Taking on the music industry as an independent artist is arguably the most popular trend in the last few years.
With current rappers such as Chance The Rapper, Troy Ave, Joey Bada$$ and Grammy Award-winning artist Macklemore making names for themselves without a record deal, the independent road may seem more reasonable to a young aspiring artist than the traditional route.
But what separates the marketable artist from the rest? Also, what do artists need to know in order to get recognized? Bad Boy and Revolt TV executive assistant Lawrence Cooper recently gave his input on what labels are looking for in a young artist.
Cooper has been with Bad Boy for the last six years. He's worked on projects with a number of big names such as Chris Brown, French Montana, Kevin McCall, Day 26 and Danity Kane. Starting off as an intern in 2006, the young marketing executive owes his current success to playing his role and staying consistent. He also states that remaining humble and learning to adapt to change was a key to his early success. Only 26 years of age, Lawrence sees an even brighter vision, saying that he sees himself becoming one of the world's next biggest mogul.
"I see myself being the next mogul. There's not too many moguls out here. The only moguls we know are the ones we've ever known for the last 10 - 20 years. You know, like Jay Z's, Kevin Liles, and the Diddys. But who's the new craft?" says Cooper. The 26 year old executive then continues and says, "They're not passing the baton because there's no one who wants to sacrifice what they sacrificed."
CR: What do you feel you have to do to achieve the goals that you've set out for yourself?
LC: "I just have to be focused. Don't get side tracked. I know what I want, I have a outline of what things should be. I know there will be obstacle but I just have to stay focused and optimistic about the future."
CR: How do you maintain the consistency?
LC: "I just stay humble because I know there's a lot of people that want to be in the position I'm in. I just stay humble at all times and set goals for myself. Get it while it's good because everything changes rapidly between 3 - 4 months. I learned to adapt and stay focus."
Lawrence continued to explain that staying humble and focused will get you far in anything you're pursuing. He also went on to talk about how Bad Boy as a label is able to consistently reach out to different types of demographics:
"Well, Bad Boy's been around for 20 years now. He just capitalizes everything. Clothing, music, everything does..movies, TV shows." he says, giving praise to the president and CEO of Bad Boy, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs. "I feel we touch different demographics because of our boss. He knows the move before we do." He later goes on to say "I think with Revolt we still have a lot more to do."
CR: What's your advice for young artists that are looking to get signed?
- Come Correct: "Be more business than an artist because these labels are going to give you certain small deals."
- "Make Sure You Go In Owning Yourself and come in with your own team." (Publishing, Management, etc.)
- Work Hard: "Just keep grinding." Don't lose focus after being signed.
- Stay Consistent: "Keep making music for the audience."
- Stay True To Yourself
While trying to establish a career independently seems like an easy move from the looks of it, dealing with politics is inevitable. Criticism from listeners, social media and other outlets of opinion will still decide your success unfortunately. Before ending our conversation, Cooper gives a quick bit of advice to his young entrepreneurs as well as artists:
"Know what you want to be and do it. Don't let anyone else tell you different. Do what you love at the end of the day and don't let no one throw you off. You'll be rewarded with the job of your dreams; like me."