Artist bio: Paul Lewis is a 19 year old singer, songwriter, rapper, and producer born in Hamilton, New Jersey and currently residing in San Jose, California.
Although his sound varies from Trap to Pop to Jazz and everything in between, the same substance and emotional availability is alive in every single song.
He has been praised for achieving a professional level quality of sound despite recording in a car and mixing and mastering every song entirely on his own. His latest album, Magnanimous, is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication to his craft.
1) Talk to me about the making of your latest project. What was the inspiration behind it?
The inspiration behind this project was my life. Every song is my subconscious on full display. The pain, struggles, and hopes of my existence are responsible for every song.
2) With the music industry tanking and record sales falling, how do you currently make money as an independent hip-hop artist?
Music is my passion. I don’t make that much from streams and sales, but money has never been my main objective in making Music. I do so for myself, as therapy, and to hopefully make a connection with someone out there going through the same thing that I am.
3) From a business point of view, which artists in the game do you think are really pushing the boundaries and changing it up?
Kendrick Lamar is truly pushing boundaries to me. We live in an age where the youth (the main consumer and customer of Music) are used to things being handed to them. That is why
artists with little to no substance at all are doing so well. You do not have to do any work to understand them.
However, Kendrick Lamar continuously has hit after hit while maintaining true substance and meaning in his work. If not for him, and others like him, I would have no indication that making a living, with the Music I create, would even be possible.
4) What business lessons have you learnt from the music industry so far?
I have learned that you have to get yourself out there. You cannot just sit at home, put songs on the internet, and hope the fans will come to you. You have to make connections with people. You have to put yourself out there repeatedly to make sure the world knows who you are.
5) What do you love about hip-hop music?
I love Hip Hop when it simply puts reality on display. I love the kind of Hip Hop that refuses to back down from higher authority and goes as far as to challenge that authority.
The Hip Hop that speaks on the issues plaguing Black and Brown people in their everyday lives; that is the Hip Hop I love.
6) What still surprises you about hip-hop?
Nothing surprises me with Hip Hop anymore. You have a majority which are mumble rappers who seldom have long lasting careers, and a minority of substantive rappers who seldom make it at all. This is the reality of Rap and I have accepted it for now so I can change it later.
7) If you had the power to change one thing about the hip-hop industry to help independent artists – what would it be?
I would get rid of artists who are in this for anything other than a love of Music. There are millions of acts out there all just copying whatever is most popular because they think that is the
quickest way to make it.
The general public gets more and more close minded to unknown artists, every time they hear one who just sounds like a knock off of a bigger artist. This hurts the chances of real undiscovered talents making it. So I would do away with them for the sake of true artists.
8) Who do you think are top 3 rappers doing it at the moment?
The top 3 rappers right now are Drake, for his popularity, Kendrick Lamar, for his lyrics, and Travis Scott, for his sound.
9) So what are your plans for the future?
In the future I plan to grow exponentially and continue to push the boundaries of what Trap, R&B, Pop, and everything in between can be.