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The Importance of Music Licensing (Wordsmith Interview)

Wordsmith is an artist that I have been following for nearly a decade and I marvel at his work ethic and his ability to reinvent himself.

Recently I reached out to the busy emcee/father and he shared some great information on his latest album and the importance of music licensing.

You can follow along with the interview below. You can purchase his latest album, Blue Collar Recital, via iTunes.

I have been following your career for some time now and I have always been impressed by your ability to adapt. What inspires you to continue to make music?

Wordsmith: First off really appreciate you following my career the way you have P and people like yourself keep me inspired. I'm at the point in my career where I am blessed to receive daily feedback from fans and other artists alike. When someone I never met sends me a personal message saying one of my song(s) helped them through a personal problem or they use my music as motivation it really cements why I am doing this.

My goals have always been to reach a level where I can live off my music, affect people lives through the messages in my music & be a teacher to all Artists who need help achieving their musical dreams. Other then that I just really have a daily fire that keeps me driven for more success & it definitely helps when you see corporations, artists, fans and even old friends contacting you for your services or just to say they are proud of you!

Would you mind sharing the inspiration behind your latest album, Blue Collar Recital?

Wordsmith: This was the most organic Album I created so far as most of it was done without having a blueprint of each song; meaning I did a lot of creating while standing at the mic or memorizing lines in my head to create songs. I knew I wanted the concept to be a story from 5am in the morning, going through the struggles of an average morning, hitting lunch break, dealing with heavy traffic after work, releasing stress through happy hour and ultimately taking a break to go on vacation.

I wanted BCR to be the theme album for the average blue collar citizen. We are in a time where TV, Movies & Music don't give an accurate picture of the world we live in, so today's generation thinks its all about what they see in a 2 Chainz or Cheef Keef Video. We are seeing history like government furloughs happening, so in my opinion those people with families would rather listen to something relate able that represents there current life rather then music that is only really good for the club.

The other thing I looked to accomplish was keeping the records catchy, melody driven and in a fashion where the audiences who just like good beats and hooks would still love my album. If you are more of the conscious type you will dig deeper into my lyrics and see how much encrypted info is really in this album. I like to think I do a good mix of Hip Hop and Pop culture rolled into one.

How does this album differ from King Noah?

Wordsmith: King Noah was more of a life lesson album for my son, but also for our youth in general. I wanted this album to teach our youth about the world, so I consider it an album that could be taught on a college campus or a good album to introduce your children to when they discover Hip Hop for the first time. They will get a glimpse of the past, learn about life and have fun while listening to it.

Recently you put together a band for your live performances. Why did you make the decision to put together the live band?

Wordsmith: I just rocked with a LIVE Band called Grey Theory in Las Vegas via Insert Coins. This was actually the first time I rocked with a band and now I'm addicted, lol. I'm currently putting my regular band together in Baltimore and have a keyboard player already on deck with a guitar player and drummer on standby. As mentioned earlier because I do things more organic when I write music I want the same affect on the stage. The cool thing about rocking with a band in Vegas was having the freedom to change up a verse, a hook or add something new based on the tempo or rhythm of the band.

What do you love the most about performing?

Wordsmith: When I perform it reminds me of my days in Theater, while in College. When you act there is the opportunity to discover and become a different character. Though I don't play a character with my music when I hit the stage I do feel like I transform into Wordsmith and become this confident performer full of mass expression. The other thing I love and all artists love is the energy a crowd can give you while on stage; its priceless!

Recently you have gravitated towards music licensing. What do you think it is so difficult for artists to grasp the effectiveness of music licensing?

Wordsmith: I think artists can't seem to grasp it because it is not something you can hear on the radio or see on the TV everyday. Music licensing is more in the background because it deals with the use of your music in TV, Films, Games, etc.

Sometimes just a hook from your music is used for a commercial or sometimes just the production is used or the full track is used for a campaign. Artists in general have to understand just because something is visual, it doesn't mean its making you the most money. Right now the money I make from music comes in this order; 1. Music Licensing 2. Album Sales 3. Show Fees and 4. Merchandise.

When did you receive your first song placement?

Wordsmith: My first placement was actually a big one as I worked with CBS out of the gate for a show they were doing with James Belushi called "The Defenders." They licensed an unreleased record of mine called "Beg for Mercy" in one of the opening scenes of the show and once I got my first royalty check it really changed my perspective of how I was living off my music.

Do you have any tips for artists that are trying to license their material?

Wordsmith: Definitely; be smart about the records you're creating down to the song titles, concept of the records, content of your lyrics and the production. You want to make your music easy to license because these major corporations hear tons of music just to place the right records in a movie, a TV show, a commercial or a video game.

Make sure the production level is very high and you understand commercial radio/corporate song structures of songs. Indie or not you want them to see you as a professional musician who can deliver them quality records at the same level of a major artist.

How can the masses get in contact with you?

Wordsmith: Please feel free to reach me at wordsmith@wordsmithmusic.com I answer back to everyone so don't be shy.

Any final thoughts?

Wordsmith: Yup, read this interview and pass it along to another artist who can take the info and run with it.


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