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Meet Stevie Dub

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stevie Dub.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Stevie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
At a young age, I was fascinated by the art of music especially Hip Hop music. I remember being young listening to artists my Mother Barbara would listen to like The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Rick James, Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, The Jackson 5, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, 2pac, Notorious B.I.G, Jay Z, Eminem, Wu-Tang Clan & countless others. I grew up in a very small town in Wisconsin called Lancaster and it wasn’t very diverse. Growing up as a mixed kid in a predominantly white neighborhood was tough for me at times. I didn’t feel like I fit in so Hip Hop music was a way for me to feel accepted and understand my culture. My mother raised five kids (4 half black kids & 1 white) on her own which set the standard to what hard work looked like for me & my siblings.

I didn’t start making music right away. What really got me into being able to be a performer and stand in front of a crowd was actually my love for WWE wrestling. We moved around a lot growing up but finally in 5th grade we settled in Lancaster where I met my best friend Ross Holman. Ross was also into wrestling and together we started a backyard wrestling federation called SNR Wrestling. We’d have friends from the area join us as we filmed weekly episodes and posted them on Ustream until YouTube came out. Over the course of middle school and my freshmen & sophomore year Ross & I filmed dozens of wrestling shows where we would play multiple characters and stand in front of a camera doing promos. Little did I know this would set the tone for my entire career.

My Mother and Father divorced when I was younger so during summers, I would visit my Dad who lived in San Bernardino, California. Visiting my Dad was a culture shock for me. He would take my siblings and I to LA & exposed us to things we had only seen on television. Fast forward to my Sophomore year & tragedy struck. My mother had been dating a man named Mitch Staskal for almost three years and they decided to get married. Unfortunately, four months after they got married Mitch passed away due to complications during a medical procedure.

This is where the beginning of my story becoming a musician begins. Like anyone else, after Mitch passed my Mom struggled with her mental health. This created friction between the two of us which later led to me moving to California to live with my Dad. I was excited about moving but scared at the same time. All I grew up knowing was a small town of less than 3,000 people in Wisconsin. Now I was living in Southern California in a city with a diverse population of over 200,000+ people! My first day of school at Cajon High School in San Bernardino was full of nervousness. I was scared. I remember just keeping my headphones in my ears and not talking to anyone except for the other new kid who was in the office with me before they sent us both off to our new homeroom teachers classroom. During lunch a huge fight broke out which was also something I wasn’t used to seeing.

I didn’t have any friends for the first few months I was going to Cajon so to keep myself busy I would listen to music all the time. I would download music off limewire & I accidentally downloaded a bunch of instrumentals to songs I was trying to download full versions of. In the mornings before school and walking to the bus after school, I would listen to these instrumentals over and over again. After a week or two of listening to these instrumentals I just started rapping lyrics out loud on my walks home to pass the time. Ross and I we’re still best friends and we’d talk on the regular but I never told him that I started rapping. One day I called him and told him not to say anything, to just listen. I proceeded to rap to him into the phone for over 30 minutes. Eventually, I met friends at Cajon and I shared my talents with them. By the end of my junior year in 2006-2007, a majority of my classmates knew me as a rapper. I would freestyle all the time but I really wanted to be able to make my own songs I could listen to and play for my friends and family members.

I did some research and figured out what I needed to record music with, at least I thought. I downloaded a recording software called Audacity and bought a $15 mic from Radio Shack and used my Dad’s computer and speakers to record my first songs with. This wasn’t an easy process. I would take the microphone, place it ontop of my Dad’s computer speakers and BLAST the music so the mic would pick up the instrumental audio and my voice at the same time. This was not an easy thing to do LOL I would have to wait for everyone to be gone from the house in order for me to play music loud and I would have to rap the ENTIRE song in one breathe. This means I would literally rap the verse, hook, verse, hook, and any intro & outro I would do in order to complete the song because at the time I didn’t know how to properly record music.

After spending a year in California, recording songs, and freestyling with my friends, I decided to move back to Wisconsin with my mother and graduate with my friends in Lancaster. When I moved back Ross and I knew exactly what we wanted to do. Wrestle and make rap music. We spent a majority of my first summer back recording our final season of SNR Wrestling before purchasing real recording equipment and starting to work on our first duo album together called Future In The Makin’ which we released in November of 2008. Ross was always thinking ahead and figuring out ways to make our product the best out. He proposed the idea of us having a show to & purchasing merch to celebrate the release of our first album. From there, we hit the ground running.

We recorded an entire 18 song album in less than three months, purchased light & sound equipment for a live show, got cds printed, posters printed, booked a venue in our home town, and started promoting it. We reached out to our local newspaper for promo and other local acts to be our openers and kept promoting the show. We ran into a few bumps in the road but overall our first show was a huge success! We went on to record three more duo albums together and solo albums between November 2008 and July of 2009. I forgot to mention… the entire time we were recording these albums Ross and I were talking about moving to California to further pursue our music careers and we ended up doing just that.

A month after graduation Ross and I packed up his two door sports car and moved to California with my Dad. We spent our first year reconnecting with old classmates I had at Cajon and trying to navigate through the music industry. We had no idea what we were doing. We started going to school at San Bernardino Community college and worked at Walmart at the same time. We used these places to promote our music and grow our network. We did small shows as they came and continued to record music together and as solo artists.

We used social media to network and make more connections but nothing was really turning the wheel the way we wanted it to. Between 2009-2013, I would travel back home once a year and put on a show back home. I also released numerous mixtapes and music videos. Finally around 2012, I came across a Hip Hop community in Riverside putting together shows at The Common Ground run at the time by Noa James & Curtiss King. This is where I was really able to expand my network and stand out when it came to my live performances. I kept going to school and eventually quit Walmart & picked up a job at TGI Fridays in San Bernardino.

As more performances started pouring in and my network grew, I started working on a new album called My Black Side. This was a standout moment for me. I gained a lot of momentum on social media and my new coworkers at TGI Fridays took a huge liking to my music. I released My Black Side (MBS) in November of 2013 but a few months before that I did a show that changed my life. I had a coworker who was also a rapper who told me about a showcase in LA that I should perform at. It cost me $400 to perform at it but it was worth it. This was my first REAL show in front of music industry executives and others who have been in the music industry for quite some time. It was put together by Steve Lobel who’s managed Bone Thugs n Harmony for over 20 years. After my performance, he applauded me and told me he’d love to get to know more. I also met Steve’Boss’Haas at the show who then became my manager for quite some time.

After that show, I released MBS and kept releasing music. In 2014, I released another project named SD. I kept in touch with Steve Lobel and Boss Haas and they invited me out to LA for more showcases and networking opportunities. I was still going to school and working at the time and things started to get a little hectic for me. I knew if I wanted to take things more serious I needed to move to LA. I ended up doing just that. I dropped out of school, transferred Fridays, and a friend of mine and I moved to LA in 2014. Boss was hype about me moving and helped put together my first big album release party in LA for my album SD it was a huge success!

While working on my album SD I went to an event with Boss Haas and we met a few other artists as well who I ended up collaborating with. One of those artist was an amazing singer named JT Harker. Him and I collaborated on more of a popish sounding song called Can’t Stop. Through one of his followers, I was approached to speak at a charter school in Inglewood called Apple Academy Public Charter School. JT, Boss, & I went to the school and shot a music video there with the students. A few months later, I got a call from the CEO/Principal who asked me if I would be interested in a job there as a Social Emotional Learning Coach. Struggling at the new Fridays and hating my job, of course I said yes. This began a whole new journey in my life.

I kept making music of course and put more content out on social media. In 2015, I began working on a new album called Growth & Development with a producer who was a teacher at the Los Angeles Recording Studio at the time named Cutty Dre. Since this was my first album since moving to LA, I wanted to make sure I made a statement. The album was centered around lyricism & sounding more like old school Hip Hop. I would work during the day at Apple Academy until 5pm them drive to the recording school to record from 6pm until midnight four days a week. Steve Lobel was still giving me opportunities and introducing myself and Boss to people in the music industry but we knew if we wanted to establish ourselves we needed to start our own brand. Boss had an idea to come up with a clothing line named 7percenter which represented the small amount (7%) of people in the world who have a goal and a dream and follow those teams. Once we launched that, we held events to showcase the brand through fashion and music and grew our sponsors as well.

After releasing Growth & Development, I continued to release music between the years of 2015 – 2017. I was grateful enough to get the chance to perform at SXSW in 2017 as well as share a tour stop with Juicy J at the beginning of 2018. Personal changes in my personal life slowed down my release of music and content creation and I was forced to focus more on my mental health as time progressed. I only released a handful of songs between 2016-2018. It wasn’t until I connected with my producer “Contact The God” at the end of 2018 that things started to pick back up for me. Him and I had known each other for years and he started making beats years back. Finally, in 2018 we began working on music together and decided to work on a project called “Project 52” in 2019. We went on to release 40 records in 2019 and are in the process of releasing more content all throughout 2020.

Has it been a smooth road?
It has been the furthest thing from a smooth road. I’d say my biggest struggle was being myself through the drastic changes I saw when I first moved to LA and never giving up on my dreams when they didn’t happen on, “my time.” Realizing that everything happens on God’s time is the biggest key to success and also getting a better grip on my mental health was one of my struggles throughout my musical career.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am a Hip Hop artist and a DJ. I specialize in writing and composing Hip Hop Music and Vocal Performance. On the DJ side of things, I DJ at schools, private parties and events all across social. I’d say what I’m most proud of is my consistency through the years. I’ve released so much music and I still love the process which is what I’m most proud of. I think what sets me apart from an artist and dj standpoint is my live high energy performances. I literally give my all at every performance and it shows plus the feedback I get after a show or dj gig reaffirms it.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I def feel like our city is an incredible place to be at if you’re an artist or a dj or doing anything in the entertainment business for that matter. I would say it’s a great place to improve but don’t get caught up in the numbers and being like everyone else. Focus on the things that make you stand out and make those things the driving force of your vision. Diversity is key.

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1 Comment

  1. Charles L Wilkins

    February 20, 2020 at 17:10

    This is a very nice article, and I am particularly proud because this young man is my grandson. He is the star in my life and we support everything he has done and is yet to do. Keep up the good work, Stevie.

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