Allen Poe, is it fair to say that your name is inspired by Edgar Allen Poe?
Yes, Edgar Allen Poe was where my name originated. I'm not fanatical over his works, but was familiar enough to know he had a foreboding and grim style. In the early days (I took the name Allen Poe circa '02), I was much more into battle rap and very raw lyrics, I just felt that name embodied who I was artistically in that period and never felt the need to change it up.
A year ago you were struggling to make an imprint in the rap game. Recently your projects have been featured via Dj Booth and 2DopeBoyz. How did this Kentucky product learn to stand out in an oversaturated market?
I used to run track, and my coach told me I should always have a pace man, until I became the pace man. So I applied that idea to the marketing and promotion of my art. I looked at who was around me that I respected as an artist and I studied them. While I only had superficial glances into how these artists operated, it helped. I found your list of blogs, I researched ways to send a submission that would stand out from the other thousand rappers trying to get the same result as me.
I invested in my music by seeking out the best audio engineers in my area (so many underestimate what a competent engineer does for a track), collaborating with others who I felt matched the artistic integrity of the songs I wanted to make and had built name recognition for themselves. Lastly, I was persistent. I knew I had skill and for the longest wondered why I was getting passed up. What I came to understand was that skill isn't the great denominator in the rap game, work ethic and persistence is. I attribute whatever strides I've made to genuinely loving hip hop, being patient, observant and working hard.
In a perfect world artists would be able to able to make a consistent living off of music. Describe your emergence as an artist with a family and other obligations.
I am at a point where music isn't my top obligation, my family is. Knowing that my artistic pursuit cuts into family time makes me take what I do seriously. I am working off of borrowed time now, time my wife and kids graciously give and encourage me in towards furthering my music, so I just can't in good conscious be out here bullshitting. That urgency pushes me, it is an incredible motivator. I want to achieve greatness as a musician because I have a family who needs me and understands that I need my music.
What drives you or inspires you to release music?
I am introverted so I am not big on small talk. If I know you well enough, I would talk for hours about life, principles and things of that nature. I don't have a lot of friends I have these kinds of talks with (seems my circle grows ever smaller) so it comes out in the music. I've been writing a lot about love lately. I get a lot of love from my wife and daughters. Also just telling and creating stories is a past time, so it's ingrained in me at this point.
What does the future hold for this Wildcat breed lyricist?
My next goal is to start performing at shows in some of the bigger markets in my region (Cincy, Nashville, Indianapolis), so that's the challenge in front of me. Musically, I have so much new material I look forward to releasing in the coming year. A new 5 track EP produced by DeeJay Element (DJ for Brown Bag AllStars) should be out by late summer. I have a new record with KY producer Lofidel I'm writing for, a new record I just finished up the process of gathering beats for from the likes of Cookin Soul, Lushlife, PJ Katz, Ben Jamin", IV the Polymath & more. Lastly, (I'm going to take my time with this one) I have a 5 track EP produced entirely by J57 I will put out at some point in the future. Those along with some various collab projects are what I have on the menu.