Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Music journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie artists. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome. See my complete profile
It is always great to celebrate one of our own and today an extreme amount of kudos, props, shout outs, whatever slanguage you want to use for praise, goes out to former Artist Of The Week Substantial, who’s video for “It’s You (I Think)” has made it into rotation on MTV2 and has even aired on MTV. Check it out:
I’ve known Substantial since our mutual friend Sean “Ope” Williams introduced us in late 2003 / early 2004. He brought him to a radio show I was co-hosting at the time and I knew as soon as I heard him rhyme there was something special about the emcee from Maryland. We shared a vision regarding Hip-Hop and quickly became friends.
As the years passed I kept wondering “why hasn’t he blown up yet?” (This is actually something I wonder about quite a few of my friends) We continued to work together on a number of things. I wrote about him quite a few times, continued having him on my radio show as a guest, and even threw a small concert where he was the headliner.
Eventually Substantial moved from Brooklyn, where he had been living, back down to Maryland. He earned himself a fantastic position with a great company and continued to make the music he wanted to make. The fact that he’s been making music for himself first makes it even more refreshing to see his video airing on MTV now. So many artists feel they need to “sell out” and change who they are to get airplay, but Substantial is in the process of proving all of them wrong.
You don’t need to sell out to make it. What artists need to do is treat music like the artistic craft that it is and realize some things stick with people while other things don’t and how that turns out isn’t necessarily a reflection on the art created, but rather the feelings of the people who hear it. Make art to make art, not to make money. The confluence of art and money doesn’t necessarily equate to something being good. If you do your thing and do it to the best of your abilities and so that it makes you happy that should be what counts. That’s what Substantial did, and it just so happens that what he’s creating now is striking a chord with a larger audience.
B-Listers are a select group of artists that were featured in my Artist Of The Week series that ran every Monday from April of '06 to April of '11. All of these artists have two things in common; extreme talent, and a flight path far too under the radar for my liking. They took on the title of B-Listers as they embraced being featured by me, Adam B. Check out the AOTW Archives for all the interviews.