It takes a lot of time, money and other resources for an aspiring musician to get started. From booking recording studio sessions, to discovering performance opportunities, to building a social his media presence, pursuing a professional music career can quickly become overwhelming.
This is especially true for hip-hop artists looking to get their start in Madison. A recent survey found that hip-hop is one of the most marginalized music genres in the region.
Breyon Sommerville and Akiya Alexander, co-founders of the brand Lesswork Local Lifestyle, launched this project through a subscription service aimed at helping Black artists streamline these tasks and navigate Madison’s musical landscape. I would like to address the issue.
Sommerville describes this model as the “Netflixing” of the music industry. For a monthly fee, artists get access to a range of services including social media management, recording studio sessions, screen printing, photography, and more.
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“If you go to Atlanta, Chicago, or even New York, they have our structure. They have a production company,” Somerville said. “Providing maximum value at minimum cost.”
The company has a mailing list of 150 artists to keep you up to date with the service, but Lesswork is still in its early stages and primarily offers individual services such as social media management, screen printing and photography. increase. Both companies want to make services more accessible and personalized under a subscription model and to be able to offer different levels of service, or “lanes,” Sommerville said. .
The “Fast” lane costs artists $300 a month for unlimited service, while the “Passing lane” is both for more established artists and costs $200. It costs $100.
Sommerville and Alexander, who founded Lesswork in 2020 and are rappers themselves, said Madison could be a difficult place for local hip-hop artists to break out due to limited venues and genre misconceptions. said. Alexander, who goes by the stage name KILO Aka SkitL’z, says hip-hop artists often feel left out.
“If I was a vegetarian, I’d go to Whole Foods. If I wanted chicken, I’d go to KFC. But where’s the hip-hop going?” “It’s like you don’t have a home.”
Alexander’s concerns are part of a larger, ongoing conversation about Madison’s musical environment. This month, the Greater Madison Music City Project released a 131-page report recommending ways to improve opportunities and make the city’s music community more equitable. His two main weaknesses identified in the report included a general lack of funding and limited venue options for all music genres, although hip-hop suffered the most. said.
“I don’t think it’s any different than any other genre. “We want to build a house. If you’re stigmatized or you can’t get anywhere without 50 cop cars out and you have a venue, he needs to do X, Y, Z If you do, you’ll scare people before you even open the door.”
Sommerville and Alexander have helped clients find performance opportunities, hosted hip-hop shows, and used social media platforms to promote the work of local artists. Marcus Porter, a local hip-hop artist and music producer, said Lesswork has helped fill a long-standing gap in hip-hop performance opportunities for his artists.
“They’re allowing artists to have a platform that didn’t exist before in Madison,” Porter said. “Local artists don’t play a lot on the radio, and there aren’t many venues for hip-hop artists to play because hip-hop artists are labeled as not the best.”
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“It’s a great community experience, not just one, but many people helping you grow,” says Aaron Burks, a local artist who has worked with Lesswork.
Somerville and Alexander now have a $2 million financing goal to purchase and renovate the building they rent at 1444 East Washington Avenue. With that money, we would like to convert the main floor into a performance space and the top floor into a performance space. A vast music and media studio.
“This will be a one-stop-shop,” says Sommerville. “Madison creators don’t have to look far for support.”
Sommerville said it is hoped that the updated space will allow Lesswork Local Lifestyle to amplify the work and talent of even more Madison-based artists.
“We’re going to bring hope back to this area,” Somerville said. “Our focus is local, the new global.”
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