with Indie Hip-Hop Performer, El Genius
January/February 2015 Edition
Sonicbids Weekly Music Series
Creating intelligent hip-hop stories fuels the passion of Indie Performer El Genius. His sometimes whimsical, sometimes take no prisoners, oftentimes story telling lyrics will soon be in heavy rotation for any lover of hip hop music. In this special spotlight with our publication, this young and gifted entertainer lets us in on his musical journey.
Isaac: It is a pleasure to speak with you via this important online conversation. I have a chance to review your press kit, and I am must say that I am impressed, excited, and thrilled about your music. What do you think you will add to the Indie Music Genre that will set your music apart from others?
El Genius: I’m not sure what I will add, but I know I want people to come away feeling satisfied and full. I want to add manna in the form of music for everyone who is willing to listen.
Isaac: What has been your inspiration for pursuing a music career?
El Genius: It’s simple for me; I want to be remembered, I want my friends, family, and fans to have something that lasts forever.
Isaac: Why is music important to you?
El Genius: Making music gives me a rush or a calm nothing can really match. The fact I get to make music is still astonishing to me. I can’t believe I can bring powerful emotions to life and make money from it. It’s literally a dream come true.
Isaac: How has the whole experience of being on stage performing for what you love to do help you grow as an artist?
El Genius: Performing on stage is the ultimate release for me. I get to let it all out and finally be who I truly am. Seeing and being aware of this has helped me understand myself and what I want to do in this life.
Isaac: How do you handle mistakes during a performance?
El Genius: Just keep going and re-focus.
Isaac: Do you get nervous before a performance or a competition? If so, what do you do to overcome your fears?
El Genius: Yes, I get butterflies before each performance but they disappear once the music starts. I just use that energy to give the crowd a good show.
Isaac: Do you ever experience writer’s block when you are writing new songs? I can imagine this would be particularly annoying if you were in a collaboration situation. If you have in the past, what do you do to get over it?
El Genius: I don’t really have writers block, I just go through spurts of writing and not writing.
Isaac: What advice have you received from mentors about pursuing a music career?
El Genius: Psycho Les from one of my favorite groups “The Beatnuts” once said to me, “Just keep going…no matter what keep going”. That was about 6 or more years ago and I live by that mantra.
Isaac: What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous about pursuing a music career?
El Genius: It is definitely a marathon not a sprint. A lot of people think they can just become an artist…developing an artistry takes years for most people to achieve and even then they’re still refining it and learning each day. Also, I would say don’t do music just for the money; if you have a passion that doesn’t transcend monetary compensation then you shouldn’t do it.
Isaac: With so much diverse music currently out, do you feel that your type of music is still relevant or important in today’s music industry? What do you feel makes your music stand out for the rest?
El Genius: Yes, I make music for intellectuals and the mildly psychotic. Those 5 percent teetering on the brink of insanity or brilliance that is my audience. That’s what makes me stand out from the rest of this noise.
Isaac: How does music affect you and the world around you?
El Genius: Music has guided me throughout life for a very long time. Everything I see around me is the result of pursuing music. It has literally shaped my very existence and the existence of those I influence. For instance, I moved from Omaha, Nebraska to a suburb of NYC solely because I met a producer in Hollywood at an ASCAP festival. If it weren’t for music, then I probably wouldn’t be answering these questions.
Isaac: Why do you believe music is something that everyone should enjoy?
El Genius: Music is something that everyone should enjoy because music is universal. No matter your race, creed, sexual orientation, religion, etc., music reaches everyone in some way. Bob Marley once sang, “One thing about music, is when it hits you, you feel no pain. Nothing else in the world affects us in this way.
Isaac: What do you think about downloading music online?
El Genius: I think downloading music online is something we all have to accept, whether we like it or not. Keep fighting the good fight [R.I.A.A.] but we all must adapt and overcome.
Isaac: Do you find that your songs typically touch people as much as they touch you?
El Genius: I hope so. That’s my goal. I want to transfer the emotions and rhetoric of the record to my listeners.
Isaac: When you are in songwriting mode, who are you thinking about when gathering your thoughts for your lyrics?
El Genius: When I write my songs I’m either in 2 modes: battle or philosophical. When I’m in battle mode, I think about the most diabolical and slick way to kill my opponents. When I’m in philosophical mode, I channel old relationships and life experiences and try to convey their effects.
Isaac: How prolific are you with respect to your songwriting skills? Do you believe it is a meticulous process to create your lyrics or do the lyrics flow naturally?
El Genius: My writing process depends on which mode I’m in. If I’m in battle mode, it’s a meticulous and well-crafted process, otherwise the lyrics just flow with my emotions and songs almost create themselves.
Isaac: What skills/personal attributes are most important to being successful in this music business? How do you promote your music and shows?
El Genius: I think first and foremost you have to have thick skin; this business can be cut throat and exhausting. If you don’t have thick skin and take things personally, then you can become bitter about things that are in essence just business. Second, I believe you must be talented at what you want to do and faking the funk can only fool people for so long. Third, I feel people should have an unwavering ability to stay focused and keep the goal ahead because it’s a long ride. I promote my shows via my website at www.elgenius.com and via all my social media sites follow me on twitter @el_genius and on facebook @ www.facebook.com/therealelgenius
Isaac: Who are your favorite musicians? Groups? CD’s?
El Genius: I like older Hip Hop and a lot stuff from the 80’s (LOL). Things like “Reasonable Doubt” “Slim Shady LP” etc… As far as the 80’s stuff, it’s all Herbie Hancock, Michael Jackson and some of the rock ballads. I like music that sounds epic, stuff that rises to a zenith and crashes down.
Isaac: Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?
El Genius: I admire Jay-Z because he is a renaissance man but also one of the longest tenured and most successful Hip-Hop artists of all time.
Isaac: The Internet plays an integral role with artists getting their music out to the masses.
Isaac: Do you have your own website and what will fans find there?
You will find up to date music and the latest projects and events featuring P Squared Media artists.
Isaac: At the end of the day, are you happy with where you are at professionally?
El Genius: Yes, I have come from a rough background and I appreciate the fact I didn’t have to make it out alive to pursue my dreams. I am lucky and more determined than ever to get the job done in all facets of the business in which I am involved.
Isaac: Who would you like to dedicate this interview to and why?
El Genius: I would like to dedicate this interview to all the soldiers around the world at their posts dutifully protecting our liberties. My family and friends back in Omaha. I would like to thank my East Coast team GT Visionz and everyone around the world streaming and downloading P Squared Media music we appreciate cha!!