Released on January 18, without much fanfare or much publicity, the rapper Quota The FriendIts latest release, Lyrics to Go, Vol. 2, Managed to land Spotify’s No. 10 spot in Spotify’s Top 10 USA album debut. Quite a credit to Clinton Hill, a DIY artist in Brooklyn, who writes and produces most of his music and for a project without any featured artist. But quotas are not your usual rapper; Although he can boast of an A-list cameo from stars such as Lupita Niong and Lecith Stanfield on his 2020 album, Everything, Her success cannot be attributed to being a celebrity co-sign, crew affiliate, or media darling. He has risen to an organic, growing peak that has gained him nearly 3 million monthly listeners on Spotify to date.
Over the past half-decade, its first solo project, since its 2016 release Date Liquor EP, The 28-year-old has created a dedicated following that creates honest, confessional, and warm hip-hop that avoids the audacity to express emotion. Her formula resonates with her loyal listeners, with 42% of her streams on Spotify coming from listeners ’own playlists and libraries.
Kota has built this impressive fanbase and successful music career with her music unsigned and self-published. Speaking to OcPlayer last year, the fierce independent rapper revealed why he has decided not to sign a record deal yet. “Whenever I realized I had to rely on someone to do something, it wouldn’t be done,” he said. “Everyone was really selfish with their help and it didn’t make me any better. So the only way I could do it was if I got up and did it. [myself] . In another interview with DJBooth from 2019, Kota The Friend said he spent years meeting with the labels and understanding the industry, finally realizing that he does his best on his own terms.
Editorial playlists are an integral part of Spotify’s success; Like a track “Pomegranate, “”Long beach, “And”Colorado“Listeners have proven to be fans’ favorites after discovering them in their playlists Melo bar, Good vibes, Mind right, And Pollen. With his new project, To Kill A Sunrise, In collaboration with acclaimed DJ / producer Static Selektah on March 19, we talked with Kota about the role of playlists in expanding her fanbase and advancing her career as an indie artist.
How do you think being independent as an artist really affected your success?
I think it gives me the freedom to express music whenever I want, keep moving and there are really no rules or someone telling me that I can’t skip anything when I want to. I think it has created a strong bond between me and my fans. The people who listened to me have become really loyal and they are always looking for new music. They are willing to listen more because I have been so consistent over the last few years.
When did making music become a full-time job for you?
When I realized I was making money. I checked my Tunco account one day, and there was 8,000. And then, when I realized I was making real money from music, I put everything into it and I stopped doing everything else. I realized that if I could make this 8,000, we could turn it into ,000 18,000. Then 28,000. We can make it.
You are truly self-sufficient; You write and create your own songs and film your own videos. How did you invest your money back into your career? What are some practical purchases you make?
I bought one of the best microphones for any kind of music, the Newman U87. This is one of the first things I have invested in when assembling my studio. I [also] There is a 3x3x3 booth that I record. I have a regular keyboard, a MIDI keyboard and a nice computer. I have invested [session] Musicians too. Every time I make an album, I really put everything I have into it. Per dollar [I spend on equipment] Coming straight out of my pocket we never had anyone come and pay us for anything. Whatever I get from music, I put it back into music and I make sure it will be quality. We are never half-steps on this.
How did you feel when you first created it in your first Spotify playlist?
It was the best feeling in the world because for so long, you felt like you were rushing alone. At that moment, I thought, wow, as we get support, we’re actually on a playlist and when we got it, I streamed millions of my songs. And so there was extra encouragement from Spotify, well, now I think we’re not doing it completely alone. Someone is actually listening, someone is saying, “Yeah, it’s dope.” And that, it means a lot.
You now have a ton of playlists, such as Mind Right, Good Vibes, Melo Bar and Pollen. Which is your favorite?
I love Pauline because there are so many types of music in the playlist. I like melo bars, and I hear a lot of different things when I’m in the car. I change it but I think these are the ones I hear the most.
Now that you’re across so many playlists, what advice do you have for the artists you’re trying to playlist?
Use the pitch tool. Let it come with music. Do what you can to get your name out there and find out how you can give yourself more opportunities to connect. Once this is done, it makes it easy to reconnect.
What advice do you have for artists who have been discouraged because they haven’t been playlisted yet?
If you haven’t been playlisted, it’s all up to you. It’s about social media and the content you’re putting into its cross-pollination. You need to market your music on other platforms so that you can get a stream on Spotify. I definitely started it before anything on the playlist. And we’ve seen significant streams from there, but obviously, there’s nothing like being playlisted because it just takes us to a whole new level. But as much as you can do it yourself, you should do it so that you can make it work. At the end of the day, even if someone doesn’t put me on the playlist, I still have to work for my career because it’s all yours.
What advice do you have for artists trying to expand their presence across social media right now?
I can’t say I really know how to give the best advice on social media right now, but I think [terms of the] Aged answer. You have to have content that I have won, you have to create content and you have to create content that you feel will connect with your audience.
You haven’t yet come to a playlist that you want to get in the future?
I think, for any hip-hop artist, they want to get on RapCaviar. I think that’s a big reason for me, because I know that for the first time, people are actually going to hear about me that I’ve never heard of. For any artist, I think the most important thing and something that has driven me for so many years is to be able to inspire the whole people. And people are just listening to you, I think, for an artist, it’s more important than money.