We recently connected with Jastin Artis and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Jastin , thanks for joining us today. Are you able to earn a full-time living from your creative work? If so, can you walk us through your journey and how you made it happen?
I did not start off making a living from my music in the beginning. But in true success fashion, I was forced. Three years ago, I lost the contract job that I just re-signed and lost my child in the span of two weeks of each other. The job said the “business needs had changed” while I took a few weeks to grieve. After months of applying to jobs and being interviewed, I felt I was being blocked. It was like shooting on the basketball court and though the shot felt good, nothing was dropping. So, I decided to focus on music. I’d done it full-time while working a day gig but now it was time to do it with no day gig. It definitely has not been flawless, or easy, but I make a living from my music and my business prowess.
In recent years I’ve felt a pull from God that I needed to leave the corporate world. But after living at home for some time after a bad divorce I was conflicted if the time was now. I do wish I had transitioned sooner. But in true God fashion, he makes you do what is needed.
Jastin , love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
When I heard “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin in high school by my high school best friend Jerad I was hooked to play guitar. I had always been a fan of Hip-Hop, a band geek since elementary school, and recording radio shows growing up. But after hearing Led Zeppelin, I had to learn how to play guitar. So, at the start of college my uncle Joe bought me a guitar and I taught myself how to play it. Since then, I’ve cultivated a sound I call Hip-Hop Renaissance. I fuse Hip-Hop, Gospel, Acoustic/Electric guitar, and Spoken word. It was many long days working the day job or school, or both, then coming home and crafting. Over these 18 years or so, I’ve been focused on the passion and purpose of what I’m meant to do within music and outside of it. It’s brought me so far as a man and creative.
I’ve spent years cultivating my sound. I knew early on I didn’t fit into the trend of Hip-Hop. Additionally, I knew it wouldn’t come easy or fast and never wanted it to. Instead of trying to do what the cool kids were doing, I decided to stay true to what I knew and what I did best. I’ve spent my 10k+ hours to be where I am today in writing, production, engineering, developing talent, and not letting my feelings, people, or society stop me from progressing.
In an industry that’s always changing with a desire for instant validation, I’ve stayed the course; kept my morals; developed into the artist I want to be for the purpose, not numbers; and will remain true to that as best I can no matter the success.
I’m proud I haven’t quit. Oh yes, I’ve had quit feelings but man the joy of working with people across the world, or seeing streams reaching 100k+ in a matter of weeks, or projecting going platinum (1 million streams) for my main artists, or people finally seeing who I am is who I am; I’m glad I haven’t stopped pursuing what I know is in me.
The business is divided into a few categories. I’m an artist and I create original content. This year I’ll be releasing my 10th album. Next, I book gigs to perform. Recently, I’ve pivoted my performance format to merge performing and speaking to teach leadership through music. This is to help teach the next generation of music creatives and professionals. Then, we have sync licensing where I create content for TV/film. Lastly, is my new subscription-based service A&R IN YOUR POCKET. It’s my all-in-one artist development service where I provide feedback, strategy, production, engineering, administrivia support, etc., and use my network to support emerging artists with their projects.
Finally, I believe my genuine spirit of who I am is translating more with people. I don’t know if it’s the grim time of the world, but I’ve only gotten better at who I am and what I want. Whatever it is I’m humbled by the relationships I’ve built and currently building. All I want to do is get a crowd who knows my words when I’m on stage and help artists reach their goals in music. Simple right? Lol Well there’s more but that’s the simplicity of it. I hope I’m recognized overall for the heart to listen, support, and assert myself by doing what I feel is best either for myself or those I love.
In your view, what can society to do to best support artists, creatives and a thriving creative ecosystem?
Ohhhh this is the question I have to answer. Lol I want people to take more action against those they “say” they support as often we see there’s not much proof of it. It takes seconds to share a song, event, or mission of an artist. It’s not always about money. However, if you can pay $300+ for tickets to see Beyoncé (who I love) then why can’t you pay $25 for a t-shirt from me? And many will say, “you’re not Beyoncé.” That’s fair but remember your favorite artist now was once me in terms of pursuing their love, dream, and purpose in this thing. I know there are many variables in this, however, let’s be honest, when people want to do something, pay for something, whatever it is – they do it.
It gets frustrating when you hear those words, “you’re so talented” but that doesn’t translate to dollars or even the simplest support – sharing. Or strangers support you more than those closest to you. So, if people took more action with an open heart, I think more artists could do more than survive.
Oh – and buy from the artists’ platform like their website or app, instead of the third parties. I believe in NFTs (I have my NFT app – see website) and Web3, however, if fans are not willing to buy directly from the emerging artist it will make the struggle that much harder.
How about pivoting – can you share the story of a time you’ve had to pivot?
I’ve had a few pivots in my career in the last few years. Around 2020, I was already full-time with music and working from home, but I was challenged with my health. I later found out I had fibromyalgia. Unfortunately, this added to my list of autoimmune conditions, but the challenge of fibro is intense. In the months of trying to figure out what this pain was, cognitive issue, and other symptoms I was feeling I realized I could no longer work like I was accustomed to. So, I had to really restructure my days, manage my time more closely, and be okay with not getting all things done I set out to each day. To this day, it’s tough for me. Some days are worse than others. This is where my focus on sync licensing really intrigued me because I could omit my focus on social media and focus on the music.
Another pivot that was caused by my health is my artist development company. By making a subscription-based model I could consistently bring in funds while still doing all the things I love. I’ve watched companies pivot this way, but I wasn’t sure what product or service I could provide with that model. And I’d finally found it. I’ve built a strong network during the pandemic so; this network can help me support the artists and I don’t have to do everything. And I love partnering with other businesses.
Lastly, most recently is my performance format. For years I’ve wanted to build a speaking career, but I didn’t want to give up performing. By merging them into one I can do both and bring more value to students, companies, and all audiences that book me. And it’s kind of cool that most rappers can’t do what I can do and that feels good.
Nothing is a well-oiled machine yet but all my recent pivots feel like million-dollar ideas and will make me more effective.
- Website: https://Jastinartis.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jastinartis
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jastinartis
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jabatts
- Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/jastinartis
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/jartisproject
- Other: Vote for me in the Opening Act 2022 Competition by Audacy, Grand prize is $10k and perform at the Hollywood Bowl in LA https://theopenact.com/2022/jastin-artis Music &Marketing Mentorship https://www.musicx.live/musicxproject?idev_id=106
QT Photography (1-4) Tina Kent (5, 6)