There are a few indicators that can help tell if we’re passionate about something. First would be the amount of time you willingly invest in a certain hobby or activity. Second, we could say consistency. If you’re able to consistently do something without it feeling like a burden on you, you might be on to something. Third is a drive. Regardless of how long it takes, no matter how much immediate money it brings you, you still feel the need to keep doing it because, well, you can’t stop. These are the defining traits of a passion.
We got in touch with Raleigh, NC artist, Nance, who has been creating music since early high school in 2006. It all started when his brother exposed him to the hip-hop/rap industry. Nance’s brother familiarized him with old school rap artists still around today and Nance was convinced; he knew he wanted to make music. He started off recording and freestyling over Rock Band mics and making songs off of a software called Cool Edit.
He got comfortable enough where he would then start writing lyrics in middle school. It wasn’t long until he graduated to selling CD’s at his high school. He did his first show in 2009 and later on ended up opening for bigger named artists in the industry like Action Bronson. There came a point in Nance’s life where he and his mom talked about career paths and the only path Nance would even consider was making music. He says he loves all aspects of music and that he’s always been driven to pursue his own dreams. His goal is to help people understand what drives him as a person and his music.
You’ve been creating music since high school. What would you say has been the biggest motivator to keep making music?
I think it’s just the combination of my passion when it comes to music and creating my own, plus my drive to go far in life. If I wasn’t creating music, I would probably be pursing some other goals with the same kind of drive I have pursuing my goals in music. Life in general and all of its possibilities are some of the things that motivate me. I just want to get out, do stuff, experience cool things, go places, meet cool people, etc. During my years in college, my mom and I would have long talks about my future plans as far as my career goes. I would always tell her that I want to create music or do something in the music industry. It’s what I’m passionate about. She would always say that she doesn’t worry about me too much and she knows I will be successful in any career that I put my mind to. I’ve just always been driven, and especially driven to go far with my interests.
Who or what has been the biggest influence in your life to date?
So many things have influenced me throughout my life, to be honest. My family, close friends, and musicians I look up to. It’s a combination of all of them, plus life experiences that have influenced me to want to do what I’m doing with music.
You mentioned forgetting the words to your song in one of your first performances ever. How has that experience helped your confidence in performing for an audience on stage now?
Honestly, I was never going to mention this ever again in my life (especially in an interview) but I thought it was only right to mention it to show how failure can be used as something positive in life. My first time performing live was probably one of the most embarrassing things in my life. Having dreams of becoming a rapper, and forgetting my words on stage AND all I had to do was rap one verse. It was probably the worst thing that could have happen to me at the time, but also the best thing because it inspired me to never EVER let it happen again.
I knew after that show that I had to overcome my fear of stage fright and the next time I touched a stage I would have to give it my all. That means, remembering my lines, putting on an actual performance, and not caring about what anyone thought. When it comes to shows these days, I pride myself on putting on a good performance. My friend POSADA (my DJ) and I always rehearse our shows until they are right and I think it all goes back to my first performance. I guess my first show was kind of like my “8 Mile” moment when Rabbit choked at the Shelter.
What would you say is the most relatable aspect of your music for you listeners?
I think the most relatable part about my music is that it is mostly based off of pursuing dreams and making something of your life. Most of the people that listen to my music are in high school, college, or they just got out of college. Those years are super important when it comes to staying motivated about what you want to do with your life.
What is your advice for anyone looking to pursue a passion?
As far as advice goes, first it’s always smart to make sure you are truly passionate about what you are pursing. Don’t pursue something because it looks cool, or it brings in good money, etc. Pursue something because its what you love to do. Make sure it’s that thing that you would do even if there wasn’t a way to turn it into a career. If being a rapper wasn’t a way to make a living, I would still be rapping every single day of my life. I’m passionate about it, plain and simple.
You can listen to Nance’s most recent single “Mentions” below.