William's Music Dealers Artist Spotlight - Keith Masters - Day 4 of 5 (Interview) 1875 words · 9 minute read

How would you describe your sound?

I like to call my style/sound Electromajic. It’s electro, a little club, sometimes indie, maybe a little pop, a bit of 80’s dream-wave, all hip hop. I’m influenced by everything that I listen to, and so naturally it comes across in my music. I never limit myself to a genre or a particular approach when writing - if a track calls for singing, I sing. If it needs conceptual lyricism - that what I provide. I’m really just about creating what best suits the music. That’s Electromajic.

Where would be the coolest venue or place you could possibly perform?

I would’ve loved performing at Orlando Stadium in Soweto for the World Cup 2010. Besides the fact that I love soccer and it would just be crazy to perform during a World Cup, there would just be something really special about performing in Africa. Africans really have such a deep appreciation for all things musical. I would want to put on a hell of a show for them…It’d be hard to not want to. More immediately in my scope of realism, though, I’d want to perform at the United Center or Soldier Field. Chicago as a city means so much to me, and I have a real pride in our sports teams. It’d mean a lot to perform in one of our incredible sports venues that could pack as many Chicago-ans in it as possible.

If you could control all of the radio stations in america for 2 hours, what would be some of the things on your playlist?

Wow, two hours…that is not a lot of time. I would probably dedicate an hour to Stevie Wonder. I mean, have you heard of this guy? His musical brilliance is astounding. He has so so many great songs. All things considered, he is my favorite musician.

In the next hour, I’d play a few artists that really motivated me to do music professionally. Start off with “Deep Space 9mm” by El-P off his 1st solo joint Fantastic Damage. Next, “Ox Out The Cage” by Cannibal Ox, another Def Jukie. Then i’d mess the listener’s head up and throw on some Beck. “Milk and Honey” off of Midnite Vuiltures. Then i’d take it back a little bit…“Luchini” by Camp Lo. Take it back a little further to A Tribe Called Quest. I play one track from every album in a row. Starting from the first, off Peoples Instinctive Travels… I play “Can I Kick It?” Off The Low End Theory, “Scenario”. For Midnight Marauders, “We Can Get Down”. I’ll thrown on “1nce Again” from Beats, Rhymes and Life and then complete the series with “Busta’s Lament” off The Love Movement. Then i’d finish up the hour with some of Chicago’s finest. “Just Might Be Okay” by Lupe Fiasco. “Flashing Lights” by Kanye West. “Nag Champa” by Common sets up the finale. And finally, I slide on a yet to be released song “Teenage Love” by myself and Futurecop!

How do you balance your music with other obligations - love, family, work?

Balance is an excellent word. So key, and many times, so hard to achieve. Balance is especially important to me…it is essential in all aspects of my life. I’ve placed music at the forefront of my world, as many do when they find their passion. With this, it makes everything else fall into place. I do not have a traditional “job” as in a 9 to 5. I’ve committed myself to music fully, and excelling in my craft. Music is social in it’s nature so my friends and family all fit into that picture. If I have a show, friends come out and support. Same with family. When family needs me, I’m there. I don’t hang out as much any more, as I stay pretty busy doing the things that are needed for me to succeed. Unfortunately, love and relationships take a backseat as well. I sacrifice a lot to do what I do, but in the end don’t we all sacrifice? I’d rather it be done for something that I truly love than something that just gets me by.

What things have influenced your music as a whole?

Experience and perseverance. Hope and nadir. Things like false politics, race, drugs, the economy, our education system, etc. I’ve taken a lot of what this world can throw at one person, and I’ve taken it in stride. One thing that you can take away from my total body of work is how important it is to triumph. I touch on the ills that exist in this world, and how it can be easy to let it weigh on you. But in the end, you have to overcome it and enjoy the things that give you happiness. It’s kinda like with me, crises precipitates change. I try not to be naive, but also not allowing pessimism to seep in. In the end, i’m about having fun while gaining a healthy understanding of the way the world works. I certainly don’t know it all, but I have a pretty good idea. I hope that when someone listens to my music, they are entertained; all the while picking up tidbits of knowledge that may or may not help them in their travels.

Can you describe your family member’s musical interests and abilities?

Yeah, I can do that pretty quickly. They don’t have any. Haha, nah I’m kidding. It is funny, though…I’m really the only one in my immediate family that has gone into music as a profession. My brother has been known to carry a tune from time to time, though, haha. He also has a pretty big affinity towards rap and hip hop. My mother doesn’t really listen to much music. I know she likes it, but for whatever reason, just doesn’t listen to it much. She’s not known to sing very much, but I’m pretty sure I get my creativity from her. Both my mother and brother are both gifted educators, though. My mother has been teaching for about 30 years now, and my brother is a Vice Principal in the Chicago Public School system.

Have you worked with licensing companies before, if so, what makes Music Dealers sooooo much better?

I’ve worked with some other licensing companies before, but Music Dealers definitely sets itself apart from the others. MD gives the artist the control over their submissions by having a comprehensive website set-up where the artist has total access their profile. If you want to place a song on your profile that is private where only a selected job has access to, you can do that. Little things like that mean a lot when an artist wants to maintain a certain image and still be able to maximize their opportunities to place music. Add on their extensive list of clientele that is both popular and relevant, and it’s a no-brainer for any artist. Music licensing is crucial for musicians. Music Dealers is the company that every artist needs to be familiar with.

It’s almost 12 am, you are in the studio and are attacked by the most violent of hunger pangs. What is the first thing that comes to mind?

Turkey Sandwich. I love sandwiches (I can make some pretty mean ones) and i’m eating on the healthier side these days. Sliced Cajun or Salsalito Turkey, provolone, lettuce, tomato, purple onion and banana peppers. Little bit of honey mustard…then i’m set to knock out a banger.

Are there any strange or weird practices you might have while working on your tracks?

I don’t know if this is strange, but when i’m writing, like really really writing…I need a lot of things on. I have to have music playing, television on, books around me…I need to see and hear things. On days when I’m recording, I generally drink two cups of tea to make sure my vocal chords are loose. When i’m in the booth, I gotta have a bottled water in there. And oh yeah, I mix down tracks in my underwear, if you consider that weird, haha j/k.

What’s the strangest place you’ve ever found inspiration?

Hmmm, it’s hard to say. Every place makes me think. And whenever I think, I write. I’m always writing down ideas and rhymes in my phone. I’d say at a funeral, though. It may sound weird, but when i’m that close to mortality and how real it is, I feel the need to evaluate myself and my direction. I decide on changes I need to make in order to be the best that I can be in this life.

What do you feel should be changed, or stay the same regarding the music industry?

I feel like there are too many people doing music for the wrong reasons. There are too many people who don’t truly love music, but rather love what it can do for them. There should be some sort of general music aptitude test that aspiring artists of all genres should be subjected to. That way you can weed out those that aren’t actually talented or knowledgeable in music. After that, if the industry still wants to, they can choose who they want to turn into mega-stars. At least then we’d all say, “well they passed the music aptitude test, so they must somehow be talented”.

What instrument would you say is most pleasing to the ear?

I’d say the violin. Nothing is more soothing and yet as complex as the violin. Honorable mention to the piano. I played as a kid, and still love they ways keys can affect a composition. Also, I love horns on a heavy, hip-hop track.

If you could have your work used in any place, any television show, any movie, any screenplay- past or present, what would it be?

Man, this is a tough question! I’ve never been asked this, let alone thought about this. I would have to say I’d want my music integrated into the Matrix Trilogy. It’s my probably my favorite sci-fi movie series. I’m incredibly fascinated by the theological and post modern theories that run prevalent throughout. However, the soundtracks did not suit my fancy. At all. I would love to have scored the entire series, while also creating tracks that meshed better with the deeper meaning of the movies.

How different do you think peoples lives would be if music never existed?

It’s hard to me to imagine a world where music did not exist. Most of my memories are marked by the song that was playing during the time of that experience. I guess if music never existed, I’d find another way to file my memories away. To me, though, there is no better way to remember. That’s what makes music different from other art mediums. Music marks many of our milestones in life. Music is love. It’s our first kiss, our first date, our first party, our wedding night. It’s also pain. Our breakups, our bad days, our lost loved ones. I can’t really begin to touch on how important music is in my life. Music not existing would be like erasing my past. It’s that real.

:: Click Here To Check Out Keith Master’s Music Dealers Profile! ::