(Austin, Texas 2012) The thing that first strikes you about Mirage512 is his humility and his ability to adapt and fit into social situations. He is a private person in a public business, he gives you a peek into his personal life with his music but only as much as he wants you to see. He's part sage, part grit, part emcee, part businessman part, country boy, and part city slicker. He seems to exist simultaneously in many different worlds. Mirage512 describes himself as being a shy person and socially awkward, which is a direct 180 from the confident passionate emcee that he presents in his lyrics. His Savant Album comes at you from an everyday life perspective. His style is saying, "I'm among you but I'm not of you." Not in an arrogant way, but in a basic honest way. Sitting down with the Austin, Texan native, he explains that he was an only child until 13 years of age. He expresses how he does all of his own business functions as well as producing the majority of his latest tunes; his confident passion starts to make sense. Mirage512 jokes, "I work everything for my brand. From an artist, producer, engineer, manager, publicist, and sometimes my own soundman."
There's a motive that has served him well in his musical journey thus far. Mirage512 is college graduate of Prairie View A&M University with a study in Business Marketing. There he learned the value in all facets of the business process in getting the product to consumer. "I figured out early in this journey that you can't do everything, but you have to have knowledge of how everything is done in order to make sure that the people who are doing business for you are doing it correctly," said Mirage512. However, he can be a bit of a control freak by his own admission "I'm impatient and I have a gift for planning, I always like to have a plan and most times you just have to do things yourself."
This inner variety of interests and elements even permeates the walls and ceiling of his home studio tucked away in Northeast Austin. A number of self-made collages composed of everything from Hip Hop culture, half naked females, posters of various prominent figures in Black History such as Carter G Woodson, Fredrick Douglass and Paul Lawrence Dunbar all express an outward ambiance of who Mirage512 is. His simple but enlightening versatility is evident in his production and lyrical style as well. It's a sparse soundscape rooted in hip hop that takes a very soulful approach. When listening, one can hear traces of blues and jazz in the method that he uses throughout his music. With the use of samples from many places as well as some of his own chords, his beats make a very big, but not a cluttered, sound. Mirage512's lyrics and cadences seem to fill in the stripped down beats which sometimes use only 3 or 4 elements. "Making beats has improved my lyrics and delivery," he said. He has also become free musically by having a studio in his home. "I feel more free to try things when I'm recording at my house at 3;00 AM in my boxers," he grinned. "I often record late at night 'cause I feel more relaxed. I'm also able to spend more time with my songs and ironically, I work at a faster pace than I have ever been able to before."
The Savant Album Mirage512This new found freedom and comfort seemed to be paying off when the album he released in 2011 "The Savant" had been called some of his best work to date by local entertainment weekly, "The Austin Chronicle." It was the first to feature music that he produced alone. He has always taken a co-production position with his music. He would give his producers records (currently over 2000 records), tell them the sample he wanted to use, and then let them add their flavor to it. "I would leave tracks with them for a month or so and let them use any other samples they could work with," he said. Mirage personally feels like "The Savant" is a solid album but not his best. When asked what he thought his best work is, he replied "the next song I make."
His up-coming album "Art & Commerce" is his examination of the question that all true artists have to ask themselves, "do I strictly make the art that's in my heart or do I make art that is commercially viable?" It's a very real concern for him because being a native Texan and proud of his states musical cultural impact on the Hip Hop culture, Mirage512 does not want to sound like the typical southern rapper even though there is a hint of that down home country feel about the songs he played off of the new project. "Art & Commerce" is truly going to be an interesting project. When asked if he fears that the ever-changing Hip Hop musical landscape will get back to its roots of not just being music, he replies "my music has never been trendy. It has always been heartfelt so people sort of accept it for what it is, not because it's the hot thing. Besides, I'm not some big time artist yet, so I'm still new to most of the world (laughing)." With the solid base of bloggers showing his music love, the constant twitter connects he makes, along with some good old-fashioned get out in the streets grind, Mirage512 figures it will allow him to mount a great campaign.
Sloke doing a piece for the Artistpreneur album with Mirage512Thus far, it seems to be a strategy that is working and he's getting great feedback from the first official single "Artistpreneur" which released in April 2012. It's a song that seems to sum up the way Mirage512 approaches his music. Produced and written by Mirage, it has a smooth bounce to it, the guitar riff is complimented by a soulful singing voice with an early 80s synth riff that rides the bounce of the sparse drums. In the music video Mirage512 is featured doing negotiations with a fictitious industry executive as well as includes a custom graffiti piece by the world famous artist SLOKE.
Mirage512 has a bright looking future that will bring forth many new ventures that he will be embarking upon before years end. He is definitely an artist to follow.