For all the readers who don’t know, is Armani Colón your real name or your artist name?

Armani Colón is in fact my real, government name. I like to joke and say my parents were fans of puns haha. I remember when I was little I didn’t like my name at all but as I got older I grew to love it and knew I didn’t want to use an alias or moniker when releasing music, you’re getting the real me in my songs so you should know my real name. I was originally going to be named Devin but they came across a Giorgio Armani ad in a magazine, Devin became my middle name and the rest, as they say, is history.

How long have you been making music? Any specific influences?

I’ve been making music my whole life, honestly. I know if I dig deep enough in my hard drive I can find some crappy sounding MP3’s I made in GarageBand during the early 2000’s to back my story up. But, as far as taking music seriously, trying to build a business and make money from it, I’ve been going hard for the past three years now. There’s been plenty of adversity to overcome but during my journey when I needed it most, things sort of just fell into place for me. When I needed an engineer, a friend of mine introduced me to his and we’ve been working together ever since. When I needed a photographer/videographer, I just happened to find one on Craigslist and we’ve been collaborating ever since. As far as influences go, I’m influenced by damn near everything. Anyone who has listened to my music has commented on how I’m able to blend such different topics, ideas and sounds together cohesively but the music is just a reflection of the person making it; I myself am just a blend of different life experiences, cultures and stories.

What city you from? How is the Hip Hop scene there?

I’m from Suffolk, Virginia which is apart of a larger area known as the 757 (or seven-five if you’re from around there). It consists of 7 cities, including Virginia Beach and the Hip-Hop scene is alive and well out there. We’re home to some of the most influential artists including Pharrell Williams, Missy Elliott, Timbaland and Pusha T just to name a few. There are so many local artists that I’m in contact with that have all of the talent in the world but need help navigating the business side of things. Having lived in Los Angeles over the past 5 years I would never say I’m an expert but I’ve definitely had more hands on experience with the business side of music and the time to research various topics that have to deal with it. I’m hoping to garner more success on this side of the country so I can go home and assist my fellow artists with breaking through. Don’t sleep on VA, we have a lot of talent out here. I hope to play a part in getting some of them heard.

We know you are a R&B artist as well!! How have you been able to blend both genres in as good as you do?

I’ve had a lot of practice, back in the early 2000’s I would sing the lyrics to hard rap songs. Back then the genres weren’t as blended as they are today, so a young curious me would always wonder “Why can’t I sing or add more melody to these rap songs?” Clearly, others had the same idea, given the current state of popular music today but something that separated me from the others was a desire to sound good without the aid of auto-tune. My voice has been described as more R&Bish anyway and anything that I do I want to be great at it so somewhere along the line of wanting to improve my rapping and singing simultaneously they just sort of blended together for me.

Congrats on your latest album “Armani”, we just completed a review for it and its dropping soon. Break down the album in a few words.for us. Also, who designed the cover art?

Thank you so much, I really appreciate that. The album is personal for me, it’s evolution, it’s non-conforming, it’s where and who I was at the time it was created. In hindsight, I think it will ultimately serve as the point where I found my sound and who I am as an artist. The cover art was actually designed by me, I took a picture from the photo shoot I had to promote the album and drew the crown above my head using an app on my iPhone. I wanted something slightly provocative as I’m still going to be a new artist to many, I wanted them to think “Who is this guy with a crown over his head? I’ve never heard of him…” but the crown more or less represents that I’m the king of what I do. Not any one specific genre or area but if I decided to do it I want to be the best at it so therefore I’m going to be the king of it.

How are fans and supporters reacting to your project?

Very warmly, there’s such a diverse pool of people who listen to my music I can only describe it as lucky. Kids 17 and under as well as adults in the 45+ age range have all come to me and told me how much they’ve enjoyed listening to me, they often say “You’ve created music that everyone can enjoy” and I know that’s not an easy feat to pull off. From a business stand point, that’s great, from an artistic stand point, I never go in the studio with the frame of mind that I’m creating something that’s going to perform well in any specific demographic. I create music that I would want to listen to, it’s fortunate that a wide range of different people share my taste.

How many projects/album do you have under your belt?

Three so far, they are “Polish”, “Y.T.I.P. (You Think I’m Playing)” and my latest “Armani”.

What are a few different moves your making for 2020 when it comes to your music career?

The biggest for me would be learning how to properly advertise and stick out from the crowd. You can have the best song in the world but if nobody hears it, does it really matter? Most artists now a days think you just have to toss your music on social media and wait for something to blow up and for someone to discover you, but that’s akin to playing the lottery. How many lottery winners do we all know? I want to attack it like a big record label, they don’t toss artists out there with the hopes that they will pop. They spend money and time researching the market, putting money behind advertising budgets, developing their artist’s sound. They create their own luck, and that’s what I’m on in 2020, how do I create my own luck with my music career? The next, and most immediate move for me is starting to make some money back that I’ve invested. So many people think you have to be a super star to make any real money in the music business and that is simply not the case. If you do a little research you’ll see you’re probably missing out on all sorts of potential royalties simply because you failed to register your songs with the right societies or neglected to copyright your music. I’ve spent time researching what I have to do, and my plan is in place. All I have to do is execute it now, one step at a time.

Any future collabs or projects you working on for 2020?

I have so much unreleased music in my vault I already have my next EP and the album after that planned out. As far as collabs go I’m ALWAYS willing to work with other artists, regardless of the genre. Anyone that would be interested please feel free to hit me up, let’s create! However, my largest and most daunting task right now is getting the music videos filmed for my latest album “Armani”, I want to do a mini-music video for each song. I had that vision for this album since the beginning and I absolutely have to see it through. Then and only then will I feel I can move on successfully from this project and on to the next.

Our highlight question, what your definition of “indie hip hop”?

Indie Hip Hop is freedom. You’re free to create and do as you please. No big machine telling you what to create and when to release it. If you want to do one project or 10 projects a year, go right ahead. Indie Hip Hop is also innovation, that’s where all the fresh ideas and the bright new stars of tomorrow are currently. It’s also the realm where you get to prove yourself, get it poppin’ on the indie circuit and there’s literally nothing that can stop you. You can reach the people directly right there, indie hip hop is the voice of the people.

Where can people find more of your music other than Spotify?

Almost anywhere: Apple Music, Tidal, Deezer, Amazon Music, SoundCloud, YouTube, my website armanifromvirginia.com

“Armani” streaming EVERYWHERE….your girlfriend’s favorite playlist …you know …anywhere haha.

Lastly, any shout outs you have?

Yes, first and foremost thank God for blessing me with the talent, opportunities and drive to accomplish my goals. Shout out to my engineer, Zach Summerill, the man is a literal wizard behind the boards (he has the beard to match too) and has helped me reach new heights with my sound that I would not have been able to without him. Shout out to my photographer/videographer, Ray Salazar of Morning Shot Films, the magic he’s able to create on film with so little is insane and he’s always helped take my visuals to the next level. Shout out to my business partner/best friend, Marc Jackson, who I founded Black Imperial LLC with, he was actually the first person who told me he believed in me and that I could have a career in music back when I was still young and dumb trying to find my way. And last, but certainly not least, shout out to ya’ll at IndieHipHop, thank you so much for taking the time out to interview me and review my project. From the bottom of my heart, it is truly appreciated.