Thursday, May 14, 2020

5.14.20 It's all about planting seeds

It's about planting seeds

📸 Unknown

Written By Anwar Curtis

Being an emcee is much more than just writing or typing catchy colloquialisms for the world to recite. Being an emcee is also about creating an experience that ignites generational wealth. At least that's what it is if you’re a visionary, anyway. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, emcees around the nation are staying committed to their craft by engaging and creating with one another and their followers via social media, which is a pill just about everybody is trying right now. “Mr. Ellz”, an emcee and producer, is no exception. In fact, he has pushed the envelope further by advocating for his peers go beyond solely creating dope music to learn how to make residual income along the way.

@acthemayor: Ellz, your social media has been going bananas. What made you start a challenge?

@MrEllz: Honestly, it wasn’t a challenge. I was genuinely looking for a feature and an abundance of viewers put their emails down. I’m an inclusive type of dude so it was like, “Damn I don’t want to tell everybody no.” So, I finessed and found a way to not hurt people's egos or feelings. I went live just for that song and I got a message in my inbox from about six to seven people asking if I was going to continue. I said “yeah” but I wasn’t, you know what I mean. [However] I committed to doing it the following week. Then I got to thinking, “Shoot, everyone is home and if you are working you still have time because everything closes at 8 p.m.” Unless you’re hanging out at Walmart or Giant or something. lol! It turned into seeing certain people that did participate aren’t normally artists. Like damn, maybe they aren’t an artist because maybe they feel they can’t get into a studio. So I decided to be like, “You don’t have to pay for nothing.” I’ll put it on the platforms and maybe give an incentive for someone who wouldn’t normally do it. Just to be like, well shoot let me throw my hat in the ring. And it’s not my decision either, meaning whoever is watching the Live tells me who should be selected. I’m trying to get people to tell their followers to vote because I’m going to promote it myself and do my due diligence, but those who get voted [for] will have the opportunity to win and make a couple of dollars off of music too if they haven’t yet. Just having time on my hands, feeling creative and I got an overwhelming response to a particular song.

@acthemayor: What song originated this idea?

@MrEllz: The original idea that sparked this idea was a song entitled “For Today.” After that, the song that you caught wind of was entitled “Peace Sign.” That’s when a couple females went off. The response has been positive. I just wish certain people who put their email down followed through, you know. That is why I don’t want people to post until the day of because some discouragement can happen so let’s just wait until the day of.

@acthemayor: Were there any submissions that wowed you during the process?

@MrEllz: Ok, so don’t get me wrong, I am excited about the whole process. Watching and listening to all of the submissions because people are excited to see what I have going on. There was one submission that wowed me. It was Thelonius’s submission. It wasn’t so much the bars that got me because most of the submissions I knew what to expect. I know [they’re] dope. But Thelonius’ melody choice on a harmony that he actually did gave the song a different complexion. That actually solidified the direction I was trying to go but I couldn’t quite figure out that final touch on my end. He did because of the harmony choice that brought the idea to life.

@acthemayor: Is it safe to say “For Today” and “Peace Sign” inspired you to make “The COVID Features” a full project?

@MrEllz: If we weren’t home, I wouldn’t have the extra time to do the things that I have been able to do as far as recording as much as I have been lately. The process would have been different. I probably would have only done that one song and tagged the people I really wanted to be a part [of it]. So, us being quarantined is really what kept me going. And not only that, this may never happen again in my lifetime. I still have to make a way financially for my family, you know. I have empathy and compassion due to the temperature of the world but at the same time, some people are still out here getting it. If I can encourage people who never thought they could pursue something like this, bruh! Some people’s circumstances wouldn’t allow them to make a music video. This is your opportunity! You don’t even have to pay for studio time. This is also for my self-gain. I like to help others but I also have to plan for my future too.

@acthemayor: You mentioned doing a video during this process. Will there be a video for every song?

@MrEllz: Negative. I want to select the video the same way I selected the features. Go Live and the people tell me what they want to see. When people feel a part, they seem to be a little more excited. For the person who doesn’t even do music, if they say something on the Live and then I listen to it and it gets implemented. Now they’re like, “Aye bruh! I told bruh to put the jawn in there.” That draws them in even more.

📸 Unknown

@acthemayor: Around this time last year, you were getting ready for your concert at HMAC. You expressed to myself and Cool Davis on his podcast that you were showing your peers how to market and promote yourself as an artist. Is it fair to say that the way you’ve utilized social media for this project helps build comradery and adds on to that formula you talked about?

@MrEllz: Absolutely. There is one business motto that I follow and it comes from the NBA. The NBA has changed tremendously. Granted, I love the old NBA and how they played. Getting punched in the mouth and hard nose. But now it’s no longer about the fans [so much]. It’s about the players taking care of the players and them getting their just due. I’ve noticed the superstars in the NBA are working together to accomplish a main goal. The main goal is to open the door. That is what every artist in Harrisburg wants to happen. The problem is they attach themselves to being the “first one” to open the door. If it can’t be them opening the door, then it can’t happen. If you look at history, the first person never gets paid the most. So, it’s not always good to be that first person to make it lol! I’m just doing my particular part, trying to bridge the gap between different brands and cliques that I don’t have any allegiance with. I create. Hopefully, people who do not usually work together, work together.

@acthemayor: Are you the only producer on this project?

@MrEllz: I don’t feel like I have to touch everything so getting other producers on this is worth the try. Every great leader doesn’t do everything and I don’t want to limit the possibilities for the project.

@acthemayor: When can we expect the project to be ready?

@MrEllz: Probably around July or August. It’s looking like things will start opening back up mid-May but the news is going to dictate everything. Unless we are still quarantined nine months from now, then we will have to insert a deadline. lol! I just don’t want to limit the growth of this idea because things can take off due to internet reach when we least expect it.

@acthemayor: What is the biggest thing you are hoping to achieve from this idea?

@MrEllz: In most cases, everybody has a phone with a camera right? Anybody can go Live and submit their verse from their email. Part of the pitch is this, for those who have never worked in a studio here's your opportunity! If you get selected, you can come to the studio and hear yourself on the track! With this particular situation, the artist isn’t restricted to a time limit. If it takes four hours that's cool because I am the engineer so let’s get it right, you know. This is also a way for me to build up my clientele all at the same time because I’ve gained their trust due to the process.

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