Brandon Tyrell Ratliff AKA (BTR) who later become known as Born Too Real by one of his group Members/Brothers ” BIggie Whit”. He’s 19 From a small town called Troy, NC aka “MoCO”. A part of a group called *L.O.I*, He started rapping in the year 2009, but was first told he had flow at the age 14 which never hit ’em until the age of 19 when he sacrificed basketball. School wasn’t what he wanted at this time in his life. He had all these beliefs, stories and views in life he wanted to share through music which explains the name “BTR”. Here Born To Real let’s it all out, by telling Rick Jamm, what makes him tick as a Hiphop artist.
1. How long have you been doing what you’re doing and how did you get started in the first place?
BTR: I’ve been doing it for three years now. I started the summer of 2009, just graduated and my bro Georgwuan also known as “Pretty Boy”, another artist on the FTB label was doing music. He influenced me to sit home and write to beats on a headset lol posting them on Myspace. I later linked up with a high school friend, Biggie Whit and put a song together…the rest is history!
2. Who were the first influences on your music and style?
BTR: Jay Z, Drake, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, J Cole, Nas and the local legends around my way I heard while growing up, Cato Kelly and Giz (Booda Angels).
3. In your opinion who is the most influential and successful artist in your genre today and why?
BTR: Drake because he is talented, obviously, but he delivers good lyrics, he can sing on any hook and make it hot and he doesn’t stick to one thing. He mixes different styles of music together and catches a lot of attention.
4. Describe the first piece of equipment, hardware or software, needed to produce your creations, which you actually purchased with your own money.
BTR: Well, me and my bro Biggie Whit started out with FL Studio, a compressor mic with the shock mount, amp, usb and cables.
5. Do you think music today is enjoyed more for the beats or for the lyrical flow and content?
BTR: Nowadays people don’t listen for lyrics, it’s all about beats and hooks, that’ss what they like and me and my team we wanna be recognized for lyric content, a nice hook, bridge and a beat to go along with it.
6. Which famous song describes best what you’d like “BORN TOO REAL” to sound like?
BTR: It’s a couple but I would say, ummmm, Drake’s “Fear” track.
7. If you had the chance to work with established artists or producers, with whom would you like to collaborate in future?
BTR: I would collab with anybody, it don’t even matter what genre of music it is. I just love music and people who are talented and focused on the same thing.
8. Which of your original compositions is your personal favorite, and why?
BTR: I have two actually, I remade “Fear” by Drake, and an original track I got called “The Manifest”. The reason I chose these two is because they most describe me and what point I’m at in this time of my life.
9. Which ingredient do you think is most essential in making your music the way it is?
BTR: Life, my struggles, my passion, simply put me!
10. Which emotion currently dominates your music? Joy, sadness, anger or passion etc. , and why?
BTR: All of these emotions are symbolized in my music, it expresses who I am but passion would be more dominate because it’s what motivates me to try harder to get where and what I want to be.
11. What aspect of the music making process excites you most, and what aspect discourages you the most?
BTR: Making music, being good at it and others telling me I’m good, and there are great things to come and the discouraging part is the wait, nothing happening, like you want it but patience is a virtue and I’m gonna keep fighting, working and believing.
12. How involved are you in the recording, producing, mastering and other processes needed to produce and market your music, and do you outsource any part of this process?
BTR: I’m not too big on it but I put my input in on certain things but as far as promoting and putting the name out there I do a lot.
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” from where it becomes difficult to distinguish yourself.?
BTR: It’s a big help for promoting your music so people can hear you, but the sound quality is not gonna come out the same as in working in a real studio. It’s kinda mediocre to a certain extent because that’s how me and my bros started out and people loved it but when you are facing a bigger and different crowd of people that’s gonna hear something, you might of missed and some people are not gonna take you seriously, being that the simple fact it’s not a real studio recording and you don’t have certain items or simple things.
14. 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?
BTR: Knowing the business or a little bit about it and what you are in it for.
15. As an independent artist, which is the one factor you currently desire most (increased music distribution, better quality production, more media exposure, club performances etc…)?
BTR: Better quality production because it’s a lot of mainstream artists that put out mediocre songs and it gets pushed.
16. How do you distribute and promote your music ( Amazon, iTunes, CD Baby, Your own Website, Youtube etc…) and why do you use that particular platform?
BTR: CD, The Streets, FTBRECORDS.com, iTunes, Amazon etc. Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and all the popular music websites. All being distributed through TuneCore and Island Def Jam Digital. We try to be everywhere and available for everyone. The streets are important and being online is as well.
17. How do you handle criticism? Who has been your worst critic, if any?
BTR: I take criticism well, I critique my own music. If I don’t like it I’m gonna make changes until it’s perfect to me lol the market might like what I feel like is not a good track. I guess you can say I’m my own worst critic.
18. Is going platinum or winning a Grammy important you? Where would you like to see your career within 5 years?
BTR: I mean now no, but I would love to have one or two under my belt on down the road. At least two albums, of the hottest in the game and a nomination for a Grammy.
19. What in your opinion is the biggest barrier an artist like yourself, has to face and overcome, to gain any commercial success?
BTR: Staying consistent and continuing to make good music for the fans, remaining the same and being humble
20. If you were not a music artist, what would you be doing right now?
BTR: Probably in some college playing basketball!
To all my people and fans out there, make sure you check out www.FTBRECORDS.com on the regular to stay up on all the music my label mates and I are putting out! We work hard everyday to be creative and to bring fun and awareness into your lives! Shout outs to Kul Ray, Pretty Boy, JD, Storm, Tre Black, J Rich and J Med…my team…Unstoppable! First the Business baby!
BORN TO REAL OFFICIAL WEBSITES:
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