.....and whom I thank for trusting me to bring this to you.
"Music is what I create and express through words and voice from the direct source of my heart and my soul."
To me, growing up in the 90's was the perfect era to be inspired by music. The music business seemed like a dream to be a part of. As I was easily impressionable, I was inspired by many great and iconic artists, and even ones before my time as my family indulged me in their great musical influences as well. Watching from outside, it looked like success and happiness in the music industry were one in the same, and that they were both quite tangible if you had the talent, the drive and put in the hard work. Now as a woman who has been in the Music business for over seven years, I can tell you that the above is untrue. Success and happiness can be true, but I found out very harshly that talent, drive and hard work is not what makes or breaks you in this industry today.
When following my dreams as a recording artist, songwriter and performer, the first obstacle I slammed into was my gender. In a male dominated industry from DJ's, producers, promoters, to radio etc; my career would find barriers and roadblocks simply because I was a female. I was treated as "free game" because I was hungry for success. I didn't get far with my agenda of promoting myself and my music unless I was willing to satisfy the male egos of those DJ's, promoters, producers etc. by sleeping with them, as if I were a slab of meat to be passed around, like I owed them a favor for playing my record or airing my interview.
After recording an album, I would go out on promotional tours to promote my music on radio stations and night clubs doing interviews and appearances. Little did I know I was wasting money and time because many interviews would not get aired and my music would not get played because I said no to what the DJ's and promoters wanted in return, my body. There were radio program directors who were no different, and were actually so upset that I rejected their "indecent proposals" that some even went out of their way to call up the radio stations that were genuinely playing my music, and bully them into no longer playing my music.
My second industry obstacle has been my race. Music fans all over the world generally have an unconditional love for music no matter who is singing it or what they're singing. However, the industry "wizards" have many more hangups. Many had, and still have, serious issues that I sing R&B music and that I am not African American. I have been declined by numerous magazines, television and radio stations due to this hang up inside the industry. A statement I remember, "we will not feature her because she has the audacity to sing R&B and has no business doing so". Also many industry insiders labeled me as "a danger to black music''. That is not only insulting to so many soulful pioneers throughout history, but it's a mindset that I, and most of the world, do not resonate with.
Music is a language of the soul, a universal healing tool and one of the few things that bring us together as a human race. Music does not see color, or religion; it is without ego or entitlement. It is a blessing and a gift that is not here to segregate or separate, but to remind us that we are all one. Music spreads one language... Love. So to those who still have a problem hearing my voice and not being able to match it with a skin color that makes them feel comfortable, I say look within yourselves because it is not my issue to own nor deal with. Soul is Soul, and we all have one whether we are black, white, green or purple.
The third industry obstacle has been being an Independent Artist. I am signed to the Independent Label BSE Recordings who is very industry savvy and has been an incredible platform and support system for my artistry, and who has traveled this journey with me. My achievements include 3 Studio Album Releases, multiple Billboard charting songs, over ten #1 best selling U.S. songs in Soul or R&B, #1 best selling 2015 R&B Album, over 50 music placements with VH1, MTV, BET, along with 2 theme songs for VH1's reality TV series Hollywood Exes' & Atlanta Exes'. With these achievements, you would think I would be a household name by now, but being an Independent artist right now means you are purposely overlooked by the major platforms, media, award shows and places where millions of viewers are tuning in. I have been offered major record deals but it included selling my soul and all that I am, so I have declined so far and have chosen to keep my integrity and creativity as an artist until there is an offer that respects those non negotiable terms. You can hear more passion from those experiences in my song "Anywhere But Up" from my latest album "Thru The Veil".
We can also blame streaming for one of the main issues for Independent artists lack of major exposure. Streaming music has literally taken all the income away from the artist, songwriter and producers of the musical content. Streaming has made actual music sales irrelevant which puts independent labels and artists out of business because there is no income, and therefore there is no level playing field for talent breakthrough. No one outside of the circle of major labels are able to "rise from the rafters" so to speak. Those who have the platform have it, and those who don't are stuck with their music streaming and empty pockets. To me, the industry is not really a "music business" anymore. It's more of a monopoly with the major corporations calling the shots and controlling the perception of who's popular or who's successful.
Apparently, and thankfully, I must have been built to weather this storm as I have somehow always seemed to conjure up the fight inside of me. I refused to be told I can't, I won't, or who I am and who I am not. You can hear more of that passion in my song "Liberated" also from "Thru The Veil". No matter what obstacle that has been, or will be thrown my way, I will continue to stand strong in my presence and be proud of my success and accomplishments. I will continue to spread the light and love that's within my heart through lyrics and sound out into the world because that's what I do, and that's what I love.
..................I thank you Pete & StreetcredMusic for this platform.
.......................With Love, Arika Kane
Pete: to my readers, usually I put links and videos and music in my articles, but we did not want this to seem like a 'promo'
.....BUT if you want to hear the best R&B around...and #supportindie
.........Arika's MUSIC HERE
Other OP/ED here: BY: Artist/Activist Jennie Booth