J. Cole, Melanie Fiona and Lady Gaga's manager Troy Carter gave advice to aspiring artists on the 'Baby I'm A Star! How to Get Major Exposure in a Multi-Platform Media Environment' panel at South by Southwest in Austin, TX on Thursday (Mar. 17).
J. Cole, whose debut album "Cole World" is due out later this year, recalled how he has pressed 1,000 copies of his debut mixtape "The Come Up" in 2007 and sold it for $1, but says it was the last time he will ever physically sell his mixtapes. "That weekend we only got out 700 copies and even that was a task," said the rapper. "Fast forward to my next mixtape and I had it figured out -- I cut straight to the case and went via the internet."
He also spoke about rising rapper Lil B, telling the audience, "Let's say you think he can't rap -- you see what I did there? If that's true, there's something genius about what's being done where he has all this attention." He added, "Talent doesn't matter if you have vision and marketing and buzz."
Meanwhile, R&B singer Fiona advised the audience members to stay true to themselves, and pointed out that she still caters to her early fans who discovered the singer on YouTube. "One of my most viewed videos is an acoustic video of me singing in a backyard on YouTube," she explained. "It got people buzzing about me when they did find out, so I keep doing impromptu videos now.".
Justin Bieber fanatics may be interested to know that Troy Carter, whose most famous client is Lady Gaga, went to Canada to search for Bieber after being impressed by his MySpace, but Bieber's current manager Scooter Braun beat him to the artist by a week and a half. As for Gaga, the singer did something right in getting his attention, as he discussed his view on demos. "I don't listen to anything, that's not my forte. If an artist somehow gets on my radar, then I listen," Carter said.
J. Cole and Melanie Fiona will continue making the SXSW rounds when they perform tonight at Kiss & Fly.