Combining an immense amount of raw talent and amazing showmanship, the powerful and explosive female rapper Venomiss is quite the artist. The 2015 Underground Music Awards “Best Female Rapper” nominee is known for her noteworthy performances, a Venomiss concert is full of energy and flair. She is currently riding high off her debut album, Heiress of the Echelon.
Jesse Atkinson: Give us some background info as to who you are.
Venomiss: I was born in Newark, New Jersey and raised in a few different towns including Montclair and Orange New Jersey. I got my start at music as a kid when my older cousins were working on music. I was thrown into the world of Hip Hop by watching them work towards their dreams and it became a part of me too. I would jump in anyone’s cipher or battle I did not care at all where I was or who I was with. At about age 17 I decided this was what I wanted to do with my life and I began to push a little more seriously. Things started to take off quickly and I was a little too young to completely understand what I was getting myself into at the time. I took a hiatus when I had my only child. After that, I got into blog writing for two years and wrote for a few Hip Hop websites where I focused on interviews and editorials. I returned to music in 2014 after realizing that people weren’t going to stop asking me for my album after all. The timing was much better and I was able to pick up skills in my time off that were helpful to my success. I was glad to come back and I dropped the promotional single “They Want” Produced by Clipsmoke before releasing my first official album available on the online retailers in mid 2015.
JA: What is the significance of your name?
Ven: As a kid, I was a bit of a Tomboy and I had a male best friend. He and I were play-fighting and arguing. When I became too serious, he asked me to stop being so “Venomous” to him and he called me it going foward. I eventually toyed with the spelling to tie in “Miss” to represent myself as a female rapper. It stuck as my rap name because it fit my style of delivery and it fit my techniques. Before then, I was referred to as little Jadakiss or Bertakiss ( a combo of my legal name and Jadakiss.) I didn’t really have a designated name until that day because then, I enjoyed battling and street ciphers.
JA: Who is your target market?
Ven: My target market is fans who are still concerned with the elements of Hip Hop and Lyrics ages 22 through 40. I find my fans are all ages shapes and size but one thing is constant in them which is that they don’t prefer watered-down lyrics and enjoy the underdog culture. I’ve seen a hefty amount of sales and streams overseas from Germany, France, United Kingdom and Switzerland.
JA: What is your USP? (Unique Selling Proposition) and what sets you apart from other artists?
Ven: My Unique selling proposition is how hands-on I am. Fans can tweet me and I will reply. I am very approachable. I wish them Happy Birthday or Good Luck when they Tweet out about things that matter to them. I sign every CD I mail out, I debate with them on Hip Hop topics. They like to talk with me and I don’t have a problem keeping them in my day to day. This works because during my blog writing days, they became familiar with having dialogue with me, asking follow-up questions about interviews I did or weighing in on my editorials. I think this sets me apart because a lot of artists now a days don’t remember that the fans are the key to your success. I hope that 20 years from now they will take personal stock in me as an artist. Don’t get me wrong, someone out of line gets dealt with but I think its also important to keep positive conversation moving.
JA: What single or project are you currently pushing?
Ven: I am currently pushing Heiress of the Echelon which is my debut album. The lead single is CLAP and there are other great singles on the project receiving attention like Ocean, Crush and Empire.
JA: What is the philosophy by which you live by?
Ven: My philosophy on life is about Karma. I believe that the energy you put out is the energy you get back so I try to be mindful of the things I do in this universe.
JA: Which artists have inspired you?
Ven: I am inspired by artists who stood out at the time of their releases. I like artists with wordplay and storytelling abilities. Some artists who have inspired me over the years are Busta Rhymes, Fabolous, Jay-Z, Notorious B.I.G, The Lox, and DMX, Rah Digga, Misse E Elliot, Eve… to name a few. I listen to everyone though! I can’t say any one person or group inspires me more than any other.
JA: Who does your production?
Ven: Eddie “E-Sharp” Myricks of the producer duo Podium Muzik produced this first album in its entirety with the exception of the bonus track produced by Clipsmoke. I know and work with several producers but he was the one who was able to capture what I was aiming for with his production for this particular project.
JA: What is your opinion of the current state of the music industry?
Ven: I think the current state of the music industry needs attention both from the labels an the artists to fix. There is a lack of diversity among up and coming artists in addition to an unwillingness to break free and try something new from the labels who sign these artists. Also, due to the internet, many are losing money to the black market which is very hard to police due to the amount of data on the internet. I think dropping sneak albums is a start to step in the right direction and think outside of the box on ways to turn profit in a market of this sort. I also think the labels need to work on diversifying their rosters. The independent artists are having a lot more successes and victories than the labels at this time because they are on the ground seeing what needs to be done. They need to come out of the office and spend more time on the ground level observing the changes that the internet has created and how to better use it to their advantage.
JA: If you can change one thing about the music industry what would it be and why?
Ven: I would change the problems experienced by female artists. Look like this. Dress like that. Lose this weight. Get this surgery, pose like this. I believe it puts a great deal on females in our culture who don’t look like their favorite celebrity. I have met girls as young as 12 with fake eyelashes and makeup because that’s what their favorite celebrity does. I also think women endure a lot more inappropriate situations trying to get into the industry. We don’t receive the same treatment or respect as the men when starting a career and it takes a lot of strength to get through the negative aspects. Females have done things in music and been told to change it only for a male artist to do the same thing a few days later and be pat on the back.
JA: What is your favorite movie and favorite book?
Ven: I don’t watch a lot of movies (I’m a music buff) but one of my favorite movies is 30 Days of Night. My favorite book is Stephen King’s DreamCatcher.
JA: What are some major misconceptions that you think people have of you?
Ven: I think that people think I have some large team behind me and I do not. I self-manage my career with the help of a few hands that I trust to get things done. I do my blog submissions, my radio submissions, I do my press kits, I administer my website. I drive myself 8 to 12 hours for venues and still make it to my radio interviews on time the next day. I got tired of searching for the right fit and I learned I had what it takes all this time to do it myself. I got tired of depending on people and eventually I learned to do whatever I can on my own and only outsource what was truly necessary. My career is much more rewarding because I am involved heavily at this stage. This misconception actually makes me happy because it means I am doing my job. I am living proof that if you want it bad enough, you can make traction in this industry with good music and determination.
JA: What is your favorite part of your live show? How has it evolved?
Ven: My favorite part of the live show is when I walk out on stage. I’m a female 5’3 and I come up to the stage humbly a lot of times to a crowd who’s getting their first look at me since i’m up and coming. People don’t know what they are about to get. I put the mic up to my mouth and command and I love the initial reaction when they figure out I am not a singer but instead a rapper with strong lyrical presence. I do my show knowing someone in that audience just became a fan for the first time and when I walk off that stage I enjoy networking with them after that. I have evolved so much on stage. I’ve never been shy or had stage fright but my ability to connect with the audience is changing as I do more and more shows. When I was younger it was about ‘Look at me’ and now its becoming more about them and their experiences.
JA: What is your album going to be like?
Ven: The first album Heiress of the Echelon is out now and available on all the major online stores. It has followed the something-for-everyone format. This wasn’t necessarily my aim but it was just what developed as the music was written. I write what I feel so some songs are happy, some are sad, some are aggressive. We have live instruments, My engineer is multi-talented and plays keys, sings, drums and guitar all throughout the album. It has received a lot of great feedback from fans who have purchased as well as on iTunes and Google Play. This was really more like a formal introduction to the mainstream industry as my first true album. We are already working on the second one and thinking bigger and better and more diverse.
JA: What is your website?
JA: Any final words for the people.
Ven: Yes, I hope that everyone who listens to my album finds something they love in it. We worked very hard on bringing a diverse album to the listeners. I’m making my first impressions and