Read the Opineismyname Interview below and share it on social media.
Please tell our readers who you are and what you do?
Official Quick Bio:
Opineismyname™, born Vernon Louis Brooks III is a multi-talented, multi-faceted artist and poet hailing from the North Bay Area in Northern CA. From the early age of 2 until now, his comprehension of language and maturation as a wordsmith has allowed him to become a phenomenal lyricist. Opineismyname™ is a rapper, singer, songwriter and poet who has been featured on a number of projects for new, up and coming artists.
As a singer and dancer, Opineismyname™ has performed in school musicals and competitions. Most recently, he performed in the Six Flags Discovery Kingdom’s Fright Fest productions of “The Awakening”, “Dance Macabre” and “The Aftermath”.
He released his first mixtape Giant Slayer on March 5, 2015 exclusively on datpiff.com. He followed up Giant Slayer with his second mixtape, Mount Horeb on July 27, 2016 which allowed him to share in the grief of the killing of many of his comrades, as well as wrestle with the universal struggle with religion in general, and his personal faith.
Opineismyname™ came back hard after Mount Horeb with two singles. The first entitled Hoodrat which expresses the mentality of many of those consumed by the inner cities of this country. The second entitled Homiecide, graphically depicts the betrayal by a friend and the lust of vengeance, within the context of a system that feeds and encourages both. Homiecide became the most requested song from March through April 2017 on BKWradio, the #1 internet radio station in Pennsylvania.
Words straight from Opineismyname:
Wisdom, acceptance, labor, intelligence, and Life. The Black Spade is a representation of who I am as an Artist. Opineismyname, Opine or simply O for short. I’ve even started going by Black Spade O. My name means to express ones opinions openly without hesitation or fear.
I am the mind the Great Ones aimed to spark.
Singer-Songwriter, eMCee (Rapper), Dancer, and even drawing (sometimes). I do it all and am only striving to continue to grow by adding the piano and guitar to my repertoire in order to express my life, my thoughts, my emotions, my feelings… and my heart, out on each track in order to “…win your hearts before I ever Win a Grammy” - Kendrick Lamar.
Anyone can follow me on this journey, and as I grow, you grow. We all grow together. If only One person hears my music and it was able to tap into their emotions and cause a difference or change in their life, then I have done what I’ve been out on this earth to do.
2017 was a crazy year, but 2018 I’ve set aside as my branding year as the Black Spade. With that came the first project of the year, “Moonwalker EP” currently only available to stream on SoundCloud.
How would you describe your influences and how have they changed over the years?
My taste in music definitely changed over time. I started out strictly Gospel and old school R&B from a young age. I’m talking about The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson, and a bit of Prince. Then I ventured into more mainstream R&B like Usher and Chris Brown. As I got older, I remember “College Dropout” by Kanye West being the first Hip Hop Album I ever bought. Jesus Walks was the first hip hop / rap song I memorized as a kid.
Although College Dropout caused me to pay attention to Hip Hop, Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City is what caused me to fall in love with Hip Hop. If not for that album I honestly wouldn’t have made it through my high school years. Here was this man saying everything that I wanted to say, but could never find the words. It’s like he explained portions of my life I never would’ve had the courage to speak on until I heard him do it. Thus pushing me to keep going.
Once I decided to officially put my efforts into pursuing music in 2013, I dived into Rakim, KRS-One, Lauryn Hill and the Fugees, Erykah Badu, and anybody else that I could find on documentaries and in magazines or blogs. I spent About 2 years literally just working on my writing skills so I could be considered a worthy eMCee. Why Hip Hop? Because by this time Hip Hop had saved my life multiple times. I wanted to do the same because I knew there were other people out there like me. Nothing aginst mumble rappers, but I just didn’t want to go that route at all. I knew from the beginning that my endeavors would always be more than the music. But a legacy to further build the black community, and just heal the world in general as much as I possibly can.
As I grow more and more, it’s not only my main influences like Kanye, Kendrick, Pac, Prince, Lauryn, and Michael that I draw from, but my own life experiences, love and life battles, and newer artists like Daniel Caesar, Jorja Smith, and Miguel that i draw from. They all help inspire me to fuse everything I’ve learned from them and melt it all down and mold it to create my own sound. I’ve grown to dive into Alternative and Rock music. New artists like NAO, Ella Mai, Alina Baraz, inspire me to continue to grow. Everything around me is a learning tool or influence for me. I’m like one giant gumbo pot of the some of the greatest to ever do what they do. I can only hope to be a fraction of their greatness one day. I am the caterpillar from To Pimp A Butterfly. I consume and consume, then disappear into my cocoon until each project is it’s own little Butterfly. I just really love music man.
What´s new right now?
As stated before I have recently just dropped an EP on SoundCloud that I hope to be able to put on all other digital mediums to buy or stream. That is the newest release I have.
In 2016/17 I released a playlist named #TheBouquet consisting of 4 songs for a project that I had to put on hold. Two of these songs being “Homiecide” and “Hoodrat” as mentioned earlier. These 4 songs are on just about every digital medium (iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon MP3, TIDAL, etc.). Whether it is streaming or buying the singles and showing your friends, all support is appreciated.
With that being said, anyone can follow me on my socials and ride this ride we call life with me. I usually Follow back as well.
I have Music available on Tidal, Apple Music, Spotify, SoundCloud, and just about everywhere else. Just search/Google “Opineismyname” and I will Pop up.
I plan on adding more and more to my YouTube channel and hopefully post a performance from each month this year. Open mics, music videos, shows, etc.
Most importantly, on February 23rd I will be Performing this EP and two other selections at Complex Oakland in the Bay Area. Tickets are $15 at the door, $12 online, and with my promo code (that you can receive from any of my socials) you will receive a discount when purchased online.
I’d greatly appreciate people coming out and vibing with me and other local Bay Area artists on that night. It will be something you do NOT want to miss. I can Promise you that.
Tickets available here:
I’ll see you all there!
“I heard in the moonlight black boys look blue…
I wonder if it’s the same view from the moon?
It seems from up here blue doesn’t mean sad…
Blue represents a good man gone bad.
Moonwalker EP, I pray you enjoy.
Are you a superfan of anyone? How did you become a superfan? Do you remember how you become a fan and what turned you into super fan? Have you ever thought about why you´re such a fan?
I am definitely a SuperFan. But I’m a SuperFan if MULTIPLE people. The first person I was ever a SuperFan (I say Stan for short like from Eminem’s song Stan) of was Michael Jackson (people called me the day he died to make sure I was ok, yea that bad). We used to watch his movie Moonwalker at my friend’s house all the time. My brother and I would do the same whenever I went to his house! I’m not sure what it was other than the fact that I just wanted to be like him. To be able to dance and sing and perform and that be your JOB? Man. As I grew older I definitely started to gain more and more people I Stan for. Take Prince for example. Prince is like the Joker. I saw a meme that said childhood is idolizing Batman, adulthood is realizing the Joker made more sense. The older I get the more and more I Stan fro Prince. We really lost two Legends. I am currently a HUGE Kendrick Lamar Stan and you have Good Kid M.A.A.D. City to blame for that. I’m a SuperFan for him AND J. Cole. I have all of their mixtapes and albums (hard copies of the albums because I still buy CDs. It’s actually my own little addiction.) Lauryn Hill I Stan for, especially because we have the same birthday. I hope that one of my albums receive the Grammy for AOTY just like her. Right now Jorja Smith and Daniel Caesar are the newest people on the list. Honestly I can go on for hours! Kanye, Pac, BIG, Erykah Badu, KIRBY, Jay Z… the list goes on. I know a lot of them have to do with the fact I relate to them. Especially Kendrick, Kanye, Prince, and Lauryn. That Gemini curse man. It’s like I know exactly what they’re thinking and going through. I remember every exact moment where I became a Stan of each and every artist mentioned and not mentioned on the list. I told you man, I really LOVE music.
What was the biggest mistake you made when you started making music and what would be the number one tip you could give to a newcomer musician?
There’s always more than one mistake that you’re going to make. In my opinion my biggest mistakes starting out were:
1. Trying to sound too much like my influences
2. Cosmetics (Engineering & Production quality)
3. Promotion or lack thereof
4. Trusting people also in the industry that I grew up with and assuming they had my best interest at heart
5. Contract officiating
If you can take your influences and make your own sound, ensure the product is of rest quality, promote your music efficiently and effectively, gain and keep a team of people who will always be upfront that you can trust, and make sure you READ EVERY CONTRACT HANDED TO YOU as well as request time for you and your team to analyze and make sure that you’re covered, you should start out pretty solid. I suggest doing as I did and taking your first years just learning as much as you can about the type of music you want to do. Years of just total development. Even now I don’t even consider my career as officially started. I was grooming, consuming, and perfecting my craft. And now I’m adding more. It’s all about progression and enjoying the music and products you create. If you love it, you CANNOT allow ANYTHING to derail you. Trust the Process.
How do you get gigs? Can you share any tips?
Getting gigs is probably the hardest thing to do because a lot of times you have to pay to play, people flake on buying tickets, and finding your target audience to convince them to come is beyond difficult if you don’t even have a target audience just yet - like me. I’ve been lucky to find an open mic type of ordeal and it was the perfect place to teach me about myself as a performer. The best way to get good gigs is joining something like aftonshows, or following promoters on social media. Do not be afraid of the pay to play method. But to start out I personally would go to free Open Mic Nights. And after you perform make sure to make an impression on the people not only on the stage but off the stage as well. That opens so many doors that one day you may find someone looking for talent for a gig. It’s all in trusting the process. Talent shows, open mics, contests, karaoke for singers, and even applying for entertainment JOBS at amusement parks will open so many doors for you. Just use every tool. My last tip I would say is to get into grind mode and start throwing your own events. If nobody will give you a platform, MAKE ONE. That is definitely my in my planner for a year or so from now if not this year in 2018.
Do you have good promotion tips for other musicians?
I promote myself in everything I do. Whether I’m walking to the store and see someone on the side of the road, or someone notices me singing while I’m shopping. Any and every opportunity you have to bring up your music to a stranger, DO IT. You ARE your business.
“I’m not a businessman, I’m a BUSINESS, Man.” - Jay Z
It’s all about believing in yourself and marketing as much as possible. There is no such thing as bad publicity as I said before so anything that gets your name out there, Pimp it to your advantage and use it as a way to make people pay attention to you. Freestyle Friday videos, sending free (yes free) music to bloggers and video game bloggers to use as background music. Utilizing timed posts by paying close attention to your impressions and posting when traffic is high. The options are limitless and it’s one of the best parts of being an artist because it’s just another way to be CREATIVE. Have fun with it and you’ll be fine. Also features, features, features. During the T-Wayne era (Lil Wayne & T-Pain) they both hadn’t really released many projects. But they were on EVERY SONG, especially T-Pain. Exposure and how you capitalize on it is the name of the game. Read marketing books, blogs, and magazines. Talk to business owners and so on. The world is at your fingertips, especially with the Internet. Use It!!
Do you have insights on how to grow your audience on soundcloud that you want to share with our audience?
What I’ve learned on growing your Soundcloud is to utilize everything they give you. That means reaching out to other artists. Reposts for Reposts, find playlists and DJ accounts that’ll repost or add your music to playlists for simple subscribing to a YouTube channel or reposting someone else’s work. If you work with others and network, you should be able to grow. Also USE HASHTAGS! Any hashtag that can relate to your track that pops up when you’re typing them in as you post your song, USE THEM. Even misspelled words, because someone may accidentally misspell something. It all works together. Go Pro, use your Spotlight, and pay attention to the areas you’re getting the most shine, views and plays. Utilize your impressions not only on there but also on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. There’s no such thing as bad publicity. Even if you mention someone on twitter, and they reply with a troll response like “nobody wants to hear this trash”, SOMEBODY is going to see that tweet and be intrigued. They will want to see if it’s really trash or if that person is just being an asinine person. Trust the quality of your product by striving for perfection and you’ll be set if something like this happens. I promise.
What has been your biggest challenge right now? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
My biggest challenge currently is gaining fans and financial support. In my area I don’t get a lot of attention because my music isn’t anything near what usually is produced from this area. That Bay Area curse man. Our music is so diverse and different and yet only the people that sound like Mac Dre or Too Short flourish. Even Sage the Gemini didn’t get popping until he dropped a Bay Area twerk song. At some point we’ve got to evolve and show the world what we really can do. In order to overcome this problem I’ve outsourced my promotion. I plan to target specific areas one at a time until the Bay is all that’s left for me to gain. Even the Bible says a prophet will be unaccepted in his own hometown. Fairfield is my Home. I just want to flourish so I can come back and help other flourish and rebuild this town. I haven’t necessarily gotten over the challenge. But I have started the process. Now I just need to keep getting that CREAM in order to fund it all.
How do you personally discover new music?
All I have to say is, streaming services like TIDAL and Apple Music are the GOAT when it comes to finding new music. And even what’s old to some is new to me. Apple Music even creates 3 playlists for me each week all consisting of music that I should like according to what I’ve played recently on my phone. It’s really dope. Other than that, whatever is sent my way from friends or New Music I hear on Artist specific radio stations that I like, I add it to my library and consume as the caterpillar must do.
Once you discovered new music, do you tell others about the new music/artist you discovered? If yes, how exactly?
"Oh yes! Definitely. Me and my brother, who is currently my active manager, send each other our new music playlists form Apple Music at least twice a month. If it’s not the playlist, we’re sending each other songs, artists, videos, interviews, performances, you name it! We personally send each other Music all the time. I do that with a few other artist friends as well as in person with people. But my brother is the go to. It’s just reassuring to know I have someone who loves music just as much as I do!
What is your number one tip to improve your music production or songwriting skills?
My number one tip for song writing is reading books and studying artists that you admire. Like I said before I spent 2 years of just writing and not even putting out any music. I would send verses to my friends that are artists and poets, and it wasn’t until my chosen mentor told me that I no longer needed to come to him for writing advice that I was content with my progression. But even then I still keep reading and expanding my mind. Listening to great lyricists and singer song writers such as Kendrick, Frank Ocean, Banks, SZA, Solange, Lana Del Rey, Pharrell, Cole, A Tribe Called Quest, Bilal, Miguel, etc., are all great ways to get better as well. Not only listening but reading the lyrics as you listen, analyzing and annotating them. You have to do whatever is necessary to become the best at YOUR craft and producing YOUR music.
My Last 2 tips:
1. Add the dictionary app to your phone and make sure you receive a notification of the Word if the Day. Write the word, the definition, use it in a sentence and then use it in a lyric. I wanted to be an eMCee and a true eMCee writes songs. Not just raps. I am an artist. Not a rapper.
2. Widen your music selection. Listen to music you normally wouldn’t listen too, and while listening search for something you like. Take note of it and add it to your repertoire of skills as an artist.
The goal in the industry is longevity, and being able to continuously learn is the best way to secure that bag. Open your ears to everything. Consume you you hungry caterpillar!
What is your best tip for those who struggle with finishing their tracks?
If you struggle with finishing your songs, take a break and come back. But be sure you are disciplined enough to do that. If you’re not, force yourself or find your coping mechanisms. When I have writers block I actually go to the bathroom. I don’t even use it. I sit on the toilet and turn the bathroom fan on. I don’t know the physics or science of it, all I know is when I’m stuck the bathroom fan helps me relax and find somewhere to go. But it’s all about keeping your eyes open (Stay Woke!). Any situation in life can become a song. Do something you’ve never done before, read or watch something you’ve never seen before. Expand your mind. Expand your vocabulary. And expand your way of thinking. I also go to look at stars and views. Whatever gets you to your happy place, do it. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to go.
We meet again in one year. What has changed?
In one year, 2019… I will have had a successful branding year in 2018 and turned 23 years old. I will have dropped a visual album to the Moonwalker EP as well as have built the first level on top of the foundation I’ve made for my merchandise. My goal is to have 1,000 subscribers to my YouTube Channel by 2019 and to be in the position where I can choose to continue my career in music Vocationally, FULL TIME. I have shows lined up and am currently working with an agency that will continue to offer me opportunities to perform paid gigs. I will use this and target specific areas in order to grow more and more. Sacramento, CA and the state of Pennsylvania are first regions on the list. In one year, I’m not saying everyone will know who I am, but definitely the places I have on my radar to target, will know The Black Spade: Opineismyname.