Today, I take a few moments to share my latest interview with New York Independent Musician and Artist, Skumbag Deuce. Deuce, as he is often called, is a friend of Photobombshell Media with past music reviews and discussions on music on record. He frequently challenges the status quo with music and is vocal about helping other musicians while working towards his passion, freedom through music.
2022 Skumbag Deuce Interview
Photobombshell: Hi, Deuce! You are no stranger to Photobombshell Media, and we have spoken before about your music and origin story, but give a quick summary here for those who don’t know you.
Skumbag Deuce: What’s good y’all! It’s Mr.UpTheBag himself, better known as $kumbag Deuce. My music journey started at a young age when I fell in love with music. As soon as I could talk, I loved saying words that sounded the same or rhymed. It just gave me that joyful, happy feeling inside. In school, I used music to help me remember things and to help me focus. Writing out my pain from experiences I had been through was a form of therapy, and I want to share that with people through my sound.
By the time I got to first grade, I was rapping for the eighth graders. I would freestyle at the back of the bus on my way to and from school. Music has always been a part of my life and always will be. I have grown so much since then. Now, I’m doing shows and seeing the change I can make in people’s lives.
Photobombshell: That’s huge. Thank you so much for sharing that. It’s funny that you mention using music to remember things in school because it is something I do, and I imagine many people do as well to this day, even as adults.
When you speak about seeing the change you can make in the lives of other people, I am curious about what that means for you in the near future. I know you have been picking up the pace with your music, marketing, and performing. Has there been anything in particular that inspired that change?
Skumbag Deuce: To be honest, my son is my number one motivation forever and always. I am working hard for him to live a better life. My family and loved ones keep me going through rough times. The goal is simple: get rich and gain respect. I know I can leave one of the biggest imprints in this music game at all angles, and there is no time like right now to push for new beginnings. Change teaches everyone something about themselves, especially in music.
Photobombshell: It is critically important as a creative to understand your why and what drives you because there will be challenges ahead and along the way that shake your confidence or drive. As an independent artist, what is the most challenging aspect of your chosen path as a musician?
Skumbag Deuce: Being heard is difficult with so much music released in the world, and the music industry is competitive, with so many people willing to do anything for a chance. Music creates a lot of sounds, and sometimes it is a challenge to be a unique artist in an area or genre. I aim to be that standout artist that people take seriously and listen to, respect the hustle and the things I have been through, even if they don’t understand it. When you’re an artist like me, who stays true to themselves at all times, that’s in and out of the music.
Photobombshell: Now, take a moment to discuss the flip side of that question. What do you find to be the most rewarding part of being an independent musician?
Skumbag Deuce: Being FREE! I can do what I want when I want and how I want. I am 100% in control of my life and my career. I am a slave to no one and nobody!
Photobombshell: Freedom is something I think so many artists strive for, both financially and personally. With you, I see that you are building additional ways to attain that freedom and bring others with you. I know you have been collaborating with other musicians, but are you managing artists, too?
$kumbag Deuce: Me? A manager? Right now, no artist career is in my hands, lol. I love working with artists and seeing my fellow artists on the grind. If I see any opportunities, I share them with them, and I put them on any chance to see them grow.
Photobombshell: That’s awesome! That is something special I have found in working with the independent music scene. So many artists are happy to share what works for them or opportunities that come up. It’s really incredible, and I love to hear that.
I think being collaborative is powerful but being particular about your career is critical for success. For you individually, when it comes to creating music or finding a new sound, what makes the song, beat or artist stand out to you?
$kumbag Deuce: I listen to see if the vibe matches the beat. If you got a hype, upbeat track and your lyrical energy is low, I’m not going to want to listen to the song. If the beat is slow tempo and painful, like a guitar riff or piano loop, and you don’t have that pain, that energy in your voice to match the song, it is a fast cut-off for me. Tone and energy mean everything to me. That’s how you stand out, followed up with things like wordplay, similes, and metaphors. I love a colorful song, one that describes how bright that diamond is or how fat the girl’s butt is (😂). Then it comes down to how creative they say it. Be original. No more “it shines bright like the sun.” I wrote a bar like that when I was four years old. Tell me something outrageous, like “my diamonds made her drop like she sunk in the sand; even my short diamonds sing and dance like they in munchkins land.”
Photobombshell: I could not agree more. Being original, authentic, and even outrageous makes artists stand out in an oversaturated market. Could you share a little bit about your 2022 in review and how you have managed to set yourself apart from the rest?
$kumbag Deuce: This chapter of my life is called “Study Hall.” I called it that because I studied more of what was needed to be successful instead of just going in blind and guessing. I sat down and started working on myself and my goals. After being quiet for a time, I started to see who left the table I was working at and saw who stayed. I noticed who joined in as well to support me. I gathered the information I needed and made moves quietly. Now, it’s time to take the knowledge I gained with my new study group to the next chapter of my life.
Photobombshell: That’s badass. It seems like this period of reflection and planning has set you on a path to success, and I am looking forward to what is next for you. On that note, when will we see you perform again live, and what plans do you have for the end of this year and 2023?
$kumbag Deuce: My next performance is at Stamps Bar at 98 Main Street in Buffalo, New York, on January 22nd, 2023. It is going to be lit with other dope artists, too, like Young Cvsper and Zinni! My plans for the end of this upcoming year are to travel more and keep giving you guys fire music and merch along with it.
Photobombshell: What is one piece of advice that you would give another independent artist who is just starting?
$kumbag Deuce: My advice would be to stay the same. Have fun with it, and enjoy the journey of growth. You will meet people on day two that can turn out more loyal and supportive than your so-called day ones. Don’t adapt to anyone. Make the world adapt to you.
Photobombshell: Powerful words. I love that. Thank you so much for taking the time to work with me on this interview. It is always an honor and pleasure to work with artists willing to learn and grow, which includes musicians like yourself. Thank you for sharing with us today!
$kumbag Deuce: It is always an honor to be here with the Photobombshell crew! Always a vibe! Thanks for having me. Keep an eye out for my future music dropping and keep streaming the two music videos I shot this year with the young and upcoming cameraman/artist Jezeb (“Wit My Cuz” and “Friends With My Demons”). There will be more music coming all next year, more visuals, more shows, and more merch! Keep up the date with me on all my social media @datkiddeuce and my website. Like my cuz KEWB says, we never going bacc!