Back in the day, I would joke with my best friend about ‘making “rekkids” in the studio‘— (in my forced NYC, Bronx + Brooklyn voice). Lol — Yes, I was a mess.
New York always seemed like a cool place to live and work as a music artist/producer. I admired some of the east-coast music greats from my younger days like Tupac, Mary J Blige, Biggie, Amil, Lil Kim etc.
I knew being in the studio was considered as one of the best opportunities of a lifetime. Music magic happened in a sound-proof booth that would eventually transform into a catchy tune — it would move cultures and garner millions in sales, all while adding to the soundtrack of someone else’s life, just as it did in mine. I knew it was powerful.
Last month, I had the supreme luxury to experience Chicago music and branding curator Nicholas May’s presentation of Beats + Brew: In-Studio Showcase at Classick Studios.
It was an honor to experience the talent of 8 of Chicago’s premier music producers — DJ Kens, Kevin Cassanova, Trippy4rmdacrib, Brotha-Gif, 2slickbeatz, Bennie D, Stone Flacco, and Don P. I was able to witness why they’re among the elite of this city’s beat creators and have such a growing, national presence. All I can say is they were mind-blowing and phenomenal.
I heard their originality, inspirations of Timbaland, Birdman, Kenny G. 90’s sax classics, and the heart of Africa, to say the least. I learned that it takes self-confidence, skill, patience, an open mind, acceptance of criticism, and a village of other producers to keep their type of energy alive.
I took a moment to say Thank You and catch up with showcase developer Nicholas May, and learn more about his influence behind curating this kind of event, and get an update on what Chicago creatives can anticipate from him next.
Rated-Ransom (RR):: Explain your perspective of the relationship between Chicago and Music. What’s your critique of it?
Nicholas May (NM):: Chicago is a global hub for culture that continues to have an enormous influence on the world through both music and fashion. I think it’s amazing that fans will actually decide to listen to an artist completely unknown based on the sole fact of being from Chicago.
RR:: Explain your history with music — when did you get started in the business? — what are the key points to remember in working with business partners in the music industry?
NM:: I started my journey in the music business at 18 years old. As a natural entrepreneur, I noticed the benefits of booking your own concerts and events rather than partnering with promoters. By removing the middleman, it allows local and regional artists to generate income, and turn their passion into a sustainable business. I booked Asher Roth that same year, and have continued to work with national artists as an independent operator ever since.
RR:: Music production side Vs. Business side? – How did you prepare for both?
NM:: Since I create music and curate events under my personal brand rather than two separate entities, each aspect indirectly promotes one another to generate better business results.
RR:: Hot97 experience— please share.
NM:: I released a freestyle based single featuring Skyzoo that landed on Real Late with Peter Rosenberg.
RR:: Share some details of becoming a music curator in Chicago — events you’ve hosted?
NM:: I discovered a niche of hosting intimate concerts where artists can build a stronger relationship with their audience. I’ve curated everything from art installations to concerts for artists such as Skyzoo, Black Milk, Iman Omari, Willie The Kid, and a ton more.
RR:: What’s on the radar + up next for Your music and events?
NM:: I’m taking a step back from concerts to focus on releasing more music transitioning into 2020, as well as operating Culturesk, a social media agency and creative shop I launched for the entertainment and hospitality industries. Our clients range from music venues, nightclubs, bars, and lounges, to artists and personal brands.
RR:: Name two artists/producers you’d like to work with? — the dream come true.
NM:: Oddisee and Sango
RR:: Rap vs. Hip-Hop — what’s the difference to you?
NM:: Hip-Hop is the culture and rap is a verb…
You can keep with Nicholas May, and his upcoming music and branding on Instagram at @musicbymay + @cultur3sk.
Be sure to also check out Beats + Brew producers and curators below. You won’t be disappointed!
Photo Credits :: Instagram @MusicbyMay