Rhymes and lyrics are just words until layered atop a hot instrumental. Luckily for songwriters, singers and emcees there are producers who make music for the love of it and not for the monetary benefits of their talents. Among those producers is Michigan native Kharismatic. His unique blend of samples and live instrumentation will keep listeners vibing off of his positive energy. Our contributing correspondent Giovonni Pratt got a chance to chop it up with the upcoming producer about how he plans on making his mark in today’s cluttered music scene.
You were born in Ohio, but moved to Michigan. Did you move out of Ohio at a young age, and if so, what was the transition like?
K: Well, I moved out of Ohio when I was 5 years old. The transition actually wasn’t that difficult when I moved to Michigan from Ohio because I was so young. Once I got to Michigan I moved around a lot and the transitions got harder as I got older with switching schools and making new friends and losing touch with old friends.
Your love for music started at an early age, and your influences came from various artists. Who introduced you to these artists, and who influenced you?
K: I really can’t say any one person introduced me to my influences as I usually just came across their music and their work. For instance, I first learned about Michael Jackson when I was over my friend’s house and he was watching Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” video and he’s been one of my main influences ever since. Some of my other influences are Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, James Brown, Ginuwine, Aaliyah, Alicia Key, Timbaland, the Neptunes, Kanye West, Tupac, Biggie, Jay-Z and list could go on really.
As time went on, you developed into the entertainer known as “Kharismatic”. Please explain how the name came about?
K: Actually I went by several different names before I started going by “Kharismatic” but “Kharismatic” kind of stuck because I feel like it describes the way I perform and strive to entertain my audience.
After spending years as an entertainer you decided to change rolls. You started to express yourself through production. What triggered this change?
K: One word … “TIMBALAND”. After hearing his production of Aaliyah’s “One in a Million” which was bananas at the time, I was really inspired to create my own style and express myself.
You even adapted a new name to fit your production persona, “The Middle Man.” Was this a form of symbolism indicating a new start?
K: Well, I go by both “Kharismatic” and “The Middle Man”. My stage name is “Kharismatic” and my producer [name] is “The Middle Man”. I chose the name “The Middle Man” as my producer name because it fits the fact that I have my own unique style and my music doesn’t really fit in just one category or another, I have a wide variety of unique sounds.
Many artists in the industry struggle with ownership of their own music, so to make sure you didn’t fall victim to the industry, you decided to form a label and continue your work through production. With so many labels out, how has Blak Sheep Entertainment established itself in such a flooded field?
K: Blak Sheep Entertainment has begun establishing itself and setting itself apart from other labels in the industry by not being afraid to try new things. What sets Blak Sheep Entertainment productions apart from other music is staying true to the music and letting the music speak for itself.
The acronym “C.E.O” has been the centerpiece to a lot of up and coming artists, but many have no idea what it takes to be a C.E.O. The title is used to propel their status. Do you agree with this statement, and how have you separated yourself from these individuals?
K: Not to my knowledge, but if that is the case I can set myself apart from those individuals by being myself and focusing on my music and not so much on the fact that I am the C.E.O of the label.
Under your label you have a few artists that you are working with. With so many different personalities, goals, and agendas, how have you balanced it all and kept everyone satisfied?
K: Well, that’s kind of a hard question to answer because my label is still growing. So far I’ve gotten a chance to work with several different artists but I haven’t run into many problems because I work with a lot of artists such as J. Taylor and Kilomar who share the same visions as I do.
Let’s talk about your label’s music. “Got The Moves” has a very catchy percussion, and a flow pattern that will have heads nodding. The artist has a very commanding voice that fits the track. Whose idea was it to push the song in that direction?
K: After creating the composition, the lyrics for “Got the Moves” just kind of popped into my head and I recorded my tracks and then passed the song down to J. Taylor and he finished it off from there. What can I say? We work very well together.
On the song “Strings on My Guitar” by Memefis ft Kharismatic the production steers toward the Hard Rock genre of music. The production shows the versatility within the label, and also shows the versatility of your artists. With the popularity of Rocker sounds in the industry, do you sometimes feel your sound can get lost in the shuffle?
K: Not really because the sound that in the song “Strings on My Guitar” has is still pretty unique compared to other songs out right now that have a sort of Rock type of sound. Also the song shows not only that my label and my artists are versatile but also that we make it work; it has that “Blak Sheep sound”.
Picture this; a major entity is willing to invest in your company. They offer you the majority of creative control and an office overlooking the city. The only problem is, they want you to cut down your roster by fifty percent. You have shopped around and found this to be the best deal for your company. Are you willing to sacrifice your roster to put your company in a better position?
K: Yes, because even though it would be difficult I would want to be able to give my artist and myself the best (opportunity for success).
Do you have any live performances coming up?
K: Not at the moment, I’m currently working on new material and music videos for my current album.
If a fan or artist is interested in working with you, how can they get in contact with you?
K: They could get in contact with me via MySpace at myspace.com/bse83 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where can people purchase your music?
K: Right now people can actually download my first album for free by going to my MySpace page and clicking on the link.
Is there anything you want to share with the readers that weren’t already addressed in this interview?
K: I would just like to let the readers know that I appreciate their support and that they could check out my MySpace for updates on what I’m doing and any new music, music videos and etc.