Fresh NDef speaks w/ Vakseen

We recently had a chance to get a few minutes of time from Slip N Slide Records Product Manager and A&R, Vakseen, an extremely driven, multi-talented and multi-faceted man… Read & enjoy, and stay tuned for Part II of our interview coming soon!!

Fresh N Def:     The first question I wanted to ask you is “if you call yourself a  beast, where did you get that nickname?”

Vakseen:            Umm, I mean in reference to the “beast” – it’s kinda a word I use to describe somebody that’s like “no matter what they do, they really go all in. like the saying “he’s a beast” meaning anything he touches, anything he does he’s gonna go all the way in. someone who’s really really on point and uhh you know I try to be on point and as thorough as possible no matter what I do from cooking in the kitchen, or following the (ingredients), it’s just a descriptive word for me.

FND:                     Yeah, like a savage. That’s cool.

V:                         Exactly

FND:                      Umm, can you tell me a little bit more about the various titles that you have, as far as job titles or different hats that you wear?

V:                          Well I definitely wear a bunch of hats. Uhh, I mean first and foremost I’m an A&R, I’m a product manager. For those that don’t know product managers handle the marketing for specific projects and also touring with the artist on the label for Slip’N’ Slide, I work for Slip and Slide. A& R for the label, I’m also an A&R consultant outside the label.  You know different companies, different clients, and what not.  Set up tracks, work with the producers, song writers, you know those are the main hats that I wear. You know A&R… Product Manager. And you know when you work for an Indie label you’re gonna wear a million hats so to speak.

FND:                      And you also do independent work outside of Slip and Slide too then

V:                          Correct. I do most of that out of my own company, Vakseen, LLC.  It’s like, you know I specialize in A&R consultation, music marketing and artist management.

FND:                      How did you get into producing and product management?

V:                          Umm, I mean as far as producing, I was , when I first got into the music business or the music game so to speak – I was more on the artistic side of things, I was creating I was an artist for 10 plus years, I was producing. So, I mean, naturally that’s where the producing came in. And Producing and A&R are rather synonymous, and you know one of the same. So it was kind of a natural transition to the company A&R from a producer.  It was definitely one of my goals stepping into the business.  As far as Product Management, umm, I mean I started with the label as an intern. first was brought on staff as an A&R after our CEO saw that I had an ear for talent, saw some of the things I was doing.  Started Slip’N’Slide on the grind. It’s like a division within the label for up and coming artists, a platform to gain additional exposure and what not.         
FND:                      You actually help the artist grow yourself!

V:                          Yeah, exactly. And give them start exposure.  That’s where I got my start with the label and from there it was kinda…. Realistically, it was just kinda put on my plate initially, the product management, you know and because I am a beast, and anything that’s put on my plate I’m gonna do it and make it happen. Realistically I didn’t have a marketing background but it’s something that I took full ahead and dealing with the music business and made it happen.

FND:                      Who are some of the artists you are managing right now?

V:                          I’m more dealing with artists on a consultant basis right now. Obviously, Trackslayerz were assigned to me. Also I’m helping producing a song with them but at this point some of the things I’ve experienced and some of the things I’ve seen in the game my desire is more on the consultant side of things. I do have a new client that I may, even though I swore off of doing managing, someone to reel me back into that side of things…

FND:                      Someone you really believe in, so your just gonna go for it?

V:                          He’s a young guy, he’s like 17. As far as producer wise, he is a beast. He is completely untapped. He doesn’t have any placements. That’s the ideal set up for me so I can take him in and build from scratch and get him exactly where he needs to go. So I mean I stated that, at this very moment, technically I still manage Trackslayerz that’s all I’m managing aside from some producers or what not I am consulting.

FND:                      Right, do you want to tell me who this new up and coming artist is or are you keeping that to yourself for a little while?

V:                          (laughs) I’m a keep that to myself for a little while. I got a lot to do. I gotta handle the business. That’s one thing we all have to handle our business cover all aspects cover all grounds. The nature of this business is “it’s a very shady business”

FND:                      Right, and presentation is important

V:                          I’m big on handling my business. I’m just that type of person so I gotta cross all my T’s  and dot all my I’s.

FND:                      Right, and definitely let us know when your ready to introduce him.

V:                          But of course!

FND:                      I did want to ask you what kind of kid you were growing up and how that translates to the career you are in now. I was umm, I would consider myself a pretty good kid.  I was definitely small and smart and uhh, brought in straight A’s until high school, that square kind of straight. My mom was a teacher so – there were just certain things she wasn’t playin with, education was always highly important to her. And like I said I was pretty good. Anything that was about citizenship, I like to talk – I like to joke around still – sticks with me to this day.  Umm like I said my mom was a teacher, so  I kinda feel like I was sheltered so to speak. I wasn’t out runnin the street , I wasn’t out getting in to trouble, so I mean even musically when you look at some of your best mc’s a lot of them weren’t constricted they were at home in front of books or in front of a computer or you know just perfecting their craft so to speak

FND:                      Did you go to an art school or just a regular public school?

V:                         I went to a regular public school but it was just a natural talent that I had you know some people were just born with certain blessing and art has always been in me in one form or another. You know I draw, paint, act, so it’s constantly something that’s in me.

FND:                      Yeah, I heard that you were into Art and Cooking both.

V:                          Oh, yeah (laughs)

FND:                      Do you have any other interesting hobbies?

V:                          Umm, I don’t know if I consider it a hobby but I’m , I guess I’m a freak for shoes.  (oh yea) I have a nice little shoe collection, graphics, you know Jordans, Dunks, Griffeys, you name it!! You name it I gotta have it. I haven’t been collecting my whole life. I’ve only been in ya know in on the shoe store for 3 years now but my collection is insane and I can’t even laugh about it???

FND:                      Have you ever showcased them? That would be kind of fun to do a gallery pictures/showcase of your shoe collection.

V:                         The extent of my showcase is every single day just wearing them

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