Becoming A Renaissance Man – Episode 2: Lessons Learned
One of the things that I am determined to do with this project is to pay attention to the experiences of my constituents and use their example as a point of learning for what I do. Ever since confirmation of being able to move forward with “Renaissance Man”, I have been blessed both directly and indirectly by the mentor-ship of folks such as Eons D, Praverb, Redd Lettaz and JusThoughtz. These guys stand out because it is their actions that speak volumes.
All too many times, there will be someone trying to say something in this realm of independent music to their fellow indie artists who, unfortunately, come across sounding like hot air. No disrespect intended; however, they lack substance because their words are not followed by any tangible action. Not just through “Renaissance Man”; but, through all I do, I want my actions to speak louder than my words – not in contradiction; but, in confirmation . . . .
So what am I learning as I work to prepare this offering to you? I am learning that I am defined by who I am in Christ – not by anything else. I am not defined by my artistry nor am I defined by a genre. I am currently forty-two years old. I will be hanging up my microphone at some point in the near future. And when that moment comes, even without my music, it will be my relationship with Christ that defines my very being. Sure, I’m a Christian. And absolutely, I am an emcee. And it is because of the synchronization of the two that I cannot be confined to a proverbial box or label.
Through my art, my goal is to edify and glorify. I may not exegete in every song I record; but, neither will I compromise who I am or what I believe for the sake of “likes”, “plays” or sales. I have been blessed with a unique opportunity to edutain through my music; and, I believe that whosoever God intends for me to reach in doing so, I will reach.
I am also learning that relationships matter. I, like so many others I know, fell victim to the thought that because I am a Christian, I would be met with fellowship and embrace from my community of constituents. Sadly, that is not the case. Taking the time to invest in relationships has been far more valuable than anything else that I have done for this project. I have gained the trust and respect of some brothers who I know consider to be family even though I have never seen some of them face-to-face. Why is that important? “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their hard work. If either should fall, one can pick up the other . . .” (Ecc 4:9-10). In other words, I cannot do this alone. God made man for relationship and fellowship. Why else would he tell us, “. . . You will love your neighbor as yourself”? Just because we are artists does not mean that we should engage in our artistry alone. Even if I never collaborate with any of my brothers and sisters that I have grown relationships with, I find joy in the fact that we share a common bond in Christ. I am thankful for these relationships; and again, even after I retire from music, I can rest assured that my relationships will not end with it.
Finally, I am being reminded that less is more; or, to put it another way, quality over quantity. This isn’t a new revelation for me; however, it is a notion of which I needed a reminder. Often times, we try to pack as much as we can into our art/message. Unfortunately when we do this, we run the risk of compromise. More specifically, it would be much more effective for me as an artist to deliver a project of five of my best quality songs to you as opposed to a project of fifteen average quality songs. This due partially to the fact that the average consumer’s attention span is about 25 to 30 minutes long. Add to that the saturation we are currently experiencing in the independent music industry. At the end of the day, there are thousands of self-proclaimed artist seeking your attention. That means I have a very limited chance to get my point across. So not only do I need to grab your attention; but, I also need to make sure that what I am putting before you is worth your attention.
“Renaissance Man” is not about me selling you music. “Renaissance Man” is about an experience. Thank you for being a part of this journey.