St. Louis, Missouri artist FLAME recently released his ninth album God Knows, his first being a self-titled album in 2004. In the past fourteen years, how people consume music has changed a lot, from CDs to iPods to smartphones to Spotify.
“I feel like I was a bit prepared for it.”
Many years ago, FLAME read All You Need to Know About the Music Business by Donald S. Passman. The book is now in its eight edition, and FLAME read an edition in the late 90s or early 00s, he said. “He said that his guess would be there will come a day when people will pay their phone company a monthly fee to access an unlimited amount of music.” At that time, Passman’s concept was very confusing to FLAME, thinking “What does that even mean?”
FLAME thought it was a really cool concept, and now in the age of Spotify, Apple Music, and similar services, it has come to fruition. “The way I’ve tried to adjust is to say ‘Let me really try to stay on top of this streaming thing. Let me get on some of these playlists. Let me create the kind of music that’s listener friendly and has a certain type of emotion for replay value.’”
In 2018, he sees a greater value on touring then in the past. “It raises awareness of the credibility of the music. Obviously touring has always been important in music…” FLAME says that in the past, many listeners were satisfied knowing their favorite artists from afar, but now fans love to go see their artists in concert and meet them.
“It has a different value rather than them enjoying not seeing you and not knowing what you’re doing mid-day. Now we get excited about that.”
Regarding the changes in Christian hip-hop over the years, “I think we have two genres underneath one umbrella.” FLAME describes the umbrella as as “a collection of Christian people who like hip-hop, who like rap.”
He thinks that having two genres within Christian hip-hop is amazing. “You have those who say, ‘You know what? I’m not super excited about always talking about my faith in this particular way, but I still love music,’ and they’re killing it. You’ve got those who say, ‘You know what? I feel some type of tug to keep mentioning my faith and calling people to Jesus’ and they’re killing it.”
As an artist who has been putting out music for over fifteen years and continues to grow his platform and fan base, FLAME’s advice to up and coming artists is to maintain their commitment to their church and to the Lord. “Just drawing on that. Living a regular life. Husband loving their wives and wives loving their husbands, keeping the net intact.”
As life goes on and people bring their experiences to their music, “Be consistent. Know your audience. Create good art. Be creative. Explore new sounds. Always keep it fresh. Do good business; be fair to people.” FLAME believes that those are the key elements that can build trust and drive longevity in a career in music.
FLAME said that if he finds a good match, he is open to signing another artist to join himself and Mike Real on his label Clear Sight Music. “The challenge right now is finding that full package. The talent, the work ethic, the drive, the personality… We’re planning. We’re plotting. We’re always keeping our eyes out and are open to that. Anybody out there, I may be on your IG listening. You might not even know it because I’m always looking for new talent and checking people out.”
This year FLAME intends to tour and will include a worldwide tour.
“We’re gonna be all throughout the states and overseas as well.”