Call Me Ace is on his way to legendary status; however, he’s not your ordinary Hip-Hop Artist. Not only is Call Me Ace perfecting his craft, he’s also challenging the “norms” of society. Just last year, he dropped his debut album, “Airplane Mode” which debuted at #3 on iTunes Top 40 Hip-Hop Album Chart. Earlier this year, Call Me Ace dropped his second EP, “Working from Home” which already has over one million Spotify streams. While on his way to the top, Ace is adamant about staying authentic and allowing his art to speak for itself.
You’ve accomplished a lot as an independent artist. What advice do you have for artists that look up to you?
First off, thank you. I don’t really feel like I’ve accomplished a lot, but I’m grateful for every milestone since I started this journey four years ago.
My advice for artists that look up to me: Don’t stop. Even when the people around may not see your vision, keep going. Make sure that you’re cultivating your own vision and staying true to your own mission. Don’t be afraid to learn and grow. And lastly, building a sustainable brand takes work; it will not happen overnight. So, continue to persevere, especially when the times get hard, and you’ll find that your experiences will enrich the journey towards your ultimate goal.
What are your thoughts on major record labels exploiting upcoming hip-hop artists?
‘Exploiting’ is a heavy word. Generally speaking, we all exploit each other in one way or another – that’s the nature of give-and-take exchanges as people. If a business’s main interest is to grow profits, and the employee’s main interest is to gain a salary, that is the give-and-take exchange they agree to. So, a record label signing upcoming hip-hop artists isn’t being “evil” – it’s a label doing its job as it was designed to do.
The onus, then, is on the artist understanding what they’re signing up for. If you sign the line, then you signed the line – but do you know what you just signed up for? Labels are going to do what labels are going to do. You have to look at it like you’re accepting an “offer letter” for a new job: did you read all the reviews and testimonials about company culture? Are you aware of the company benefits and how they fare with competitors? Do you have a clear understanding of how and when you’ll get paid? Did you determine what your alternatives were to signing and run an analysis on which option was the best for your career? Did you take additional time to sleep on it and consult others that have been in a similar position for their advice?
As an artist, you have to know what you’re signing up for, and you can’t be mad at the negative outcomes if there was already information available that could’ve aided you in avoiding such experiences. It’s almost 2021. All the information is out there. If you’re planning to sign a record deal today, you should do everything you can to be knowledgeable about the ins and outs of your choice. And if you’re planning to be independent today, the same logic applies.
Neither option is inherently good or bad. It’s all about remaining informed, having a strong understanding of your goals, and doing the due diligence to understand the costs of either option. Ultimately though, the choice is up to you.
How would you describe your musical style? How imperative was it to stay true to your style as you progress in the music industry?
I would describe my musical style as very authentic. All I’m doing is sharing my stories, point of view and the lessons I’ve learned. And I’m doing it in a way that encourages, inspires, and motivates my listeners. Being someone that comes from nothing to being where I am right now, all I want to do is share my journey with my audience. I want to push my listeners to really seek a rich life, not just a life full of riches. Everything that I do and everything that I share is with that mindset.
I was a poet before I was a rapper, so of course I drench my lyrics with literary techniques and all that fun stuff. But at the end of the day, I’m less concerned about “oh wow, he’s a rapper – listen to him rap!” Yea, I know I have the flow and the technique and I’m proud of that, but it’s even deeper than that for me. Being mission-oriented and providing substance is a non-negotiable. Even my lightweight tracks got depth when you really knife-and-fork it.
And ultimately, it’s imperative that I stay true to myself and my style. I’ve been building this journey independently and haven’t needed anyone’s approval to do so – that also adds to my drive. Even when no one was listening, I knew I had something that people wanted to hear. And I would keep creating until the late night and early mornings. It’s a beautiful thing now to see new fans from different countries devour through the catalogue and note the consistency over the past 4 years. The investment is starting to pay off – I can’t let up now. I have to double down.
What can your fans expect for 2021? Any new music or merchandise?
Yes! Some things my fans can expect: I got a new album on the way, more music videos, and products coming out as well. I also plan to elevate the experience for the High Grade Society (my community of supporters) to the next level. Every Sunday, I also share personalized emails which include my business tips and insights as a creative entrepreneur (which you can also receive by enrolling here). I plan to share even more of my business experiences in a larger way in the months ahead – I’m currently finalizing some upcoming opportunities.
My fans know, Airplane Mode all day! We’re in autopilot so stay tuned in.
All images courtesy of Renee Lopez