It’s a challenge to sum up Derek Minor‘s accomplishments simply. A Co-Founder of Reflection Music Group, Minor fits the title of Christian Hip-Hop artist, entrepreneur, businessman, producer, actor, screenwriter, and a whole lot more. He’s an impressive guy, whose projects are fueled by his independence. We got a chance to talk to Minor about why he started out in music, what his biggest challenge is, and where he’s headed…
When did you know that music was what you wanted as a career?
I always loved music growing up. My mom used to sing in the choir at church and my dad was an amazing jazz guitarist, so music has always been a part of my life. I think it didn’t dawn on me that I could do it for a living until I visited Middle Tennessee State University when I was 15 with an older friend who went to college there. I stayed up there for the weekend and that experience made me think, if I could go to college for it, surely I can do it for a living. So, my senior year that’s the only school I applied to, and not only did I get accepted but I got a four year academic scholarship.
What did you and your business partner Doc Watson set out to do when you founded Reflection Music Group?
Initially, Doc and I had separate situations. He has always been building a situation to put out quality music. He produced two records for an artist named “Kingston.” I actually recorded both of those projects. What I loved most about him was that he did business with integrity and was driven. That’s so hard to find in this industry. So, from there we were doing so much business together, I thought, why don’t we just partner and make it official? So that’s it.
As far as what we set out to do, it’s always been to make honest, quality music. I want to make music that reflects who we are as people and artists. I think that’s a consistent quality throughout every record we’ve put out so far.
What are your goals as an artist?
Man, this could take hours! I’ll spare you… I want to create real music. I want to make music that, whether or not you agree with what I’m saying, you feel it. It grips you. That’s it. I want you to walk away from every project feeling like you got a small piece of me because I honestly pour all of me into every record. As a man of faith, I feel as though we are under represented in music today and that’s sad because it’s a big part of who I am. It sucks to feel like in order to “make it” I have to dumb my music down to the point that it’s not even me anymore. I refuse to believe that’s the key.
Besides that, I just want to make movies, cartoons, video games, video game soundtracks, act in film and TV, do some sports commentating, and tons more.
What does being independent mean to you?
It means that every project can come out almost exactly how I want it to. It also means that I don’t have to color inside the lines all of the time.
How is TuneCore part of your team?
TuneCore has been vital in my career since the beginning. Considering the fact that most people find me on the internet, having my music across every known online store is key to getting it out there. Also, having great relationships with TuneCore has allowed me to build great relationships with the online stores. I can’t say we’d have some of these relationships as an independent without either a record deal or our relationship with TuneCore. As I said, it’s been vital.
You’ve been able to translate your career as a successful indie musician into a lot of other opportunities—short films, a web series, and even voicing your own character on a video game. Do you have any advice or tips for newer independent artists looking to grow their careers?
Dream big! The sky’s the limit. I can’t say that everything you set out to do you’ll accomplish—I haven’t achieved all my goals yet—but I can say that I know for a fact you won’t achieve your goals by shooting them down before you try. Visualize where you want to be at the end of your career and work backwards.
I’d also say, have a team around you that is passionate about what you do. I can’t do anything without my team. They are constantly working on my behalf. If there are people who are passionate about what you are doing, put them to work! I think a ton of artists look at other people’s teams and wish they had that situation, when in reality, awesome talent is right under their noses.
What is currently your biggest career challenge?
The biggest career challenge for me is being patient. The indie grind is a slow grind. It’s rewarding but slow. I wish there was an easy button like that Staples commercial for music careers, but there isn’t, and that’s frustrating because I have so much I want to do. I have to constantly remind myself to be patient.
So what projects can we look forward to next?
Well, right now the goal is to put out projects for my Reflection Music Group team. Chad Jones has an amazing EP. Canon, B Cooper, Deraj, and Tony Tillman are all creating dope art. As for me, I just dropped the Minorville record—that was fun to make. I’m currently looking to drop another project in the Fall. I think it’s going to be my biggest record yet. The concept is amazing and it’s bigger than just music. I’m super excited about it! Can’t really talk too much about it—you know how that goes…