Listen to the new song from Row Jones – Don’t Talk
Tell us about where you are from and how you got to this position today.
I was born and raised in the heart of South Philly in a house that was constantly filled with music from Kool & The Gang, The Smashing Pumpkins, Sade, and Raekwon; I heard it all. At the age of 10 I started playing the viola and continued through college at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
That viola took me all around the country for arts camps and shows. I’ve been lucky, especially after seeing how other kids and parents around me were living and how many families lives seemed to be spiraling downwards. My music (with the help of my mother’s never give up attitude) brought me to one of the best contemporary music schools in the world.
It has allowed me to meet great artists and also allowed me to express myself and talent through songwriting, videos, and shows. Dedication with passion is key. It’s hard to be dedicated to something you’re not passionate about, which I learned the hard way.
What do you have coming up? What are some of the new projects we can expect to see?
I have a radio interview coming up 1/14/13 on www.unregularradio.com during the Adult Entertainment show and that should be a little out of control. I’m not even sure what to expect from these guys. I’m looking to do a couple shows in Philly and DC, but I definitely have to schedule them in a way that makes sense. All my show info can be found on www.reverbnation.com/rowjones1.
Currently, I am putting the finishing touches on my 3rd and last install of my Quiet Storm Mixtape series which should be coming out late winter/early spring. After that, I’m thinking an EP or an album is long overdue.
Also, I DJ a radio podcast entitled Reggae Sundays every Sunday from 2-4pm EST. I’ve been doing that for almost a year now. It’s definitely been on a steady incline, so check that out on my blog: rowjonesmusic.blogspot.com
Tell us more about the current song you are promoting to everyone.
The song is called Don’t Talk and it’s produced by Bboyspaz, a producer out of North Carolina. It’s a hip hop/R&B mixture with all the vocals done by me. This song has been out for a few months already and it’s getting a great response locally; now it’s time to spread it throughout the country and worldwide. It’s all original music, no samples or anything.
The concept of the song is basically based on the idea that body language is the most prevalent thing when it comes to communication in relationships. Whether it’s your friend, family, or significant other. But of course, I’m talking strictly about a woman I’m dealing with.
There’s just something about being able to know what someone is thinking or saying without them even talking. We all kind of speak sign language on the low. The song is on Reverbnation, Facebook, and Bandcamp. And will be on MySpace and YouTube very soon.
How does your music separate yourself from other artists and bands out there?
My music is based on real situations. There’s no need to exaggerate. Even when I’m talking about being in the club, I come from a different perspective. I have a song about only needing the women in the club until the end of the night, after the dancing is done I’m not sticking around fishing for numbers/fights/flyers etc. If I do end up bringing one home, she better like taking cabs (haha).
There has definitely been a rebirth in the definition of “real rap.” In my experience it started with people like Mos Def, The Roots, and Little Brother. Mos Def is a superstar, yet Ms. Fat Booty is about a chick who paid him no mind in the club until she met him again later through industry connects.
Little Brother is the epitome of reality rap, talking about jobs they had in the department store and women who only wanted to mess with them because they thought a record deal was on the table. That’s the kind of vibe I bring to the table.
I also take great pride in my songwriting ability. My goal every time I write is to make a song that can last and be played throughout the years. Not just for moment. That’s the difference between my music and what is commercialized today.
Tell us about one of the hardest challenges you had to face in the industry?
Realizing that money talks more than talent! If you don’t have the money or “power” to push your music, it’s just not gonna be heard by a large number of people. Your only chance is to go viral with something. And even that, I’m sure people pay to promote that stuff initially. You have to invest in your craft, probably more than most people are willing to.
What was one of the biggest set backs in your career and how did you bounce back?
I would say so far it has been trying to rely on other people to help me do things. It just hasn’t worked out at all. Not when I expect it at least. People do nice things randomly, but when you ask for anything it just seems to never get done. In this industry you have to adapt a Do-It-Yourself model until your find yourself in a position where people are asking you to have the chance to do something for you.
When people see you getting money and notoriety, then they flock to you. I’ve had a couple projects not come out at all, shows getting cancelled, my musicians not show up to gigs, etc all because I trusted other people to get things done. I bounced back by just taking more things into my own hands and not looking for so much help. Now, I can DJ and host my own damn mixtape. Who needs a big name?
What are some things artists need to be careful of?
Contracts or lack thereof. Make sure you have lawyers read over anything you’re signing and make sure everyone you work with does so under a contract; from artists to the engineer at your studio. If people are afraid to sign a reasonable contract to work with you, they are not worth your time.
If you start this habit early, you’ll always remember to do it when your career is popping. There’s even free and cheap lawyer services out there that can look over short contracts for you. Take advantage! Also, I should say, make sure every move you make, leads back to something that’s going to help you either now or later in your career.
If you do a show, make sure it helps you sell merch or gain new fans in real life and/or online. If you release a song ake sure it’s registered with a Performance Rights Organization and copyrights are set up and ready to blow when and if the time comes.
What suggestions do you have for other artists like yourself?
Honestly I would say make sure your only plan isn’t just to make music. Have a back up plan. It’s hard out there and you want to be prepared if things don’t do the way you plan. Go to school, trade, college, or university and set yourself up to make a comfortable living. You never know, you could be chilling at home watching TV and a song you released could become a hit overnight. And all you did was go to work and the studio at night.
Never give up is the biggest advice I have. Preparing yourself for the worst is not giving up. It’s actually the opposite. And take any opportunity that is feasible. Don’t be afraid to do something you didn’t think you would do. Hopefully it’s legal.
What is one of your favorite ways to promote yourself and your music?
My favorite way to promote myself to date has been on the street, selling CDs hand to hand. I’ve met so many people who are genuinely interested this way. It’s also a great way to talk to pretty women on their way to the gym. Catch them mid-stride like they’re on a treadmill.
If your charming enough you might get more than a CD sale. But in all seriousness, I’ve made some good money selling rap CDs hand to hand. Doing everything the grassroots way. Straight to the people. Social media is cool and all, but there’s nothing like actually being able to reach out and touch somebody. Just don’t touch them in the wrong place, you might get maced.
Where can people visit you?
Simple. Just Google Row Jones. You’ll find all my websites. But when did Google become a verb?