Quit Your Day Job - Jon Hope [DJBooth Interview Exclusive]
New York, N.Y. -- Whether you're an aspiring artist or simply a daydreamer, you've likely fantasized about what it would be like to leave your nine-to-five grind behind and try your luck in the music game. But what is the life of an artist on the come-up really like? To answer that very question, we have launched a new, DJBooth-exclusive interview series titled Quit Your Day Job, in which a variety of emerging artists will offer their real, true-to-life insights into the independent grind.
For the first entry in our series, we link up with Jon Hope, a Providence, Rhode Island rhymesayer who's been a regular visitor to the Booth ever since introducing himself with March 2008's "The Rap Life." Currently employed as an adviser at the Community College of Rhode Island, Hope is also hard at work on aptly-titled musical project Work in Progress, due out by the end of the year.
In the exclusive interview below, Hope discusses what it would take for him to leave his steady job behind, why patience and persistence are crucial for an artist on the come-up, and what steps he's currently taking towards becoming a full-time emcee.
What is your current day job?
I am a college advisor at the Community College of Rhode Island. It is the largest community college in New England. I serve over 4000 students. I deal with a specific population, which is first generation low income students and the non traditional student.
What would it take for you to leave your day job in favor of a full-time career in music?
Realistically it would take a steady and consistent flow of income solely off music. I would take the same salary as long as it is solely off music.
What steps are you taking to reach that point?
I think the key is developing relationships with gatekeepers and people who share the vision you have. When I say gatekeepers I am referring to booking agents, entertainment lawyers, reputable publicists. These are people who put you in the position, with good product, to be able take your career from blog rapper to rapper with tangible success.
What has been the biggest roadblock/challenge in this pursuit?
The biggest challenge is keeping your eye on the prize. You have to be able to look beyond your cubicle and be disciplined enough to not just believe, but KNOW that this job is not what you will be doing for the rest of your life. It is very easy to become complacent and succumb to the routine of a 9-5, but continue to be active after you punch out of your shift.
What is the greatest misconception that you've discovered on your own about starting a career in music?
The biggest misconception was how long term the 'building/development' process is. I initially thought after my first project (Somekind of Wonderful) was released, the labels were going to come knocking. That obviously didn't happen and it did affect me somewhat. I now realize that you have to think beyond your product and build your brand and have something that the fans can buy into. With minimal funds that can take longer than expected. But as I mentioned before, it's important to keep your eye on the prize and build a strong team of people of who are able to help you even while you're behind your desk.
What are you working on now that readers/prospective fans should be on the lookout for over the next few weeks/months?
Right now I am working on my project Work In Progress, which is due out by the end of the year. I spent time not only on the music but positioning myself so that once released, WIP can potentially change my current situation tremendously. That means assembling the right supporting cast and building strong relationships with those gatekeepers. I'm very excited about my future.
What is the best way for readers/prospective fans to find out more about you and your music?
The best way to keep up with me is to visit my website IAMJONHOPE.com and follow me on twitter @JONHOPE.