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Jane Creators Talking Shop: Learning to appreciate the process as an independent artist

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Rikki Blu is a rapper, currently based in Los Angeles and originally from Dallas. Learn about the lessons he’s learning and the gifts of collaboration and community he’s harvesting on his journey as an independent artist.

 

Q&A

What is your favorite part of creating?

Wow. Okay that’s a really great question. But my favorite part of creating would probably be the initial process. When everything is just bare bones and you just gotta find the bounce. Witnessing my process would probably sound like “mumbo jumbo,” but the humming and scatting truly excites me to turn those thoughts into things!

 

What have been your most important learnings you’ve had so far as an emerging artist?

Probably the patience that comes with coming into your own as an artist. Understanding that we grow, we have lows, and inspiration comes in waves. I’ve also learned that far too often artists focus on “making it” rather than the process of it all. But my journey has allowed me to appreciate the highs and lows, and I’m grateful.

 

How has SoundCloud played a role in your career so far?

I first started releasing music in 2013, and at that time SoundCloud, much like myself, was coming into its own. My long time friend/producer Free P and I decided that we’d use SoundCloud as our platform to start our campaign because of the emphasis on community. It truly allowed us to create not only an organic fan base, but also pioneered the dialogue between creators and listeners. Three years later, I almost exclusively use SoundCloud to share my art. Because of the community we’ve built, we’ve been blessed with an interactive, international, network of loyal listeners and that, my friend, is lit.

 

You mentioned you’ve collaborated with people all over the world through SoundCloud. How has this enabled you to foster your own community and motivate you to keep progressing?

SoundCloud empowered me to break down my walls and see the world without limits. Connecting artists, producers, and creators under one umbrella eliminates the hassle that comes with time zones and language barriers. SoundCloud bridged that gap for us and now with monetization available, the knowledge of the industry is now being revealed to the underground. Now we at least have a clue, a piece to the puzzle. I don’t know about too many others, but that alone motivates me to keep going.

 

Tell us more about the creative collective INFNTRY you’ve been hatching. What does it symbolize and mean for you?

INFNTRY represents not only our generation, but also our place in this world we were invited to. We occupy a rather peculiar position amongst our fellow humans, both young and old alike, but we’re different. We observed life before the introduction of the Internet and the now post-millennial America we’ve grown accustomed to. To point fingers and cast judgement isn’t our goal, but rather to restore the bond between our generations and present new, progressive ideas. INFNTRY empowered me to become so much more than just a recording artist. As a full-fledged creator and designer, I can now express myself in ways I never knew I could.

 

So far in 2016, you have released several projects on SoundCloud. Where and how do you find motivation to create and share consistently?

I’m hungry. I committed my entire being to becoming what I’m supposed to be in this world so whatever it takes, I’m ALL IN! Free P encouraged me to stop holding on to my music, so I let go. I’m motivated by the lives we touch, the things we create, and the future we’re working towards.

 

What are your next goals and steps that we should look forward to in the coming months?

Right now I’m trying to find a new place to stay ‘cause I’m officially out here [in Los Angeles]. But creatively, I have a new project that I’m prepping for release #IMNOTSORRY and an experimental EP titled: Even If It Kills Me. Since I do most of the designs for our INFNTRY brand, I’m working on launching our merch and, honestly just more really tight music!

Matt Creator News: LANDR, Stagelight, & SoundCloud Go discount

Musicians and audio creators have never had more tools and resources available to produce their best tracks quickly and easily. And we know different kinds of creators have different needs, which is why we’re happy to spotlight two new tools. The first, via a partnership with LANDR, gives all SoundCloud creators the ability to bring professional quality sound to the tracks they upload to SoundCloud. The second is an app integration with Stagelight, allowing those who are ready to make the jump to becoming a creator a little bit easier.  

 

SoundCloud + LANDR

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Today, we’re excited to announce a partnership with LANDR that opens up professional quality mastering for creators on SoundCloud.  And the best part is that it’s free for all SoundCloud creators. If it’s new to you, mastering is the final step after recording and mixing that ensures your tracks sound the best.

Driven by the smartest algorithms in the game, LANDR’s all-in-one, drag and drop interface makes mastering your tracks easier than ever. For this partnership, LANDR has created a new format specifically optimized for SoundCloud streaming.

  • All SoundCloud creators can master as many tracks as you’d like in this new format, for free.  

In addition to the above:

  • Creators on a free plan can master 1 track in LANDR’s high-res WAV format
  • Creators on a Pro Plan can master up to 2 tracks in LANDR’s high-res WAV format
  • Creators on a Pro Unlimited Plan can master up to 4 tracks in LANDR’s high-res WAV format.

There’s never been a better way to bring professional-quality mastering to your tracks, and the playing field has never been more level. To start mastering your tracks, head to this landing page, and connect your SoundCloud account. You’ll then be able to master and upload from the LANDR microsite to your heart’s content.

 

SoundCloud + Stagelight

Interested in becoming a creator but intimidated about learning complicated production programs? Stagelight by Open Labs provides a great jumping-off point for new creators and a seriously simple way for veterans to get back to the heart of their creative practice.

Start with an easy to follow in-app lesson and then progress at your own pace. Stagelight comes pre-loaded with a massive amount of sounds and loops for you to use royalty free, features like Key Lock which locks your digital keyboard to the music key of your choice, and built-in song templates. There’s also a native SoundCloud integration that makes it incredibly easy to upload to SoundCloud so that you can share the tracks you create.

Download Stagelight for free for a wide range of Android and Windows devices here. You may be surprised at how digging into the basics of songwriting — assisted by Stagelight’s powerful, accessible tools — can revolutionize the way you think about your creativity.

 

SoundCloud Go now 1.99 for Pro Unlimited creators

More good news: SoundCloud Go is now only 1.99 for creators with a Pro Unlimited plan in the US, UK, Ireland, and France. SoundCloud Go enables you to listen to SoundCloud offline and ad free and gives you access to a catalog of over 125 million tracks. Start your free 30 day trial here.

You can upgrade to a Pro Unlimited creator account at soundcloud.com/pro.