Jacobi Ryan Is it you - Provided Photo

This week’s Creator Conversation Q&A session highlights an on-going project by Jacobi Ryan as he releases a new song every week throughout 2019. Accompanying each song is a behind-the-scenes podcast, artwork, and music videos.

How do you describe yourself and your music?

Growing. Bruce Lee is someone I’m hella inspired by and try to study and learn from. He has been quoted saying something along the lines of there are no styles, only growth. As I experience life and continue getting to know myself my art can adjust and develop a million times over into all type of sounds and styles. I’m always looking to learn something new and get better. And that can have a drastic impact on my work at any given time. I just try to build on what speaks to me. It’s hard for me to define a style for myself bc I don’t fit in any boxes. I’ve been told my sound is akin to Big KRIT & J Cole. And while I respect and get a lot of influence from them I just don’t like to compare myself to anyone else on any level. I’m Jacobi Ryan, and trust me there’s a looooooot inside of that alone – sometimes it’s a good thing, other times not so much.

What is #52in365 and what does it all involve?

#52in365 is a campaign I launched this year where I drop a new song, a new podcast explaining the song, and a new music video with that song every week, all 2019.

What prompted you to take on this endeavor? 

Two reasons. First, I’ve done a lot to build and establish a foundation for my brand over the past 5+ years – all with strategy. Since releasing three mixtapes in 2014 I haven’t released much content at all, I’ve wanted to continue building – but not blindly. I’m somewhat of a calculated person and I’ve grown to value myself and my work so much that I want to operate with a strategy I can experiment with, implement, track, analyze, adjust, and scale. After performing close to 60 shows/year over the last 3 years while recording and stockpiling material, I wanted to release it with intention and purpose to really take me to the next level I want to go. My intention in performing so much while not releasing anything was to create demand instead of trying to supply a demand not there. I also wanted to take the time to gain security and confidence in myself by working and improving my craft while polishing my live show any opportunity I could get. People began to ask me when the next project was coming out and things like that around late 2017 so I’d known the time was coming. In the middle part of last year I thought of the idea to drop a song every week after listening to some Gary Vee podcasts (big fan of his). 

As an artist, it’s easy for us to say “Oklahoma doesn’t support us” for whatever reason. But I’m not really into making excuses, complaining or allowing other people to decide my reality.

The second thing that prompted this was to get people’s attention. As an artist, it’s easy for us to say “Oklahoma doesn’t support us” for whatever reason. But I’m not really into making excuses, complaining or allowing other people to decide my reality. I’ve never really been one of those “support me bc I’m your friend” or “support me bc I’m a local artist” or “support me bc I’m in the same state or city as you.” To me, that’s entitled and lazy. I always felt like people from Oklahoma haven’t supported anybody enough to launch them into a mainstream type of position bc none of us have been good enough yet. When I say that I’m not discounting at all the dope ass artists who have been in Oklahoma for ages. But moreso that since we are in Oklahoma, where we are slept on and the reality/chances of us being successful Hip Hop artist out of Oklahoma are slim, we have to be more than good enough. We have to be undeniable. I always saw not getting support as a challenge for me to become so good that even the biggest haters have no choice but to acknowledge and give the proper respect. Make it inevitable. On top of that, as an artist, gaining attention for your work is hard bc the market is so saturated. And trolling has always been corny to me. I don’t rock w the idea of gimmicks or playing the political game. I’m here to disrupt and shake things up, point blank period. I’m 100% about independence and owning what I create to maintain my freedom and dignity to express myself how I please and be in control of my purpose. So to do that, I have to garner attention somehow to build a fanbase of sorts. So instead of taking the trolling/click bait/easy bake oven route, I figured I’d use what I’ve accrued and try to do something out of the box like releasing a new song and video every week for a whole year. Quality content is king and our attention spans are so short now with social media and technology having everything at our fingertips now. I just want to create my own real estate in people’s lives by providing and producing value – period. In everything I do that’s what it’s about. The bottom line is providing value.

What has been the greatest challenge so far with this project?

So far it’s been figuring out what resonates with people. Bc just throwing out a song/week wasn’t enough we started doing videos as well. And that’s what’s seemed like draws people in to be interested enough to listen to the song and the podcast and give the campaign a chance. In essence, creating the infrastructure was difficult at first just bc like previously talked about, we had to figure out what was going to incentivize the attention the campaign needs to build some momentum. From there it’s just been figuring out a weekly routine to ensure the songs are uploaded and released on streaming services on time, the videos and photos (shoutout Imageline Studios and SIKE Images) are taken on time and ready to be released each week, making sure the captions are right, the marketing strategy is in place as well as ads and different promotional assets, and also making sure we have tracking systems in place to ensure we’re growing and learning from out mistakes, figuring out what works and what doesn’t. After the first two months things have stabilized and I’m a lot more confident and comfortable in the infrastucture and routine, now it’s more about polishing the machine and continuing to cut the dead weight to be as effective and lean as possible.

What’s something positive you try to keep in mind or do when negativity surrounds you?

I just try to control and focus on the things that I can control and mind my business. Negativity is inevitable. Especially when you strive to succeed at anything. I just stick with my gratitude and try to continue improving. In my view the traditional definition of happiness is hella overrated. Gratefulness is all I strive for. Depression, struggle, suffering, anxiety are all, in my opinion, very human things that we all experience. There’s nothing wrong with us bc we go through these things and these things are not necessarily bad for us, again I can only speak for me. Things just are and the way we respond is what makes them what they end up being. I don’t believe complaining, arguing, or making excuses helps anything. So I just try to be accountable for myself, deal with the reality (even and especially when it makes me uncomfortable), and adjust myself to the reality I can’t control by aligning how I respond with the understanding of the reality I want to create. Again like Bruce Lee says, be like water. I constantly question myself and proactively look for ways I can be better. The more my time is spent on that the less time I have to worry about the external things. Nobody is a bigger critic of me than me. I find solace in that. Bc I can trust myself the most and live with the results. Falling on my own sword and standing on my own feet definitely gives me a security that makes it easier to deal with the negativity that comes from the outside. My biggest problems come from me. If I can win the war within myself, the war outside of myself is easy.

What are some of your favorite places to perform or listen to live music in Oklahoma?

Kamps, to me, is my favorite place to perform so far. Hubbly Bubbly’s culture is so dope to go chill and experience the artists that go through there on a monthly basis. I don’t know that I’ve experienced anywhere else that provides culture the way Hubbly Bubbly does and always has since I’ve come to OKC. The Plaza Festival and Norman Music Festival are dope too of course. I’d imagine Tower or the Criterion will be dope too once I can pack it out lol. Another favorite place I’ve performed at has been on the street in front of Harkins Theatre in Bricktown, thanks to Hiei Enriquez. That experience did a lot for me as an artist and really as a person as a whole.  

What are some of your favorites places to go to on a Friday in Oklahoma?

I be chillin yo lol I’m either at a show, at the movies, or at the house. I like reading and learning a lot so when I get free time I try to discipline myself into getting engaged with something that’ll provide value for me.

Looking forward, what can people expect from #52in365?

A new song, video, and podcast every week. Getting to know me. Value. And the benefit of saying you were on board/remember when this whole thing was just getting started.

What else would you like people to know about yourself and your music?

All I need people to know is that I’m from Lawton, Oklahoma and I’m nothing without the Creator.

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Dennis Spielman

I'm Dennis Spielman, the Producer of Uncovering Oklahoma, which I started in 2009 as a way to show that Oklahoma isn't boring. As for about myself, I’m a creative person that writes imaginative stories. I also run The Show Starts Now Studios, which is my umbrella organization for all of my shows I create. Come join me on Patreon as I create content that adds adventure and wonder to peoples' lives. More about my stories and projects are at DennisSpielman.com