Don’t overthink; do it. This was the most significant issue starting for me and still is from time to time. Most of the time, creatives have amazing ideas that never get manifested because maybe it’s too out there, and we’re worried about others’ opinions. Your biggest obstacle most of the time is yourself, so as soon as you learn to combat those thoughts, you’ll achieve what you want.
As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing AnthonyJsenseI.
Artist, Musician, Model, and Fashion Designer, AnthonyJsenseI does it all and doesn’t believe in limiting his creativity to one form. Growing up primarily in Birmingham, AL, Anthony has been exposed to music early through his family’s involvement in the community church. Today he is currently one of the three founding members of the hip hop collective Midnight District with fellow artists Solstice and Pace.maker.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Thanks, I appreciate you having me. I’m originally from Greenville, South Carolina, grew up there until I think about the age of 4 or 5. I moved to Denver, stayed there until I was around 8, and then moved to Birmingham, Alabama, where I currently live.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I’ve always been a creative person ever since I was younger, and that’s taken me down many artistic paths, but I think the turning point for me was when I put out my first song Tesla back in 2018. I grew up pretty introverted and didn’t fit in growing up, so putting myself out there as a new artist took me out of my comfort zone. But I received many positive reviews, which boosted my confidence to keep going and create the future I wanted doing something I’m passionate about.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
It would have to be my co-sign from Madison Pettis herself for the song I released about her on Valentine’s Day titled, “Maddi Petti.” I’ve been a fan of hers for two years, and when I told my team the idea to make the song, they were all for it. It all happened so fast, within a matter of hours of me releasing the song when she reposted it on her story, My following wasn’t as large as it is currently, so I owe that victory to my growing fanbase and friends that supported me through that process.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I think plenty of artists start out making this mistake. Still, for me, it was thinking that my journey as an upcoming artist was going to be an easy one-way street. What I mean by that is putting out one song a “blowing up” or being consistent for less than a year and expecting massive results that take years to manifest. I learned that type of mindset can create anxiety and stunt your growth and take everything I’m doing one day at a time.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I’m excited about being able to model for ExpressMen this month. This is my first collaboration with a major brand in the two years of my modeling career. Working hard on the music side for my upcoming releases next year, I won’t give too much away, but I can say that summer 2021 will be amazing. Midnight District, as a whole, is working on bringing collaborative content to our growing fanbases, such as vlogs, new merch, and more.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
- Being diverse in different art forms will create new opportunities and give you new knowledge and connections in the industry.
- You’ll be able to reach new demographics that probably wouldn’t be possible in another.
- This will affect our culture by holding future talent to a standard of not being a “one-trick pony,” meaning artists will be challenged to have multiple skills to strive in this competitive industry.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- This first one can be opinionated, but for me, it’s quality over quantity. Making memorable songs and content should be more of focus than flooding the market with your content. I think that creates longevity and makes being seen and heard in the entertainment industry easier.
- Don’t overthink; do it. This was the most significant issue starting for me and still is from time to time. Most of the time, creatives have amazing ideas that never get manifested because maybe it’s too out there, and we’re worried about others’ opinions. Your biggest obstacle most of the time is yourself, so as soon as you learn to combat those thoughts, you’ll achieve what you want.
- Find people you trust, grow your team, and succeed together.Most artists fall short because they try to juggle everything at once and spread themselves so thin that nothing is getting done at all. It’s much harder to succeed on your own than having people you can depend on to strengthen the areas you might be weak in. Team-building takes time, so don’t rush that process. I’m blessed to have the team that I do now, but that took time and didn’t happen overnight.
- The entertainment industry is mostly business. As simple as this might sound, you need to know the industry you’re getting into so you’re not swindled. I’ve been offered deals that didn’t necessarily go in my favor and benefited the other party.
- Treat your journey as a marathon, not a sprint. This is a concept I didn’t grasp until covid hit, and I had time to self reflect on lockdown; I learned to play the long game and set smaller, more achievable goals to reach my end goal instead.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
We often compare ourselves to others when we aren’t where we want to be in our journey, so a couple of things I do are:
- Reflect on my past accomplishments and how far I’ve come.
- Watch people that inspired me and learn about their journey to get motivated again.
- Talk to people I trust, like my team and my family.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
That it’s ok to be yourself and to be different, I think my generation specifically suffers from finding themselves because of the pressure of being on the latest trend. I want to normalize people accepting each other’s differences.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
First off, my parents for instilling the morals and values needed to thrive in a cut-throat industry. Also, to Pace.maker, my producer and friend, he taught me a lot I didn’t know about the music industry’s artistry side and helped me develop my sound over the three years we’ve worked together.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
There are so many that live by, but I think the one that keeps me the most consistent is “ Hard work > Lazy Talent” there’s always going to be someone that’ll be better than you at a particular thing, but and sometimes that person isn’t necessarily humble and can lead to a sense of entitlement, so the most significant thing is staying consistent no matter what
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I would have to say Chris Brown, for he is my inspiration for most of my music and creativity. He has been consistent in his 15+ years and excels in many different art forms, which is a major goal. I feel like he could tell me what to expect in the future and mentor me on how to move wisely.
How can our readers follow you online?
All my social media and streaming platforms are under my artist name AnthonyJsenseI.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!
Thank you for having me. I hope my interview inspires someone out there reading.