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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week – H.D.
Monday, February 12, 2007

Everyone knows the classic Almost Famous story about the young Rolling Stone writer and his exploits on the road, but H.D.’s about to rewrite the script with his own version of Almost Famous. The Haitian emcee/journalist is using the phrase as the title for his latest mix-CD and although he may only almost be famous he's proving he definitely has something to say. Born in a small Canadian town, H.D., which stands for Hold it Down, moved back and forth between Canada and New York a lot as a child, including an extended five year stay in Montreal before moving to New York permanently nearly a decade ago. Today I’m sitting down with H.D. to discuss his separate lives as an emcee, journalist and internet personality, in what ways they intertwine and in what ways he makes sure they never do.

Adam Bernard: You're a very busy person with both your work as an MC, your journalistic exploits, and H.D. TV. How do you keep those lives separate and avoid a Benzino-like steez of trading features on your web show for features on your albums?
H.D.: Ha ha! Well, that honestly hasn't come up with H.D.TV. On the writing tip DJs have proposed to put me on their mixtape in exchange for articles. One DJ in particular, sort of big in fact, heard my music three years ago and he was like, "it's cool." The next thing you know he was asking me to do an article on him in exchange for being on his tape. That turned me off. I didn't do it. My thing is, if you're an artist you should want to put out material you feel strongly about, but this guy was willing to use something he thought was "cool" on his tape just to get an article. I have no respect for his artistic integrity. The bad thing is you know a lot of DJs do that. You can tell by their wack ass tapes. If it makes sense, and if the person is deserving, I'll help anybody get press because I know how hard it is for some to get coverage. I've been offered money to write articles and turned the money down. In other cases the subjects were very deserving so I helped them out, but didn't take a dime. And that goes a much longer way because now that person will remember it later down the line. This game is built on favors, but I still think there needs to be some integrity attached.

Adam Bernard: As journalists you and I have to interview artists we don't necessarily like but we must remain completely unbiased. As an MC, however, you have to have a certain amount of bias and braggadocio. So two part question: when you're in the studio rhyming do you ever think "man, this could hurt my other forms of work," and when you're doing an interview do you ever think "man, being associated with this cat I'm interviewing is not good for the rap career?"
H.D.: Nah. The web show started as a way to promote my music, so I definitely don't see as hurting it. The instrumentals to my songs are all in the background and they link back to my music. As far as when I'm interviewing someone, I think people see that whether it's a respected artist or someone people don't like, I'm simply the interviewer. It's not like I'm rolling with them or anything. Though the show promotes my music in a sense, me interviewing them has nothing to do with my music. Me interviewing them doesn't make one of my verses worse.

Adam Bernard: What are your goals for your music? Who are you looking to reach and what are you looking to say to them?
H.D: It may seem broad, but my goal is to let everyone hear my music. People always ask me, if I wanna go major or independent. I'm open, man. I'm looking for the best situation possible to put out my music the way I want to put it out. As far as who I'm trying to reach, the same thing applies, I’m trying to reach everybody. Of course, I have songs that speak directly to my people or community, but they also speak to outsiders because they can learn what's going on in there. I think my perspective isn't typical. I feel like my story hasn't been told. One thing I'm trying to do is show people, black or otherwise, how wide the black experience is. You always hear about boys in the hood, like...African-Americans are the poster boys for what blacks are supposed to be worldwide, but even within this country there are tons of untold stories. That's without acknowledging the kid in Haiti, in Canada, in Africa, in Australia, in England. I'm pretty sure we haven't heard their story.

Adam Bernard: As an MC, what do you feel is the most important aspect of your work?
H.D.: The content. It's diverse. I think it's important for MC's to speak on a variety of topics. It's creative, and I think that's important considering that everybody is complaining about hearing the same stuff they've been hearing for years. My content reflects the average dude, it's everyman rap. So I think it's important because there's no balance today. I don't hear anybody I can identify with on the airwaves. It's one thing to appreciate good music, but it's much more special when you can relate to it. This is basically how I feel, and after asking the public during the Behind The Grind episodes of H.D. TV, those are the things they mentioned, so I definitely think the content is most important.

Adam Bernard: Finally, every career is basically a ladder. What rung do you feel you're on and how much climbing do you think you'll get done in 2007?
H.D.: That's hard to say, but things were looking very good going into 2007. I'm big on the jinx factor, so I won't say much, but there's a lot of interest on the music side as well as for H.D.TV. It seems like I'm slowly becoming a personality, perhaps more so than an artist. I don't really mind that because it'll just provide me with more visibility to put my music out. There are so many times when I said, "by next year, I'll be there. Or by next year, I'll blow up." That obviously hasn't happened yet, so I'll just keep grinding instead. I think what has me the most excited is that people keep telling me they sense something big happening for me. Sky is definitely the limit and it starts with Almost Famous.

For more H.D check out hdotmusic.com and myspace.com/hdottt


posted by Adam Bernard @ 8:03 AM  
  • At 6:20 PM, Blogger FHHN said…

    Still ain't get me that mixtape dude!

  • At 1:39 AM, Blogger DJ Flash said…

    I don't think there's a single artist you interview who doesn't have a MySpace these days. In 2007 it's all about the My!

  • At 9:52 AM, Blogger Clark Kent said…

    This was a great interview, Adam. H.D. is an upcoming emcee who has a bright future ahead of him. Keep up the great work for the both of y'all...

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