Sunday, November 24, 2013

Clusterfunk Collective presents Take Five: Suave [Interview]

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Heavy is the head that wears many hats. However Nate Cameron, professionally known as Suave, balances being a father, an artist and an Urban Impresario with ease. In our discussion he delves into love, life and lessons learned from touring, traveling and teaching his son.

"Take Five" to tap into the talent beyond the surface.

1.) You once told us that Allen Toussaint said, "You gotta go to grow." How do you think your move to Cincinnatti allowed you to further your craft and, ultimately, your career?

It was by far one of the hardest decisions I've had to make in my 29 years of living, but it all came down to one word - diversification. Having toured the gulf coast for the last 3 years prior to my move to Ohio, and getting overwhelming feedback and support, I was encouraged to go into a region that I hadn't grew up in. I was born and raised in New Orleans, grandparents in Mississippi, and other relatives in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, etc. you get my point. So the South is and always will be my comfort zone. It's the region that made me who I am both in and out of my artistic endeavors. So I felt like it was time to leave the proverbial artistic nest and be confident in my art enough to know that it could sustain my family and I. In the 2 years I've been here I've been performing all over the region, but more importantly to me I've been able to solidify a lot of the behind the scenes administrative things with a label I co-own called GPNYC Records, and a new artistic non-profit I've started called Urban Impresario. Also I've been fortunate enough to get some song and production placement on a couple major networks like Fox NFL. So being here and away from the constant performance laden environment of New Orleans for a little while,has allowed to me to sit back and really put my music business degree to work. I'm could get used to these music industry desk jobs. Ha Ha!

2.) You spent some time in Nashville for school. What is the greatest lesson you took away from that experience?

Those were hands down the toughest 5 years of my life when I lived in Nashville. While attending Tennessee State University and studying Music Business and Marketing, I went through just about every emotion there is. I definitely enjoyed my college experience and all the life long friends and networks I was blessed to make. The greatest thing I learned in Nashville came away from campus though. That thing is perseverance. While in college I lost my mom to a battle with colon cancer, lost my godmother, survived (first-hand) Hurricane Katrina, was robbed and shot 3 times, and that's the short version. Crazy right?!? Most people I talked to said they had no idea how I shouldered half of what I did while still attending school, but its times like those that let you see what you're really made of. Even though I grew up in a that time (some of the most dangerous uptown areas of New Orleans), it was Nashville, Tennessee where I learned to deal with adversity head on and be be a soldier.

3.) How do you think early touring with heavy-hitters like Juvenile helped determine the depth of your artistry?

I learned so many priceless lessons - not only as an artist but as a business owner from just being around those guys. I remember right after Katrina, Juvie was preparing to release his "Reality Check" LP. The album was by far one of Juvenile's most anticipated, and it definitely didn't disappoint, touting productions and features from industry heavyweights like Ludacris, Lil Jon, Cool-N-Dre, Fat Joe, Brian McKnight, Trey Songs, etc. He was the creator of club classic and record setting anthem "Back that Ass Up" yet he chose to select the controversial song "Get Your Hustle On" as his leading single. A song written out of frustration and truth about the hardships fellow Hurricane Katrina survivors were facing in real life. To me, it not only showed his listeners that he wanted them to do more than dance while listening to his music, but it showed his label that he had more to talk about than your everyday southern club rapper they were labeling him as. To be able to see and hear some of the inner workings of that particular project really showed me the value and power of artistic integrity and creative control. I've vowed never to comprise neither of those things from then on.

4.) You have recently began to expand your reach abroad. Are there any differences to how you approach working with artists domestically versus internationally?

Not really, and that's the beautiful thing about it. Music and the spirit of collaboration are a language of their own. The same approach I would take while at Inner Recess Studios back home with Prospek and the crew is the same one I took while in studios thousands of miles aways form home with people that spoke different languages other than English. We always hear the cliche' "music is the universal language." I got to live it and experience that truth. So besides some of the small language barriers it's business as usual.

5.) How has becoming a father made your mission more important?

When my fiance and I were blessed with our son, Khaliq, earlier this year I experienced a focus that I never knew existed. Like all good parents, I want to be a righteous role model, teacher, and provider for my child. As an artist, it's made my mission to educate and organize our communities that much more important and urgent. Khaliq was also another reason to get the administrative side of my music business tighter. Music licensing, songwriting, producing, etc. (if done professionally) lead to one beautiful word - residuals. How cool would it be to leave my son financial support from doing something I was put on the earth to do and love doing. We as artists and parents are chosen to birth and cultivate something that we hope one day would impact the world for good. I don't take that lightly at all. His names, Khaliq Rashad, in Arabic mean "creator" and "wise counselor" about some big shoes to fill. Ha Ha! Im excited to see him lace em up.

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