I hope you've got time.
How did you get to where you are today?
My dad LOVED Phil Collins & Oliver Mutukudzi. My siblings were raised in Phil Collins & Oliver Mutukudzi. My dad LOVED music and the only logical step was to get us into the piano. My older brothers started on their musical journey around 2008.
Growing up, this looked like a ton of fun so I genuinely wanted to follow in their footsteps. Unfortunately, the best I could do at the time was poetry, which I can say molded my writing process in the most amazing way. As I got older, I got more and more into music and eventually began to write my own songs. My earliest songs were flows I bit from my brothers and deconstructed to craft my style, and not long after that, I stepped into the production side of things.
Composing became my niche, especially after I arrived in Texas for college. School got the better of me and my parents weren’t having it. “School first or stop wasting our money.” I put my head down, improved my grades, discovered what having a job could do for me and stepped back into music heavily maybe a year later. In this time, I lost hundreds of files and projects from my computer crashing, not once but twice.
I didn’t let this deter me though and started looking into the Arlington music scene. In late 2017, I found UTA’s sound studio and this was where I knew I belonged. I recorded several songs that resulted in my first self-produced EP “She.” These were 6 songs I had a blast making and all centered around girls. A blast!
I was able to follow that up with 6 more songs which were very loosely related but came together to form my second EP “Cake & Ramen Noodles”. The most random name for how randomly all the songs are linked but also don’t all the way go together, like cake and ramen.
The release of the EP also came on the morning of Euphoria, a show JJ Eromonsele, Dolly Bills, TJ Banks and I put together to expose more people to the art & music scenes here in Arlington. With shows like this and open mics like the Speakeasy & the Open Eye Events, it’s safe to say that Arlington music is in good hands. Today, I’m working on expanding my network, reaching out to various artists from all over to collaborate and grow our fan bases in places we may not have been able to reach before.
I’ve begun to reach out to find bigger shows that I can be a part of, and this began with my first show over in Deep Ellum on August 23rd. My goal is to delve deeper into live music as I can see how people vibe to my sound, if at all, firsthand.
p.s. If you know anybody trying to work, I write, rap, sing(ish), and produce.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It definitely hasn’t been the easiest path. I started with a snowball mic in my bedroom. I was recording on my laptop (which doesn’t have the best track record). I was reaching out to people who had no interest in working with an artist who was just starting out. I didn’t have the money to go out for actual sessions in recording studios. People would hit me up to work and go Casper. I lost projects, files, money, motivation and leaned heavy into a sub 3.0 GPA. I’ve had people tell me I should just quit, I struggled to find people willing to listen to my music. I couldn’t secure any sort of performance anywhere.
But it built character. A level of drive that has me on the road to really big things. I’m more ready to work now than I’ve ever been.
Anything more you can say about your art?
My name is TEN. and I’m a Zimbabwean born artist/producer based in the DFW area. I write, rap, sing and produce. I’m set apart in the sense that I find inspiration in the most unconventional places, and tend to express myself with a sound that is pretty unique compared to other artists or producers. My proudest "music career" achievements would definitely be performing in Deep Ellum in August 2019 and releasing “Fantasy” with Tyra & Tiara, my first song to hit 1,000 plays.