The A3C Hip Hop festival is scheduled to kick off the first of its five performance-filled days today (October 2) in Atlanta. In an exclusive interview with HipHopDX, rapper Wordsmith spoke about his thoughts on performing at one of the largest annual Hip Hop festivals in the U.S.
“You’ve got people in different levels of their careers coming out to A3C,” said Wordsmith, who is scheduled to make his debut A3C performance at Space 2 today at 10:10 pm EST.
“The main thing A3C does the best that I feel that other festivals don’t is that it’s open for you to meet whoever you want to meet,” Wordsmith continued. “A3C likes to keep everything open. As an artist, you can go up to another artist that you know from afar, that you’ve known or done work with and be able to talk to them, be able to go backstage and kick it with them before they perform. That was just something that I got to see when I went out there to experience it.”
The acronym A3C stands for “all 3 coasts,” which includes the East Coast, West Coast and Gulf Coast. Wordsmith, who hails from Baltimore, attended A3C last year. While there, he had the opportunity to participate as a bystander at the festival before making his way onto a playbill.
“Bran, who works for Indie Hit Maker, saw me perform at the Hard Rock Café in Atlanta and he was like, ‘Why are you not performing at A3C?’ because A3C was the next day,” Wordsmith said. “I applied for next year and I ended up getting booked in the first round of selections.”
Wordsmith attributes his stage presence to his B.A. in theater. “I’m a theater major,” he says. “That’s what I studied in college so I try to bring some theatrics to my stage show and it helps me get a lot of bookings.”
Wordsmith Says Song Licensing Is The Key To His Success As A Musician
When he’s not booking shows, the single father of two is making his music heard, not through the radio but through song licensing. “I would urge all independent artists like myself to really look into that because, I’ll be honest, that’s where I make the bulk load of my money,” Wordsmith says.
Wordsmith says he’s licensed his material to Nintendo Wii, ESPN, ABC and CBS, and to such syndicated shows such as “Home Improvement,” “Family Guy” and “Martin.”
“In the corporate world, my music is used a lot and it’s just kinda crazy because you’re talking about major players with a lot of money,” he says. “You’re talking about big TV stations and then you look at the radio side and I have next-to-no radio play on the radio side.”
According to Wordsmith, the formula for licensed-friendly songs is simple. “Write and make records that have common phrases and are commonly used in everyday society,” he says. His most used songs are “On My Job,” which he says has been licensed 1,400 times, and “Show Me The Money.”
Wordsmith is currently promoting his album, Blue Collar Recital, which was released last month.
In coordination with Open Door Baltimore and William Paca Elementary School, the video for “My Brilliance Shines,” a single off his album, was premiered at the Baltimore school in hopes of motivating its students. “It’s not about where you come from or your upbringing and so forth,” Wordsmith says. “You just gotta persevere through your situation and kinda break that cycle.
“At the end of every year, my goal is the same: to live off my music,” Wordsmith adds. “To me, you’ve made it if you’re living off your dreams and my dreams is music, so when I can live off my dreams and I’m feeding my kids, buying them clothes, taking them on trips and it’s all through my music, I’ve made it. I’ve conquered my dreams.”
In its ninth year, the A3C Hip Hop Festival is slated to feature Ghostface Killah, Bun B, ?uestlove and ScHoolboy Q this year. The Atlanta-based festival is offering free admission to ticketholders for Rock The Bells’ 2013 New York and Washington D.C. shows, which were canceled last week.