Let’s talk about how you began in the music scene. How did Cris Cola come about?
I haven’t been interested in music, mainly hip-hop, for as long as I can remember. I tried writing my verse around the age of 9. Basically, rewriting a bow wow in my own words. I started to really write around the age of 15 and started recording just months after. I had a couple names I called myself until I was 18, then Cris Cola stuck. I started doing showcases around the city to get acquainted with performing and first heard myself on the radio at 19. It was a contest for a local rap station, which I won for a month straight. I would get played only once or twice a night but it made me realize more that this dream of mine could be real.
You’re based in Memphis? What do you think of your town in terms of the music scene?
Memphis music scene has been back growing to how it should be. It became a point to where we would only have one major artist at a time. Now it’s emerging more artists globally. Memphis definitely is the city to watch and not overlooked with producers and rappers talented enough to hit the big screen.
Your single “Going Insane” is getting a lot of attention. What drove you to write the song?
“Going Insane” is just another record of how I was feeling and thinking the day I wrote it. I really felt I went insane at the time – just dealing with everyday life.
I wrote about certain things that were happening around me, realizing more each day how cruel this world can be for a black man. You can make your own interpretation of the record and still relate to it.
How was the experience of shooting the music video?
It was my first official video. I wanted to make it as original as possible. The same way I was seen in the video, I would be seen the same way around the city. With the clothes, to me just riding around in my car. Something I would do all the time especially when things are on my mind. I believe I captured the downtown Memphis well with the shots. I did that just to show a reflection of where I’m from as a whole.
You’ve been quiet online lately. Why is that?
I’ve been on social media since 2006. As I became older and life became more real, the internet artics was not a part of me. The only reason I still have Twitter and Instagram is that I know soon it will be needed for my music but even then not though. I’m a private guy. I don’t post my cars, my whereabouts, or anything on the internet unless I’m shooting a video.
What are you currently working on? Any new projects on the horizon?
I have a new tape done for months now that I’m about to go ahead and release. Since the music on the tape is getting old to me, I’m releasing an EP right behind it. Cris Cola will be heard all over once I start releasing, believe that. Till then, I’m continuing to load the chamber.
Do you plan on collaborating with other artists?
I will collaborate with other artists in the future but I rather get myself out there first before then.
I’m currently booking shows. No upcoming tour yet but soon to come.
I wanted to talk about your creative process. How do you find inspiration and take steps into writing?
I try to write every day but I mainly write when I’m inspired. I search for inspiration throughout each day. When I’m inspired, my head clears up enough to create masterpieces.
Who were your biggest influences musically growing up?
I’ve had plenty of influences musically coming up. My dad was one, to see him trying to make it spark the flame when I was a kid. Bow Wow inspired me because he was the first kid I saw doing everything I wanted to do. DMX, Tupac, Nas, Jay Z and so on. Hip-hop artists that speak from a real place, with a message in their lyrics.
What would you say is the hardest thing about being a musician?
The only hard part about being a musician so far is to just get people to hear you out and the process of getting fans when so much music is out and overlooked.
Do you think it’s much more competitive to break through nowadays?
It’s competitive only because anybody can make a record and put it out. I’m not worried about competition though, because more trash is released than gems are. Just have to find a way to get the gems to overshine everything else.
What can we expect from you this year?
You can expect me breaking through the game this year. Plenty of unreleased music to come.
We’re very much looking forward to that! Before we wrap up, is there anything you’d like to share with the audience?
Just youtube Cris Cola for upcoming videos.
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