ESTIMATES have it that about a million songs are written every day, as it seems that the world can’t ever exist without a well-arranged note and a neatly timed beat. The need for music, plus the fame and appreciation that come with it, is what drives most artists to pursue a lifetime of making hits.
However, given the immense number of musicians who ask for their chance under the spotlight, the stage can only fit so much talent.
Music labels see each artist as a sort of fashion trend that either sticks to an era, or just another passing fancy. Not everyone can get a producer willing to invest in their talent. Because of this, artists are given a choice: pursue music as a hobby, or produce, market, and sell their own music.
As hard as it sounds, a lot of artists still choose the latter and label themselves as “independent,” just like this musician from Albuquerque, New Mexico who believes his craft is too good to give up on.
Truth be told
TRUE Rhymes Uniquely Teaching Honesty, otherwise known as TRUTH, has been bringing his verses to the mic since he started his career in 2014. Devoid of help from any marketing team of a music label, he would go on tours with hopes of being discovered by fans. Through his journey, he has learned much and became more resourceful in selling his music.
“I recently began direct-to-consumer marketing. I message people on Facebook. I target artists’ fan bases that have a similar sound to mine. I will go into their pages and go to their most current post. Click on the number of likes the post has,” TRUTH narrated. “I send a message that tells them how I found them. Who I am, where I’m from, and that I’m an artist. I explain I’m there to be discovered by fans. And ask if I can share a link. I then wait for them to respond before sending a link because, let’s face it, nobody likes spam.”
He continued, “You gotta make a list of people who show interest and build relationships with your fans. A little goes a long way when you talk to your supporters personally. I feel like using the messaging to build up a buzz makes more sense in touring.”
Music has been deeply rooted in his childhood, and TRUTH found purpose in the talent he now shares.
“When I was a young child, my first memory was [of] me having, what felt like, God coming to me and telling me that I had a voice and I was going to be a positive influence on the world,” the upstart rapper said. “I knew my purpose and couldn’t be told otherwise. I would try to have my cousins make music with me when we were kids. They thought I was trying to play a game [of] ‘cops and robbers.’ I was like, NO! You gotta learn to play instruments.”
The best thing
HE went on: “A buddy and I would rap all the time. We got really good. And I started to feel like maybe rap was how I was supposed to reach people. I guess that is what drives me as an independent artist—the fact that what I’m trying to do is bigger than just rap music.”
“I’m here to help the world somehow. And I feel it when people connect to the music and say things like, the music helped them thru a tough day or made them not wanna die. That’s honestly the best thing I’ve experienced as an independent artist.”
TRUTH, despite the downs of his journey, continues to learn from his boo-boos and remains optimistic on the opportunities laid for independent musicians, while paying little mind to those who are holding him back.
Facing the music
“TO other independent artists, I say: Know what you want. Are you trying to make the music you want? Are you willing to do the work?” he asks. “You have to learn the game and not only make good music. But also, make smart business moves.”
“As far as people who discourage, I say: why does their opinion matter so much? I put out a song recently called Face the Music. It’s about that very thing. People will try to convince someone else not to do something because they aren’t passionate about their goals or aren’t willing to do the work to achieve whatever success is to them.”
His piece of advice for aspiring versemeisters like him: “You need a positive team. That’s very important—whether you’re a major or an independent artist.”
For more of TRUTH, and to support his independent music, find his tracks through his YouTube channel: True Rhymes.