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What's It Really Like to Perform at the A3C Hip Hop Festival in Atlanta? Q&A With Young Chizz

Image courtesy of the artist

Any budding hip-hop artist knows that performing at the A3C Hip Hop Festival & Conference in Atlanta is akin to a right of passage. Not only does it look tremendous on your EPK, but it gives you the opportunity to be a part of a huge creative hub of talented artists and industry pros.

We recently spoke with New York-based rapper Young Chizz, who wowed the audience with his performance at last year's festival. He's been on tour with huge artists such as Lil Wayne and Young Jeezy, has had his music played on MTV, and has reached nearly half a million views on VEVO. It was only natural that on his way up, he landed at A3C. Check out our interview below to learn more about his experience, and apply for your shot to perform at this year's A3C (it's free if you submit by July 31, 2016!).

How to Use Music to Get You Through Financial Hardship: Advice From Supa Soop

Photo by View Masta; used with permission

When falling on hard times, we often prioritize our most lucrative opportunities. For some, that might mean picking up shifts at the local bar or succumbing to a job we might not like – or worse, engaging in illegal activity such as drug dealing.

It's already hard enough to make a substantial profit from being an independent musician, but depending on music while you're falling short on money takes serious dedication. Richmond, VA-based rapper Supa Soop felt the weight of his family struggling to pay the bills, but instead of turning away from his passion for music, he embraced it. We caught up with Supa Soop to learn about how music helped keep him afloat during hard times, how he was able to make a profit, and what keeps him motivated to stay focused on music.

How Winning Indie Week Europe Led Pop Duo Victoria+Jean to a Record Deal

Photo by Olivier Donnet

Every year, Indie Week Europe holds a music festival in Manchester, England. Emerging artists perform in front of over a thousand guests, including industry professionals who work in A&R, booking, legal, management, press, and production. Last year, Swedish-Belgian pop duo Victoria+Jean went on to win the coveted "best of the fest" grand prize, which pushed their career into a whole new territory of success and opportunity. As a result of the win, they were invited to perform in Canada for the first time at Indie Week Canada and signed a very promising record deal with Cadence Music, which also boasts artists such as Alabama Shakes, Allen Stone, Cold War Kids, Phish, and Radiohead on its roster.

We caught up with the duo to get all the details on their Indie Week experience: what stood out, what surprised them, and how they were able to make it to the top of the judges' lists.

[Apply for a slot at Indie Week Europe 2016 by June 30!]

How to Get Creative With Your Music Promotion: Advice From the Semi-Supervillains

Image courtesy of the band

When musicians think of promotion, they often see it as putting up flyers for a show, posting on social media, sending music to radio stations – the usual. It's true that standard promotion strategies are integral to getting your music out there, but who doesn't love getting outside of the box?

Pittsburgh-based garage rock/power pop band the Semi-Supervillains have been incredibly proactive in looking for atypical ways to get their music to new fans. With a love for sports and some good networking, they landed an opportunity to write a theme song for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Not only is that a huge resume booster, but it keeps the band's music playing in their city to new listeners every game. Below, guitarist and vocalist Vinnie Longhi of the Semi-Supervillains gives his advice on how to be creative and imaginative with music promotion.

Is It Really Worth It to Hire a PR Company When You Release New Music? Advice From Indie Artist Lauren Marsh

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Most musicians dream of one day being on the cover of Rolling Stone, or having Pitchfork dub their album "Best New Music." It's a prestigious salute to your hard work, and it helps with album sales and promotion. However, doing your own press often means facing a big learning curve (unless you're one of those musicians who majored in PR), hearing no after no, and potentially placing money in bad investments.

We spoke with Lauren Marsh, an award-winning, indie singer-songwriter from New Jersey, about her experience with DIY PR versus hiring a professional. Lauren led a strong campaign herself on her debut EP, but with her most recent release, she put the work in the hands of a pro. Artists are always wondering if they should hire a publicist, so we dug into Lauren's results to get some insight.