Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Brad Real

Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Brad RealI have to be honest.  I do not like rap.  I am sick of hearing songs from people who claim to be from the “ghetto” and have lived such terrible lives but yet drive nice cars and are covered in all of the nicest jewelry.   I have a few rap artists that I listen to, like 50 Cent, Eminem, Dr. Dre, and a few others.  I now have to add one more name to that list.  Enter the voice that I am sitting with today.  He brings a very honest set of lyrics to the microphone but does not over sell himself by using every swear word in the dictionary.  He comes from right here in Indianapolis and makes it known in his songs and his conversation.  It is nice to finally get the chance to not only meet but to sit down and chat with Brad Real.

How long have you been rapping?

I used to write and record songs on my little plastic computer microphone when I was 13 or 14 years old. I’m pretty sure I thought I was good. For the past year and a half I have started taking it extremely seriously and focusing on ways I can make a living out of it.

Do you write all your own lyrics?

Yes. I draw on all of my experiences, thoughts, beliefs and share that with the world.  I do my best to describe things in a way that the listener can relate to, but some songs are more personal than others.

How old are you?

The ripe old age of 25.

Are you originally from Indianapolis?

Yes, I have lived here all of my life.  A few out of town stints for various jobs, but I’m born and raised 317!

Do you have a job outside of music?

Ah yes. I work for a medical billing company doing insurance type work. The cubical life.  I enjoy it.  It’s not glamorous, but it allows me the opportunity to put my time and money into what I love which is music.  The people are great.

You hardly ever swear.  Is there a reason for that?

You know, I’ve just always thought that a lot of swearing in music was because the artist couldn’t think of anything good to say.  I do swear, occasionally, and when I do I want it to have meaning.  There has to be feeling behind it.  Not just to match up syllables or to sound tough.  Music is about emotion. Swearing is emotion, when used correctly.

Does being from Indianapolis help or hurt your career as a rapper?

I wouldn’t change it for the world.  There is an amazing Hip-Hop scene here in Indianapolis.  I cannot sit here and tell you that we have the same opportunities as some of the bigger market cities such as New York, LA, Chicago, etc., but we have each other. There is a unity here that I can’t really describe.  All of the artists know one another.  We support one another.  One person’s success is success for everyone. I think, if in a bigger market, we would lose that sort of comradery. I want to play a role in bringing Indianapolis to the forefront of the hip-hop scene.

I hear you are an educated individual.  What did you study?

(Laughs) I graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Sports Marketing.  Hoosiers, baby! I always wanted to work in sports, until I actually did. As you grow older your priorities change I think, at least they did for me. Music just grabbed a hold of me and my path took off in a different direction. I definitely use my degree everyday though.  Networking, marketing, adverting, just being professional.  You can go a long way in the hip-hop world if you are well-spoken, polite and genuine with people.

Do you do very many live shows in the Circle City?

We are everywhere, man! Performing is the best part of all of this. If I’m not in the studio, I’m preparing for a show some place. I love it.  Being able to share my passion with a live audience, there is just no feeling like it.  You can check out our upcoming show schedule on my website. I had to throw in a little shameless promotion, sorry.

What are your thoughts on MySpace?

MySpace was great for me a couple of years ago when I first started taking music seriously.  It was a way for me to put my music out there to as many people as possible.  I was even able to do some networking on there initially and meet some people who were on the local scene.  I think at this point it’s run is coming or has come to an end.  There are just better sites out there that make it easier to filter through what you don’t want.

Are you on Twitter?

Absolutely – @BradReal – follow me! (Laughs) I’m addicted I’m pretty sure; especially with the Blackberry. I’m on it constantly.  I’ve done more business and networking on Twitter in the last week than I’ve done on MySpace in the past six months.  If you’re an artist, business person or anyone trying to connect with people and you aren’t on Twitter, then you aren’t up on your game.  That’s a fact.

When did you realize you wanted to be a rap artist?

I released my first album in October 2008.  It was something I always wanted to do, just as a life goal.  It was good, I got great responses from it…but I knew I could do better.  After releasing that album and getting a glimpse of the fulfillment music could provide, I knew it’s what I wanted.  It’s never felt like work to me.  I’m living my dream everyday, I really am.  Being in this city, being a part of the culture, the atmosphere and being able to be a contributor to the hip-hop scene, it means everything.  I feel blessed to be a part of it.  I will never stop making music, I love it too much.

Do you ever battle freestyle?

(Laughs) Man in college I did a little bit.  But you will get your lyrical head chopped off in this city if you try to battle and don’t bring it. I wouldn’t dare step to some of these emcees we have around here. I’ll do some free styling on stage at shows, that’s always a lot of fun. I’m a lover, man (laughs) I’ve never had that kind of killer instinct with my lyrics that it takes to be a battle rapper.  I have a ton of respect for the guys that can do it though.  My guy Sonny Bamboo… shew….it’s an incredible talent.

Do you ever perform outside of Indiana?

I really haven’t yet, but I WILL be.  This is just the beginning for me.  I’m not sure where exactly the road leads, but I love the ride.  I know it’s going to take me places.

You have performed with a lot of artists.  Who is the most fun?

That’s tough.  There are SO many great artists. I’d have to say my man A.C.E. O.N.E.. When I first came onto the scene, Ace really took me under his wing…and he continues to do that. He just makes me feel so comfortable on stage, we always vibe so well together.  His passion for the music just rubs off on everyone, including me.

What is 8729 Records?

8729 Records is the record label that I record under.  We become an official LLC on January 1st and I can’t wait!

Is there a meaning behind 8729?

8729 was my address when I first started recording.  I recorded my entire first album in my apartment.  My Samson USB Mic, Iso Panel and PC Tower with Cakewalk. We will always be 8729 Records because that is where it all started and I don’t want to ever forget that.  The harder we work, the more things will change but the more complicated they will become.  8729 Records is to remind myself of why I started this in the first place.  When there was no money, no schedule, no management, just the love of the music.

Are you really a fan of the Tim Hardaway cross over dribble?

(Laughs) Wow someone who listens to hip hop LYRICS? (Laughs) Yeah, man.  My brother and I were basketball junkies growing up. I’m a fan of the little guy doing big things. Timmy was the man!

Your video for Ain’t Budgin’ was filmed right downtown Indianapolis.  Who did the video editing for that?

My man Matt Rhodes of did all of that. He is flat out incredible. That was so much fun.  We actually JUST released our video for my single “Let Yourself Go”. Matt also did all of the editing and production for that. It can be seen on my website.

Tell me who this Nick J character is.

Nick J is the man behind the magic! He is the producer of all the beats I have the esteemed privelage of writing to and rapping over. I’d be nowhere without Nick.  His quality is unmatched.  We’ve worked together long enough now that we know what each other is thinking.  I can throw him an idea, a concept for a song and he will bring it to life.  The guy has so much talent it’s scary.

Do you have a lot of competition between local rap artists?

You know, I have to be completely honest with you.  I may answer this differently than some other artists would.  Yes, there is obviously competition.  We are all competition for each other, there is no way around that. When someone raises the bar, we all want to be the next to raise it higher.  But we root for each other.  It’s a healthy competition.  Negative competition, I have never understood.  I think that comes from artists not having enough confidence in themselves or their own abilities. I know I will handle mine, so when one of my fellow brothers or sisters of hip hop has a success, I solute them whole-heartedly. It has to be that way for us as a city, as a genre and as a culture to succeed.  We have to raise each other up and support one another.  I love this city so much for that.

Do you have any interest in a major record contract?

I absolutely do. A lot of people may not be honest with their goals in case they don’t achieve them…but I’m not hiding from mine.  I want this. I’m honestly not afraid of failure because there is no possible way for me to fail. The fulfillment I get every single day by just pursuing the dream is enough to last me forever. If someone actually wanted to pay me to do what I love, that would be the ultimate.

Let’s say someone offered you a $250,000 record contract.  But the album was someone else’s lyrics and it was a country album.  Do you do it?

I can’t sing a note…hence the rapping.  But to answer your question, I just couldn’t.  Not just because I wouldn’t want to, but I really couldn’t.  There is no way I could reach my potentional if I was recording songs that had nothing to do with my passion.  I have to be passionate about what I’m doing or there would be no substance.

What was the last movie you saw?

(Laughs) Oh man you caught me.  I saw New Moon with a lady friend.

Did you like it?

Actually, yeah. I thought it was pretty good. But don’t tell anyone I said that.

Who are some of your biggest influences?

Musically…my local guys influence me the most.  Rusty Redenbacher, Ace One, Son of Thought, alpha., Mr. Kinetik, Jesse Reddington, on and on and on… I’m still a newcomer on this scene and all of these guys have made me feel so at home.  They are the keepers of the pond… I’m just making my ripples. My man Big Tid! My parents of course, my brother.  Jon Young is a huge influence on my music.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Doing music.  I’ll still be performing, writing and pursuing my dreams.  I want to be here in Indianapolis because I believe in it.  I want to do whatever I can to help this city achieve. This is my life.

What do you want to be remembered for when this is all said and done?

I feel like I have just started.  I want to always be thought of as a genuine person.  A good person. Someone who wasn’t afraid to be himself.  Someone who made good music and was able to influence people in a positive way.  If I can achieve certain things and make someone somewhere look at me and have it inspire them to know that they can do anything….that will be enough for me.  I want to inspire.

I always let the artist get the last word.  Go.

Well first of all, thank you Ricky for doing this interview. I truly appreciate it not only for myself but for shining a light on hip-hop here in our city.  For anyone who may read this, please support your local artists.  Go to a show, buy a CD, tell them you appreciate their hard work.  There is so much talent here in Indianapolis.  My second album “Married To The Music” will be out after the first of the year so please be on the look out for that. Until then, keep your head up and stay blessed! Thanks, I really enjoyed it.