers block is normal. There were many times I sat in a studio with the intention to create new music. In the beginning what I thought was not progress actually translated to the sharpening of many skills. It’s very important to get out and network with other skilled musicians/ singers/ writer/collaborators etc.
- There was a time in my life when someone told me I would never accomplish anything musically and the most I would ever do is sing in smoky bars. Though it was a lie, I believed it for years and years. If someone told me the difference between opinion and truth, it wouldn’t have affected me as much. I still think about it, but it doesn’t affect me anymore.
- In order to win we have to learn how to fail first. Growing from failure is a jewel in itself, change what didn’t work and replace it with new energy and a goal mindset.
- Lastly, The importance of finishing ideas and concepts. As creatives we tend to be scattered and jump onto new ideas because we have so much going on in our heads. It’s good to complete each burst of input then go back and clean up until it’s ready to be considered for play or release. There’s something special in moments. Sometimes you can’t replicate or get back the vibe you had when you first started.
I have been blessed with the opportunity to interview and be in touch with some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?
Kanye West, again. I say again because I hung out with him before but couldn’t get past the fact it was him, one of my favorite producers ever. I’d like to learn more about his production process and collaborate on at least one record. I’ve always been a huge fan of his work.