The epicenter of hip hop, Atlanta, 8 October 2019. After winning BandLab’s biggest contest ever, Tracklanta, our winners had finally made it.
Dropping bars at some of the world’s most legendary studios, mentored by some of the top producers in the game, the Tracklanta champs were grabbing onto every opportunity that came their way, with both hands.
So one year on, what’s going on for these talented few who got to experience an opportunity of a lifetime? We’ll be catching up with our winners whom we’ve sorely missed, and finding out how Tracklanta has changed their lives, the impact their mentors had on them, and their upcoming plans.
We kick things off with T.W.I.N., who recorded with producer Tasha Catour at Patchwerk studios.
It’s been one year on from Tracklanta, fill us in on what you’ve been up to in the music world?
I’ve been making more music of course! Gotta keep the grind up. I’ve also been getting into producing. I’m still a beginner but my friend taught me well. I’ve made more connections and fans and have even done a collaboration in a different genre (pop)! I think I even saw that my music was streaming in Germany, Nigeria, Canada, Mexico and more!
A long overdue question – what were some of your fondest memories of Tracklanta 2019?
Tracklanta will definitely be one of my favorite memories of all time. I think the studio session has to be my at the top of my list but I also really enjoyed the rap battle at Battle Royale as well. I also got to see Megan Thee Stallion live and it was my first ever concert. I also liked the lunch on our last big group meetup, it was a sweet goodbye.
What’s the biggest thing that has changed for you since Tracklanta?
I’ve definitely gained more knowledge about things industry-wise and technical wise. A lot of people also look at me with more respect as an artist when looking at my experiences and accomplishments, especially Tracklanta. I’ve given so much advice since then.
After spending quality time with the producers in world class studios, what are some takeaways that have impacted the way you approach your music making?
It definitely made me want to make my music sound more professional. I invested in some music equipment (microphone, audio interface, etc.). I still have to get some monitors though. I also sometimes go back and listen to the songs we recorded as a reference for when I’m mixing my vocals.
Out of all the things you learned, what was the most valuable piece of advice you got from your mentor?
It was something along the lines of “Keep making music. Don’t stop.” And it’s very true. The only way you’ll get better is to keep going. I take breaks here and there but I’m always making music. I’ve also become aware of the kind of audience I have. There’s like a 50/50 divide. Some fans like my R&B/trapsoul side and others like the hip hop/tap/trap side.
Do you still keep in touch with the producers, fellow winners, or anyone you worked or met at the A3C Conference?
I sometimes watch Tasha make or play beats on instagram live and she shouts me out when she notices me! I’m sure she’d be more than willing to give me more advice and pointers should I need it.
I still talk to ILENE, she’s a cool person! I already knew 845Fresh from previously collaborating on BandLab so he’s still on my radar. I still randomly talk to Amon and Lauren of the BandLab team. They’re amazing people!
Tell us more about your inspiration.
Honestly, I gain inspiration from making music, listening to other artists and I sometimes rap my own stories or stories that my audience can relate to. I know J. Cole is a huge inspiration because he is an amazing rapper. I remember he dropped two songs a few weeks ago and it immediately broke my writing slump. If you listen to some of my older music you can definitely hear some of my influences before I found my own flow and voice/sound. I just write based on my emotions.
What pushes me to make music is the need to be successful. I originally started with the purpose of being so successful that I could provide for my family and they wouldn’t have to work so hard anymore or fall into the wrong crowd.
What do you want people to know about you as an artist?
I’m versatile. You shouldn’t judge my talent/potential on one song. I can rap on almost any beat and I’m working on being able to write to almost any beat whether it be R&B/soul or hip hop. I may not drop consistently, but when I do, it’s worth the wait. I’m always striving to get better, if you aren’t a fan of me now then I’m sure you’ll be later on in the future.
Let’s hear about Star Life Records! How did that come about?
It’s crazy because I didn’t think anyone really paid attention but this is the second time I’ve been asked about Star Life Records! It’s my own record label that I release music under and hope to one day be able to sign other artists to. It’s called star life because my motto is “Aim for the moon, because if you miss, you’ll fall amongst the stars.”
What’s next? Any new albums or collaborations?
I’m working on like three different mixtapes! Two of them will be part of a series and one is more of a traditional mixtape because it will consist of remixes of mainstream songs. The series will have both an R&B side and a hip hop side. It’s called “Letters to the Streets” and “Letters to You.” I’m sure you can guess which one belongs to which genre! I’m always open to collaborations. If I feel like a song needs a feature, I’m definitely reaching out to whoever will respond and send vocals back quickly because most of the time I’m right at my deadline for submitting my music. I’ve been making music for years but I’m just getting started!
Watch this space for more upcoming news about Tracklanta 2020! We’ll be dropping more tutorials, interviews with past winners, producer spotlights, and finally, epic rounds of contests.