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Sunday, January 9, 2011

WBM Features: RayDawn The 86th

Man, alone, has the power to transform his thoughts into
physical reality; man, alone, can dream and make his dreams come true.
-Napoleon Hill

When many of us were younger, we had the opportunity to use our imaginations and to no end. Much of time wherever our imaginations went there we would follow, inspired by the places our mind would take us. And I'm sure there were aspirations somewhere along the way of being this and doing that because at the time that's what moved us. However, as we get older and responsibilities quickly amass, we kind of get away from that. Life changes as well as our thoughts do about many things. Priorities become different just as expectations of who we are and what we should be doing often get determined by those around us (ie; parents, friends, up to and including ourselves).

But aside from all of that, what moves you? What are you most passionate about? And most importantly are you still moved as inspired by your dreams?

For our next WBM Feature, RayDawn The 86th, true movement as inspired by what he is passionate about comes from his ability to follow his dreams of music. And in doing such, success as he see fit is obtained. Most times, success requires a clear vision of what one wants to do.

RayDawn shows the world and shares with us how clear his vision is. The passion is all there as well as the inspiration to get where his journey takes him.

[As Told To Why Blue Matters]

Who is RayDawn?

RD86: I’m a college graduate who dropped out law school to peruse my passion, music. Life is too short to be locked up in an office performing duties you hate just so you can afford high priced material possessions. Simply put, music is my gift and it’d be a crime for me to waste it!

How you come up with the stage name?

RD86: ‘RayDawn’ came to be when I was back in college. I was in my dorm room brainstorming ideas – I wanted something original that also had my name in it. I stumbled upon the 86th element on the periodic table, radon. It just sounded like a dope concept to me! Only a handful of people throughout my career have been able to pinpoint the name’s origin – one being a young lady who worked this year’s artist registration table at A3C!

Where are you from?

RD86: Pittsburgh, PA


RD86: Anything and everything that can make me a better artist, person, and help to further my career. When I’m not working on music, I’m usually listening to artists that inspire me, reading, chillin’ watching Columbo, texting my first string girl haha.

What does music mean to you?

RD86: I cannot imagine life without music. Music is the crutch of my freedom. I grew up in a college educated family where traditional white-collar professions were heavily stressed. Never in a million years did I entertain the idea of perusing music professionally until I got to college myself and realized that I could do what I wanted. The freedom to chase my dreams, I wouldn’t trade that for anything!

How long have you been involved?

RD86: Writing music has always been a hobby of mine, but I’ve only been involved with it professionally for three years.

When did you know that music was something that you wanted to pursue?

RD86: It was the second semester of law school…I was in my Contracts class. My professor decided to start her lecture with an inspirational message. To put it simply, she convinced me to peruse what I really love to do rather than just a high paying job with a braggadocios title.

Describe your style of hip hop?

RD86: In my opinion, Hip-Hop tends to stress lyrics over hooks and Rap tends to stress hooks and bridges over lyrics. I’m a hybrid of the two schools, Hip-Rap if you will. To be commercially successful AND sustain longevity, an artist needs to have powerful lyrics as well as catchy hooks, i.e Kanye West. I’m Hip-Rap.

Why should people listen to you?

RD86: A lot of work goes into every bar I write. In my rhymes, I never speak on anything that I haven’t personally researched. Most importantly, I’m honest. I also understand the power that I have as an artist, and I harness that power to convey positive messages.

What's your motivation?

RD86: To make timeless music, afford opportunities for my future family that weren’t available for me, and finally prove to my parents that leaving law school for a career in music was not a gamble!

What goes into the creation of your songs?

RD86: A piece of my soul is attached to every song I write. I take pride in the fact that I’m honest in my bars, and it shows…a lot of people find themselves able to connect to what I have to say. And in all honesty, getting the chance to express myself freely is an addictive ass feeling!

Who are some of your influences?

RD86: To name a few…Russel Simmons, Pharrell Williams, Sean Carter, Kanye West – all of whom currently reside where I’m trying to go. God willing, one day I’ll be their neighbor!

Working on any new projects?

RD86: As a matter of fact, yes! In the spirit of anticipation, I’ve been keeping its details under lock-and-key. All that I can say is that it will be released in the spring of 2011 with the help of DJ Ill Will et al.

What are your thoughts on success?

RD86: Having the courage to chase one’s dream is my idea of success. So many people are afraid to fail and end up settling for occupations they hate, which seems so much harder to me than going out on a limb, trying and failing…at least you’ll you gave it your all!

Biggest Accomplishment?

RD86: To date, my biggest accomplishment was getting booked for this year’s A3C Hip-Hop Festival in Atlanta, GA (arguably the country’s most important Hip-Hop festival). As an unsigned artist, being selected really helped to substantiate all the hours of work I’ve put in thus far – no longer am I looking in as an outsider, I now feel like a peer among those that I admire.

What type of impact would you like to make with your music?

RD86: The one message that I echo the most in my music is that life is too short for you to not chase your dreams. I want the people to know that leaving law school was the best decision of my life and that they should not be afraid to do what their heart says they should do.

Who have you worked with so far?

RD86: Except for DJ MoonDawg’s assistance on Controlled Chaos, all of my work has been on the solo tip. In grade school, I was always the kid who’d rather work alone than in a group. It’s not that I don’t like working with others…I just like having complete creative control and the ability to show and prove on my own two feet…as an unsigned artist, I feel that autonomy is very important.

Anyone you like to work with in the future?

RD86: GOOD Music, Lupe, Pharrell…it’d be a dream come true to rock a Neptunes production. Thievery Corporation…Benny Benassi even.

What's next for RayDawn?

RD86: Musically, I feel like I’m where I need to be in order to run with the big dogs commercially. Now with the help of a publicist, a videographer, and an assistant, I truly believe that 2011 will be breakout year. Though the future is uncertain, there is one thing that I know for sure – there will be a lot of continued hard work in order to bring my dreams to fruition!

Any advice for those looking to pursue their aspirations in music?

RD86: 1. Make sure that you’re pursuing a career in music because it is what you love to do! There are many pitfalls and obstacles that you will encounter and have to endure and overcome in this industry in order to succeed. Without a genuine love for making music, it will be a lot easier for you to give up.

2. Always ALWAYS get agreements in writing. When money is involved, people’s memories tend to get real foggy on which specifics were agreed upon mutually - contracts hold people accountable for their promises.

3. Never sacrifice quality. How you package your product determines how you’re perceived. You could have the greatest mixtape in the world, but if it’s labeled with a Sharpie coated in grammatical errors, no one is going to take your craft seriously.

4. Invest in yourself. In order to gain the serious attention of people who work in the industry, you have to have that industry sound. As obvious as it sounds, you have to record in professional studios with beats made by professional producers. Shitty beats and shitty engineers equal shitty songs, no matter how many times you label them “smash hit singles”.

5. Try to keep your emotions even – don’t get to high and don’t get to low. People make promises that they don’t intend to keep. Keep your head down and focused on your work. The rest will take care of itself!


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