The year isn’t over yet but Drake is already reaping the fruits of his hard work. It was in the middle of June when he released his official debut album and after a week, the said album has almost reached the half-a-million sales in the United States. It is undeniable that Drake has reinvented the hip-hop music, and with pure talent, he has proven his guts in the music scene.
Getting to know more of his accomplishments and his continuous success leads us to know him a little better. Aubrey Drake Graham was born on October 24, 1986, in Ontario, Canada. He started his career in the entertainment industry as an actor in 2001, playing a physically disabled role of “Jimmy Brooks” in a popular Canadian television show, Degrassi: The Next Generation. He also appeared in the television movie Degrassi Spring Break Movie in 2008 and has played as a video game character “Jace Stratton” for Gears of Wars 3 in 2010.
Graham’s music career started with the release of his first mixtape entitled Room for Improvement in 2006. It was followed by another mixtape entitled Comeback Season in 2007. The latter produced the single “Replacement Girl” featuring Trey Songz, its video was featured on BET as the “New Joint of the Day”. The mixtape also contains the remix song “Man of the Year” with Lil Wayne. A year following the release of his second mixtape, Graham was invited to Houston to tour with Jas Prince and Lil Wayne. During this time, Graham and Wayne recorded a couple of songs including “Ransom”, “I Want This Forever” and “Brand New”.
February of last year when Graham released So Far Gone, his third official mixtape that received over 2,000 downloads in the first 2 hours of release. The success of the mixtape’s two singles, “Best I Ever Had” and “Successful” from the original EP featuring only six songs, named So Far Gone as “The Hottest Mixtape of 2009”. And in June of that same year, he signed a record deal with Young Money Entertainment while his singles are dominating the music charts here and abroad. It was September 2009 when Graham released the seventh track from the original mixtape. It has brought the album sales up to almost half a million in the United States and has won Rap Recording of the Year at the Juno Awards in April of 2010.
Drake’s official debut album Thank Me Later was released in June 2010. Prior to that, the album’s singles, “Over”, “Find Your Love” and “Miss Me” were released in the spring, with the second single becoming the most successful one. The said album was completed with collaborations with artists such as Alicia Keys, Nicki Minaj, T.I., and Lil Wayne. Thank Me Later has reached over 440,000 records in its first week, becoming the most records for any hip hop artist in one week.
After the release of his album, fans follow Drake in his concerts, awards night, and television performances. And in the “Better Than Good Enough”, a documentary on him, Aubrey Drake Graham opens about everything from his mother’s failing health to his training sessions with his vocal coach. The documentary that captured the most important time of his life was well watched by his fans and listeners.
Drake’s continuous success has taken the country by storm. Truly with his talent of bringing the hip-hop game up to where it needs to be, this young artist is the Next Big Thing in hip-hop and he has a lot more wonderful music to offer us in the years to come.
As a music producer working with many artists over the internet I spend a great deal of my time listening to new music. I started to think about my quest for new discovery. What was it that made me prefer one artist over another when both might have equal amounts of talent? What made me download and purchased one artist’s music over another? What made me really want to follow one artist over another?
To answer these questions I engaged in a little research. For the last two months, I have kept a written log of all the new artists that I have checked out. (Around 500) In this log, I recorded information about my interaction with the artist’s website and music. Information about how many times I went back to their page, if I downloaded free product or not, if I purchased music or videos, and if I put them up on my website.
What I soon realized was all the artists that I had started to follow had one thing in common, they were unique.
Unique in sound. Unique in appearance. Unique in their approach to video. Unique in the way they presented their products.
For much of my professional career, I’ve seen so many artists allow other people to persuade them into becoming a copycat of some other currently successful artist. Mostly at the hands of the “major” label. They let other people talk them into changing their hair, clothes, songs, and sound.
This might very well work for some to gain immediate success, but there is no better way to damage your career than to become a copycat. What do Kanye West, Prince, Usher, Drake, Madonna, Metallica, Slayer, Johnny Cash, and DJ Tiesto all have in common? They are unique. They all have inspired tons of other artists to copy them.
In the past, the only true way to get your product (you as an artist) out to the masses was to go through one of the major labels. They controlled most of the major distribution outlets and had a tight grip on commercial media. (Radio, TV, Magazines) If you wanted your video played on MTV you went through them. If you want your recorded music in a department store you went through them.
Then along came the internet and digital music downloads. No longer could the major music companies completely control the distribution and major media outlets. Now the independent artist has a level playing field. Most of the time these days you can’t even get signed to a major label without creating your own buzz.
Always remember that you are creating a brand. You are just like a car company that has produced a new product line and has to get its message out to the world. The car company has to give people a reason to buy their new cars. A reason why people should buy into their brand. You are a company that is building a brand and selling a product. You have to give me a reason to buy your music, watch your videos, buy tickets to your concerts, put you up on my website, or tell my friends about you through social media and word of mouth.