3 Power Lessons from Chance the Rapper
Chance the Rapper has emerged as hip hop’s breakout star of 2016. Over this past year, he has released his chart-topping mixtape Coloring Book, performed a tribute to Muhammad Ali at the ESPY Awards, appeared on Saturday Night Live and Good Morning America, penned a song for the U.S.A. Olympic Basketball teams, partnered with Bud Light to present his own music festival, and named by Fast Company as one of the most creative business persons of 2016. Along with accomplishments, he spearheaded a campaign to have streaming-only projects considered for Grammy nominations. Not too shabby for a man who does not have a major record deal. Chance the Rapper has created his own success on his terms. Here are three power lessons from Chance the Rapper.
Connect with your fans
Chance the Rapper and his team understand the artist-fan relationship. Chance began building his fan base by passing out free CDs to local high school kids. He later performed his own sold out show at the Lincoln Hall in Chicago. In today’s digital world, it is easy to neglect or forget the impact of grassroots marketing. While passing out CDs is old school, it’s the personal connection that matters. The most effective form of communication is face-to-face. You are more likely to create loyal fans when personally engage them. Create experiences to connect with your fans and potential fans such as your own showcase, meet and greets, and live virtual Q&As.
Create your own lane
It is your career. Do not be afraid to break the rules and create your own path. After Chance the Rapper and his manager shopped his debut mixtape 10 Day to labels, they decided it was best to stay on their own and continue to make Chance’s music available “for free.” Chance makes his money from touring, merchandise, sponsorships, endorsements, and meet and greets. Giving away your music might not be for you, but do not feel trapped into following industry standards to succeed. Do the work to build your personal brand as an artist and determine how you want to leverage your brand to make money.
Choose the right team members
Chance’s team including his manager, Pat Corcoran, his publicist, Dan Weaver and booking agent, Cara Lewis has engineered his successes. Your team can make or break your career. You need people who are skilled, value honesty, and can leverage relationships to push your career forward. Do your due diligence and research a person’s background before you hire them. Choose your team members wisely.
BONUS: Do the work.
It took Chance the Rapper almost five years to get to this point in his career. There are no shortcuts to success and you must be willing to do the work. Be persistent, consistent, and continue to move forward.
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