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Episode 127: What it Takes to be an Artist with Mike Mack

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Welcome to another inspiring episode of The Corelink Solution. In this episode I had the pleasure of speaking with Mike Mack, a seasoned booking agent, artist development expert, and promoter who has left an indelible mark on the CHH community. We examine the journey of becoming a great artist, the transformative power of the Elevation Conference, and the intricacies of artist development.

The Artistic Journey: Tapping into Your Potential

Mike Mack’s experience in booking over 300 events and nurturing top-tier talent in Christian hip hop gives him a unique perspective on what it takes to succeed as an artist. He stresses the importance of tapping into both the left and right brain, harnessing one’s gifts and talents, and facing the industry’s challenges head-on. His 15-year journey in CHH is a testament to the resilience that’s required to thrive without succumbing to the pressures of the music industry.

Elevation Conference: Cultivating Creativity and Faith

The Elevation Conference, spearheaded by Mike, is a guiding light for young creatives, leaders, and pastors within the urban Christian music community. Mike shares the vision behind this initiative and the hurdles of organizing an event tailored to Christian hip hop culture. His approach of creating a flexible framework allows for the Holy Spirit to guide the conference, underscoring the significance of trust and faith in the process.

Despite the financial challenges, Mike’s commitment to the conference’s success over profit is admirable. He recalled the rewarding experiences and the profound impact the event has on the community, laying a foundation for more shows and touring artists in Boston.

The Ripple Effect of the Elevation Conference

The influence of the Elevation Conference on artists is undeniable. Mike highlighted stories of artists, who have undergone a transformation through their participation. The conference aims to provide a platform for growth, urging artists to be receptive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and to tailor their performances to the needs of their audience.

Understanding the Christian Hip Hop Audience

The conversation shifted to the unique audience that Christian hip hop attracts. Mike acknowledged the dedicated listeners of the genre, contrasting them with the more casual fans of secular hip hop. He explored the potential for deeper connections within the Christian hip hop community and the importance of engaging with the younger demographic to ensure the genre’s longevity.

The Elevation Project: Shaping the Future of Artists

Mike Mack’s vision for the Elevation Project includes an ambitious artist development program. He detailed the week-long intensive curriculum set in Boston, covering publishing, radio, finance, marketing, and social media strategies. This initiative underscores Mike’s dedication to equipping artists for holistic success in the industry.

The Music Industry: Hard Work and Perseverance

The music industry demands relentless effort and business savvy, as exemplified by artists like Nobigdly, Derek Minor, and Miles Minnick. Mike emphasized the necessity of consistent hard work and the fallacy of overnight success. He also touched on the challenges of building a strong social presence in today’s digital landscape.

Building a Strong Fan Base and Brand

Mike shared his insights on the importance of establishing a unique brand and sound. He discussed the significance of hometown shows as a measure of an artist’s success and the need for artists to own and cultivate their specific market. His experience in Boston serves as a blueprint for artists to replicate in their regions.

Booking Shows and Supporting Artists

Mike’s commitment to supporting artists shines through in his approach to booking shows. He recountes how he went the extra mile to book a show for an artist facing financial difficulties, demonstrating his passion for helping artists succeed. His vision for the “Elevation Project” is driven by a desire to serve the kingdom and make a positive impact.

Purpose and Creativity in the Industry

Mike encouraged artists to differentiate themselves, take risks, and seek opportunities to showcase their unique talents. He highlighted the value of hard ticket shows and the importance of artists valuing their worth and not being afraid to stand out.

Beyond the Church Circuit

In our discussion, Mike Mack pointed out the limitations of relying solely on the church circuit for shows. He has booked an impressive 3400 shows through his platform, Invite Only, for artists like Derek Minor, John Keith, and Lecrae, to name a few. However, he warned against the potential self-cannibalization that can occur without strategic expansion.

Mike Mack: Final Thoughts

As we wrapped up our conversation, the message is clear: the Christian hip hop industry is ripe with opportunities for those willing to work hard, stay dedicated, and embrace growth. Mike Mack’s expertise and passion for artist development illuminate the path forward for the genre, and his initiatives like the Elevation Project are shaping the future of Christian hip hop.

Holy Culture Radio is operated by The Corelink Solution, a non-profit organization that aims to create a safe space for healing, foster unity in our communities and empower the next generation of creatives and leaders through spreading the gospel.

If you’d like to support our work, please make a donation. No amount is too small. You can also shop our online store to help spread awareness of our mission. Again, thank you and remember to be encouraged and be blessed.

mike mack alt pic 2 christian hip hop tcs 05032024 with derek minor, canon and others
mike mack alt pic 3 with erin knight christian hip hop
Mike Mack alt pic 1 (Christian Hip Hop) TCS 04032024

TIMECODE REFERENCES:

The introduction (00:00:10) The host introduces the guest, Mike Mack, and discusses the relevance of the conversation for all artists.

Diverse Titles and Interests (00:01:09) The conversation shifts to Mike Mack’s various roles and his interest in women’s basketball.

Elevation Conference (00:04:23) Mike Mack discusses the creation and purpose of the Elevation Conference for young creatives in Christian hip hop.

Team Development and Vision (00:07:55) Mike Mack explains the importance of consistency, vision, and faith in developing and maintaining his team.

Left Brain Right Brain (00:09:12) Mike Mack shares his surprising background as an accountant and how it complements his vision-focused approach.

Scaffolding and Spirit (00:11:08) Mike Mack discusses the intentional planning and leaving room for the spirit to move at the conference.

Financial Expectations (00:13:20) Mike Mack expresses his willingness to sacrifice and invest in the conference, even if it doesn’t break even.

Impact on Boston’s Music Scene (00:14:57) Mike Mack reflects on the influence of his promotions on the growth of the music scene in Boston.

Artists’ Impact (00:15:33) The conversation highlights artists who have benefited from the Elevation Conference.

Artists’ Impact at Elevation (00:15:40) Artists’ experiences and impact at the Elevation conference, including their growth and learnings.

Christian Hip Hop Audience (00:17:50) Comparison of unique listeners in Christian hip hop and secular hip hop, and the dedication of Christian hip hop listeners.

Challenges in the Gospel Industry (00:20:32) Discussion of the challenges faced by the gospel industry and the need for new strategies to attract a younger demographic.

Elevation Project (00:22:42) Introduction of the Elevation Project, a comprehensive artist development program with unique opportunities and intensive training.

Hard Work and Success (00:27:40) The importance of hard work, consistency, and business acumen in the music industry, with examples of dedicated artists.

Networking and Business Acumen (00:29:09) Recognition of hardworking artists and industry professionals, emphasizing the importance of networking and business skills in the music industry.

The importance of hard work and patience (00:31:05) Discussion on the dedication and patience required for long-term success in the music industry.

Marketing tactics and industry misconceptions (00:31:40) Insights into the marketing strategies used in the music industry and the misconceptions about overnight success.

Age and success in the music industry (00:32:22) Exploration of the impact of age on an artist’s career and the timeline for achieving success in the music industry.

Challenges of being an influencer (00:33:42) Discussion on the challenges and misconceptions surrounding becoming a successful influencer in the digital age.

The importance of building a fan base (00:34:38) Insights into the detrimental effects of solely catering to church shows and the significance of creating a genuine fan base.

Evaluating an artist’s marketability (00:35:29) Exploration of the factors that determine an artist’s marketability and the importance of assessing audience demand.

The significance of hometown support (00:43:02) Emphasis on the importance of building a strong local fan base and leveraging hometown support for long-term success in the music industry.

Mike Mack’s Booking Strategy (00:46:30) Mike Mack discusses his strategy for booking shows for artists based on geographic proximity and financial constraints.

Purpose Behind the Elevation Project (00:49:20) Mike Mack explains the purpose behind the Elevation Project, focusing on training and developing young artists to reach their potential.

Challenges in Christian Hip Hop (00:53:23) Mike Mack and the host discuss the lack of creativity and imitation within the Christian hip hop industry, urging artists to find their unique vision.

The Importance of Hard Ticket Shows (00:59:38) Mike Mack emphasizes the significance of artists organizing and performing at hard ticket shows to expand their reach and value.

Prioritizing Career Growth Over Immediate Gains (01:01:27) Mike Mack highlights the long-term benefits of prioritizing hard ticket shows over immediate gains and encourages artists to focus on career growth.

The Strategy of Free Shows (01:01:53) Discussion on the limitations of using free shows as a long-term career strategy in the music industry.

Booking Experience (01:02:24) Mike Mack’s extensive experience in booking various Christian hip hop artists and the impact on the industry.

Balancing Expansion and Limitation (01:03:01) The importance of finding a balance between expanding one’s career and avoiding self-cannibalization in the music industry.

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