june 15th, 2020 | Deneen White | music
Welcome to the VIP Ignite podcast.
I'm your host, Deneen White.
I am so excited to introduce you to Nick White.
He is a musician who has a very significant message to share with everyone.
Hi Nick. How are you today?
Nick: I'm doing pretty good. How about yourself?
Deneen: I am fantastic.
Thank you so much for joining me today!
Can we start with you telling the audience a little bit about yourself?
Nick: Absolutely, absolutely!
- My name is Nick White…
- My artist name is Backwoods...
- I'm out here in Jacksonville, North Carolina...
- I’m 27 years old, and now I'm doing trade work out here in Jacksonville...
- I started in the hip hop industry around six months ago - I didn't rap a lick before then....
I stayed with my guitar and did my rock and my country.
One night, my friends and I were going around a bonfire, joking around off of Eminem's new Killshot track that he put out.
We all decided to write to it, and what I wrote sounded pretty good.
So I kept on with it and I didn't know what I was gonna do.
I wanna do something with music and I just like how expressive I can be with hip hop.
So it just turned into a thing.
Well now I'm here, and I'm loving it!
Deneen: And here we are - that's awesome!
So how did you come up with the name "Backwoods?"
Nick: Ah, I was trying to think of something that would mean I grew up in the country.
I'm from the country and out in the backwoods, you know.
Everybody takes where they come from.
Well, I happened to come from out in the backwoods, so "Backwoods" it is.
STARTING OUT WITH AN OLD GUITAR
Deneen: Wow, that's awesome, I love that!
From your bio that you sent me, you've known since you were a little kid that you wanted to do music.
Can you talk a little bit about that?
How did you know?
Nick: Yeah, well, first off, my poor mother's wallet. *Laughs*
Growing up I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do, and I'd play a different instrument every year.
Every year I wanted to do something new.
And, the last one I ran up on was guitar.
I remember asking...I think I was in sixth grade, and I went from all these different instruments and the new instrument of the year was a guitar.
So I said, "Hey Mom. I wanna learn to play guitar!"
Mom was getting tired of spending all this money, but she said, "Hey, there's an old guitar in the closet. You learn to play a full song on that and then we'll buy you a guitar."
So that's when we had Limewire and Frostwire and I downloaded some tutorials.
I was playing "House Of The Rising Sun" by the end of the day.
There I was, and I said, "All right, Mom, so can I get a guitar now?” *Laughs*
I ended up getting the guitar and that's really where I stuck with that.
I started composing after I got the guitar.
I've been wanting to do things with music since, I would say realistically, around 11 or 12 years old.
Deneen: That's crazy!
So you picked up a guitar learned to play "House Of The Rising Sun" in one day?
Nick: *Laughs* Yeah, yeah.
I learned that.
My buddy told me what tabs were, I looked it up, and I said, “Okay, well that's just a fret and the string right there.”
I kind of picked it apart and that was the first thing that I fully, really played besides what was in school band and whatnot.
Deneen: Wow, that's impressive!
So were you in a band and that's how you were playing all these instruments for all those years until you came upon the guitar, or how did that go down?
Nick: I mostly stuck with band and wrestling throughout my entire school year.
From different instruments, guitar happened to be the one that I stuck with, and that's what pretty much led me to trying to be creative enough to create my own music.
And then somehow that led me to hip hop.
MAKING SOMETHING UNIQUE FROM STANDARD SOUNDS
Deneen: So that's a perfect segue.
I may be naive, but is there a lot of guitar playing in hip hop?
Nick: You do have some that will incorporate it.
I mean, you've got Lil’ Wayne that incorporates guitar really well.
As a matter of fact, there's a few out there.
Not a whole lot.
So I mean, the target, the niche of it is still small.
And I want to start incorporating more guitar into my music, but then again, I don't want to get stuck in one style.
One day, if I happen to write one way and the other the other way, so be it.
I don't want to be stuck to a certain kind of style of rap music in general.
Deneen: I love that you're so willing to experiment because like you said, so many times, artists say “This is what I do and this is what I do, period”.
So it's really cool to talk to someone who can run the gamut, if you will, of all kinds of music now.
You said you write your own music as well, correct?
Yeah. I guess I do as far as all my lyrics, guitar riffs, and all of that. I composed them myself.
PUT THE MESSAGE INTO THE MUSIC, AND ACTUALLY HEAR IT
Deneen: Something that you said in your bio that I really liked was that you want to bring more depth back to music.
Can we talk about that a little bit?
Nick: Just with the lyrics and all of that.
I just think it's gotten watered down, progressively to the point to where nobody's really noticed the shift.
They just kind of went with the vibe.
But if you look at it now, I'm not downing any artists, don't get me wrong.
Anybody's just in it for music, and I respect that.
But you have a lot of it that's just more focused on the beat and the vibe rather than the message that used to be carried in almost every song.
I feel like there's a difference between how people say “you do rap”, and I'm not a rapper.
I'm a lyricist.
I do enjoy creating in the genre of hip hop, that's fun to me.
I'm not a rapper because if I was a rapper, I would say that's my only genre.
When at the end of the day I'll still pick up a guitar and play country rock.
I think that music should carry a message, hopefully positive, but I mean a message in general.
But it seems that it's just been watered down.
It's been focused on the beat, and a lot of things; you can't really hear what's being said or it's not relatable.
Music should be relatable.
That's what gives you that sway to the song that you hear, who you relate to it, and if you like what it's saying.
Deneen: I totally agree with you.
There's so many times I honestly have trouble listening to a lot of modern music just because I listened to it.
And if you can get through the beat and the loudness of the music and you listen to the words, a lot of the words are so just not anything that I really want to soak into myself.
Do I want my niece singing these lyrics and taking them into her heart?
Or my nephew?
No, I don't.
So I love that you pointed that out because it's like what you hear and what you listen to, and what goes on in your mind.
Absolutely forms your viewpoint.
So thank you.
Thank you for trying to bring substance back to music.
And I'm sure you being a father means even more to you because you have little ones; what legacy do you want to leave for them?
And anything that I've created was going to reflect towards my kids.
Like you said, they're going to take the music to school or something.
I would be ashamed if whatever they pulled from my song on a trip to school was good or bad; I would much rather that be something that could be used productively.
I mean something that makes you want to jump up and down.
But at the end it has an effect that's productive.
And I feel that over the years music has had the power to change cultures and to start revolutions and to end revolutions.
So I feel like music is such a powerful medium, and that people undervalue music.
I think people will buy whatever's most popular.
But if artists would really take the time to use the power of creativity for good, imagine how the world could change.
Nick: Listen, artists have have an ability--I don't believe most recognize that they have.
Not everybody can walk out of the house and speak.
You're speaking with people that you conduct business or associate with on your nine to five, and as far as network, that's not big.
It doesn't have much of a domino effect.
But once you've gained a following and once you become an artist, you know the things you say actually have an impact on the masses because this is how your brain works.
Subliminally, that's what you're listening to on your way to work.
Or when you went to go pick your stuff up every day.
You learn by heart, word by word, whatever song that you're loving at the moment.
And that has an effect on people.
So it’s being watered down and we're using less intellectual vocabulary, and it's become real loose.
The art has become real loose in my opinion.
And it affects how everything around us goes.
Artists speak to a thousand people that hear you at once on the same day every day after that.
And the ones that like your song hear you for God knows how long, and you're just absorbing that.
You might think it's music, but it does influence your decisions.
It does affect the way that you go through your day to day; you are a product of your environment and being an artist gives you an ability to affect things like that.
So if you're going to affect things like that, why not do it in a positive way?
TELL YOUR STORY WITH YOUR LYRICS
Deneen: Absolutely. I couldn't agree more.
So what are, if you can, some of the things that you write songs about that will positively influence the world once you gain traction and become world famous?
Nick: So it depends.
I don't ever really know what I'm writing about until I start writing.
For instance, when I found out about this and I talked to Alicia, and went through all of this and figured out, “Hey, I'm going up to LA in June, we're going to see how this goes…”
This is pretty interesting.
I'm going to add a whole lot of energy to it.
And it felt really good.
I thought, “May as well take this.”
So I wrote a whole thing about going to Hollywood and things like that in the lyrics.
You have to jive to the rhythm with whatever lyrics you’re putting in there.
But there are just little points in lyrics such as talking about if you're gonna make it, and stay humble if it keeps you from getting to become something you're not.
Or once you have something that you wanted so bad and it changed you, just simple things like that.
Deneen: That's all. So, basically you wrote a theme song for Hollywood.
MAKING CONNECTIONS FROM AN UNCONVENTIONAL PLACE
Nick: For my trip going up there, I was so excited.
I mean, I'm a maintenance man here at Liberty Crossing.
It's a little small apartment complex out here.
It’s a simple world: old trade works, sheet rock painting, carpentry.
It's just one of those things that Jacksonville is not really connected to the music industry either.
So getting any kind of a connection out here is scarcely a thing.
It happened down here, and I was sitting on the porch one day.
I thought “Man, would you believe that?”
I can’t, no, but it really can happen anywhere as long as you put yourself out there.
So I started writing something about it.
Deneen: That's awesome.
So not today, because I'm not gonna put you on the spot, but one day would you be willing to share that song with us?
It's fantastic because we're actually building out everything for Los Angeles now and I think it will be amazing to have one of our talents have a theme song for the trip.
Nick: Even if the subject seems like it wouldn't be much for a song, you'd be amazed at what you create because of the feeling you have towards it.
Small guy, small town, small job, who gets a chance to go out, and talk to some big time people.
That creates that feeling now.
Write that feeling down and you'll create something pretty good.
Deneen: And think about all the people you can inspire because there are more small towns in America than large towns and big cities.
So think about if that song went viral.
Think about all the people that you could absolutely inspire to chase after their dreams.
Nick: I would love to. That would be awesome, to be able to bring people up with me.
And the music industry should focus more on the smaller places because you have so much competition in the big places.
Everybody is trying to be a mold of everybody else, just a better version of it.
If we were to turn our eyes to the smaller places that don't get as much attention, you'd have the people that actually want that dream, that need that dream, when they're creating things from the hurting of absolutely having to have that dream.
I feel like we'd find even more music of substance by shifting our attention to the smaller places that aren't connected.
Deneen: Especially with hip hop; I think hip hop is so centered in urban areas rather than in a small town.
Just that alone could really transform things.
When I think of small town music, please forgive my stereotypes because I love country music.
But when I think of music that glorifies small towns, I think more of country music.
I think more of like the older rock and roll from like the 60s and the 70s; today it's all about the big urban spreads.
SUPPORT SYSTEMS COME FROM ALL AROUND YOU
Nick: You know, I come from a small town.
But you can have people have so much more to offer than what you think they really are.
Deneen: Absolutely. So you may be starting a revolution here today, on the VIP Ignite podcast.
Nick: That would be beautiful. *Laughs*
Deneen: Were you expecting to be a revolutionary today?
Nick: No, I wasn't. But if it happens, that's what I'll run with. *Laughs*
Deneen: You heard it here.
This is going to be soundbite one.
When your first album goes platinum, you heard it first on the VIP Ignite podcast on a Sunday afternoon.
You've got to start somewhere.
It's not a bad thought, I believe.
Deneen: I don't think so either.
So is your family supportive of you?
Nick: Everyone around me is supportive.
Actually, when I first started this, it happened one night with a bunch of my boys around a bonfire goofing off and they took so well to it that it gave me a little bit more confidence about it.
So I started writing a little bit more.
Giving it to this person, to that person, and asking “What do you think, what's your feedback?”
And from everybody, I got nothing but love.
So I became more and more and more public and now I'm on stage every week.
And my boss where I work in the apartments--I also live on-site, and right across the road, there's an office--she said “You need somewhere to record besides just in your apartment.”
I said “Yeah, but I don't have recording gear.”
I don't have money to do this, that or the common things that stop you from being able to do things, like money.
And she said, “Look, you know we support you, just don't forget the small people when you go up,” being lighthearted.
She said the very back room and the office are large rooms.
She said “We don't really do anything with that.
And you can have that for free where you can pad it up for your studio and you can do whatever you want in there; it’s a free studio.
We just want to give you somewhere where you can actually have a spot you can professionally sit down and create.”
And I thought, well, this place comes with free electric, free Wi-Fi.
I don't pay rent. And there's even a fridge in there.
So I said okay.
Two days later I'm talking to one of the tenants here.
He's a buddy of mine.
I was telling him about it.
I said “Hey, I need to get some recording gear.”
He's another country boy and you would never think it, but don't judge a book by its cover.
He said “I did hip hop for a long time.
I have all this equipment here that I don't use anymore because the baby had to take up that room.
You can have it.”
This man gave me an empty one, a mic stand, an interface.
Everything I needed to get started; for free, hope you do something good with it.
So I put that in my studio and boom, I had a studio.
It all fell on my lap.
So with everything happening like that, I figured the most stupid thing I could do would be turn my back on it.
To not even try to go down that road, which I'm glad that I have.
Deneen: That's amazing, because I talked to so many people with their friends and family saying, “Maybe you shouldn't do this.”
Maybe you should take it slow, but everyone around you is so supportive and it sounds like everything's exploding really quickly.
Nick: And the other people want to do a recording with me...it's great. I love it.
That's Hot Cheetos and Takis rap, and they want to do it so bad.
I thought “All right, they wanted to record them on my mic.”
I said “I tell you what, you learn the lyrics and I will jump in and we will all do our own version of the Hot Cheetos and Takis rap.”
So they're working on that and trying to get it down so we can all sit down and record.
My kids, my girl, my staff, my friends, everybody's behind me.
It couldn't be a better situation for me.
THINKING BIG FOR THE NEXT STEPS INTO THE FUTURE
Deneen: That's absolutely amazing.
So do you have anywhere where people who are listening to the podcast can listen to your music?
Do you a channel that they can listen to on YouTube or anything like that?
Nick: I'm actually about to start getting that kicked up.
It's held me back because I'm a little naive to the legal aspects of the industry.
I went to Full Sail University for a little bit.
I'm off my GI bill, but Uncle Sam kind of threw a monkey wrench in that halfway through my semester.
So I’ve got a lot of information that I could use.
But as far as some of the things like the business aspect, I've been having to take it slow until I understand it well enough to not have to trust somebody else's opinion that might end up screwing me over in the long run.
As far as copyright infringement and how the laws work, I've been waiting to make sure I've got all my ducks in order.
That way when I do drop things online and they are public, there's absolutely no backlash.
For some of the songs that I wrote to beats from YouTube when I first started that I really still like and I want to produce to the public, I want to make sure that they can't come back and smack me.
I'm not trying to disrespect anybody or take anybody else's work; I just want to make sure that when I do this, I come correct and I do it right.
Deneen: Awesome. Well, offline, I have a resource for you that I'll send you of someone who speaks for VIP Ignite, who when I had him on the podcast offered to help out our talent.
So I will send you an email address of someone that can help you with all of that if you would like.
Nick: That would be amazing actually.
Deneen: He works with some of the biggest names in music.
So I think that he'll definitely be a great resource for you.
Staging a revolution here.
We're protecting your music rights.
Nick: See, I'm telling you, I knew when I started talking to you all in the first place.
This is going to be a great thing.
I'm happy where I am right now, especially.
Deneen: Yeah. And you haven't even gotten on the plane to Los Angeles yet. *Laughs*
*Laughs* You've already made it or you'll never make it in the first place. Right?
TAKE THE TOOLS YOU’RE GIVEN, AND START USING THEM
Deneen: That's absolute truth.
It's totally your mindset.
And if you have the right mindset, you could do anything.
Like with LA, everything is falling into place for you.
You obviously have the right mindset.
So let's talk a little bit about Los Angeles.
What are you excited about for the Los Angeles event?
Nick: The entire experience, you know, while at the same time, I really don't know exactly what to expect.
I'm excited because I've never been in this situation where what I'm saying is going to be reaching the ears of people that actually can make things move. You know what I mean?
I'll be in a position that everybody fights over constantly.
Everybody wasted money on click bait online for places that say, “Hey, we'll advertise your stuff.”
But people get caught up.
A real producer that's actually able to make things move?
They're not going to take the time out of their life to come find you on some website.
They're either going to meet you in person or something's going to happen to where y'all get to actually meet.
They've got enough money there.
They're making enough cash and not going to be wasting their time trying to find you.
They've already made their name, and done what they have claimed.
Who they tried to make themselves out to be, they're already that person.
Now you find that that's how the game works.
So a lot of people waste their time online with all these things that are to promote them or to do this.
Which they all offer services, and you're paying for what you get, but people expect more out of what they are really getting.
So I'm grateful for the fact that I've got a chance to actually be in front of people that everybody has such a hard time finding.
Deneen: That's absolutely true.
And you encapsulated everything about the event, right?
Because what we do is we pull in people that can literally transform your life as long as you do exactly what we do.
We give you the whole roadmap.
All you have to do is follow it.
So that's amazing.
From the people that I saw who went to the New York event, who followed the roadmap that we gave them, one of them is currently starting in an off Broadway play.
And a couple of them are modeling internationally.
So the opportunity is absolutely there.
It's what you do with the opportunity that is presented to you that makes all the difference in the world.
You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.
Nick: Right, right.
CREATE AUTHENTICITY BY FINDING IT IN YOUR NETWORK
Deneen: So it sounds like you've done a lot of research with everything that you're getting into.
Can you tell me what it is about the VIP Ignite that sets us apart from our competition?
Nick: Y'all don't act like you're faking, or you don't act like you're trying to win people over.
Honestly, somebody sent the link to me, a buddy of mine.
He said “I really think you should check this out.”
I said, “Check what out?”
He said “Check this out, it might be an opportunity.”
He sent me a link, and at first I was thinking “Oh well, amen.”
I'm not about to waste my time on this.
It's click bait.
They're trying to offer you some crap that's not going to take you nowhere.
I could have my time better spent elsewhere for creative things.
He said “No, they're not asking for any money.”
And I'm not thinking it's a webcast.
I thought, “What's the worst that could happen?”
I either waste two and a half hours of my life on a webinar and find out that I was right, or I see what it's really about.
So I checked it out and I heard Alicia Kaback speaking.
And the first thing I noticed was that she wasn't sugarcoating anything.
She pretty much had the attitude of “All right, this is how it is.”
You don't want to start because of your child.
If you're not smart enough to recognize that this is a shot in front of you and it's not some scammer gig, then that's on you.
But I'm here.
So you do with this what you will.
As soon as I realized she was speaking like that, and it wasn't any kind of influential baby talk or coddling the audience because it's something that's trying to make money, I thought “Okay, all right, let's check this out.”
So I grabbed a pen and a notepad and started listening to her.
She was just honest, and you could just tell the difference between one and the other once you sat in there long enough.
I stayed there and it turned out to be legitimate.
I think what she's doing is great.
I think what y'all are doing is great.
Y'all are giving artists that are disconnected from the industry, whether that be because of where they live or who they know, and giving them a shot.
The ones that I guess would get mad at it are the ones that didn't do what they were supposed to.
But the way I see it, y'all actually giving people a shot.
So there's nothing but respect for that.
Deneen: Wow. That was the best testimonial I've had in a very long time and probably the most blunt.
I love that.
And everything you said is true.
We're basically taking the guesswork out of it.
All you have to do is find your way to Los Angeles or New York and again, follow the roadmap.
When you see all the things that we have prepared for the event, your mind is going to be blown and that's going to be before you even get there.
All the resources, because we really do want everyone who pays to go to the event to be successful.
So I'm glad.
I'm glad that you recognize that and there's no sugarcoating it.
We could sugarcoat a lot of things, but what would happen to the time and energy that we put into preparing everyone and just the people that we gather to for you to meet with?
Because of that alone, I was amazed at the work and I can't wait to be amazed again in Los Angeles.
It’s the community too.
I think that's something when you go to the event, and when you see the community of people that are there, that sounds crazy.
When it was first described to me, I thought, “Oh yeah, okay.”
But if you go out for the three days, you'll find that on the first day you'll feel more like “Hey guys!”
And then the second day you get closer, and by the third day you have a whole group of new friends who are there to support you no matter what.
Nick: You've got a lot of hating that's on the outside of the music industry from the people that want to make it, or who feel challenged that someone's further than they were.
They want to be.
But I've noticed that you stay around the crowds where everybody's humble and helps the next man up.
Those are the people that actually make moves towards something that's real.
BE AUTHENTIC TO YOURSELF AND REFLECT THAT IN YOUR WORK
Deneen: That's the community that we're trying to develop, or that's the community that we've worked really hard to develop within the groups and all of that.
So I'm really glad that you ever had that.
Like I told you, this was the fastest 30 minutes of the whole day.
If you could give someone who was entering the music industry a piece of advice, what piece of advice would you give them?
Nick: Be yourself.
Always accept people's opinions, but learn when it's not necessary to apply them because it'll make you something that you're not.
As long as you create what's actually really you, you'll create something that's worth a damn.
Deneen: I think that's a perfect note for us to end.
That was great advice.
I just want to thank you so much for being willing to be on the podcast today.
I can't wait to hang out with you in Los Angeles and I will definitely be talking to you soon.
And once we get off, I'll shoot you an email of someone to talk to.
Nick: Okay, that sounds great to me. Thank you very much.
Deneen: Awesome. Thank you so much.
I just want to thank everyone so much for taking the time to listen to this episode of the VIP Ignite podcast.
If you enjoyed my conversation with Nick, please make sure that you hit subscribe because I have some amazing guests coming up in the next couple of weeks.
If you are interested in learning how to become an actor, a model, or a musician, and want to get plugged into one of the live events we have coming up, please go to our website at ammsociety.com where you can get registered for our next live webinar.
Thank you so much for listening and have a great day.