One of our authors managed to grab a few minutes from Lyrical Eye, the Cyprus Rapping prodigy who’s talents have impressed far and wide and who will be entertaining us at the Cyprus Sensation Black Beach Party, to grab a quick interview, and what we got was a whole lot more. Here’s an interview with another big name in the RnB scene, and yet another big name to join the OTI-Team.
So Lyrical Eye, what’s your opinion on the R’n’B scene in Cyprus?
Well the urban scene in Cyprus has changed a lot over the last few years. It used to attract more of a foreign crowd, but over the last few years Cypriots in general have started to show more of an interest in the Urban music. Its still not as popular as some other genres but there is some movement.
But talking about the urban scene in Cyprus i must mention that there are hardly any opportunites for an artist to expand themself in this country.
And why would you say that? As an artist yourself have you experienced difficulty?
Well for starters and most importantly there are no “record labels/distribtution ” to support . The only “Big” Distribution/Record company in this country is All Record / Play which from what i here is about to close down in the following years due to the low sellings of Cds which is happening with most major cd Companies around the world which are looking to the alternative of digital distribution.
We have already released a Compilation with this company which is available in all Play Stores but no promotion has come from them whatsover or even communicaiton. It seems that they are just there to rip off artists.
Apart from that, there are no talented bookers/A&rs/Serious Managers which would be able to help an artist expand in this country so basically its a one way road.
So what’s your story? How did you overcome these difficulties? Surely you travelled?
Well things happened step by step as i believe happens with everything. First I put my work in this country by trying to get myself on any live show I could . I would be doing shows for free just to get my name out. At some point I had to do military service where I took a sort of a break for 2 years but it wasnt really a break coz any opportunity I had I was writing lyrics. Then it was time for me to go to the UK where things just went crazy.. I started rapping with some crazy artists, and basically it was an every day thing for me. I had my own little studio where I had about 10 people coming in a day just to chill and record a track. Then I started attending the biggest battle-rap shows in all of London. From the first time I went to the show I managed to reach the final 2, so that gave me a lot of confidence to go back every other week….anyway to cut things short, I put a lot of work and started concentrating more on my lyrics than my freestyle abilities. I started putting down a lot of tracks and every time I came back to Cyprus I was peforming in big shows…
One thing led to another, and I came out with my first commercial track “bounce”, thats when a lot of things started to set off for me…. basically it was playin all over the radio and clubs in both Cyprus and the UK. About that same time I dropped the track, I was invited to perform at the biggest hiphop festival in europe, the hiphop kemp in Czech Republic – prague , which is attended by about 20,000 people… I got to meet artists I never would dream of meeting..some of the best artists around the world and I also got to represent Cyprus on an international level……
So basically after the hiphop kemp my confidence was over the roof… i started gettin a really good responce from people around me .. a few months later “bounce” made it to the finals of the biggest songwriting competitions in the world…. thats when things got a bit more serious for me and i had the opportunity to get my music heard by the presidents of the biggest labels in the world from Sony, Universal, Epic Records, Warner Bros and other huge artists such as Sean Paul, Macy Gray, Dj tiesto( just to name a few) which were some of the guest judges for this competition.
My confidence was even better now since I was getting amazing feedback by the best people in the industry, so I obviously thought I was doing something good… I was getting people from Warner Bros and Sony telling me that I can rap better than most of the people they hear on an every day basis in the United States… I singed a few publshing deals after that , and made more and more connections with other artists and labels.. new tracks kept coming out , my fan base started growing , respect started growing.. but the good thing is that I havent and wont let that get to my head .. the good thing is that no matter what happens I keep pushing myself to higher targets…. In the same year of 2007 I was announced an award winner of the great American Song Contest for the rnb hiphop category from a couple thousand people…
In the year of 2008 i was announced a finalist in the International Songwriting Competiton once again and also a finalist in the huge “Breaking the Band” competition which was a very big shock to me coz they usually don’t even consider rnb hiphop artists.. and the feedback I got from them was amazing.. a big company which wass a sponsor of this competiton has already promised to back me up 100% with the release of my album…(i will not be saying any names yet).
Your first album?
First album that I have been workin on for about 3 years now.
Any idea as to when you will be releasing it?! 🙂
Everyone keeps asking me that and I keep telling them soon but I keep bettering myself and keep coming up with new material that I might want in the album soo I havent rushed to release….. I will definitely be releasing something by the end of this summer, you can expect productions from some of the best producers in the industry….. From WHP (producer of Souljah Boys new single i-dance).. to Soul Thery Productions , Kane( Produced for Lil Wayne, Chamillionair, Nas and many more) , Apex (Producer of 50 cents “I get Money”) and many more.
Nice! They do say that good things happen to people who wait. So, at the moment are you living in Cyprus?
Yes I am, but at the same time a lot of people have the impression that because I am in this country I cant do anything outside this country. But thats not true coz I am in contact on an every day basis to people from abroad concerning music.
Thats the magic of the internet … im able to get a verse to someone across the world in a few minutes and vice versa….at the moment I’ve sent verses to people across the world to feature on a lot of big upcoming albums/mixtapes… but at the moment Im just waiting to see where Im gonna be performing this summer.
And at the moment you’re also performing in clubs etc?
Yes I am but thats another thing I wanna mention… You won’t see me performing in Cyprus no more unless the money is right.. promoters love taking advantage in this country and I’ve experienced a lot of bullsh*t so if they wanna book me then they can pay up…I’m not gonna let people take advantage of me….things are changing this year..I’m not concentrated on Cyprus no more. If they dont wanna appreciate the artists then thats their problem..
And its not about the money… its just about some sort of respect at least.
You mentioned you’re waiting to see where you’re going to perform in the summer, your big plans?
Well just so you can see that things aint always as easy as they seem..I’ve just turned down an offer to perform at the SXSW in the United States.. which is considered one of the top-top festivals in the world…and the reason is that they wanted me to pay my own ticket as they do with every artist performing there for some reason…but I somehow regret not going… now I’m waiting on a couple more things…again in the States, UK and Germany….I always aim for something bigger than before so it will def be something big.
Great, good luck with it!
Thanks a lot for your time!
No, thank you for your time!
Watch out for Lyrical Eye’s articles here on OTI in his own new column called “Through My Eyes”
More info on Lyrical Eye is available on his myspace page here : http://www.myspace.com/lyrikaleye