About 12 years ago I was producing and promoting a female R&B-pop artist around South Dakota. We met this young guy who said he had a record label and wanted to work on some music. His name is Gabe Night Shield. He was starting up his company, Night Shield Entertainment. NSE is a indie hip-hop label based in South Dakota that reaches around the world.
In the last 12 years I have watched Gabe grow his company, sign artists, gain fans, and make money. His drive and vision have been an inspiration to me. We have collaborated on a few projects, including a remix I did for his single, “Games” that is on his latest CD release. Night Shield Entertainment is the product of hardwork, passion and not giving up. Today Gabe posted some music business tips on his Facebook page and I had to share it with my readers. This advice is straight from the front lines of the music biz. Gabe is just like most of us, he loves music and makes things happen for himself.
Here are some tips that you can use in your music career:
“So I’ve been reading a lot of other artists messages about this game and I decided to add my 2 cents to being successful in this music scene, these are the 6 steps I think all artists should pay attention to, and remember to take it for what it is, my opinion…
1. Hone Your Craft – When I 1st started in this game I never wanted to be an artist, I couldn’t rap for shit, I just wanted to promote other artists that I thought were dope and that people should hear. I didn’t even know how to write a verse but being around so many creative people kinda made me want to give it a try and when I started being on tracks with people that were 1000x better than me it forced me to step my game up. I don’t think I was “comfortable” with myself as an artist until my “Loved & Hated” album, which was my 3rd solo. When I listen to my first 2 albums there’s a ton of cringe worthy songs and verses. Allow yourself to grow as an artist and be able to take criticism, it’s not always “hating”.
2. Build Your Brand – You are the secret to your own success. Who are you? Why should I care? What makes you stand out from the 5000 other rappers out there? Define who you are as artist. I’ve tried to carve out my niche in this scene as a “personality”, someone like a Snoop Dogg or Puff Daddy that sort of transcend the actual music, sure they make great music but they are also known to most people even if they aren’t a fan or have ever even heard of their music. Not saying that’s what you should do but that’s my goal. Who’s your target audience? Don’t waste your time on people that will never be your fan no matter how hard you try, just try to please that people that do support you.
3. Be Patient / Hustle – Not everything comes over night. I’ve been doing this for years and while I have some “status” behind my name it took hundreds of hours of work to build whatever it is that I have going for me. Anyone that’s semi-successful in this scene works very hard at it. This game is 10% rap, 90% hustle. You can be the dopest rapper alive but if you have no work ethic it’s talent wasted, Soulja Boy will take your spot.
4. Be Humble / Be Professional - I work with anyone that’s “cool”. If I don’t dig you as a person, why would I ever want to do anything with you? The 1st step of this game is being “liked”, if people like you they are going to support you, same is said of the opposite. Even if I’m not a fan of your music but you’re a good person and you’re serious about your business I’m gonna do what I can to assist you given the opportunity.
5. It Takes Money To Make Money - If you just have a CDR like the 9,000 other artists out there and so & so comes along with a professionally printed album, who do you think people are going to take more serious? If you’re not going to invest in your passion, why should you expect anyone else to?
6. Network – No one can navigate this game solely by themselves. I try to never beef and do my best to never burn bridges, you never know who that person is that will open the next door for you is going to be. Now networking isn’t spamming the shit out of everyone’s facebook page with endless videos and songs, I personally hate that shit. That’s only going to annoy most folks. Networking is getting out there and shaking hands, meeting promoters, meeting other artists, meeting the fans and putting a face to the name. Let them meet the person and not just the name behind the computer or text.
And that’s what I got, I’m sure I could go on about this subject forever but this is my top 6, hope it’s useful to you guys…”
I hope to have an interview with Gabe Night Shield very soon… ~~ Chad