RichFraz had a banner year in 2022. A 38-year-old releasing his first album on streaming platforms? Some might say he was crazy, but in this industry, that’s just the kind of crazy you have to be. In this interview, we discuss the fire that kept him coming back to music for nearly two decades, the motivating forces behind the music, and a few things he learned along the way.
Photobombshell’s 2023 Interview with RichFraz
Photobombshell: Hey, Rich! Thank you so much for chatting with me and sharing your story. From my personal experience growing up with you and working with you now professionally, I think it is safe to say that I know more than most about your musical origin story, but if you could humor me, please share a little bit about when you chose to get into music and why.
RichFraz: That’s a great question. I choose to start working on music professionally in the summer of 2003. I was in Radio and TV Production at my community college. Someone had given me a cracked version of Cool Edit Pro and Fruity Loops. I didn’t want to be an artist because I started to hate my voice. I wanted to be behind the scenes, engineering, and producing. The reason I wanted to get into music then is the same reason I’m still in it today. I love it so much and want to be able to find others who love music as much as I do.
Photobombshell: Who knew you’d still be making music so many years later? Some people may find it strange to release your first major project as a man in his thirties. Explain your passion and motivation for releasing your last album and why it was so important to you.
RichFraz: It’s funny you ask this question because I questioned myself when I thought of releasing my first project at 38. In Hip-Hop, we are the only genre of music where we look at it as a “young man’s game,” but how can that be when the music itself is ageless and timeless? Rock, pop, and R&B don’t put caps on artists (well, maybe pop).
My motivation and passion are to create moments in space and time that catch the audience when they need to hear them. It had always been a dream of mine to release my own album on my label. I did just that. The importance behind it was to prove myself wrong. I truly am capable of achieving my dreams.
Photobombshell: That’s incredible. What you mention about hip-hop or rap placing expiration dates on artists is intriguing. I am sure I’m biased because of my age, but I love the artists popping up in the Millennial and up bracket with bars and wordplay that harken back to the greats. As an independent artist and a Millennial, what is the most challenging aspect of making music in 2023?
RichFraz: Staying true to yourself and your sound or style is challenging. Everyone, once in a while, will want to try something different to see if they can, as an artist, adapt to the quote-unquote “new wave” or vibes that are fresh and current. You have the right to experiment as an artist with new things, but sometimes you have to stay with your foundation.
Photobombshell: You mention coming on to the scene in a big way, with your project on your label. I see you’ve done that, and I know how passionate you are about independent artists. Talk to us about DEPMG and the hashtag you often use, #TheArtistIsTheBusiness. What is the history and importance behind each?
RichFraz: DEPMG (originally just DEP) stands for DaEnterPrize Music Group, inspired by the Neptunes record label Star Trek. It’s my record label that has been in existence since I started this journey back in 2003. It originated as a rap crew and became an official record label in 2021. The hashtag #TheArtistIsTheBusiness is what it says, the artist is the music business, and I believe that without the artist, the business of music can’t work. It’s like the saying, “They need me more than I need them.” In the music industry, you still see artists getting ripped off, and with my label, we’re strictly about the music. Everyone eats.
The story behind the label is I had just come home from my first year of college, got all my production programs, and was going to start recording myself. I knew some of the guys around my neighborhood rhymed. Over the summer, I said, if they were looking to record stop by the crib.
They were there every day, Monday through Friday, putting in WORK. We’d record about four songs, burn them to CDs, then ride around in my boy’s SUV blasting our shit like we were it. We sounded terrible, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I still have every single recording from 2003 to now. That was also when my artist, Neek, caught wind that we were “in the studio,” and he, TJ Janotti (RIP), and Will Brown would join the fold.
What DEPMG means to me is legacy. It’s what I started with, and it’s what I’ll continue.
Photobombshell: It’s clear you are driven and connected to your mission. Who or what inspires you to continue to make music when you have so many competing responsibilities as a husband and father?
RichFraz: Of course, my wife and daughter are my biggest inspirations. They keep me motivated every single day. My wife supports me and the dream, and I’m forever grateful for her love and support. My daughter keeps me focused because I want her to know that you can achieve greatness and your goals. I don’t want her to let a soul discourage her from grabbing what she wants.
My mom is also a great support. I will say everyday life is an inspiration as well. I write a lot about things I’ve experienced, people I know, or stories I’ve heard.
Photobombshell: That’s dope. It is so important to have those people in your cheering section when energy or enthusiasm is low, which inevitably happens when you work at this thing daily. I am sure that because of that support, you continue to keep momentum. What do you have coming in 2023, and what can your fans and followers look forward to from you in the next few months?
RichFraz: I am still celebrating the first anniversary of my debut album, but I am always working! Currently, I am in beat selection mode for album number two! I have three potential singles I could lead with and am hoping to have them out by the end of April. I am also working on getting a show together, and that will be a lot of fun!
Photobombshell: You are one of the few artists who not only listen to the free music and artist tips I share online but APPLIES them to your music and music career. What have you found to be some of the most useful tools as an independent artist?
RichFraz: ENGAGING with your audience! Sending your followers messages to check in with them like you’re a friend and not just someone scheming is so important. Authenticity truly goes a long way!
Photobombshell: I tend to agree there. That is probably the most authentic way to connect with people and grow your fanbase by being a real person and not just some persona who lives online. Aside from connecting with your fanbase, what has been your greatest accomplishment as a musician?
RichFraz: No doubt my greatest achievement has to be my song, ‘Shine,’ getting 40k+ plays last year! We all knew that was the ONE. 😂
Photobombshell: What did I say!?! I knew it would be. I honestly think it will continue to pick up streams in the summer months for a while. It is a vibe. OK, this is one that I ask most guests. What is one piece of advice you’d give another independent artist?
RichFraz: This is definitely a marathon. Set your own pace and be ready when you’re ready, but don’t sit too long. Always watch the company you keep and remember that not everyone may be suitable for the ride.
Photobombshell: Thank you again, Rich, for spending a few with me and giving some great advice and experiential learning to other artists. For those who would like to connect with RichFraz, follow him on Instagram for music or his clothing brand, Algorhythm, or Twitter. If you are looking for more, check out what he has going on here.