There are many discussions throughout social networks asking whether or not being an independent artist from Washington, DC or the DMV is an advantage or disadvantage when trying to make it in mainstream entertainment. The question that seems to be the hot topic in most forums is “Do you have to leave the DMV to be successful?” Being passionate myself about the grind that must be put forth by any artist, I immediately said “no”. Why would an artist have to leave the DMV to peruse their dreams? Why can’t this feat be accomplished without relocating? This question is not just for musicians, but for poets, painters, writers, actors, and producers. Maybe I find the idea of having to uproot yourself unwillingly to fulfill your dreams, especially when so many successful names in the entertainment industry today represent the DMV to the fullest. Did these artist leave before or after they were discovered?
Was it the high demand these artists generated as a rising star the reason to bounce to New York, Atlanta, or California, or was it because there is no love at home for lack of a better world? Let us not stop there. Let us talk about the resources available to independent artists to cross over to the mainstream. Is there any major record labels home to the DMV area? Aside from Duke Ellington School of the Arts and Howard University, there are not many forums for instruction of the arts. . Musical artist complain that there is no outlet for their music to be heard because of lack of radio play and format. You have to grease the palm of a disk jockey to get one spin at 3:00am when no one is listening. Some may say it is a daily hustle. If you stay on your grind, you will be successful. Others may argue that there is too much “HATIN” going on in the DMV. Now there is a bigger picture ladies and gentlemen. While the question of whether independent artist in the DMV area can make it to stardom without leaving home is a double-edged sword, here is a list of artists that still reside in the area despite the odds.
Taraj P Henson
Although some of the artists listed above may not currently reside in the DMV area, they remained on their own geographical soil as they were discovered into the mainstream. It took Wale to go to Canada and then return to DC building up a large following. Now you can find him plastered over MTV and other networks with Pop Star Lady Gaga.
Taby Bonney has had success overseas as well and has brought it home to DC. I can tell you for a fact that they hate on Taby. No one can argue the fact that Taby Boney is one of the few if not only independent unsigned artist to appear on MTV’s $2 Dollar Bill Tour, as well as the “Rock the Vote” tour. Raheem Devaughn has had a Grammy nomination as well as Keyonte for songwriting. Chucky Thompson is a major producer who produced Biggie, Mary J Blidge, Amerie, and many more.
Discussion on this topic can go on until infinity with positive and negative feedback, but while these artists flourished in their hometown and continue on with their daily grind, other artist did in fact seek other horizons to manifest their dreams into reality. David Edwards, a native Washingtonian is now in California fulfilling his dream as a director. You may remember him in his famous role playing himself on the Real World, roles in Half Baked, and House Party 3.
Royale Watkins shinned on Def Comedy Jam and is currently hosting Comedy Mixtape Tour along -side the very talented Anthony Anderson. These two gentlemen alone had to pack their bags and head to the big city to pursue their careers. Was it hateration that caused these two artists to leave their hometown or was it due to a lack of resources?
The DMV is a small city which turns the target market of artists into one big melting pot of competition so I have come to say that it is a double edged sword when answering the question which lingers in so many people’s mind. One thing is for certain, and two things are for sure. Artist born and raised in the DMV area always come home some time or another, and when they do, DC is represented to the fullest. Whether artist stop on the heads of other artist in order to get noticed or signed is a question that many can answer, with many different answers.
My question to you is, are you going to let this stop you from your dreams and will you leave your hometown to escape the hate?
You Are Now…..InTheMIx….
chillin….. waiting at the car wash…. talkin bout the car washer