lilD: 419 Music Awards provides confirmation, not completionWritten by lilD | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the weekend, artists from all over the 419 came together for one common reason: to see who was the best in their fields. The 419 Music Awards were held in Toledo, and they provided confirmation for some that they were on the right track, and but take heed, artists: This is only the beginning.
One constant criticism of Toledo artists is that they don’t reach high enough; the moment they become popular in their neighborhood or city, or accumulate 5,000 friends on Facebook, they feel like they’ve “arrived.” But a wise woman once said, “don’t ever feel like you’ve arrived; then you can’t reach any higher.” True story…
Newcomer Lil Johnnie won the award for Best New Artist, and said, “it feels great to know that I am being recognized by my city and know that they are enjoying what I am doing.” The winners were determined by the people voting, so it must feel great to know people took the time to sit on a computer and select you over everyone else.
But Lil Johnnie, remember this: You can’t take that plaque to a record label as proof of your accomplishments. Don’t get me wrong; it’s great that Embrace Ent can put on this event to showcase the talent in the area, but this is just a stepping stone. So stay grounded.
Lil Johnnie told me that after he won the award, “[his] phone and Facebook [were] blowing up from people [he had] never talked to before and people that didn’t really care for [him].” You know what that is? That’s the “Toledo Mentality.” People who didn’t like you before, all of a sudden are rushing to congratulate you? They think you’ve arrived. Luckily for Lil Johnnie, he’s smart enough to know who really supports him, and he’s also very aware that this award only confirms that his hard work is paying off. The next step isn’t to gloat and get comfortable; it’s to take this hustle to the next area code over and do it again.
B Wills AKA Beverly Wills has seen firsthand the support Toledo can show its artists. He won Wild Out Wednesday on BET’s “106 & Park” and attributes those votes to his hometown. He won “Best Artist” and “Best Mixtape” at the 419 Music Awards, but wasn’t there to accept them.
Some people feel that B Wills thinks he has “arrived” and is above local award shows, which is why he didn’t come. But this couldn’t be true, could it? Wills says, “I’ve shown my love & appreciation for my hometown in front of millions on live television and on stages from New York to Venice Beach,” so how could he front on his city? Perhaps it’s that “Toledo Mentality” that has people thinking he’s better than them because of what he’s accomplished, and they believe in their minds that they shouldn’t support him because they don’t want him to excel. Something to think about.
Toledo veteran Tracy won Best New Video, and even though he’s been singing for quite some time, his award for Best Video was his first. Tracy has been around long enough to know that while award shows provide excellent networking opportunities and a chance to be recognized by his peers, he also understands that getting a plaque won’t get him to that next level.
He’s currently on the Young and Restless Tour, performing all over the region, that he conceptualized and organized. These are the things that get you to the next plateau in the industry.
The 419 Music Awards is a great event that sheds a positive light on the hard-working, dedicated artists in the area. But don’t let that be the end of your journey; it’s only the beginning.