Page 8 | Revel@Conway | October 2011
Hunter Beard is a local bad boy whose wrong side of the tracks sound has taken the Hollywood, CA hip-hop scene by storm. The road to becoming the self-made music mogul that you see today was paved with poor decisions, wrought with peril, and began right here in the Little Rock/Conway area. Even as a youth it seemed the cards were stacked against Hunter. By age thirteen, he began searching for a way out. Unfortunately, the path out would only lead him to rock bottom. Every cloud, however dark, must have its silver lining. It was at the bottom, amongst the dregs and lost souls of society, that he would finally find the path he was destined to walk in life. While incarcerated, he was able to take control of his inner demons through music. He was able to learn from his past mistakes, but at the same time harness the experiences of his hardened lifestyle to create art. Through his music others could learn about living the fast life and all the instant gratifications, but more importantly, mistakes and consequences meant to discourage others from making similar choices. To Hunter, if one person can hear his music, open their heart and mind to his words, and because of his message chose for themselves a better life, then maybe he can begin to face the many ghosts of his sorted past. Due to circumstances surrounding the condition of his parole in Los Angeles, he has not been permitted to return to Arkansas to visit the friends and family that he holds so close to his heart. A consequence of his past choices that he still has to face to this day. Since, for now at least, he is unable to come home, I am bringing his words, his tidings, home in his stead. The interview that follows was made possible through communications between Hunter and myself over the past couple of months. I am grateful he chose Revel@Conway Magazine to be the vessel that carries his thoughts and words to everyone he misses. Let me the first of many to say, “Hunter Beard, you are loved and missed. Arkansas is proud of its native son!”
DB: “Explain the events leading up to the success of “Want it with us” on Power 92.” HB: “Well, “Want it with us” that’s kind of a funny story. It’s just such an unorthodox song to have been played on the radio. I don’t think anybody ever actually listened to the words, because it is kind of a violent song. Me and Chad had just started making music together. We were probably half way through that first album. Basically when we put the song out, everybody loved it. People started calling in requesting to hear it on Hot 96.5 and power 92 Jams. “No Name” was the first one to break out and play it. I think he did it just to stop the flood of calls. There was probably 30 requests a day or more to play it. He asked us for a radio interview and “Lady’s Man Cain” from Power 92 Jams heard it. My old manager called me and said that he had asked while on air who we were and wanted to talk to us and “Cain” put it in his rotation. From there it spread out to Louisiana, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Florida. That’s the story of “Want it with us. I’m still kind of amazed that that song was on the radio.”
DB: “What incentive did you have to move to California?” HB: “After the success with “Want it with us”, we basically felt we weren’t getting the attention that we wanted on the national scale. We met with a couple labels and, Which is… not saying anything bad about Little Rock, we felt that we had to go to where the people were that would listen to us. Where we could basically get up in their faces and make something happen. So me , Tony Saga, and Big Kennedy drove out in our cars. We ended up eating Raumen Noodles. Basically scraping by while making a few contacts. After a while we decided to come back home. And then you, know, “life happens“. I ended up being the only one able to return back west. I just kept coming out month after month. I started doing shows out here along Sunset Strip. The Whiskey A Go Go, The Key Club, and places like that. I decided it was best for me to move out here, so I did. I have been able to do some
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things that I think were just not ever possible living in Little Rock.”
been working on quite a few things as well, but we are all affiliated.”
DB: “You have one music video currently in post production. Tell us about your second video and the key players involved.”
DB: “You are a father who is very active in the life of your daughter. How does that cross over into your music and professional life?”
DB: “Since arriving in California, what people have played key roles in getting your career to where it is now, and how?”
DB: “How has pressure from the industry, friends, and an estrangement from home effected the release of your second album?”
HB: “Well Peter Johnson from Dreamer Nation shot the first Music video. He has also played a key role in what I have been doing out here. He has helped with getting me quite a few of the photo shoots. Pretty much if I need anything like that, you know photo shoot wise or video, I go to him. Chris Bell and Chase Bryant, well Chris actually just won some kind of awards in Sundance for the best… well, I can’t remember if he actually won, but he was in Sundance for the documentary Bigger Faster Stronger which is now on Showtime. So he is doing his thing. He is definitely an up and coming producer here in Hollywood. People are finally taking notice of his work. He kind of signed on to the second video as a personal project. Him and Chase have been working together quite a bit on some of his projects. I guess he really liked the song “Whiskey Bleed”, and wants to produce the video. The first video, “All I know”, is still in post production with Peter.”
HB: “When ever my daughter is here everything gets put on hold, and I am happy to do that. She’s just everything to me. You know, I am not able to go back and see her, but I am able to fly her out here several times a year. She actually just left today. That’s why it has taken me a little while to do this interview. What can I say, she is my everything.”
HB: “One of the main people was Don Coleman with Flip Side Entertainment. He gave me and Big Kennedy our first big concert ever in 2006 at the Tachi Palace Casino. We opened for Paul Wall and Brooke Hogan. There were 10,000 plus people in the audience. He’s been supportive along the way, pointing me in the right direction.
Joe Exclusive pointed me in the right direction a few times as well. When I first arrived out here I interned for Jay Razinski with ‘Any Power‘. He kind of showed me the ropes. I cannot forget to mention M D with Diamond State Productions from Arkansas. He is currently mastering both albums for me and the Definition. Lets see, some of the main people that are my inner circle, who I hang out with everyday, people like Kenny Mac with 50 50 Entertainment who is also from Little Rock. We have been making career moves out here together. Chase Bryant is probably one of the biggest assets to the team. He’s been responsible for helping me make my music videos. My wife of course, Sarah Heringer. And I can’t forget Jamie Howard back in “The Rock” for always lending an ear when I need just that… an ear to listen. There have been a lot of REAL people I have met along the way. Real people are few and far between, and I feel we’ve met some of the most real of people here.”
DB: “What made you decide to break away from the Definition and pursue a solo career?”
HB: “Chad is just going through some things, it’s not affecting his music, in fact, he’s having to deal with issues that would probably make for some really good music. Basically I moved out here, and he’s back there. He still my brother and we still have future plans for The Definition. I am just doing this by myself because he is not here. Me and K D Mac have
HB: “Man, I came out here and for the first couple months was pushing really hard and you know. I kind of just got caught up in hanging out too much. I was having too much fun. I definitely made a lot of good contacts, but music kind of took the back burner there for a while. The main reason that this album has taken so long is because I have not felt like it was the best album I could make yet. I have kept adding to it and adding to it. Like, you know, if I may feel like making a rock song, so I make a rock song. Or I make a punk song. I do feel a lot of pressure from back home to show why I came out here. Because of that choice I am now stuck here in L.A. My parole officer refuses to give me passes, not even to my dads open heart surgery. So I guess if you’ve got to be stuck somewhere this is a good place to be stuck. But uh, I don’t know, it has taken me a long time because I kind of got lost Man. I got a little lost in Hollywood a little bit. But then the pressure, the hunger, started coming back. It’s been back. The reason for this hunger is not for me, it’s for everybody else in Little Rock I left behind who believes in me.” DB: “You have a clothing line. What is it called, and where can we buy it?” HB: “I do have a clothing line coming out. I’m also apart of another clothing line called Anonymous Talent. That is being released this month. (July 2011) My clothing line is called Mad Maven. It is sold exclusively through hunterbeard.com. The new website is being released this month as well. Right now we have a couple pairs of shoes, some t-shirts, some hoodies, stuff like that. It’s basically my style which is, I don’t know, a lot of different styles mixed into one I guess. But yeah.. It’s called Mad Maven and you can purchase it on
DB: “What do you want your friends and family to know about how your life has changed since moving out west?” HB: “I am not going to lie, the quality of life is immensely better here. I don’t know man, I feel like I know the dirty, dark side of Little Rock. For probably half of my life I was in and out of jails, mental institutions, and prison. And every time I would got out, I would just get back into the same thing. You know, I’d have this month or two of me trying to do good, then I would see a hommie at a gas station. The curse of ‘knowing how to make money fast’ would just kind of catch up with me. So, out here, I have found happiness without needing something else in my life to make me happy. We have done quite a bit of stuff out here that I am proud of and am blessed to have been able to do. I look at the ocean everyday through my living room window, so I guess I can’t complain at all.”
DB: “What are the biggest obstacles currently facing you as an up and coming artist?” HB: “The absolute biggest obstacle facing me today is the fact that I can’t tour. I cannot do shows. Well, I can only do shows in California. I can’t tour because I can’t get a pass until the end of 2012. So basically I have set to set everything up for when I can move around freely. To be able to travel around and tour at my leisure and definitely hit shows in Little Rock. The one big word for an up and coming artist is exposure. That is the constant goal. Getting exposed, making sure people hear about your music, and staying relevant is a frequent obstacle in this industry.
DB: What struggles have you found most frustrating as an independent artist? HB: I wouldn’t say I’m easily frustrated. The thing that frustrates me the most is that I can not travel, scheduling, and time! When things are not moving fast enough, that definitely can frustrate me. When I have a certain time line set for what I do and it takes longer than I anticipate, that can get me frustrated a little bit. Other then that, I completely love my job. Being an independent artist is probably less frustrating then being signed to a major label because I reap what I sow absolutely.” DB: “How does being estranged from Arkansas effect your mental clarity when it comes to the creative process?” HB: “It helps my creative process.
It helps in that, it creates a little bit of angst. Honestly I write my best music when I am depressed or feeling down. Or when something is affecting me negatively. I find that when I am happy and everything is going great, it’s harder for me to write the real content that I like in my music. I feel like the best music comes out of Angst. It has kind of helped my music grow in that respect.” DB: “I think the most pressing questions weighing on my reader’s minds, certainly the minds of your fans and friends back here at home are: When is the new album set to release? What is the working title? Where can we buy the album? And last but not least; Are there any future plans in the works for a homecoming concert?” HB: “My album is set to be released next Thursday (July 21st), but it might be pushed back a week or two. It’s currently still being mastered. Both albums, The Definition’s, which has been many years in the making, and my solo project, will be released at the same time. Both on I-Tunes, Rhapsody, CD Baby and all that. And they will both be sold exclusively together on my website hunterbeard.com. So people can go and get both albums from the website for much less then it would cost to buy them separately on I-Tunes. The title of The Definition’s album is Idiot Savant. Basically because I think that me and Chad have faulted so frequently in life, you know? I wouldn’t change anything, but have definitely messed up some things for myself through my actions, behaviors, and needing, you know, things that I had to have the money for immediately. Things that created huge problems for me. I Did a lot of time in prison. Getting out was a driving force for me to pull together and get things done. I would say an “Idiot Savant” is basically a person who’s really good at one thing and kind of a screw up when it comes to everything else. Hahaha… The name of my solo album is “Solar Bi-Polar”. Mostly what I have been dealing with this week is album art and such. And… Yes! I do plan on coming back to Little Rock for future shows. K D Mac has been able to go back for some big shows. Despite my situation, I would love to come back
for a many number of reasons, and yes, a show is one of those reasons. They seem to let me come back for court dates. Maybe somebody back home will sue me. Then maybe I can come back get a concert together.” DB: “What are Hunter’s goals for the immediate and long term future?” HB: “Right now I am pushing like crazy. I am meeting with one of Akon’s producers tomorrow. My most immediate plans are getting my website and this clothing line going, as well as getting these albums out. My plans for the long term future is just getting more exposure. Nationwide and worldwide exposure. I have no doubt in my mind that when I work for it, it works for me as well and I am working for It!”