I remember it like it was yesterday. I was chilling in my dorm and I randomly got the idea to check my mail. When I came back to my room, I had a stack of mail. I slowly went through it, discarding mail after mail, and then I saw a familiar logo on one of the envelopes that validated all of my hard work.
Up until this point I was proud of my accomplishments, but I was just too hungry to settle for those alone. I had won a talent show performing an original song at my college. I had met several celebrities who had given me a co-sign including Royce da 5' 9" and MC Lyte, and I had met some up and coming artists who wanted a feature with me. I was excited, but what I really wanted is what most artists want, interest from a label.
Being independent wasn't as big when I was in college. A lot of people still wanted a record deal, and I was one of them. I always thought it was kind of mysterious how unknown talent, would seemingly become stars overnight.
Artists who are reading this probably think I had a lot to learn, and it's true I did, but more on that later.
Fast forward to when I saw a certain logo on an envelope I had just received. Earlier that week I had submitted a lot of my music and also called venues trying to set up a tour along the east coast in select cities. I submitted my music to several places, but the one that contacted me back showing interest was Slip N' Slide Records.
That's right. Trick Daddy and company was interested in MIRAAGE. I remember just staring at the envelope for awhile before I opened it. When I read through the contents, I got something much more valuable than a record deal. I got validation, knowledge, and most importantly independence.
Long story short,. When I read the offer, there was a bunch of hoops they wanted me to jump through and too many things in it that made me uncomfortable with pulling the trigger. Just knowing that a major label had interest in me though was very encouraging and made all of my work up until that point worthwhile. In addition, that was when I really started to understand the value of being independent and viewing yourself as a business.
There have been many artists since then who have gone independent. There's even been some artists who were originally signed to a label, but once their deal term was over, they decided to go independent. Over time I've seen how important it is not to sign with the first label that offers you. You gotta read the fine print, and you have to think long term.
All that being said this experience will help me out in the long run. I'm not completely opposed to the idea of a label or a publishing deal, but it all just really depends on what it is. Until then, being independent gives me the most freedom and ownership.