This story is part of Billboard’s third annual package spotlighting the trends defining the independent music business.
When I first came to Los Angeles in 2015, I had some meetings [with labels] and got some interest. I didn’t have any leverage, so none of it made sense really. And then by the time I got established, I think they assumed I just didn’t want to [sign]. It’s just me [on my TrapHouseJodeci label]. I’ve got producers and songwriters that I consistently work with, but I would want a bigger financial partner to be able to sign some people I want.
Since I’ve done music, I’ve done modeling. Sometimes I get booked cause they know about my music, and then sometimes I get booked because of my face. I’m good with either one, because I can use either opportunity to raise awareness with the music. I bring it up after the business is done, because I don’t want to be the guy that’s pitching other stuff before I do the main thing that you asked me for.
Companies [like Puma, Footlocker, Urban Outfitters] I have a great rapport with, so we tend to do things monthly. With Urban Outfitters, we teased the song “Sweatpants” [in a campaign video]. The track was also used in a promotional video for [the hair product] Texture My Way. I’m just trying to work smarter and make sure I can pitch stuff that’s sitting [on my computer] to be utilized.
With two or three companies in the past few months, I’ve been able to integrate my music and promote the album [Dangerous, due Nov. 12]. It’s always a goal to find somebody to partner with for the big stuff and use their name and marketing tools to help my music.