Features, Interviews

First Day Feature: Kevin Clouds talks balancing being an artist and label-head, new “Cold Heart” visual and more

I’ve always admired those who are able to wear multiple hats and grind their way up. The spirit of entrepreneurship inspires me and I have to believe that is does for others as well. It takes a person who is wired a bit differently. Not everyone is necessarily cut out to be an artist, conversely not everyone is meant to be a boss. For Flint, Michigan’s Kevin Clouds he tows the line of both well.

The burgeoning talent has found success that has grown since dropping his 2020 debut project “Nature Knows No Kings”. Furthermore, as co-owner of his “Wav Village” record label, Kevin Clouds has seen himself on both sides of the music business. The multi-faceted nature of his dealings provides unique insight to how things work.

With a fascinating background and a brand new visual out for his introspective “Cold Heart (Freestyle), we sat with Kevin Clouds to pick his brain a bit. Follow the full Q&A below:

For anyone getting their introduction to you today tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Kevin Clouds. I was born and raised in Flint, Michigan. I make music professionally with my friends and we started a label in 2019. It’s been go mode since then. Wav Village is the movement!

You grew up in Flint, Michigan. Safe to say this area is pretty notorious for being tough. What was your experience like being raised in the city?

Growing up here you don’t really realize how bad it is. You become used to it. I always assumed it was normal to deal with drugs, violence and poverty. It’s all we know so it was normal to us to grow up around all that shit. You become desensitized after a while. You hear about people getting gunned down regularly and don’t think too much into it because it’s just a normal part of life here. Shits sad really. It wasn’t until later in life when I got older and started traveling that I realized my city is kind of fucked up. I love Flint tho. Ain’t no place like it in the world! We’ve been through so much between the 90’s and now. Even with the odds against us we always find our way. I love that about us. We don’t complain we just keep grinding. We’re the most resilient people in the world.

Who were some of your earlier inspirations growing up, both in and out of music?

Outside of music I would have to say my dad and my uncle. My dad because he was such a hard worker. He’s the most caring and giving man I know. He has never made a lot of money but he always busted his ass to make sure my mom and I were straight. I never went hungry and I always had a stable home. He made sure I stayed in school and endlessly lectured me about staying out of the streets. I didn’t always listen but now that I have a son, I understand, I appreciate it and love him for it. My uncle was just cool as fuck. He could hoop, he was a baseball player, he was really good at bowling, he was a race car driver, he was good at every video game, he had all the girls, all that! He was the man! I used to wear his jerseys to school because I wanted to be just like him. As far as music, early on it was Motown. I loved the Jackson 5, Smokey and The Temptations when I was little. As I got older I started listening to everything. I’d say my biggest earliest inspirations were Johnny Cash, Nirvana, Sublime, Tupac, Linkin Park, Jay Z, Wyclef, 3-6 Mafia, Camron and Lil Wayne. I’m pretty musically diverse and cultured. I’d say I’m inspired by everyone and everything. Art imitates life, ya know?

How long have you been in the rap game and what inspired you to jump into it all in the first place?

I’ve been making music professionally for about 2 years now. I used to rap about 10 years ago with my boy Shemy but I never really took it serious enough to pursue a career in music. I’m from a small market city so I just didn’t see the money in it at that point in time. I also didn’t have a working budget and I had a baby to worry about so I said fuck rap and became a poker dealer. I decided to jump back into it 2 years ago because I was going through a rough time in life. I was talking to a therapist and she suggested I find a creative release and I can’t really paint or draw so I started writing songs. I was just using music as an outlet and now I’m here. Shout out to my therapist Shannon!

You are part owner of the record label Wav Village, what has the experience of heading the label been like for you thus far?

I’m not gonna lie, it’s been challenging but I’m optimistic and very confident we will be a very successful record label. I can feel it! We’re doing something special here at Wav Village. Shout out to my team! None of this is even possible without them, especially Arline. We have some very talented artists we are working with as well. Rich Clay is a monster. He’s definitely gonna blow up. His work ethic is crazy! Dude never stops working! Sway Montoya is already groomed for the industry. He’s ready right now! I can hear him on any radio station. He could be a movie star if he wanted to be. He’s a true entertainer and he has potential to be an icon! 3AM is one of the most musically gifted people I’ve ever met. He’s an immense talent. He can sing, he can rap, he can play guitar, he’s just gifted when it comes to music. I’m excited for all of them. You’re gonna hear a lot from these guys soon!

How do you balance being an artist and an entrepreneur? Do the lines ever get blurred for you?

No. It’s all so similar to me that there’s no need to. I’d say being an entrepreneur has made being an artist a lot easier for me. In business you have to learn to become emotionally detached to your investments and ventures. You have to be self motivated and accountable as a business owner. That same mentality must be applied with artistry. When you have an entrepreneurial mindset you don’t see failures as losses. You understand that you’re gonna fail 100 times before you succeed. People are gonna tell you no 100 times before they finally tell you yes. That all can be applied to music too. You gotta ignore the critics and keep grinding. The only thing that matters in life is consistently putting in work. Time will reveal who’s been working and who hasn’t. The only focus is to stay focused. I don’t care what you’re doing in life, if you work harder than your competition and refuse to give up you’ll win every time.

Switching gears, you just dropped a new visual for your Cold Heart (Freestyle). What was the process like creating the track?

It was unplanned actually. Me and one of my engineers were buying some new plug ins for pro tools and we wanted to hear how they sounded so we turned the beat on and I just started punching in and 20 mins later we had a song. Just kinda happened.

The track is very personal which I enjoyed about it. Do you feel like there is a responsibility for an artist to share some of themselves musically with the listeners?

Absolutely. You don’t have to talk about every detail of your life and I think it’s important to protect your privacy but I think it’s a good idea to let your listeners get a glimpse inside your life every now and then. People wanna know your story. They wanna know who you are when the mic and the cameras are off. I don’t mind letting people in. I’m a pretty normal guy so I feel like most people can relate to me. It’s good to be personable. Makes it a lot easier to pitch myself to people.

The visual sees you in the studio vibing out. It made me interested to know just how much time you tend to spend in the booth with you being involved with music on a couple of fronts?

I get in the studio as much as possible. I try to get at least 1 or 2 songs done a week. I just go up there whenever it’s not booked. My schedule is always pretty flexible and I own the studio we record at so I just record whenever I’m just chillin or not doing anything really.

Since coming into the industry what do you think is the best piece of knowledge about it you have gained?

I’m learning more about it everyday. The best piece of knowledge I’ve gained about the industry is I learned it’s never personal. No one cares about you or your feelings in this industry, they only care about analytics and sales.

What is your biggest accomplishment that you are proud of to date?

Being a dad. I’m sure I could win a Grammy and that wouldn’t be as rewarding as being Cash’s dad.

What is the thing you want to accomplish more than anything? What is your biggest goal?

I want to set my city up to win forever. I want to create the next Motown. I want Wav Village to be a global franchise. I want to build studios in a bunch of different cities and help artists launch and manage their music careers without signing their lives away. I want to be the Walmart of recording studios and record labels. You can come to us and we can get you together. I want to connect local independent artists with the resources they need to compete against the big labels. You need to record? We got you! You need a video? We got you! You need to set up publishing and distribution? We got you!

What should fans be on the lookout for from you in the near future?

I have a bunch of videos and singles dropping this year. I’m also releasing my second studio album, “Momento Mori” in October. I plan on starting my own podcast sometime this year and I’ll be vlogging more as well so expect to see my face a lot more. I kinda wanna get into acting and maybe even design some clothes too, so we will see how everything plays out. Other than that, I’ll be grinding. I’m locked in.

Any last words before we conclude?

Go check me out on social media! I’m sure my linktree will be posted somewhere. Make sure y’all click that link and tap in with me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook! Momento Mori is dropping in October make sure y’all look out for it! I appreciate you having me. Thank you! Shout out to all my friends and family back home! I love y’all! Shout out to Flint and one time for Michigan! Holla!

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