For Madison native Landon DeVon, his music career is all about connections. Aside from being a rapper, singer, published songwriter and spoken word artist, DeVon is a networker and so far his latter title has greatly informed the formers.
His networking skills lead to his first single, “Hands Down” with DJ Pain 1, being featured on 93.1 Jamz and him being a verified artist on Spotify. His music can also be found on Apple Music or purchased on iTunes.
DeVon has had shows throughout the Midwest and for the past year he has been an artist under Intellectual Ratchet. That connection the got him a slot in the upcoming 808s in the 608 Hip Hop festival at Union Terrace on August 12. Madison365 is the media partner on the festival, which will celebrate local hip-hop artists.
“It pays to get to know people and not be afraid to talk to people,” he said. “It’s always good to know who you’re talking to and always have a card or contact information you could give someone on the ready.”
DeVon also emphasizes social networks like Snapchat, which he credits for helping him gain a national fanbase despite primarily performing in the Midwest.
For him a strong network will also strengthen the local Hip Hop scene.
“I feel like once our city can learn to network, major things can happen,” DeVon said. “I think sometimes artists in Madison are too busy trying to one-up each other or trying to be able to say ‘I put Madison on’, but when we all together we do great things.”
Participating in the upcoming Hip Hop festival only adds to collaborative efforts which include performing with many local artist like Skylar Nahn and 3rd Dimension as well as university based artists like CrashPrez and Broadway Muse and he is also no stranger to the terrace stage.
“There is great music here and people should support good, local music,” DeVon said. “There’s many local artist who have big things coming up and some of us are just waiting to drop these bombs and I want my city to back me when I do. I feel like this festival says that we’re here.”
As a personal goal DeVon hopes to use his performance, which will include songs from his album Opaque as another networking opportunity to amass more fans.
“I just want people to hear the music and I want people to see the hard work I put into the music,” he said.
DeVon also hopes shows and exposure like 808s in the 608 will mend bridges between Hip Hop artists and the greater Madison community.
“I think it would be better if the city itself was willing to allow us to have a space that can be an outlet for Hip Hop to rise,” he said, noting the recent bans on Hip Hop concerts and music by local bars and music venues.
“No one wants to say that it’s racial, but Hip Hop is really universal and when you take it away you hurt everyone not just one group,” Devon said. “It blocks our city and the artist in the city who could put the city on and why would you do that. Why would you stop your city from shining?”
For artist looking to break into the sometimes rigorous and divided local Hip Hop scene DeVon suggests they tap into multiple networks and start by going to local shows.
“Don’t be afraid to show your face and you can meet a lot of producers and artist,” he said. “People like authenticity and when you come real, it’ll be hard for people to miss you.”
In the end he believes it is all worth it for the love of the craft.
“Music is really changing my life,” he said, “and showing me a lot of stuff I didn’t think was possible is actually possible.”