Our artist of the week is Frhetoric, a musician who follow his passion and live life on his own terms.
”I don’t really care about the approval of other people apart from the audience – they’re the ones who matter”
1) At what age did you discover you were able to write and what inspired you?
Written assignments in school were always my forte, but my main inspiration always came from trying to imitate things I read and watched. At around the age of ten my friends and I would read a lot of comics, so we made our own which became quite popular in our class. At thirteen we’d watch a lot of sketch comedy, so we wrote, directed and filmed our own. At fifteen I we were well into hip-hop, so naturally, we decided to pen our own lyrics. My first lyrics were so offensive that they literally got me expelled from school, which I still take great pride in.
2) Can you give us an insight into what skills / personal attributes are most important to be successful?
Persistence is key. If give up, or don’t even try, then you automatically fail. Knowledge is power, so researching the industry you want to succeed in is incredibly important. Pay attention to trends, but also dare to be different. Trends come and go, but longevity comes from being able to re-invent yourself. Finally, networking is probably the most important skills to have regardless of what you do. If you ever wonder why a seemingly talentless person is successful, it’s probably because they met the right people at the right time.
3) What personal advice would you give to other musicians wanting to pursue this career?
In addition to the above, all I would say is don’t measure yourself by anyone else’s standards. Everyone’s background and the journey is different, and it’s easy to become bitter and jealous of other people’s success. Pay attention to why you’re doing what you do. Always ask yourself if you really and truly enjoy what you’re doing to make sure you’re on the right path. “Selling out” to me is making music I don’t enjoy doing just to be “successful” in the eyes of others.
4) If you had a time machine and you had to do it all over again, would you still choose this career? If so, would you do anything differently?
Would I still choose this career? Yes. Would I do anything differently? Hard to say. On one hand, the knowledge I have now would definitely have benefitted my younger self and saved me a lot of headaches. On the other hand, those experiences shaped the person I am today and gave me said knowledge. You can’t have one without the other.
5) From personal experience; How did you make connections?
It’s a numbers game. I’ve reached out to lots of people, been rejected many times and been disappointed many times. But one great connection justifies all the hard work, rejections and disappointment. If I pay people for their services, I like to test the waters first before committing fully. If it doesn’t involve money, then I do my best to nurture the relationship by seeing if I can help the person in some way. It’s a give-and-take world.
6) How do you get people to take you seriously as a musician?
I don’t really care about the approval of other people apart from the audience – they’re the ones who matter. I’ve worked plenty of “real” jobs that are hard to take seriously. When I ask people what they do to pay the bills and they tell me it’s boring, I’m really grateful I’m not in their position. It’s a waste of life to spend it doing something you find boring. I’d rather be poor and do something that’s personally fulfilling.
7) How to respond to the “back up plan” questions?
I have no backup plan. I used to have one, and I’ve wasted a lot of time and energy trying to chase a “real” career. Only misery and depression came out of it. Artistic creativity can be a blessing and a curse in that sense. I love making art and being creative, but at the same time, I don’t have a choice in the matter if I want to maintain my sanity. People make money from the silliest things these days, so trying to make money as a musician isn’t all that unrealistic.
8)What are your personal thoughts on the image? Do you have a particular style or a signature that people can relate too?
Ready for another cliche? I like to keep it real. I don’t wear outlandish outfits to draw attention to myself, I don’t fabricate my past to seem more interesting, and I don’t conform to any mainstream narratives. As it happens, just being myself is already pretty controversial to some and relatable to others. Regardless of what your image is, I think it’s impossible to please everyone. I’m happy to alienate 99% of the world if 1% can relate to me.