We had to bring you the exclusive on this young inspiration right here. We admire his drive in the direction of intelligence, class and integrity leading the way for a oyung black man vs the street codes or trappin. While we respect where everyone comes from and their struggle but that's the whole thing, most young black men in the industry are not from that kind of struggle but yet they portray it in their image. It's fair to say that the major label machine has had a huge hand in molding the image of our culture in that direction but thanks to artists like Nick we still have a force for the pure at heart to be who they are and succeed on their own merritt. He's had quite a bit of successes and while still on his climb is taking the time to help shape the minds of the youth that follow and in that we appreciate this guy.
With that being said we are gonna just dive right into this interview, some music and videos leggo!!
ACMD: Multimedia Producer & Engineer at Streetz 94.5 ATL & Old School 99.3 , COO of Southern Mecca Records and Student Ambassador, Peer Mentor & Resident Assistant at the Art Institute of Atlanta Nick Branden what up homie!! Welcome to the World of Apex Coture! How are you?
NB: What it do Apex Coture, I'm good! Thank you to Apex Coture Magazine for having me as a feature in the magazine. I'm excited!
ACMD: Good to know! Tell us bro, what don't you do lol..
NB: Sleep! I need more! But I believe in getting it in, especially while I'm young. I've been in Atlanta for 3 years and learning new skills everyday. I'm enjoying the major market experience. It's a once in a lifetime experience that I'm enjoying one day at a time.
ACMD: I dig that.. The experience of working with Jerry Smokin B in ATL has gotta be rewarding. What's it like?
NB: Ah man, it's a complete honor. Jerry is very influential to me and one the pioneers in the Atlanta radio market. Without him, it wouldn't be the same. I get to work under him at Streetz 94.5 and Old School 99.3 every week and he shares a lot of knowledge with our team. I look up to him as a producer in the music industry. Plus he's funny too! Great person. A person like him should be hanging with the stars but he's a down to earth person who just believes in getting it right.
ACMD: Your credentials are in elevation I see.. What made you want to take on the role as Student Ambassador and Peer Mentor? Was it your being an Honor Roll student yourself and wanting to motivate and inspire young men and women to proceed in their own academic progess?
NB: I went to Savannah State from 2009 - 2011 but my grades were terrible. I would be in my dorm room making beats all day. So I enrolled at The Art Institute of Atlanta in April 2012. The projects we do in Audio are fun and the people are cool, so I wanted to be a key player. One of my instructors, Dan Marshall, put a a registration jingle I cut on the TV's around the school for everyday airplay, so it made me want to impact the entire school by getting active. A lot of the students coming in just want to be comforted by some of the older students. Working with Student Affairs, I get to help alot of students plus it's good for networking. When I graduate, I want to be able to say my time was well spent.
ACMD: You better do that thang na! Tell us about your music I hear you had quite a success with the Indie Hits Series...
NB: Ai has helped me get my sound and mixing right, especially Karl Heilbron. Dope platinum Grammy nominated producer/ mix engineer who taught me in school. I wanted to put out a song with my new mix skills and connects. Steph C came one day with a beat, so I finished the beat with an R&B touch. I got my classmate Swizz at LOFT Productions to mix and master my vocals. I called it "She Got It" and my manager Derrick Chatman started blasting it. He played on his radio show DC's New Artist Profile Show constantly. DJ Skillz of 107.9 JAMZ in Central Georgia picked it up and added it into his rotation. DJ CellBlock was the first international DJ to pick up the record. He put it on Indie Hits 18 and blasted it around the world. The tape had over 30,000 views in a week on DatPiff alone. He had a contest on his website to see which track on the tape would get the most votes. I just started campaigning with my people in Dublin, Macon, Savannah, Atlanta and other areas for votes. I won the contest! It was a huge thing for me. That's a great idea that CellBlock is working with for promoting artists.
ACMD: Word! S/O to DJ Cell Block.. So you've opened up for some big names. Name a few and what that has done for your career..
NB: Whew! I started back in 2010. My first show was at DC's Summer Independent Expo featuring the Hip-Hop Moms, the mothers of T-Pain, Lil Wayne and Ne-Yo. We had a great time! They are like my industry aunts now. I performed with KCamp, Rae Sremmurd, Rick Ross, Diggy Simmons, Jacob Latimore, The OMG Girlz, my boy Tana fka Montana Da Mac, Young Dro, Young Scooter, The SOS Band, Lakeside, and some more artists too. The shows gave me a different platform. I met alot of behind the scenes people who kept on inviting us to different events. It also made me want to go harder because on being on stage with your music blasting in the best feeling in the world. I love it when the females and lil kids scream for me! I feel like I'm connecting with them and giving them a memory they won't forget. Oh and I opened up for The UniverSoul Circus like 15 times across the country too. That was FUN!!
ACMD: What!!! How you pull that off? Management must be bananas!!
NB: Yes! My manager is Derrick "DC" Chatman. I linked up with him in 2010. DC is crazy great at what he does. He's been working in industry for over 25 years now. He's done great things for my career and we're just getting started. He's taught and is still teaching me alot of things about radio, etiquette, just different things you need to sustain in the industry. I remember we used to meet people and I would be so quiet. He helped me out with public relations. We've been on a long journey, but it's the greatest thing that's ever happened to me. Without his guidance, I don't know what I'd be doing today! But even outside of the work, he's a great person. We kick it all the time, hit a few spots, grab something to eat. He loves crab legs. Be looking like a little kid again cracking those shells!
ACMD: You guys ROCK!! We are spontaneous over here at Apex Coture. I'm gonna open the floor up. Tell our viewers something about you (anything) that you'd like them to know about you or your career and give any advice to the youth who may follow your footsteps...
NB: Never give up and always say what you want. You can't achieve anything if you don't believe in yourself. It starts with YOU. I would also like to say follow me on IG @nickbrandenradio and Twitter @nickbranden. Go get my single "She Got It" on iTunes too!
ACMD: There it iz folks you heard it from the man himself. Throw some shout outs to your fam and team and let em know the Hot new magazine you rockin with!!
NB: ALREADY!! S/O to God, my manager DC, my parents Calvin & Beverly Carswell, my sister Bridgette, the Art Institute of Atlanta, DJ Skillz, 107.9 JAMZ, Shirley Ellis, Lisa Bryant, Que, Gabby, DJ Wiz, NBPC, RadioLady, Debbie Ireland, Otis Redding III, Dougie Doug & K. Michelle at E93/Magic 103.9 Savannah/Hilton Head, Steph C, Preneur Music, my people Jerry Smokin B, Jammin Jay, James Kamawe, Kadafi, Ferrari Simmons, Brook, Shorty Mack, Incog and DJ JayT down at Streetz Also DJ Wiz (the first to EVER play my records on the radio), D. South & First Lady Diamond of Power 92 JAMZ in Starkville, Mississippi !! And I'm rockin with Apex Coture Magazine!!
Interview by Antuan "A-Tuan" Wright for Apex Coture magazine