Writer: Jordan Mayor Carbo
Editor: Kiddie Rodaje
My parents allowed me to learn multiple musical instruments like the guitar and drums while growing up. I was also surrounded by a lot of music genres. My uncle used to play classic reggae songs by Bob Marley and my older brother introduced me to Tupac, Icecube, and DMX. I prefer hip-hop.
My music career started when I was just 11 years old. Together with my friends, we created a band and I was the drummer. Being the drummer you set the tempo of the song, as important as it is, deep down I know that I wanted to pick the mic and sing but, not just any song. I wanted to sing my song. I wanted to grow as a solo artist and so I decided to leave our band.
Most of my early written songs in terms of flow and delivery were inspired by my idol the international rapper, Tyga. When I started composing, I got no one to mentor me, I was on my own. I have no recording instruments like mics and mixers. I downloaded beats to accompany my lyrics. It was challenging but it didn’t stop my passion for writing songs.
My first gig as a solo artist was in December 2015. I was just 16 years old then. My sister had me perform at an event she was part of. At that time I did not know that it was a legit event! Fliptop rapper, Ice Bergg was there! K9 the rapper behind “Itsumo” was there! I was nervous as hell! I performed a couple of my songs then I was asked to participate in a Cypher! In a cypher, one emcee will rap about a certain topic, which is quickly taken up or flipped by another artist who plays off the prior words and themes. Each artist takes his or her respective turn.
I can’t forget when Ice Bergg came up to me after I performed and said “You have potential, Just be true to your sound, keep doing what you do, you are you!”. I was very emotional because I felt being formally welcomed to the industry. It was now very clear to me that this is what I wanted to pursue in life.
Producing a song is very expensive but I was determined to step up my game. I wanted to have my own studio. I wanted the freedom to create and work on my craft at any time. I did not want to continue renting a recording booth. So I did a lot of part-time jobs to save money and I was able to buy entry-level equipment. As with any creator, I had to DIY it! Good thing there is Youtube! I can finally record my songs!
I started from scratch with zero knowledge in producing a song. I would watch hours and hours of YouTube videos on how to navigate my audio editing software. Arranging vocals, adjusting beats to the right frequencies, adding effects, layering, mixing, mastering, and anything about audio production I learned it all from the internet!
I spent hundreds of hours experimenting on my own. Along the way, accidents happen. Some are painful lessons but for some, I am thankful it happened. I was adjusting my vocals on my audio editing software when I accidentally pressed something which gave my vocals a megaphone sound effect. I ended up liking it very much and since then it has been my go-to sound effect for my adlibs especially if I want to emphasize something.
Now, I pretty much know the foundations of music production. I have not only recorded and produced my own songs but for other clients as well. I am proud of the songs that I’ve put out already. I am more meticulous about the quality of songs I put out. I don’t care if I have to do 50 takes for a single line. Each verse needs to be said the way it should sound.
I met a lot of artists that turned into friends. I was very lucky to work with J. Roa of Ex Battalion as the producer for one of his songs. I needed to upgrade my equipment and that meant a lot of money! As a call center agent, I have a reliable source of income but I still needed more.
I uninstalled food delivery apps. I stopped eating at fast-food restaurants. Ate whatever is available at home. Bahaw became my staple food. I placed my social life on hold. I did not go out for 3 months. I skipped on any events that would make me spend money. I became so focused on my goal and I became so kuripot that I decided not to attend a reunion because I was afraid that I might end up blowing my hard-earned money on something stupid.
When I finally reached my goal, I upgraded all my equipment in one go! I got industry-level studio monitors, mics, tables, everything to help me propel to the next level as an artist. Looking back, the sacrifice was well worth it. As a work-from-home call center agent, I also plan to do voice-overs as another source of income so I can further turn my bedroom into a proper recording studio/mancave.
For the young independent artists who are just starting, don’t let your financial problems stop you from reaching your goals. Be with people with the same goals. Nothing in this industry is ever certain, except for you. You need to know if you want to be part of this. Either you go big or go home.
In the future, I also want to sign with a major label, but as an independent artist, I am also enjoying the freedom to produce and release my songs without the restrictions of a contract. I have been an independent artist for 6 years already and my plans for the future are now even bigger compared to when I started.
I still have a lot of songs that I have not released yet as I’m looking for the right time and opportunity to do it. I’m working on something huge these days that you need to watch out for!