Topic: Charting globally as an independent artist.
Couldn’t make it to Vampr’s Accelerator Session with Emanuel Brown back on August 7th? No problem, we have the chat transcribed for you so you can re-live the conversation and get all the wisdom that he dished out! 🍽
Vampr: First I’d like to say thank you so much for joining us today, Emanuel! Could you give us a little background about yourself :)?
Emanuel: No Problem and thank you Vampr for having me! My name is Emanuel Brown and I’m a Hip-Hop Artist / R&B artist from Newport News, VA I currently live in the Seattle area.
Vampr: So you’re from Virginia and have lived in Seattle for a while now – what initially drew you to Seattle, was it the music scene? And how long have you been working in music?
Emanuel: So I never thought I would land in Seattle but I was in the navy which is what brought me here. I’ve been working in music professionally for over 7-8 years and creating music for over 20 years.
Vampr: Hell ya!! So creativity is really in your bones, love that. What do you think is the most important aspect to keep in mind when moving cities especially when you’re trying to pursue your dream?
Emanuel: I think knowing why you’re moving is important and that starting over isn’t a bad thing. Also, I think you shouldn’t be afraid to go out and find ways to learn about the area and what kind of music city you’re in.
Vampr: Absolutely! We know a thing or two about networking you probably could’ve used an asset like Vampr when you landed in Seattle – lol. How did you go about networking when you got there?
Emanuel: Absolutely Vampr could have helped with that and I’m glad I learned about you guys. So I just learned where the music venues were and would go to shows. Hip hop shows, R&B shows, etc. Sooner or later you start seeing the same people and realize who’s who.
Vampr: Right, so just making friends and not expecting things from people?
Emanuel: Exactly, I feel like going into anything with expectations can come off not genuine.
Vampr: 100% I think people forget networking horizontally and creating your ideal community is important. So Who would you say helped inspire you to get into music and who are your biggest influences in music at the moment?
Emanuel: Exactly! I think no one inspired me directly but more of the impact of what someone’s words can do to change your mood was where I saw the value and I know I have a lot to share from my life that can help someone else. Some of my biggest influences are J. Cole, Pusha T, H.E.R. and Anderson Paak. To name a few.
Vampr: SOLID list of influences, FR, and what are some aspects of influence you look at? Like is it their storytelling, their beats, or the emotion both of those things invoke?
Emanuel: So for me, it’s all about the story first and concept, then the emotion it brings then the beat.
Vampr: Story first! And where do you get YOUR inspiration?
Emanuel: I tell my story because I truly believe it’s easy to be me and talk about my story because I know it and it’s much harder to be someone else.
Vampr: Authenticity is key! As a lyricist what are some of your best tips for helping an upcoming songwriter?
Emanuel: Exactly! Stay true to yourself. Don’t be influenced by your favorite artist in the sense of trying to sound like them. They already made it. The world wants a YOU not a J. Cole, Halsey, etc.
Vampr: On that topic has there ever been a situation where you didn’t feel like yourself while trying to “make it?”
Emanuel: Absolutely, in the beginning, I wanted to replicate what my favorite artists did because of how much they influenced me BUT I realized that I can’t be another them because that won’t work. I have to myself and share MY story.
Vampr: And sharing your story has had its payoffs, for example, you’ve charted 4 times in Japan and in Africa. Were you expecting to be big in those countries and what did you do, if anything, to prepare for that? Also what song(s) hit the charts there?
Emanuel: Yes and I’m blessed it did! I ran Facebook ads and it sort of happened on its own, I found out about it like 3 months after it happened, lol. I wasn’t expecting my music to resonate with those places but it did and I’m grateful. My songs “You,” “Tonight,” “IDK” & an intro song all hit the charts on Apple Music.
Vampr: We gotta make sure to drop these links in the chat, anyway. When we spoke you said you ran ads for a while. Can you share a little bit of your process as far as running ads and marketing? Did you do much research around cohorts or did you just use the tools provided by social media platforms? What sites were you running ads on?
Emanuel: Definitely I’ll drop them in. Thank you for allowing that. As for running ads, I would use the business side of social media platforms. Meaning business.facebook.com works for Facebook and Instagram. Google ads that work for YouTube and I just specified who I think my music sounds like and targeted that fan base. I spent about 5 dollars a day on ads for Instagram and YouTube.
I also took courses that taught me or learned from friends that know how to run ads as well, paid for the expertise, and then had them teach me their ways.
I learned from courses from Ari Herstand, self-research, Facebook has a free course as well as friends I know who are in the marketing space.
Vampr: Back to charting – it caught you off guard a bit, that’s wild and also so inspiring because your music just spoke for itself. I would imagine it would have a nice ego boost, how do you manage your emotions in a situation like that?
Emanuel: It was and it taught me to be more aware of what’s going on with my career and follow it everyday. As for the ego, I think I maintain it very well because there is always more work to do and things I want to achieve and I’m not better than any person. I just got to keep working.
Vampr: Absolutely, so you’ve got ingenuity, humility, and storytelling down.
Emanuel: lol, I try.
Vampr: You’re doing a good job, so after you hit the charts did you have any reach out from Labels or A&R reps?
Emanuel: Not really which is fine. I don’t know if I’m looking for that anyways. I do have some bigger industry people watching though in the cut, lol.
Vampr: In the cut’s better than not at all, so that’s good.
Emanuel: True true, lol.
Vampr: Pretty rad to be on the radar of some of your peers. I’d like to ask you a couple of questions about one of your EPs, specifically Red Winter – Can you tell me how that came together? Because visually it tells a story from the title of the EP to the cover art to the track names. I’d love to know a little bit about your process.
Emanuel: Absolutely and I’m grateful! So where I grew up in VA and on the east coast I’m used to hearing the term Summertime madness and people being violent in the summer. I thought to myself that I never hear people talking about other times of the year and people are crazy year round where I live so why not talk about all the loss and some stories I have seen in the winter time which birthed “Red Winter”. Which is why the cover artwork is snow with a blood stain on it. As well as why the song titles are the way they are I wanted to bring you into my world and what I’m familiar with.
Vampr: It’s truly harrowing – I’ve listened to it from start to finish a couple of times already and it hits. One thing I absolutely love about Vampr is its ability to show me what I’ve been missing in the music scene and I’m so grateful you took the time to talk today!
Emanuel: Thank you so much for having me and giving me the opportunity to share my music and who I am on this app.
Vampr: We’re hitting the hour mark so let’s leave the people with our last question: what can we expect in the future from E. Brown?
Emanuel: Thank you, recently two good friends of mine Sarey Savy, KingDow, and I released a group EP called “K.S.E.” in June of this year so we are promoting that and I have solo music coming this October as well!
Vampr: We’ll definitely be helping promote whatever we can, so everyone keep your eyes peeled! I can’t wait for what you have in store!
Emanuel: Thank you and I love Vampr and what it represents and I’m glad my brother Sarey Savy told me about you guys!
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