Vulnerability, authenticity and focus give you access to the success you want to see for yourself

By Beverley Knight

The Dark Notice turned sweet 16. After recording music on his phone and using a Memorex speaker with an iPod, he showed his pals at school what he was working on without any agenda. The moderate feedback of ‘not bad’ was enough. There was something there. What it was didn’t matter so much, but there was something. Friends and family were supportive, but they never thought he’d be so serious about a career as a musician.

At high school in Long Branch, New Jersey, the Tuba drew The Dark Notice in. “I was in a band class full of students who loved it. My instructor’s assistant worked with me one-on-one since it was my first time playing an instrument.” It was impressive, especially as he lacked real experience and learnt music by ear. “I showed discipline. We were the best school out there.” Being part of a team that was so good at what they did spurned him on in other areas. That purpose stays with him. “I pursue goals and take action and have the clarity to know what points I’m trying to hit.”

Rapping came before singing for The Dark Notice. It piqued his attention when Drake and Kanye West started singing, albeit with autotune. “I wanted to know how to sing because I’ve always had a soft spot for R&B. Growing up around predominantly women in my household with one younger brother, I didn’t have much say in what I listened to.” Now, he takes advice from a TikTok page by Matthew Johnson, who posts singing lessons with daily tips and tricks. The Dark Notice loves the sensation of integrity he gets from always learning.

It was frustrating to be a hopeless romantic until Drake expressed emotions that The Dark Notice was afraid to say out loud. “Because I’m an African American male, people look at us in a certain light, and I didn’t feel I could tell my male friends about how I felt.” Cue music. It stepped in as an outlet to project his narrative. Sharing his thoughts through a microphone acts as the best source of therapy. “My music holds messages about my relationships, perspectives, retrospectives and what I’ve learned. I’ve had several people tell me my music evoked their feelings out of them.”

His mother has made the most profound mark on his life. She helped him to understand what he truly wanted. “I worked so much, putting countless hours in different jobs. I didn’t know I needed to take time out to learn about my needs and wants.” Seeing her overcome so much made him chase his dreams more than ever. “She cared for three kids getting degrees, helped us with homework and provided for us.” The advice was clear: work hard for yourself. It was his mom’s bright idea for him to open S.A.F.E Records LLC in 2021.

There’s a point in artists’ careers when they have to consider money, money, money. “I’m enjoying this, but I need to find a way to capitalise on it.” For that to happen, marketing comes into play. The Dark Notice has figured out the recipe for successful campaigns. “Vulnerability, authenticity and focus give you access to the success you want to see for yourself.”

Of course, it’s a given that people need to earn. In the music industry, the business sense, running alongside the creativity of an artist, comes in handy. “The biggest mistake people make is messing up their credit by taking out a huge loan and not paying it back.” And although plans are pretty essential, it’s not always about getting to the top of the mountain quickest. ‘Where am I going?’ Musicians call out. The Dark Notice keeps in his mind ‘enjoy and learn’.

Through hip-hop and R&B, The Dark Notice captures his emotions and his loneliness. “I produce the song I’d like to hear for an eternity before thinking of others while creating it.” He also keeps an open ear to what others are making. It encourages him to match them or even do better. It’s hard to listen to music now without thinking of the process that gets the songs to the technology in our hands. “I appreciate what goes into making sound. Music contributing to someone’s life and my own drives me to keep going.”

Things change with the times. It’s necessary as an artist to remain true to yourself but have a degree of flexibility. “Try not to get lost in the mix. There’s a sweet spot of appealing to your audience and the masses. If you’re doing this for a living, find your voice and lane to excel in modern music.” Go where the universe takes you.

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