Kenton Dunson is a man who knows what is at stake. He made a living advising people of what to do with what is at stake. In the push/pull, ebb/flow, love it/leave it world of music, especially in hip-hop, the artist now known as Dunson knows that those stakes are high. I was able to sit down with the mastermind behind the Creative Destruction series prior to his performance for Ear Candy’s 2012 series (presented by Gypsy Soul) to find out more.
You had the opportunity to perform at the legendary S.O.B.’s last month. Describe your experience.
The was my first time performing there. The one thing I can say about performing at a venue like S.O.B.’s is that those crowds listen. They are actually listening to every lyric, every note, every inflection.So many people came out to see the performance. Supporters, label executives, first timers. It was also the first time I was headlining. In short, we killed it (smiles).
As a producer, you obviously recognize that beats and production are very important. What do you look for in a beat maker or fellow producer?
In truth, I look for a producer to create or do something that I can’t do. Nowadays, someone can claim they are a producer simply by clicking a mouse. When I see that producer or beat maker I want to say “Wow, why didn’t I think of that?” That’s why when I met producers like the Phatboiz, right before they blew up, it really made me stop thinking only of myself from a producing standpoint. It forced me to respect other creatives.
Since leaving your gig as an investment advisor, are there any techniques that come in handy in this music game? Also, given that you join the ranks of entertainers who were previously employed in the financial industry, what is it about hip hop music (and subsequently sports and entertainment) that makes it such a draw?
One thing I learned as an advisor was that I was able to see first hand how people reacted to things, and more specifically, what I said. People will respond to certain situations based solely on what you said. One has to be willing to break the ice and communicate in order to gauge what people want or need. As far as hip hop, it serves as an avenue for people who live by lesser means but have a Warren Buffet mindset to actually have an opportunity to realize and exercise their creativity, thus literally changing their environment.
What does Dunson listen to when he steps away from making music?
I listen to so many different styles of music. I listen to Bon Iver, Rick Ross, Feist, a lot of indie rock, Anita Baker, and the female voice. The female voice is the best instrument ever.
Do you think there is a difference between an independent artist recording mixtapes and commercial artists who seem to drop mixtapes more frequently between albums?
Certain artists drop mix tapes when they realize that they have no buzz around them at a particular time. Many artists like to create music where which the label is not involved in order to achieve a more unfiltered and uncensored sound. One has to understand the creativity and the process of the mixtape process on a major scale. Think about it? What would it look like if Stevie Wonder and Kanye West did a mixtape?
What is your idea of the perfect mixtape?
Wow. The perfect mix tape would definitely consist of a theme, great opening tracks, great indication of a play on a sing, and free-flowing. No filler and no fluff.
Lastly, what do you want to say to the mix tape naysayer, the newbie, or the music connoisseur that is going to cop your mix tape, new single, or your upcoming project?
I want them to realize that I am giving up financial gain for your ears. It is more important for you to hear me than to pay me. I am putting in MAN HOURS. That alone is investment.
This artist is someone you really want to keep an eye on. Here’s how you can keep up:
Official Website: www.dunsonmusic.com While there, check out his new single, Count On It, from his upcoming project, The Investment. To sum it up in one word: amazing…
Be on the lookout for Dunson’s new project, The Investment, coming soon.
Special thanks to Dunson and Gypsy Soul for the interview.