We’re back with another installation of our latest series, TuneCore Tuesdays, which aims to highlight artists and other music professionals who are writing, recording, and hustling on their own terms. By showcasing creatives doing it their way all over the globe, TuneCore Tuesdays aims to empower and inspire our diverse community of artists.
This week we’re talking to Denver-based rapper and lyricist, Jakob Campbell. Check out his video and be sure to learn more about his musical journey!
Hip hop artist Jakob Campbell made his first splash in 2019, when viewers of Netflix’s hit competition show Rhythm + Flow rooted him on from their living rooms. Catching the eyes and ears of Chance the Rapper, Royce the 5’9 and Twista, Jakob shared the story of his upbringing and influences to the world. While he was eventually eliminated (and by many fans’ accounts, ‘totally robbed’), Campbell had laid the foundation for a growing fan base and was off to the races.
The Denver-native began writing and rhyming to work through the very real issues in his homelife. Citing his mother as a source of inspiration, Jakob’s family went through the turbulence of substance and eventually physical abuse.
“I first started writing music as an outlet,” he says. “A creative space to release all my thoughts used it vent and talk about all the things I was going through in my life. I feel like I would’ve went crazy without it.”
Campbell went from getting the chance to perform at A3C 2018 to auditioning for the hit program, and was humbled by the experience. His story resonated with fans, and it reinforced what he already knew: music was his path.
“The social clout and fans I’ve received from the show has been the greatest part. I now have people across the globe telling me they love my music. I had so many people tell me they relate to me and my story and that my music has saved their life and that means more than any amount of money ever could.”
But ever the realist, Jakob knew two things: a show like Rhythm + Flow isn’t going to propel every contestant to superstardom, but he couldn’t let the experience go to waste. Like any independent artist, Jakob had to continue to establish an identity and a brand that wasn’t, as he put it, “that one from that one show.” He returned from his experience motivated, but knew there was still work to do. That means overcoming the obstacles facing indie hip hop artists.
“Growing a fan base without a machine behind you is the hardest thing for any independent artist,” Campbell asserts. “That is why the internet has become the biggest tool for independent artists: you can reach the whole world in seconds. You just have to learn how to use it to your advantage, which makes it one of the biggest obstacles in music – but that is the landscape we are in. “
Like so many artists over the past year, the worldwide pandemic has been a major learning experience. Campbell chose to recognize it as a reminder that change is around every corner, and artists need to be ready to pivot.
“2020 showed me to not be scared to try different things you never know what is going to work. Be creative! Do things people have never seen. Be different! Give your fans a new way to receive music and now a new way to see you live! Be yourself! Show them the real you and it will make them interested.”
When asked about how he’s utilized TuneCore to continue to build his fan base and career, Jakob touts: “TuneCore gives the power back to the artist. It has helped me not only distribute my music but also reach new fans through play listing and opportunities through their own channels as well. TuneCore looks out for their artist and helps where they can. It’s been an easy way to find my demographics, see what places I’m streaming most, and target where my fans are. It shows me who’s listening and will help tremendously when it’s time to tour.”