Fall is a time to regroup. Kicking off the holiday season, autumn gives us the time to reflect and regroup to anticipate the closing of another year. I'm happy that this interview is coming to the blog for the first Who Dat Wednesday of Fall 2017.
On Monday, Big Redd and I sat down for lunch at Drip Coffee in Five Points (read: best place in the entire world). He's another artist that caught wind of BINACT at the beginning of the summer. I was so excited to get a chance to talk to him because after two and a half years of existence, this is the first gospel song/artist I've featured on the segment. When I first read his submission email I was slightly hesitant to reach out to him. I saw featuring Fred Hammond and thought, "He knows this isn't a strictly Christian blog right?" But as always I clicked the link and after the first minute I knew Big Redd would fit right in.
Bigg Redd is a recording artist with Gospel/Hip-Hop single on the Billboard charts. His origin story is similar to that of most Columbians: grow up, get the education, leave on the first train out. When he finished his studies at Wake Forest University he returned to Columbia to regroup and plot his next move to another city.
The more I tried to make it happen, it didn't.
After a few years and life lessons, Big Redd realized that home is where the heart is so he made the decision to stay and cultivate his life in his hometown.
Q: I can't stress the importance of authenticity in music enough. How do you hold yourself accountable in providing quality music to your listeners?
Big Redd: I was inspired to make this song after hearing a sermon from my church's youth minister. It's funny that we're having an interview here because this is the exact place where I wrote this song. I'm intentional at writing music that a true Hip-Hop head would respect while retaining important themes and Gospel elements. When I released this song I was nervous about how the masses would receive it. I put all of me into the song and spoke directly from the heart.
Q: As an artist with a lot of ears and eyes on you, how do you maintain your image as a member of society?
Big Redd: My mantra is, "God first, family second, business third." I'm purposeful in the way I maneuver in the daily grind. Like you said I have a ton of people watching me due to the type of music I create. I make music to show another side of God that people aren't used to seeing. I'm not preachy or judgmental because I want my listeners to relate to the music.
Q: What's next in Big Redd's music career queue?
Big Redd: I've had a tremendous career in the music industry so far. My wins includes performing in numerous places, touring, and completing several features. I've released singles and EPs but I'm ready to complete a full-length project. I'm ready to use my voice for storytelling and inspiring those that listen.
Every generation leaves behind artifacts, rituals, and additions to the culture. It's time for me to leave my own legacy.
Q: This is my new favorite question: what are you doing to make improvements in Columbia?
Big Redd: Last year I created a seminar series called Indieground. It focuses on artist development for all genres and industry people. My goal is to help young, aspiring artists to avoid the mistakes I made and hone their skills. My artist journey is a product of trial and error. If I can help remove some of the struggle in an artist's journey, I'll feel confident in my impact on the city.
Sometimes I have to break myself out of my regular rotation of songs that either get me hype or put me in a mood. Big Redd's single allow me to do just that. Running Back to You is a heartfelt track. It's a thought-provoking track. It forces me take a moment to dive into his story for 4 minutes. As I hear his story I find traces of my own in his words. I urge you to listen to do so for yourself.