Akon | Rapper | Record Producer | Businessman
Tell me some of the tips that you do that makes you a master in your craft of music?
I think at the end of the day, when you’re dealing with anything that you want to master, it starts with focus. A lot of people get distracted with the things that surround them and it's always a lot of distractions. The key at the end of the day is to be successful, but in the mix of success, you want things around you that keeps you entertained and motivated to keep following that dream forward. That ultimately is always the area where everyone goes grey, because they follow the entertainment to the point of losing focus, and in this business, it's easy to do that. So, I try to stay tunnel-vision minded on the one goal I'm trying to achieve, and I don't move from that line until it's achieved. I can move on to something else after its achieved. Focus is the key.
Let's talk about Konvict Muzik and how you built that focus from starting as an artist, to going into business and making sure that you're guiding other artists onto the path of success.
When it comes to Konvict Muzik, the brand itself was a brand that would allow other artists the chance to harness their gifts, talents, and utilize the brand to help excel themselves to the next level. When we started the movement, it all started with that original idea of that convict that was coming straight out of jail, couldn't get a Fortune 500 job, or any legitimate job that pays well, because they created a more difficult path for themselves. Often, no one wants to hire a convicted felon, so Konvict Muzik was set up, so people can utilize the craft they possessed, whether they were a rapper, producer, singer, or writer. If you were doing anything of that nature, Konvict Muzik offered the platform to be able to do those things. As time when on, great artists, producers, and writers ended up coming out of it and it created a whole new realm of music from a standpoint of musical direction and content. When you speak about what you've dealt with in your neighborhood, things that got you in jail, or things that you've faced in the streets that led you to making certain kinds of decisions, it becomes a fad. Hip-Hop always represented the streets itself, but I think Konvict Muzik was that one brand that every street person related to me to.
Talk about your latest project Stadium that everyone is waiting for. What was the process like in making this project and making sure that there was a fresh sound in place?
The approach for Stadium has always been the same approach from Trouble, to Konvicted, to Freedom. It's always been about experiences. The longer it takes for this album to come out, the more the music is changing. I've probably recorded seven or eight albums since the last time this album was supposed to come out. Unfortunately, there was a lot of things that were happening in my life that kept changing, which forced the content and the music to change. The feel of it kept changing because I'm changing as a person. The whole idea behind Stadium was, every audience of mine can be engaged and be brought to one album. Then I can create this platform where they can listen to each album and communicate, and it becomes that world of Akon for all my audiences all over the globe. The approach has always been international. It's always been bigger than life, and it’s always about the experiences that I'm dealing with on a basic and international level.
How do you want this album to impact the next decade or generation?
That's an interesting question because when I was over at Universal, they used to compare me to all the other acts. One thing I always knew was that albums have must be sold. You can't just promote it and expect it to be a top album unless you buy those spots. Every time one of my albums came out, I was always the turtle. I come off the first couple of weeks slow, then the sales become consistent and it always stays at a certain amount of sales per week for the last five years. Each one of my albums has sold over 10 million copies. I was always a long-term player. I never looked at the short-term, quick, first week sales. I try to keep it as consistent as possible and I try to make music that appeals to the world where I know the world takes time to get it. I don't expect the world to buy my album in a week, but I do expect them to buy it in the forthcoming years. All I want to do is make sure the music is stable and everything that we do is consistent.