Interview with Stephen Gonzalez (@prophecys9)

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Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path? 

I grew up in Haverstraw, NY, and born in Nyack, NY which is both parts of Rockland county. I knew I wanted to be a rapper since I was 11 years old when I heard the Eminem Show Album by Eminem. It inspired me cuz I related to growing up without a father in a poor neighborhood and having an up and down relationship with my mother. In 2012 I attended SAE in Manhatten for audio engineering. I’ve self-produced and self-recorded (including mixing and mastering) for several projects. Now I just song write and record and engineer. I stepped away from the production side a bit so I can focus on releasing music at a quicker pace. 

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started doing this? 

I have a lot of stories lol I’ll tell one appropriate for this setting. I booked a meeting with somebody called Shampoo who was an A&R at Def Jam. And worked a lot of records in his time with street promotion and marketing. My father went with me that day. He passed away about 7 months ago in February. This happens around 2015. The meeting was in Manhatten and he met me at the building. I performed two songs for shampoo. One titled ‘Tomorrow’ and the other I forgot but it was more of a club record while Tomorrow was based on my true life story of struggling and being poor. Both were self-produced and self-engineered by me. He seemed pleased with the records but never signed me. His advice was to keep going and to work on building my own fan base. Cuz he told me when was the last time a record label signed a rapper and he wasn’t already famous off his fan base already. Which was true. He always told me to increase the tempo of my songs. The younger crowd likes faster music which I use that advice still to this day. He never gave me a shot at def jam records but he still gave me advice that I used every day. 

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”? 

Be original. I know it’s hard not to follow the crowd but have your own sound and create your own path. You wanna be able to tour off your music you created years later instead of it getting lost in the mix with all these other artists nowadays. 

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story? 

Around the winter of 2014, my mother told me about an Audition at the Apollo in Harlem New York. The line was very long it went around the block and it was freezing in the snow. It was so cold I couldn’t bear the temperature. My mom would let me sit in the car while she stayed outside and held my place in the line. I would come in and out of the car to keep her company and make sure she is warm as well. I finally get to the audition and for some reason, my USB flash drive couldn’t play the record I wanted them to play which was a self-produced track titled ‘Take You Higher’. I had to freestyle in front of the judges instead as a last min cover up not knowing my mom is actually watching from a live TV feed outside. When it was done they said I was pretty good and a few weeks later I got a phone call from the audition! Only come to find out I missed the call cuz I was working at Chipolte at the Palisades Center in Nyack. Every time I called back it didn’t leave me no way to leave a voicemail or to contact the person responsible for letting me know I made the cut of the audition. I missed an opportunity but I knew I was great enough to be one of the few to be called back and I’m thankful for my mother for giving me the opportunity. 

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? 

Of course. I took people in my studio who with a discounted price cuz they were too poor to pay for my regular pricing (it’s ok I been there before so I know how that feels) just cuz I know how talented they are and deserve to be heard especially if you’re working hard. 

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life? 

‘Never Keep Your Eggs In One Basket’. Growing in New York is not cheap even in the hood. Especially when your on your own for everything. I always had a lot of side hustles whether they were legal or not just to get by. I produce, engineer, song write, and rap all my own songs for years. When it came to recording music I definitely never kept my eggs in one basket. And it’s helped me out a lot as I get older cuz my knowledge is always increasing. I’ll able to communicate with engineers in a different way when we go to these high budget recording studios cuz I know a lot about engineering and mixing more than the average rapper. 

How can our readers follow you on social media? 

My snapchat is @ST9_Legend 

Instagram is @ProphecyS9 

And my Twitter is @ProphecyS9

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