Nestled in the Black Hills lies Spearfish, South Dakota, home to ranchers, farmers, stay at home moms, about 4,000 college students and J-Randy. Out reach for stardom proves hard in a small culturally land-locked town, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the first you’ve heard of him. That doesn’t stop the hip-hop hopeful from creating as much noise as he can.
Spearfish has a population of around 10,500 people and believe it or not, its one of South Dakota’s largest hot spot. The city offers multiple social recreational activities and well-kept tourist attractions year round. Spearfish Canyon draws in quite the crowd in the fall months offering a gorgeous scenic cruise and the up close beauty of nature. When college classes let out, the town seems to go into a summer slumber as a large number of migrate home. An opportune time to commit to a life consuming passion.
I met Jason a couple years ago when a duo my boyfriend was playing drums for decided to bring a 6-person entourage to our tiny apartment to prepare for a show that night. First off, walking up to my door in the hallway hearing ridiculously melodic rhythms booming from multiple unfamiliar voices, I was a bit more intrigued than frightened. That may have changed drastically to a moment of pure panic when half of them were damn near 7 feet tall and the other half were vigorously jumping around constructing choreography. The sincere friendliness and welcoming of the group made me feel my apartment was going to be fine.
I cannot say the same for the stage J-Randy and his friends destroyed that night by their performance. In the time passed, like all good things do, things have only gotten better with experience. This is also quite evident in the production of his latest work and first official mix-tape, Witness Greatness. It seems as Spearfish went to sleep for the summer, J-Randy got down to business promoting, producing, recording, mixing, and playing live shows. The whole album was made available on datpiff.com in late July after many music video release promotions. Currently J-Randy is focusing on music videos to accompany some more of his work on Witness Greatness with Side 3 Studios in Denver, CO.
Being a striving musician, let alone a successful one, is a feat for anyone willing to commit to the industry. Finding stardom isn’t always as simple as posting a video on YouTube and being discovered almost at random. Musicians need connections, and connections are usually found where the people are right? So how is J-Randy making his dream happen in a town, and state, over run with country and classic rock enthusiasts? Thankfully in this day and age every thing is done over a computer anyway, so social media networking and like sites allow musicians to start a career anywhere.
Sites like datpiff.com allow artists to upload their whole mix tape to be downloaded by the site’s members for free. Which is a godsend for new artists branching into a career in search of a following. Facebook offers free promotion as well as a free page dedicated to whatever you feel, allowing you to create events and reminders for your audience. Other sites like YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram are also very easily utilized for promotion purposes. If you have the talent, you will find a following, when you have a following, stardom can be reached in any corner of the world. No matter how small. By going to J-Randy’s Facebook page its obvious how devoted he is to raising his fan base.
I fully believe that raw talent and unforgiving determination in an artist will prove to be successful in the long run. Maybe I still have too much faith in good prevailing in this world, but I believe it’s just wrong to let someone with so much talent and heart be left unheard. J-Randy mixes a new age lyrical flow with an underlying uniquely old school feel. The blend of smooth R&B and soul with some dirty blues and hip hop leave you wanting to hit repeat.
With technology there’s almost no need to move anywhere to become a musician, almost. Without human interaction connections are just numbers, letters, and pictures on a screen. Music is different in the fact that you are able to hear someone laying his or her passion out for everyone to see, so everyone can see. J-Randy is able to make you feel the emotion flowing from him by using catchy choruses and meaningful verses sprinkled over a wide range of head bobbing beats. No two songs sound the same on Witness Greatness, an admiral feat for a musician on a debut album of any sort. I urge you to listen, and quickly while he is still searching for stardom in that small town and letting it go for free!
By: Jodi Phillips