When music is everything....
Wanja Lange is one the most dedicated hip hop bloggers we all know, she is one of the most supportive hip hop heads we've ever seen, she has covered San Antonio a few times, and Wanja seems like a suuuuuper cool chick. You know that when you meet her, not only is she going to be a joy to be around, but she is going to be all about business, and, all about hip hop. And what a great way to be. We wanted to find out more about Wanja, her work and her fun side, so we asked her a few questions. Here is what we learned : )
GSM: As kids, we all have certain ideas or statements we make about what we want to be when we grow up. What sparked your interest in music, and hip hop in particular?
WANJA: I fell in love with Rap at a young age, around 6 when the first German rap groups were played on the radio out here. Then fell in love with Hip Hop at 15/16 when I discovered Graffiti. Pretty much from then on I felt that I wanted to do nothing but Hip Hop all day, I just didn't know in which form.
GSM: Who in the business world (in or outside of music) do you admire?
WANJA: I admire Jay Z, for not only his business savvy and skills as an artist but also his growth as a human being. Oprah is another person that comes to mind. I listen to her podcast almost every day to start my day and she never fails to inspire me. Other than that, it's more random. I can admire anyone, no matter how successful or "unsuccessful" they are, when I see them putting their soul into their work and moving through this business graciously and with integrity.
GSM: What's the hip hop scene like in your hometown?
WANJA: My hometown Heidelberg (Germany) is actually considered the birthplace of German rap by most German heads (expect for Berlin, they would argue it was them haha). So of course, and even though it's a relatively small city, the Hip Hop scene has always been strong. I always saw Graffiti growing up, went to Hip Hop jams where B boys and b girls were in circles, rappers huddled up in ciphers.
GSM: Three words that best describe you?
WANJA: Happy, self-reflected, unfuckwithable
GSM: If you weren't in music, then what do you think you would you be doing right now?
WANJA: I honestly have no idea because that never occurred to me. I worked as an administrative clerk in a language school before I started my business 10 years ago but it wasn't what I ever pictured for myself, I only did it to shut my parents up. There is nothing else I'm meant to be doing.
GSM: If you had a time machine what year would you go back to?
WANJA: 1991. I'd stay up until around 1999 and just be in NYC experiencing the Hip Hop scene. It's always made me a little sad that I couldn't do that, being out here in Germany.
GSM: What current trend would you like to disappear?
WANJA: Lean. I don't want to hear about any more people dying from that. But also: Racism, Sexism. Because aren't those ever-trending?
GSM: What is your current favorite Web site and what is your guilty pleasure Web site?
WANJA: I can't say I have a favorite Website but I spend most of my time online on Instagram. And The Shaderoom is my guilty pleasure.
GSM: How do you feel about the current trend of rap/hiphop and how important is it that the underground scene stay thriving?
WANJA: I don't see a problem with current rap/hip hop. I think it's ever evolving and with that we have to accept that the youth is making it into their own, they are dictating what's trending, and they like what they like. Who am I to tell them their music sucks? We also had alot of music that wasn't up to everyone's standards back then but we enjoyed it because it was fun. I read a great interview with Erykah Badu today and she said something that made alot of sense to me: "What’s interesting to me about music and the younger generation is that what we hear on the radio is more about frequency and sound than words. People talk about “mumble rap" but that’s because they don’t understand that the important thing is the vibration, not the words. The kids need vibrations, because their attention span is about three seconds."
I think that sums it up. But of course the underground scene is incredibly important, as it has always been. And it's also the reason why I'm not worried. Because there's so much incredible music in the underground and it will only keep growing. And out of that come your Kendrick Lamars who take this to a whole new level.
GSM: What kind of music did your parents grow up on and was music an everyday thing at your house?
WANJA: Well, I made it an everyday thing, because I'd always be sitting in front of the radio with headphones on that were too big for my head. My parents actually don't really like music (which is insane, I know). The only music I would hear around the house, other than what was playing on my headphones, would be Indian chanting music, because my parents were Hindus. My mother told me she used to be into Jazz when she was a teenager / young adult. I once stole a Bob Marley CD from my father.
GSM: Artists/Creators received inspiration from others’ music, no matter the genre or location. Who are some of your favorite musicians? Who gives you that drive to create?
WANJA: J.Dilla is my absolute number one inspiration. Not just his music, but his dedication. Michael Jackson was my favorite growing up.
GSM: Are you working on any new projects or collaborations?
WANJA: I'm always working on new projects. I'm currently building more on my Social Media campaigns and plan on offering online seminars within the next month, for people to better learn Instagram and how to use it to their advantage.
GSM: What local artists in your city are you enjoying at the moment?
WANJA: I love Jakarta Records, they are based here in Berlin. Figub Brazlevic, who is a dope producer.
GSM: Where can the public connect with you?
Give Your Shout-outs;
- Shout out to YOU for reading this and making your dreams come true. And if you aren't yet, do it, like right now!
Are you registered with a Performing Rights Organization?
Do you have an EPK?
Do you know what these are and why they are vitally important to Your music career? Go learn!!
Q & A
Can a songwriter be a member of more than one Performing Rights Organization?
A songwriter can only be affiliated with one P.R.O. at a time. Music Publishers, however, can be affiliated with all three US societies at the same time as they often represent songwriter’s at all three organizations.
Music Biz Day 2018 - Video footage on the Going South Magazine Youtube Channel
The Local Artist Viscous Circle
The plight of the local rapper is evident everywhere, in every city of every state, and other countries too. I see it day after day on my social media feeds. Artists say there's little to no support from fans, friends, promoters, local radio stations and media. There is much truth to this, but do you know why?
This post, from a local San Antonio artist we know and support, hits home on many levels. But mostly to me, it speaks on the viscous circle that local artists put themselves into.
Yes - I said put yourselves into.
If your career choice is plumbing, would you go to a seamstress to direct the future of your career? Well, a seamstress can take many fat-quarters and sew them into a jacket or quilt in a lovely and clever way... but they cannot assemble your career or business future. If your career choice is music... don't go to a promoter expecting that they are going to launch your career, when clearly, they are trying to launch their own. Sure promoters may have some good advice for you, just like a seamstress to a plumber, but nine times out of ten, they won't know the ins and outs of the music business.
THIS IS YOUR BUSINESS. THIS IS YOUR CAREER.
Treat it like it really is.
So what the fuck do I do Sherril?
Here is how I responded to Evenge's post....
"Register with a PRO, service your music, build relationships with bloggers in your genre, get your merchandise game up and build your brand..... if artists did this before they started doing hundreds of local shows then they would have been building residual income from their music. But no one listens to me. I just been barking the same shit for 15 years."
Part of your job as a person in the music industry is to handle the everyday business of being in the music industry.
Are you registered with a P.R.O. (performing rights organization)
Do you have your copyrights done?
Are your tracks radio ready?
Have you set release dates?
Do you have your service packs ready?
Who are you choosing to service your music?
Do you have a press release ready?
Do you have a publicist?
Are all your social media linked for the most effective postings?
What bloggers are you working with?
What is your brand building goal this week/month?
Handle Your Business.
"Yeah, Them shows is for practice or a place to mingle with supporters & sell merchandise after you get off stage .... if you got fans they should be there, not just other rappers lol
I've really only seen out-of-towners set up a table of merch." said Jessica Jeanz on-Air Personality at KBXX 97.9 The Box.
Let me be super clear.... if you have your business handled before you go do all those free local rapper shows, then you're already ahead of the game because the game will be paying you for every registered song you perform. Mindfuck right?
And like I have been saying for 15 years from my days at S.A. Urban, Tha1Radio, Going South Magazine all the way to Modsnap Radio.... If you can fill out an Online-Booty-Call-Dot-Com form.... then you can fill out a P.R.O. form. Get your ass in check and handle YOUR Business.
If you need help, just reach out. D Major and I offer free mentoring and creative break-out sessions. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
And tune-in to us every Tuesday night, 9pm to 11pm cst on KMOD Modsnap Radio www.modsnapradio.com
@sherrilmetalGSM #iPushSA #promomaven
Blogs have proven to be an influential entity on any social media platform and they are a grand marketing tool for the independent musician. Communities established by bloggers enable musicians to interact with a new audience through someone else's respected ears.
So, if you are going to try building a relationship with a blogger who has never heard of you, what is the best way to reach out? One of the secrets to making contact with popular bloggers is to keep an eye out for natural opportunities to engage with them via social media.
Why? Bloggers are typically inundated with emails, so if you can catch them while they are on IG, Twitter or Facebook etc., try engaging them, ask them for advice then let them know that you have sent them a track and hopefully they are in a receptive mood.
You should always keep your social media fresh, staying unique and working-in different types of posts to be attractive to many types of bloggers. You never know what they will be interested in that day.
Bloggers are awesome, get to know yours and always show them respect. Remember, these are the biggest music fans of all and they have worked just as hard as you have.
I hope this helps, let me know if it does, if it doesn't, if you fell asleep....
What To Expect From Your Music Career
In my many years of working with artists, I never seem to lose my enthusiasm and excitement when someone tells me that they do music in some way. I encourage everyone to seek their path in music and encourage you to encourage your children and those around you to explore what music has for them. Whether you "make it" or not, music is LIFE, so enjoy it to the fullest.
What do you want from your musical career? Is it doing what you want it to? What have you done for its enrichment? What have you done to support it? Did you save $20 out of your last paycheck to go towards future flyers or merchandise? What do you want?
I suggest you start a Wish List. Write down what it is you want and, don't want. From the logical to the absurd, write it down. Take the top ten things that you want and put them in order of importance to you. Now this will probably change over and over, as you write it out, and that is ok, just do it.
Next, I want you to take the top three things that you want and write out what you need to do to make those three things happen.
Once you have that, start working on item #1.
Once you have that, start working on #2.
Once you have that, start working on #3.
They will likely overlap, and your list may change again. And keep working on it. Complete the first three and then go on to the next three, numbers 4, 5, and 6.
Getting what you want on paper, getting it organized, giving it importance, giving it vision will take you a long way. It will help get you focused so you can now see your goals.
I hope this helps you. Let me know if it does!
Twitter - @sherrilmetalGSM IG - @sherrilmetal