This months feature is someone who takes a scholarly approach to his lyricism let’s roll through the mountains with………. C.Shreve the professor
Mistajay: What is the story and conception behind your artist name?
The Professor: Before I embraced the Professor moniker, I just used C.Shreve and I had heard it from several different angles. It referenced The Professor from And One Streetball as well as my career as a real university professor. I was hanging with some old football friends and they were jokin me referencing the guy with long hair in Good Will Hunting. It stuck from that point on. Sometimes your name just finds you.
Mistajay: What area are you reppin? What is the music scene like there?
The Professor: I’m representing western North Carolina. Primarily that would include Asheville and Boone but I play all over NC. The music scenes here are much more focused on jam bands, electronic, bluegrass, etc so it’s kind of the same old “get in where you fit in” as it is in most towns.
Mistajay: With a 12 year career as a university professor, you decided to leave the stability of your career in 2020 how that Influenced your style/music?
The Professor: It’s mad me step back from my previous routine completely. I used to make music primarily as an escape. Now that I’ve leaned in to doing it full time, it really isn’t quite the same perspective. The additional time and space allows me to develop my ideas much more fully.
Mistajay: What are your influences of your music? And what inspires you?
The Professor: Outkast and A Tribe Called Quest. The Roots and Wu-Tang. 2pac and Biggie. DJ Premier and J Dilla. Jay-Z and Redman. Rakim & Slick Rick. All the way up to Mac Miller and Nipsey Hussle (RIP) and countless others. Hip Hop is a primary source of inspiration but I love to listen to all kinds of music. Literature and art are highly inspirational as well. My primary source for creating new art, though, is life experience.
Mistajay: How do you describe your style?
The Professor: A lot of it is summed up in my moniker. I want to teach you something and leave you with valuable information every time out (professor). I tend to voice my personal perspective and passion for life through music (profess). Lately my focus is on trying to do those things while also having a great time doing it (pro).
Mistajay: You have done 60 shows per year he’s done since 2013. How has this covid 19 crisis effected your booking and performance schedule going forward?
The Professor: Everything is really on hold right now. The crisis cancelled my appearances at SXSW along with a number of other festivals I was scheduled to play at. I lost about 20 shows and have had to delay several tours that had been planned for months. Right now I’m just focusing on crafting new material and content. I think we’ll be able to get back out there eventually, but things might be a wrap for most of 2020.
Mistajay: You have 16 albums churned out the last decade. What is your best song recorded to date and why?
The Professor: That’s a tough one but I’m going to go with Dogfight. It’s a really pure rap song about losing yourself in the music and has been a part of my live set ever since it was created about 6 years ago.
Mistajay: You have performed at venues from New Orleans to Denver. He has toured and shared stages with Big Boi, The Hieroglyphics, Raekwon, Talib Kweli, Lupe Fiasco, Nappy Roots, Guilty Simpson, and Slum Village, among others. If you could share the stage with any 3 artists or bands who are still around and touring, who would they be and why?
The Professor: The Roots are my favorite band and Black Thought is my favorite MC so my first choice is pretty easy there. I saw them live twice in college and they’re a huge part of the reason I do what I do. DMX had a huge impact on me—I would love to rock a stage with him and would love to see his crowd control and passion up close. Lastly I’d love to share the stage with Kendrick Lamar—I love his music and his live energy is crazy.
Mistajay: Your most recent album “GROWN” has been well received by both fans and critics, and is considered by some clearly some of the best work of your career. What makes it that in your mind and what is the overall theme of the album?
The Professor: The true test of a body of work is how it ages through time so I guess we’ll see how that goes, but for me, an album has to speak truly to where I was when I was making it. This project does a really good job with that. I didn’t set out to create a project called “Grown”, it just ended up working out that way. I kept on creating songs and as I progressed, the theme of growth and coming into your own started to emerge and make sense. The overall theme is that this album is a result of all of my growth, that it was grown through a process, and that focusing on your growth will help you get to where you need to be.
Mistajay: Alot of artists come into the game with a lot of ambition but don’t spend time learning the business side. How important to you is learning about publishing and royalties?
The Professor: It’s absolutely vital. Publishing and royalties are necessary for long term success. Very few artists are educated properly on the business side of things and they end up getting taken advantage of. Knowing the ins and outs of any contract you sign is a must.
Mistajay: Where do you see the music going in 2020? How do you see yourself fitting into that?
The Professor: I think music is about to undergo a major transformation. Live shows will be back but it may not be soon. The complete shutdown of live entertainment for the pandemic will have ripple effects for the entire next decade. The need for flexibility from artists regarding rollouts and the ability to connect with fans directly via social media platforms appears to be more paramount than ever before. Those who have built up those platforms have been much more able to continue momentum and to adapt their strategies as necessary. As someone who depended significantly on live shows, this new normal is super challenging. Live stream performances just don’t scratch the itch in quite the same way—but that may just be something I’ll have to get used to.
Mistajay: What are your future plans?
The Professor: I’m working on two projects right now. The first is an EP with UK based beatmaker Ile Flottante. We’ve made great songs together since 2012 and we decided to finally put together a full piece. That one should be out this summer. I’m also working on my next full length album—it will feature production from D.R.U.G.S. Beats, Jarv, Oak City Slums, Kevobeats, Phlo Deli, P.U.R.P., Ben Buck and others. I’m still working out the overall album concepts and project titles. Ideally I’ll be touring in late 2020 or early 2021 in support of new music.
Mistajay: Any last thoughts?
The Professor: Huge salute to you and anyone out there supporting the arts right now. Artists are struggling and yet their art is needed now more than ever. America has had dark days before—it’s up to each of us to start with our small circles and to find ways to help out those that we can. There will be lots of division and hate mongering, especially during the election, but we have to find a way to come together and rise out of this.
Currently working on an EP for release this summer and an LP for early in 2021. Thank y'all for reaching out……..
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