I’m back from my trip to Cannes for Midem 2011 and I have a story to tell.
This years Midem was smaller than any of the previous years I was in attendance. Having a smaller list of delegates (people there to do business) had pros and cons. The Pros were that less people made it easier to locate companies that did a specific type of function. For example DJ’s, artist management, music importers, record labels, ectera. Also with less people the companies in attendance were more serious about closing deals. The Cons were that with less people there was less diversity in companies and less opportunities for independent labels to compete with the majors.
There were several good panels and presentations that gave insight for artists to market and promote their music. One keynote speaker said, In five years there would be no need for major record labels and almost all music will be digitally distributed. That’s a powerful statement considering the majors have been running the music industry for the last 80 years. One of the best presentations was done by Ariel Hyatt founder of New York publicity and P.R. firm “Ariel Publicity & Cyber PR.” She went in depth about the process of building a buzz from the ground up and what musicians can expect along the way. Afterward she distributed a DvD called “Building a Buzz and Selling Your Music Online.” For any artist looking to conquer the digital landscape this is a must see DvD.
I went to allot of the after parties this Midem just to see what new talent was being showcased. I saw way to many pseudo-punk, rock, and electro bands that could be lumped in with whatever audio trash that’s being played on the radio. Don’t get it twisted they weren’t all bad, they just weren’t impressive. The best concerts this Midem were from artist who came with different styles.
Ras Kwame and the Mad Professor both gave dope shows. They mixed Hip-Hop, Dub, Reggae, Grime, with all types of other music to keep the party jumping until four am. Saul Williams gave a killer performance with his five piece band promoting his new album “Volcanic Soul.” Saul is not your typical rapper, he has just as much infamy for being a poet as he does for being a rock star. I like that catz style, he’s an artist that can’t be labeled one “type” then compartmentalized and confined to a box.
There’s just as much business getting done at the after-parties as during conference hours. Once the drinks started flowing, people got chatty and business cards were passed around like currency. The drink of choice this year was Grey Goose mixed with anything. I think they were one of the Midem sponsors cuz they would give free shots of it mixed with a fruit juice that tasted like Hawaiian Punch. While standing at the bar waiting for a drink I ran into Miami artist Pitbull’s manager (cool guy). He was with these two fine Latina's that looked Cuban, Borican or Dominican.
They both wanted drinks and as they relayed their order I noticed that one of them spoke with a British accent. They came from Miami the manager told me. So looking at the girl you would expect a Spanish accent, or at least American. I was blown away by her British accent cuz she looked like she was fresh off the boat from some island. Her accent and image were polar opposites and I curious about the story behind it. I turned away from the group to take a business card and chat with a guy who did world music. When I turned back they had got their drinks (it was an open bar) and were gone. I ran into the manager several times that night but forgot to ask the question. Its one of those memories that make the mind wonder...what’s the story was behind that?
Aside from the business, concerts, food and night life the weather was spectacular. I left Holland when it was freezing, cold and raining. I arrived in Cannes and it was warm enough for people to wear shorts and tank tops. I enjoyed the weather so much I took pictures. Not just of the weather, also the beach with the numerous street artists (painters, jewelry makers, wire sculptures) displaying their craft trying to make a dollar. The best art on the beach was the fully clothed life sized Buddha sculpted out of sand. Words don’t adequately describe the detail and craftsmanship it took to make that piece if art. I have pictures of the Buddha and the sculptor in my Midem 2011 photos. take a peek... I’ll wait.
Admit it...its dope! Overall Midem 2011 was successful, cuz I closed deals with the companies I needed to. I made new business contacts and learned more about how to navigate the digital landscape. Its only been a week since my return and its already time to prepare for the New Skool Rulez conference in April. The hustle don’t stop, until my casket drops.
Until Next we Speak, Be Well
Tha One an Only
Whats Poppin My Hip-Hop Hooligans,
Below is the link to my interview in "Alwayz Therro Magazine." The #1 Digital Magazine that specializes in the latest urban culture, urban news, urban style, fashion and lifestyle.
The article talks about my history making music, new projects, and other ventures in art outside of the music industry. Click here to read the article "Tyger Vinum brings more than music to the industry" and if you like the magazine, subscribe and tell a friend to tell a friend.
Til next we speak, be well
Tha One an Only
Hello Blog readers,
I’m fresh off the plane from my trip to Jackson, Mississippi and I got a story to tell.
The show went well, It had good points and bad points but overall it was positive. My performance CD wasn't as loud as I wanted it. On my speakers it was loud enough but on the big speakers there it needed more volume. I compensated but spitting louder to fill the void. After my performance I met with some reps from Def Jam, Anthony “Scoe” Walker, a talent scout, Lenny S., VP of Def Jam, and some third guy who didn't Identify himself and who showed up late to the performance.
They critiqued my performance and wrote a review of what they thought from a marketing perspective. I was told I was very militant and might be too aggressive for some people. (I already knew that) Also, I write dope reality rhymes which are good for the underground and I gave a good performance with a strong stage presence. Scoe did most of the talking, he was the facilitator of the event and contacted me to do the showcase. He was a cool guy, liked to talk, name dropped allot and was fond of the term “god is good.” I’m always apprehensive of people who use religion to inspire trust or confidence in their listeners. (Which is why I don’t go to church.)
Lenny S. was more laid back and quiet. He said what he had to say and didn’t waste any extra words. (I liked his style.) He gave a brief history of how he got into the music business and what he was looking for as far as new entertainers. Basically he was looking for acts that would make established artists already signed to a deal nervous. He said he likes to call Young Jeezy or other artists and say “Watch out this new artist I found in such in such a place is dope.” Its a competitive industry and once an artist gets complacent the music suffers. By finding talent better or equally as good as what's already on the roster, it makes artists step their game up.
After my performance he wrote me a little note saying there was already an artist named “Tyga” signed to Yung Money. I already knew of “Tyga.” He’s nothing like me. I’ve been releasing records as Tyger Vinum since 2000 when I released my first single “Nocturnal Emissionz.” I know Lenny S. is a busy dude and doesn’t have time to check every artist he interviews, but that comment annoyed me cuz it showed he knew nothing about my background. Tyga may have the exposure from being on a major label but I doubt he has the years of dedication I’ve put into the game. It has happened in the industry where two artists have the same name. What happens is the one with the most money or exposure is credited for being the original and the other person is the biter. On some occasions if the original artist (the person who had the name first) can prove it and is willing to litigate, the other artist will change their name. That’s why Biggie Smalls, changed his name to “Biggie” the notorious B.I.G..
The point both Lenny and Scoe wanted people to understand was that it takes more than one showcase or meeting for you to sign a deal. Scoe said he had to remix a track four times before Puffy accepted it, so don’t be discouraged if you have to do this again. There was another act, a cat named “Shice” who was meeting them for the third time. This time he came with a new team and new music. Each time you meet with label executives always perform something new, cuz you only get three of four songs to show your musical diversity, so always play something they haven’t heard before. In hindsight if I knew before hand they were looking for more commercial tunes and not reality tracks I would’ve performed songs like “Welkom 2 Amsterdam or Put it in my pocket.” Instead I did tracks “Best Kept Secret and Grinding Muzik” both displayed my lyrical skill and personality but they’re not tracks that would get regular rotation on the radio. The track that really made them notice my marketability was “That’s Life” cuz its real but has commercial appeal. (no rhyme intended) The showcase was a positive experience because it let me expose my music to a new audience and industry executives, who were unfamiliar with my sound.
Outside of the performance I got to explore a little and see what life was like in Mississippi. First, public transportation is only by bus or taxi and the buses are always ten to fifteen minutes late. On the weekends buses too and from the malls stop at five o’clock so if you miss the last bus its a long way back and you have to take a taxi. Second, the racial divide in Jackson is impossible not to notice. Its almost like the civil rights movement of the 60’s never made it to Mississippi. Everyone there is either black or white. I didn’t see any Asian’s and only a few Latino's in a mall in the suburbs. There are literally places where there are no black people and others where whites are afraid to go. The Mall in Jackson, where I was staying is called the ghetto mall and the big mall in Ridgewood (a suburban town outside of Jackson) is called the white mall. I asked the bus driver why they don’t call the mall in Jackson the “black” mall? Why do they call it ghetto? She said “She didn’t know but maybe that’s how the people view themselves.” I didn’t want to be rude and tell her, she was one of the “people,” who shared that view...if not she wouldn’t use the term.
Finally, downtown Jackson, had the most racial diversity and mixing of the people. They renovated my hotel recently and it was directly across the street from the Greyhound station, so I was right in the middle of everything. Downtown had lots of stores and a wide range of bars catering to all musical tastes. The drinks were cheap the food was really good and the atmosphere on the weekend was laid back. I didn’t party much cuz I was there for business and don’t like to mix business with pleasure. I walked around, checked out a few places and was back in my hotel before 3am. That’s a early night for me.
Overall I had a good trip and enjoyed my visit to Mississippi, the people were nice, the style of living was different and the whole experience was very educational. The only trouble that occurred was in the airport flying in and out of Texas. I had a layover at Ft. Worth international airport in Dallas, Texas. The minute I get thru baggage claim security walks up on me with two dogs and asks can I place all my items on the floor for the dogs to smell. I was surprised cuz there at least twenty people ahead of me in line. I complied eager to get to my plane home. I went through a similar experience when flying in. They just questioned where I was coming from, what type of business I was in, and why I was going to Jackson.
This time was different. They had dogs! After the dogs smelled my bags and found nothing, the security asked me to follow him to this private room. I knew what was going to happen, they were going to take everything out of my bags and inspect each item. They did just that and also found nothing. Next I was sent to another room where some rotund man on a power trip starts interrogating me about why I have a spider tattoo on my arm and what is my gang affiliation? He didn’t ask “Was I in a gang?” He assumed I was in a gang and asked what gang I was affiliated with. This followed by an hour of me explaining that my tattoo was Mayan, the symbolism behind it, why I was going to Jackson, and why I wouldn’t allow him to take pictures of my other tattoos to run through some U.S. database. It took great restraint for me not to reach across the desk and peel his fat face off with my pen. In the end I missed my connecting flight to London and was stuck on the airport until the last flight where they had one seat available. If it wasn’t for that, I would’ve been sleeping in the airport and I’m one hundred percent sure bad things would’ve happened.
I’m back in Holland now, working on new music trying to stay cool in this scorching heat. Even though its hot enough outside to fry an egg on the concrete...I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
Until Next We Speak, Be Well
Tha One an Only
What’s poppin my cyber-surfing, internet addicted, blog reading, Hip-Hop hooligans,
The Best Remix Contest is over, school vacation just started and the timing couldn't be better. Thank all of YOU who participated, there were almost two hundred entries to the contest so it took awhile to listen to everything. It was a tough decision so I had a few friends ( artists and producers) listen to the final 5 and help me decide. The winner is Richard "R.K. Cerman" Kaliarik a producer from Slovakia. He got his track in on time, the beat was dope and he made sure to matched it to the song BPM. I received allot of entries a day or two after the deadline and they had to be disqualified. This doesn't mean they weren't dope cuz we listened to them and a few were, it means it would've been unfair to all the other contestants if I bent the rules to allow late entries. This is why we made a deadline. R.K. Cerman has been producing for two years and describes his style as sample heavy similar to DJ Premiere and is currently working on a beat tape project. You can check out more of his music on his myspace page and if you want some of his production his contact info is below.
A group that receives honorable mention is OERJGRINDER www.myspace.com/oerjgrinder, their death metal infused with funk and Hip-Hop mix was creative and reminded me of Linkin Park Hybrid theory. The group consists of Krovx guitarist with bass players Nasty and Punished Earth, they describe the music as Grindcore Beatdown. For those of you that don't know I also listen to a wide range of other musical genres outside of hip-hop, including rock, metal, house, drum & bass and quite a few styles in between. This contest was about originality and creativity, something the music business is lacking right now. What inspired me to start the contest was the remix style of the 90's.
Notice that in the 90's when producers made a remix they not only added new verses, but in some cases added a new beat. The reason Murder Inc, Bad Boy, Def Jam and other labels at the time stopped doing this is because of money. The way labels track a records success is thru BDS (broadcast data systems) spins, which is the current system in use. In the 90's if they changed a records beat it wouldn't matter as long as the chorus was the same or if it had the same title with the word "remix" behind it. Now If they change the beat of a record the BDS system doesn't recognize the record anymore and starts counting the spins from zero.
So this means back in the day if you had a record that sold 20,000 copies (which by industry standards is a failure) then had a remix with a new beat selling 130,000 copies your total would be 150,000 which would be a successful. Under the current system using the same analogy, if the first record sold 20,000 copies and the remix sold 130,000 copies the label would have one successful record and one unsuccessful. So to capitalize off remixing and getting the most sales from a record, labels stopped changing the beat. This is good for business but bad for creativity in Hip-Hop. The remix contest was a way to bring that creative freedom back to Dj's and producers and it worked. You can listen to both the winning remix and the honorable mention on my blog " A Taste of Vinum," just paste this url atasteofvinum.blogspot.com</a> in a new window. As I mentioned before myspace won't allow you to go there by pressing the link cuz blogger.com the site that hosts the blog is competition for them.
Aside from the contest I’ve been rehearsing and preparing for my trip to the U.S.. School just ended this week. I'm on summer vacation until the end if August and seriously I need it. Juggling classes and a career is tiring work. My intentions for the summer are simple make music, workout, more music, paint, more music and tour. (can u dig it) other than that I’m just taking things one day at a time. Holland is in the World Cup finals and this place is going bananas. The weather has been so hot Satan would get a sunburn, everyone is wearing orange, people are blowing the vuvuzelas (a long, loud horn associated with soccer) until they break and public intoxication is at an all time high.(I luv it)
That's it for now, I hope this post finds all of you outside and enjoying the summer cuz winter will return way to quickly. If I have any words of wisdom to survive this scorching weather its ...drink less to party more, do less drugs to have less regrets and if you do allot of both learn to exercise control. Food for thought.
Until next we speak, be well
Tha One an Only
Greetings and Salutations blog readers, time is a luxury that eludes me so lets start with the contest then get right into the update.
The Best Remix Contest
Are you a talented DJ or producer? Here's your chance to remix a track by international recording artist Tyger Vinum. This contest is open to DJ's, producers and musicians worldwide.
The Rules: You will be given the accapella "Grindin Muzik" (the title track off the new album) and your task is to remix the song by adding your own original beat and production. To enter the contest and receive the song contact my colleague at email@example.com and put “The Best Remix Contest” as the subject.
Deadline: July 4th, 2010 (12 midnight EST)
NO submissions will be accepted after this date. The winner will be notified by email.
Prize: 1 Tyger Vinum T-shirt and a copy of all 3 Tyger Vinum albums. The winning song and producer will also be listed in Tyger Vinum's Myspace music player, website and blog for 30 days.
To view the blogspot copy and paste the url in a new window (http://atasteofvinum.blogspot.com). The blog is hosted on blogger.com which is competition for myspace so they won’t allow you to access the page thru the link. I’m looking forward to hearing some bangin remixes so get at me. Now that we got the PSA (public service announcement) out the way lets get into the juicy stuff.
I went to a Gangstarr tribute show at the melkweg a few weeks ago, DJ Premiere and DJ Scratch played a dope set of 90's Hip-Hop. Scratch played most of the evening from around 10-3am and had the club jumping. Around 3am Premiere hit the stage and rocked the crowd for an hour our so. The place was packed, the vibe was chill and everyone had a good night. R.I.P. Guru.
On May 28th I hosted a show for Street Afrike (a street without fear and cold) in the Ruigoord, Amsterdam. The show was dope, the location was unusual cuz the Ruigoord is a hippie, naturalist community. Most of the residents wore homemade clothes, grew there own food, and listened to folk music around the bonfire. We came there with bright clothes, loud music, DJ’s, dancers and mayhem....they weren’t ready for that. The party was dope, Street Afrike is a collective of musicians playing traditional African instruments mixed with Hip-Hop beats, singers and emcees.
The front man for the group is this cat Scorpio that I’ve know for a long time. He’s more of a conscious rapper who is convinced that the younger generation is being brainwashed by music glorifying drugs, violence, sex and death. Street Afrike is providing a positive contribution to the youth, culture and Hip-Hop community to change that image. Along with Scorpio there were performances from Bad Habbitz (a Dutch emcee who rhymes in English) and Geoffy G (a Nigerian reggae singer with dreads and a style like Bob Marley). Both guys gave a good show and although the venue wasn't packed, by the end of the show they had won over the crowd.
One of my favorite 90's Hip-Hop groups has re-united and is doing a show in Amsterdam on June 10th. Black Sheep was one of the founding members of the iconic Native Tongues collective which started the whole conscious rap movement. The Native Tongues were a super group consisting of The Jungle Brothers, Black Sheep, A Tribe Called Quest, Queen Latifah, Monie Love, and De La Soul. Black Sheep debut album A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, released in 1991 which gained them praise and recognition in the hip-hop community for the album’s unique rhythms and intelligent lyrics. That album produced 3 Billboard singles "The Choice is Yours," "Work We Do," and "Strobe Light Honey," which propelled the group towards stardom.
They released a second album Non-Fiction in 1994 but it wasn't as successful do to poor album promotion and label support. Since then the group members Dres, and Mr. Long separated and worked on solo projects until re-uniting in 2008. There show is in Amsterdam at the Bitterzoet night club on June 10th which is the same night I have school. Needless to say I’m gonna go to school cuz its important, but damn I’m hating it right now.
I fly back to the states in mid-July for a meeting with Def Jam. I’ve gone as far as I can as an independent and now its time to take my career to the next level. I’ve proven I can sell records, I can make money, and can win awards. The only thing I don’t have is the exposure to be a household name. That’s where the majors come in. When talking about the majors like Def Jam, Sony, Interscope, and the rest, you have to look at them as banks giving a loan. Basically I will keep making the same music, and they will put in the millions of dollars it takes to promote and generate public attention for my project. So when my album is released online and in physical stores, people know where to get it. In return for the promotional engine they usually want half the profits and some creative input on what’s being released.
I’ve stayed independent for so long cuz no label up to now has offered me the right kind of deal. Everyone gets cheated in a record deal, but depending on how good your lawyer is, you can negotiate terms that insure you benefit from the contract. The more projects released and effort on your part to generate a fan-base, gives you more bargaining power when in negotiations. Allot of artists get a record deal, spend the advance and when its time to pay it back, don’t have the money. In those cases not only is the artist in debt, but the label owns there name, music and has them locked under contract so they can’t record with other artists to lower there debt. This is a common occurrence in the music industry and has happened to artists like Prince the group TLC and numerous others. I refuse to be a victim, so my advice is research as much as you can about the business before signing any contract. The more you know now, the less surprises later...food for thought.
Until next we speak, Be well
Tha One an Only