Rapper Zipps McGee talks about official EP, Conscious rappers and building connections
Who is Zipps McGee?
Zipps McGee is a up-and-coming artist that I got the pleasure of meeting and interviewing some time ago. McGee, born Josh, is from a small town in Western Michigan called Muskegon, although he is now based in the southwest area. Not only was I impressed by his lyrical skills but also his entrepreneurial mindset and his philanthropic efforts to help improve his community. This past November, McGee released his first EP entitled,”Dream Architect“, available on iTunes now. The 6-track album includes songs such as “Lost and Found“, “Trippie Song” and “Mean“. McGee returned to his hometown of Muskegon, Michigan to film the official video for his first single, ‘Doobie’, which can be seen at the end of the interview.
All proceeds from the sales of “Dream Architect” will be donated to his goal of rent-free housing in his hometown. “I will be donating 100% of the sales from my new EP ‘Dream Architect’ towards buying homes in my community, renovating them, and providing families with a free 1-year lease to get back on their feet.” During my interview, McGee shared with me, his thoughts on what mistakes that he feels indie artists are making in their careers, and how important it is to make strong connections with other musicians in the industry. Enjoy.
What is a typical day for Zipps McGee the artist?
Zipps McGee: I just wake up and burn one. Check out my social media and email for new opportunities and spend a lot of my day reaching out to new people and networking.
What inspired you to name your EP, “Dream Architect”?
McGee: One of my biggest if not my biggest goals is to inspire people. So when I made the title I felt like I am designing my life, so the title just made sense to me.
In your opinion, how important are public image and persona in the industry?
McGee: I think image and persona are important. People want to know who and what made the music they love.
What would you consider to be fatal mistakes indie artists are making with their careers?
McGee: I would say 2 fatal things artists do are spamming people with their content and making and releasing new music without giving their old music the time to truly flourish.
What steps did you take to get people to take you seriously as a musician?
McGee: I just kept working more and more and eventually I built a small fan base thanks to them I am taken very seriously.
How important is it to make connections with other musicians, and why?
McGee: In my opinion it’s vital. Artists in other areas provide new connections and opportunities that you need to get your music into different geographical areas. Plus knowing a lot of artists all over makes it way easier to book shows.
What personal advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in music?
McGee: My advice would be to understand that Rome wasn’t built in a day. There are a lot of parts of the music business you have to learn outside of just the creation of the music. Explore how marketing works.
On your EP, You have a song entitled, “Doobie“, which you talk very candidly about yourself transitioning into an artist and being authentic. Would you consider yourself a conscious rapper?
McGee: I like to consider myself more things than just a conscious rapper, but I suppose that would be the easiest way to categorize me.
What separates you from other conscious rappers such as Common, Lupe Fiasco, Kendrick or even J. Cole?
McGee: I feel I differ just as much from other conscious rappers as they differ from themselves. We are all different souls.
In an interview that you did with Raphead.com, you said your process for writing music just “hits” you and you get to work. For someone who isn’t an artist, how would you further clarify that process?
McGee: I randomly feel creative urges and I have found I make my best music during these urges, so I wait until I have them and when I do I always try to take advantage of them.
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