Anna Goetz -Staff Writer
Ryan Oakes is an independent hip hop artist from Ashburn Virginia. He initially caught my eye with his track (breaching 1 million hits) “Drinking about You” on Spotify. With a new wave sound, 2 mixtapes, an impressive fan base and several singles under his belt in a short period of time, I reached out to him in hopes of an interview. He took time out of his schedule to discuss the experience and work behind becoming a rising artist.
Q: Did you experience an “aha” moment when you knew you were meant to produce music?
A: That’s actually super hard to say. Even now I still kind of embrace the fact that I never really will truly know if this will work out in the first place. I just trust myself enough to know I’ll figure out a way. Once I realized that about myself is when I guess the “aha” moment happened.
Q: Any influential artists? What type of music did you enjoy growing up?
A: Witt Lowry and NF for sure. Both super raw and make real personal lyrics still sound great. It was all rap growing up. Didn’t like rock or metal, absolutely hate country. Just always been what I vibe with.
Q: Do you make your own beats? Does Kevin Peterson mainly produce them?
A: I know how to make my own beats; however, it’s an incredibly tedious process that I would rather avoid, so I outsource to both Kevin and another group called hometown wolves for my beats. Great super talented crews.
Q: You’re a part of a movement of successful, unsigned rappers getting their name out on their own. Do you think you would ever eventually sign with a label? Why or why not?
A: Yeah I really would if the money is right and I kept creative control of my content. You can certainly make a tremendous amount of money but having a team the label would provide would make life a lot easier.
Q: You have gained recognition fairly quickly. From your first mixtape to breaching millions of streams, how has the day to day grind affected your personal life? Does your team consist of close friends?
A: It has led to an overwhelming amount of anxiety. Being an artist these days is actually very hard. No one wants to believe in you or wants to see you do good it’s literally you vs. the world. I honestly don’t even have a team either. It’s 100 percent me just working from the moment I’m awake till I fall asleep to get what I need to get done, done.
Q: Do you have anything to say for someone who has never heard your music?
A: Don’t knock it till ya try it. Can’t even begin to think of how many people ask what I do and I tell them “I’m a rapper.” I totally hate saying that because they automatically assume you’re this wanna-be guy with like three SoundCloud plays. Then I’ll play a song and they won’t even believe it’s me haha.
Keep up with Cakes’ sounds on his SoundCloud and Spotify, where he drops new singles every Sunday.