Attachment 1727St. Louis
based artist Julian Keaton
has finished recording his EP "The Calling
" (due for release 06/11/2012), so we thought this would be a perfect time to catch up with him and see what lies ahead for this young talented artist.
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview Julian. Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming EP “The Calling”?
The Calling is a six track album that is about introducing me as an artist, my message, who I am as a person and what all I can bring to this world. It's a personal, social, authentic album that people can respect because it's from my heart.
On June 11th 2012, you will be releasing your EP called "The Calling”, what was the story behind it?
I've been working on my debut album, RISE, for about a year and a half now and I felt that I was called to do the RISE project and the political work that I will be doing with it. Because of that, I wanted to give people a chance to get familiar with my name, my message and who I am as a musician and a person and that’s where the Calling comes into play. I was called make this album and give back to the community.
What were your major influences in writing and recording The Calling?
My influence was real loose on the EP. I can’t say there were many influences. Just living life, taking it one day at a time and staying focused on my goals would be the major influences in writing and recording The Calling.
What is your favorite track from the EP?
I'm stuck between Proper Introduction, Not Rich Nor Famous, and Doin It Now. They all have a special meaning to me. But out of the three, Not Rich Nor Famous is the most personal, while Doin It Now showcases what I want people to take a look socially and just think about the identity of our world, and the USA especially.
What kind of promotion are you doing to get The Calling out there and heard?
Most of the promotion will be done online through advertising and blog support. I'm doing little grassroot style promotion but my street team and I will be handing out flyers, posting some posters and giving away hard copies of the EP within the first three months of its release.
How do you think The Calling will be received?
I think it will be well received. I'm keeping my expectations low honestly because I haven't given it a full push the I would like to but like I said its just a EP to get people familiar with the name before I release the single from my album, RISE.
The first single you released from The Calling is called "Doin’ It Now", What's the story behind that track?
That’s an interesting backstory. I first heard the beat maybe like 6 months before I released it and it was supposed to be given to Mike Jones not me. But after no word got back from Mike Jones camp, I was playing around my producer and I was like I think I got something for it. I wanted to be raw, authentic, real, and hard hitting. I felt I accomplished that but that’s just the beginning of what I really trying to accomplish.
Have you been happy with the feedback you got on Doin’ It Now?
I am very pleased with the feedback I have gotten from Doin It Now. I've gotten tremendous love from the song and I have received a lot of constructive criticism for it. I take it and consider it all and overall, it has helped me develop where I wanna take the rest of the RISE album.
How long have you been rapping?
I have been playing with it since 2005. Decided to fully commit myself to it in late 2010.
What first got you interested in becoming a rapper?
I was never really interested in becoming a rapper. I was a poet. I loved writing. Then one day, I decided to put on the Old School Hip Hop station on Yahoo Radio and fell in love with hip hop. After listening to enough Nas, Biggie, and Jay Z, I was like let me give it a try.
What/who inspires your music?
Love. People. The struggle. The passion. The hatred. The fear. Every aspect of life inspires my music. Not just one person or group of persons. Not just an event or one specific thing. But all aspects of life inspires my music.
Do you see being an rapper as a career, or as a hobby?
It's a career that I will be dedicating a decade of my life to. I want to leave my mark as a vocalist and go where my heart will take me from there. If I still want to rap by then, then sure, but if not, I wont. Simple as that.
What are you trying to do with your music? Do you want to help your community? Are you trying to get rich? What is your goal for your music?
Music is art. As a poet, I love how words could be structured and played with. So with music, it is truly an art form that I treasure. I want to make a positive impact on my community with my music. It's enough bad influences and people that we look at as role models that do few things to help strengthen the community. They may help when it comes to getting more assets in their estate but few artists truly care about urban communities were kids are getting killed, drugs are still running around, gangs still have a hold, and politicians not looking out for the people they serve. I would love to get wealthy because a person can be rich and it will be gone the next day. But I want to be wealthy in all aspects of life. My goal is to make people aware of these inequalities and injustices that we have in the social fabric of reality and create solutions to help our communities run efficiently.
Have you ever performed live? How did it feel?
Performing live is such a rush. I love performing live especially when people know the lyrics and can dance and enjoy the music. I wish I could do it more and I plan on doing it a lot more the next few months.
Do you have any kind of management, publishing or distribution team behind you? If so what are their responsibilities?
No management, publishing, or distribution team behind me. Its all me, the street team and my advisors. I make the final call on every aspect of my career and it's not a pride or ego thing, its just I know a lot about the business and at this point I can manage it. When its time to get those aspects of my career in order, they will be. I know the people and have already established when they will take their responsibilities but as of now its just me.
What are some accomplishments that you have achieved, and are most proud of?
I don't have any accomplishments or accolades. Don't need em. Really don't want em. Just respect the music, the message and follow your heart. Thats I all I ask for and want.
Have you ever made any contact with major artists or other high positioned people in the music industry and do you keep in contact with them?
When it came to my music, no I haven't. On the media side, I am a college radio personality and I talk with major artists all the time. But not about my music.
What one tip would you give to other aspiring rappers?
"Follow your plans and don't take a detour. You will make it, but you need to tell yourself you wanna go far." lol. Those are the lyrics in my song, Not Rich Nor Famous. Make a descriptive plan on where you wanna go and just attack and you will get there.
What do you see is in the future for the music industry? How do you think it will evolve/change?
The machine. How labels, radio, concert venues and etc. will work together to form a bigger conglomerate than it already is. Just image if Universal Records and Live Nation decided to merge. It's very possible and if it could do so, it would change every aspect of how the music industry would operate. I see something to this nature happening within the next ten years.
Do you feel like the internet is helping you as an independent artist?
Of course. It's a playground now. It used to be only a basketball court. You had to be selected to get your chance, even as a independent artist. Now everyone has the opportunity to touch the ball.
How do you think social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have affected the music industry?
Artists-fan connection and brand management has been the biggest things affected by social media. It's for the better though.
Where can we hear your music online?
At my website (www.juliankeaton.com
). I have my Youtube, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, and iTunes links in the header of my website. But the music is also on my website.
What projects have you got lined up after The Calling release?
I might release another EP sometime around November but I will be prepping for the release of my debut LP, RISE.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years time?
An independent artists that will have a name, and can easily do a tour out of nowhere and fans will come out and support.
Do you have any shoutouts you want to give?
No names specifically but I will say this: Everyone from my family, friends, fans, my advisors, my street team, those don't think I have what it takes, media and anyone that has helped me get to this point and any point in the future, I appreciate all you have done. Lets RISE together and change the world.
Thanks again Julian for doing this interview!