GRAMMY U Texas Member Mace Lee In Action
Courtesy Of Mace Lee
As an upcoming junior at the University of Texas majoring in Business & Management Information Systems, GRAMMY U Texas member, Mace Lee, decided to take a semester off in order to pursue music full time. He is currently working with Activation Studio to establish a support network for local artists, working as a freelance Audio Engineer & Producer on projects for local artists as well as artists he meets online, and working on his second mixtape. He admires Eric Dingus, a producer who grew up in Austin and consistently releases some of his favorite projects each year. Lastly, he personally believes that success comes to those who work together. (Note from Mace Lee: If anyone reading this wants to collaborate or just wants to talk, hit me up on Instagram)
As a GRAMMY U member, how have you been able to connect with others in the music business (peers/professionals) and what do you hope to gain from the program?
GRAMMY U has helped connect me with people who have more experience than myself. With experience comes wisdom, and this wisdom serves as a toolkit for entering the daunting world of music business. I learned that in order to succeed in such a rapidly evolving environment, I need to understand the successes and failures of the past. I need to understand the history of the music industry in order to try new things and innovate.
You currently work at Activation Studio, how did you land that job and what are your responsibilities?
My friend Chris Prinz ran into Nicholas Osella & Elijah Flowers—cofounders of Activation Studio—downtown at the Capital Factory start-up incubator. After jamming and getting to know each other, we discovered that we shared a similar vision for Austin. We are united under a ‘Create or Die’ mindset, driven and passionate in our own respective fields. I serve as the hub for music at Activation: helping to organize local artists, networking, and finding ways to bring their visions to life. I also am excited to manage and serve as the engineer for the recording studio once we move into our new space.
What’s the toughest and most rewarding part of being an independent artist?
From my readings and interaction with industry insiders, recognition tends to come with ‘who you know’ and, as an early stage independent artist, reaching that level takes a lot of patience. Luckily, as an independent artist, my days are spent on my own terms. Each new supporter I meet is a new personal relationship, and I can do what I want with my image and my music. It feels liberating to set my own standard of success and plan my own career moves, but sometimes I wish I had someone with more experience to help guide me.
How do you utilize your social channels and other websites to meet and promote your music?
I’ve been developing my internet presence since early high school. People used to think I was shallow because I put thought and effort into my Facebook and Instagram, but I knew it would shape a lot of peoples’ impressions of me. I also spend time working on my SoundCloud and doing my best to make sure that a Google search of “Mace Lee” results in my music. This is all crucial to my business, for I make great connections through these services (plus Twitter and forums). However, Facebook has been by far the most effective tool. Since I have spent my life in Austin, I have a strong network here. By boosting my Facebook page I can efficiently reach those interested in my music as well and their friends' connections.
You mentioned that that success comes to those who work together. Can you describe why you relate to that and why it’s important for you?
In an ever-connected internet age, finding like-minded individuals has become as simple as playing around on social media. I have found mixing clients, collaborators, and friends just by being active online, and luckily, meeting people online has much lower stakes than in person. A mind-numbing amount of people across the world are just as dedicated toward their respective passions and all it takes is communication and a bit of courage to engage with them. I know teamwork and collaboration is crucial from my personal experience, but also because I have seen its role in many independent rappers’ and producers’ success stories. Atlanta—in my opinion, Hip Hop’s current center of innovation—has a strong culture is one of creative collaboration. People setting aside ego and status to lift each other up and simply focus on making great art. That’s the mindset that my team and I are trying to encourage in Austin. Personally, I have developed confidence in my work and am more comfortable putting myself in the light now that I have a solid group of supporters and collaborators. We help elevate one another.
Catch him on stage November 10. Click here for more details.