Moving from Montreal, Canada to Toronto gave Liso a new audience and a shot at launching his hip-hip career with Think Militant Records. Liso has been getting a lot of interest from the hip-hop community all over Canada and the US for his smooth flow and consistent and witty lyrics. Recently the young rapper shared his ideas, in an exclusive interview with Rick Jamm.
1. How long have you been doing what you’re doing and how did you get started in the first place?
Liso: I’ve been rapping for a few years now. I’ve had an interest in music my whole life so it all started really when I decided I really wanted to do this.
2. Who were the first influences on your music and style?
Liso: I never really had influences, I mean I loved all rappers when I was younger but I never saw a rapper ad said to myself “I want to be like him”. I think that’s what makes Liso unique, you can’t find anyone else in my style of rap.
3. In your opinion who is the most influential and successful artist in your genre today and why?
Liso: Right now I really like Jay Z. He’s just so cold on the mic. He’s influential to me because of what he has done; he started off as a rapper and now is the owner of RocAFella records, has his own clothing line and owns part of the New Jersey Nets. Very inspirational person.
4. Which famous song or sound production, ultimately describes what you’d like Liso music productions to sound like?
Liso: I have a really great producer; Kaizn, and the whole team at Think Militant Records brainstorms with me to a level where anything we put out is exactly what I want it to sound like. I think I’m blessed to be working with Canada’s top producer.
5. Do you think music today is enjoyed more for the beats or for the lyrical flow and content?
Liso: I think now a days if the beat is nice then lyrics don’t really matter, but at the same time you still got to come hard for the little population of people who do like examining the lyrical content of rappers songs.
6. Do you make your own beats and write your own lyrics? If yes what software do you prefer to use? If no, who and where do you get your beats from?
Liso: I write my own lyrics, I have a producer Kaizn, who is a part of the Think Militant Records team, who gives me bangers whenever I need them.
7. If you could choose to work with some of today’s established artists or producers, to get your game to the top, with whom would you like to collaborate?
Liso: Producer wise, Rico Love, Swizz Beats, Jahlil Beats, and Bangladesh. Artist wise, Drake, Asap Rocky, J. Cole, Taylor Swift and Three Days Grace.
8. Which of your original compositions is currently your personal favorite, and why?
Liso: My favorite track so far is Throw Them Drinks Up off of the “IAMLISO” EP, just because it’s a fun party record I think a lot of people could vibe to. IAMLISO is coming out on October 30th 2012
9. Which ingredient do you think is most essential in making Liso sound special?
Liso: Beats. Beats, beats, beats. As long as the beat is to my liking I can rip it apart. That’s what makes my sound special.
10. Which emotion more than any other, currently dominates your music? Joy, sadness, anger or passion etc. , and why?
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Liso: I don’t really have one. Simply because I have a variety of different tracks, some are happy tracks some are sad, some are just me venting some anger. So I don’t think I would be able to pinpoint my sound to one emotion.
11. What aspect of the music making process excites you most, and what aspect discourages you the most?
Liso: The process I like the most is writing, to sit there and rap something and think to yourself; “Damn cant nobody spit like me” is amazing! The part I hate the most is the after production, so the mixing and mastering drags me out because it’s just a long process.
12. How involved are you in the recording, producing, mastering, selling and other processes needed to make and market your music, and do you outsource any part of this process?
Liso: Very involved, my team we work together so everything is done as if were all one person. When we hit the studio, the whole Think Militant Records team is involved.
13. Do you think the advent of internet and all the new technology, has helped your music and independent musicians in general, or do you think it just creates a mass of mediocre “bedroom artists” who flood the web, making it difficult to distinguish yourself?
Liso: I think it’s very useful. It’s an extremely convenient way to distribute music really easily. Even though it makes it easy for everyone to be an artist, at the end of the day if you don’t have the skills you’re not going to go anywhere.
14. In your long experience, what is the best piece of advice in this business you actually followed so far? And one you didn’t follow, but now know you should have?
Liso: One thing my dad told me was “Make sure you know the business side of the music industry because in the end it really all comes down to business”, that stuck with me because you see so many artists whose careers bum out because they didn’t know the business side of the music.
15. Being an independent artist, which is the one factor, above all else, that you currently desire most (increased music distribution, better quality production, more media exposure, club performances etc…)?
Liso: I’m all about the performances. I’m the type of artist where I’d rather do a bunch of shows then be in the studio for hours and hours, I just find it’s a convenient way to interact with fans, I also love the adrenaline I get at my shows.
16. Where do you distribute and promote your music ( Amazon, iTunes, CD Baby, Your own Website, YouTube etc…) and why?
Liso: We’re everywhere music can be. iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody and everywhere else you could think of. You’ll find me worldwide.
17. How do you handle criticism? Who has been your worst critic, if any?
Liso: I don’t really like criticism simply because I like to figure things out for myself. But so far I haven’t really had bad critics.
18. Is going platinum or winning a Grammy important to you? Where would you like to see your career within 5 years?
Liso: Going platinum or winning a Grammy is great but I’m all about the money and the music. As long as my family and me are living well, nothing else matters. In 5 years I want to see me selling out the Bell Centre in my hometown Montreal.
19. What in your opinion is the biggest barrier an artist like yourself has to face and overcome, to gain any commercial success?
Liso: I think the biggest barrier is getting people to believe in you and your movement. With a cult following no one’s getting anywhere.
20. Do you consider your Rap and HipHop genre, as a simple musical art form, or a political, social and cultural evolution, that you live by on a daily basis?
Liso: I see it as an art form. Rap to me isn’t a lifestyle, to live a lavish lifestyle from money you make from rap is different but rap is just a way to express ones inner thoughts.
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