Name: Anoop Chaganty
Style of Music: Hip-Hop / Rap
Bio: I am a composer / rapper from San Jose, CA. Though I mainly play the piano and produce, for the last two years I have been pursuing a career as a rapper as well.
1. What made you want to be a musician for a living?
I grew up in a very artistically progressive home, especially considering my Indian immigrant upbringing. In fact, it was actually my parents who encouraged my brother and I to pursue careers in the entertainment industry. My brother decided to be a director and so I sort of followed in his footsteps. Around high school I realized I didn’t want to make movies myself, but I wanted to make the music for movies. The turning point for me was when I watched the “Lost” Season 4 behind- the-scenes of the making of the score. That shit was so cool.
2. It’s common for musicians to be out of work for long periods of time. How can you supplement this time without work? How can you transition out of this period as quickly as possible?
For a long time, I desperately wanted to study music at a music university. Fortunately, I never got in to any of the schools I applied to, so I was forced to study something else in college. As a result, I (almost) have a degree in International Relations from USC, which qualifies me for a lot more jobs than if I had just gotten a music composition degree. Obviously, I would love for my music to take off right now and be able to support my life, but that is not realistic. In the meantime, I can work (doing a lot of different things) while still making music. I have no doubt that one day, I will see success in my art. Hopefully that day is sooner rather than later, but even if it’s not, I’m still happy.
3. As an independent artist, what have you done to successfully create music that competes with major label big budget artists? What would you have done differently? What advice would you give to other independent artists when budgeting funds?
Work with people who are better than you. Or just collaborate with talented artists. I cannot stress that enough. I made life so much harder for myself by trying to be this all in one music production factory. The best thing you can do to compete with major artists beyond constantly making art and improving is to surround yourself with those who are more experienced and better than you. As a musician, I never really did this, but I did collaborate with talented filmmakers. So my music videos are comparable to major artist music videos, even if my music isn’t necessarily on that level yet.
4. How important is the choice studio/engineer when it comes to recording the music that means the most to you?
A studio / engineer will make or break a project. There’s no two ways about it. An engineer is as much of an artist as any of the musicians on the record are, and you should treat them as such. I’ve had many bad or sub-par experiences with engineers and my music suffered as a result. Find someone to work with who’s cool and likes you / your music, otherwise you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
5. How important is image? How has social media played a role in your image and your career? What advice would you give to other independent artists?
Image is everything, especially in the social media age that we’re currently in. If you don’t have an excellent social media presence, you will be forgotten. It doesn’t matter if you make the best music ever, if people don’t see it and share it, it will be never be heard. Personally, I hate social media, but I still recognize it as necessary evil. I’m currently in the midst of planning my full-scale social media launch so ask me in a few months if I’ve had any success. Right now, I’m a ghost.
6. How do you go about making connections? What is the importance of the connections you make? How do you utilize them?
Connections are king in the entertainment industry. Often times, its who you know, now what you know that qualifies you for a certain job. Don’t sit in your studio and be that angsty isolated musician. You may make excellent music as a result, but you’ll never have anyone to share it with. Enjoy yourself. Go to open mics, parties, social events, and meet people. Don’t talk to them like they’re potential likes but actually engage with them on a personal level. Soon, you’ll have a reputation for yourself, and that promoter you met in that Uber might give you a call for a gig. Stay patient. This takes time.