Interview With Flame
Published on January 5, 2011
From former CMR artist to CEO of “Clearsight Music”, we got a chance to catch up with Flame and discuss the label and brand new album “Captured”.
Shine: How did the transition from CMR to starting your own label come about?
Flame: It’s funny because I always thought about starting my own label, but in the negative. I always said “Man I’ll never start a record label…” just because seeing it and seeing the headache that comes along with it. (Laughs) So it’s ironic to be in this position which is similar to how I started doing Christian rap. I never really wanted to travel or do a CD because I just didn’t really have an appetite for it. I just kind of ended up taking some steps and the Lord opened up the door.
Flame: But the transition really just came about by me completing my contractual obligations with CMR and just thinking through a couple different things. Number one I wanted to kind of reshape the paradigm of Christian hip hop meaning, right now the most popular route to take to do ministry through Christian rap is through the music industry. I think that’s fine, it’s unavoidable and we should, but I also wanted to bring to the table associating what we do with the local church. So through prayer and counsel, sitting down with elders at my church and professors at my school, we thought it through. I wanted to have accountability and authority above me that would have a say so in my business, so they kind of provided me opportunity to bring that to the forefront. Also another reason was just economically. I was thinking through what would be the best thing to do at this point in my ministry/career. I’m married now and starting a family and it just seemed more financially feasible to take this route. So I just believe through wise counsel, the Lord gave a thumbs up.
Shine: You mentioned trying to change the paradigm of how we do Christian hip hop, so would the church have a little bit more involvement in your label than normal?
Flame: Absolutely. Clearsight Music is an official LLC, but it’s also an official ministry of my local church. So if someone joins my church or is already a member and wants to get involved in the ministry, they can serve with Clearsight Music. You have the evangelistic ministry, helps ministry, mercy ministry, then you also have Clearsight Music ministry. Also it provides accountability, where church discipline can take place. For instance if I’m not treating my wife or coworkers fairly or if an artists I work with is complaining about money or things of that nature, they can have someone above me who can actually have a say so in the situation. So it’s been dope man, just trying to have a biblical model with this thing.
Shine: Having a first hand account of how labels run, what are you looking for in your artist(s)?
Flame: That’s a good question because we’re definitely excited about bringing some new cats to the table. It’s another thing that motivated us to start the label. We would mesh with so many different artists who were talented and loved the Lord but just didn’t have the financial support, exposure or the trusted name, and it would just be difficult for them to take it to the next level. So we just really wanted to come along and serve as well. But were just really looking for people who care about quality music, the local church as in being committed to there local church. Making sure they have authority in there lives and were also looking for people who esteem marriage highly along with the basic foundational things that will under gird them through music ministry. So were looking for rappers and singers. For the most part, were interested in the Christian hip hop first and other genres as the Lord brings about different types of help.
Shine: Let’s talk about the album, what’s the concept behind “Captured”?
Flame: I’m excited about it because it’s really birthed out of a burden that’s on my heart. Its one thing to write an album because you have a deadline and it’s another thing to write an album because you feel God has impressed something upon your heart. For this particular album so many different things played apart. A couple of things were getting married and graduating from college. In those two events I would have to draw closer to the Lord and trust him in new areas of my life. On the negative side, and event happened in my life were myself and my homies J-Son, Kenny and Stephan ended up getting robbed at gun point and we could have lost our lives that night. The very next day I got a phone call saying my mom was in the I.C.U. She ended up being in a coma for a month and a half were we thought we were going to loose her. So through those experiences the Lord caused me to draw closer to him and to hunger and thirst for Him. So number one it’s a personal thing were I feel captured by the Lord. I feel like He allowed both good and bad things in my life to draw me closer to Him and cause me to hunger.
Flame: As far as everyone else is concerned, my heart behind it was to share that new passion and rival that God sparked in my heart. In this album I’m calling people to hunger and thirst after the Lord in greater and deeper capacity. To allow that passion to drive you to missions, reconciliation in broken relationships, serving and sharing your faith with non-Christians and building up the weak Christians, you know what I mean. I just want to call people to reflect on who God is and become less impressed with the world, sin and be more impressed with Jesus. To be less impressed with having a big name on social networks like Facebook and Twitter you know what I mean. I’m like kill all that. Let’s just hunger for God and let’s use these platforms to call people to Him. So yeah man, it’s a passionate album.
Shine: We know that you love the Lord and after having been so involved in music ministry, is your love for the art of hip hop the same?
Flame: It’s funny that you ask that because where I am now reminds me more of when I first started. When I first started it was a bunch of new experiences and a whole lot of terms that I had never heard before. (Laughs) It was just a whole new world. But what I came to this new world with was just a love for hip hop, music and people. I didn’t know what songs to do at a concert, what kind of hooks to write to in order make people go crazy on the stage. It was like none of that knowledge in my mind but just pure innocent hunger. So now starting a label and learning new terms and being surrounded by a circle of people that know way more than I do, it’s created that hunger again. It’s created that hunger in a deeper way for the people and the art form to make me say “Man this is a crazy platform”.
Shine: How many tracks are on the album and what’s your favorite?
Flame: They’re 12 tracks on the album and my favorite is… (Pauses/laughs) Man that’s tough. All of them have a special place in my heart but a couple that really hit home are “Captured Me” and “Tonight”. Those two just kind of expressed the heart behind the album and will bring the concept home.
Shine: What’s something that we don’t know about Flame?
Flame: (Laughs) I must say I’m a bit of a neat freak. I like to stack my quarters and pennies in line. I like to keep my shoes straight. If you ever come visit me you’ll see me at the crib how it goes down. I like to clean up, put some music on, play a sermon and just clean up (Laughs) you know what I mean.
Shine: Any final thoughts?
Flame: Absolutely. The heartbeat really behind “Captured” comes from Psalms 42 where it’s just talking about hungering for the Lord. I would encourage the readers, as life throws you surprises, trials or temptations, the things God has committed to do is stand in the midst of every situation with us. So the more we behold His beauty, His holiness and see that His ways are better and were captured by Him, The more peace we experience and the more joy we experience.
Shine: Thanks again for taking this time out to speak to Holyculture.net and continued success.
Written by Shine
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