When Scott Sheldon — the hip-hop artist behind the new album SeeS Between The Lines — was around 10 years old, a friend gave him a copy of Jay Z’s Hard Knock Life Volume II. But before listening to the record, he began to study the lyrics. That was when Sheldon discovered his love of hip-hop music.
“I remember reading the lyrics on the back and trying to, in my own head, kind of figure out, ‘How does this work?’” SeeS told Hollywood Take. ‘What’s the rhyme scheme? Kind of making up my own way.”
“Then when I put the CD in and heard the way that Jay Z had done it. Something just kind of clicked on. A light bulb went off — ‘This is poetry, This is amazing.’ In school writing seemed so tedious and structured. And here was a way to express yourself through writing where you didn’t have to have people correcting you.”
Sheldon, now 28, has turned that passion into a career. He writes and records music under the moniker SeeS and runs his own project-based record label, CT Corporate Takeover. The label’s latest effort, The Conn-viction Tapes, features tracks from other Connecticut-based artists he met while pursuing his own music career. The first volume can be downloaded for free on Sheldon’s blog or via SoundCloud. And a second volume is already planned for early next year.
“I think I came to the point where I realized you kind of need a grassroots movement in order to be successful,” SeeS continued. “And there’s no better way to get support from people than to support them yourself. I also have a passion for local music and other artists. I love sharing the joy that music gives me with people who have the same feeling around it. I think it’s great to work with like-minded people.”
Sheldon has been writing music since he was a kid growing up in Connecticut. He met one of his first mentors in high school: his gym teacher, Rock Foster. SeeS credits Foster with supporting his hip-hop dreams, even when Sheldon didn’t earn the praise.
“He said, ‘You have something, just keep writing ’ — at a stage where I probably didn’t deserve that compliment,” Sheldon said.
SeeS and Foster kept up their relationship for years, eventually becoming roommates. They even started a political rap group called USA with some pals. The friends would record music in their large closet before Sheldon later moved to a more professional studio.
Then, at age 23, he got more valuable experience interning at Interscope Records. His job mostly consisted of cold-calling others on behalf of the label. But it taught him about the business of the industry and the importance of promoting yourself.
The lessons from this internship inspired Sheldon to start his own label, CT Corporate Takeover, and CTHipHopBlog.com, which is now the most popular local music blog in the state. The Connecticut native understands the state gets a bad rap in the music world, but he hopes to use that to his advantage.
“Connecticut is a state that gets a lot of negative perceptions about the music scene here,” Sheldon admitted. “There’s no major, major artists that’s come out of Connecticut. … People say that it lacks an infrastructure, there’s no major record label, there’s only one really big radio station, Hot 93.7. So I felt like where everybody’s complaining there’s nothing here, I saw it an opportunity to be a big fish in a small pond, rather than be a small fish in the ocean.”
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