Work Hard, Play Hard — I could not think of any other up and coming artist that really embodies such motto as gracefully as Kurt Rockmore. The 29-year-old rapper is not afraid to admit he is starving for success, in fact, he makes it a priority, with his electric live performances, powerful influences and a welcoming and warm smile on his face 24/7, he is here to show the world what dedication and real hustle look like. The Long Island-based performer has shared the stage with the likes of Tory Lanez and G Eazy, and is currently promoting his second full-length album titled ‘Life of the Party’. The project is his Kurt’s most polished work to date, with an intellectual production, a meaningful general message, with tones of cultural awareness and self-empowerment, and of course the casual flirtatious and perversive melodies. We had the chance to catch up with the rapper last week for a short conversation and an exclusive portrait series and see for ourselves what the buzz was all about.
Manuel Frayre: Hey Kurt, good to catch up with you after last weekend, it was madness but very much worth it I noticed your set was one of the most energetic of the weekend, it was such a refreshing way of kicking off the event. How do you usually prepare for your live sets?
Kurt Rockmore: It’s great to catch up with you too fam. And yeah, it’s all about energy with me, I put so much into the music that every time I get to perform it’s a celebration to me. Prep right before the set is, drink some water, drink some vodka, pray with the team and thank god for the opportunity to do what we love to do. Long-Term prep really consists of me singing the songs I’m going to perform anytime I’m in the car haha. I forget the words so much because I make so much music and I don’t listen to myself often enough to lock in the words to my memory haha, embarrassing, I know.
MF: I feel you man, I cannot tell you what it is I did two weekends ago. I got that short-term memory. It was insane seeing you get everyone so hyped and jumping around, you even crowd surf for a while. What goes through your mind when you are on stage?
KR: Yeah haha, my team hates it. But man, my thought process on stage is basically; I’m a new act to most people, I’m trying to gain fans so let’s make sure they remember me. I also think, we been working so damn hard and so damn long that it’s time to have as much fun as we possibly can for this short 30-40 minutes and let’s share our happiness with the crowd… It’s all muscle memory at this point, everyone crowd surfs now, I been doing it before I was performing haha, I used to crowd surf at school.
MF: So you have a new project recently out called “Life of the Party”, tell me more about this project and what makes it different than anything you’ve done before?
KR: Yes yes, well, I think I tried to be as vulnerable as possible and tell the truth on most records more-so than just making songs. I also worked closely with a producer named E. White, from Miami, we went from complete strangers to him being one of my best friends in the short amount of time, and we shared most of our insecurities about the grind and our age and this music industry, we clicked like brothers when we first met, and he just helped direct me in a way. I always take criticism well, but it means more when it comes from someone that is emotionally and artistically invested in something you’re working on. For the first time in my time of making music, I made too many songs, and had songs that we were able to say “This is hot but it’s not for the project”. I know it’s a tight body of work if I was a bigger name people would be considering it album of the year. At this point, it’s about getting as many people new and old to hear the project. I really took my time with this one, remaking and re-cutting songs, stressing out producers, E.White probably has a dart board with my face on it(shout out quick too). I went flat broke working on this cause my only focus was putting out QUALITY in this body of work. It’s going to come back, it’s going to come back so big that I’ll still be surprised.
MF: It is a great project and it feels equally optimistic as it does daring, part of it it’s about the party and about appreciating things as they come and other parts it feels more about standing up for yourself and fight for your own success. Tell me more about what inspired such balance?
KR: Its dope that you noticed that I hope everyone who listens notices it too. The intro “Like a Party” is both a question and an answer to both the listener and myself. And that’s basically what the whole project is based on a song by song if I choose to live life ‘like a party’ What can happen, and when you choose to step out that world and live life for LIFE, what can happen. Like the song ‘Daddy’ I’m singing about a girl who seems to have daddy issues, and I have daughters, what caused those Daddy issues? Was Daddy on tour? was daddy not there? am I not there? Do my daughters have Daddy issues? is this Life causing those daddy issues?. That song is still a BANGER, but it’s deeper than just a beat and a catchy ass hook. I’m really taking a look in the mirror at myself throughout the entire project and then at certain parts my reflection looking back at me telling me how to be better, or how this life, that is your party, can be better.
MF: Is there a specific track that you feel the most attached to?
KR:That’s a tough one ‘cause it really changes daily. But I really love the ‘Villains’ interlude because of how it came to be, all the live instruments on that record are amazing, what I wrote as far as the concept was amazing, the singer on it delivered it amazingly, and its placement in the project/storyline is important.’ No Pictures’ is a jam too, I BODIED that. Outta Site is my baby girls favorite, so that song means a lot to me haha, she’s 2 years old and that’s the first song of mine she sings the words to.
MF: That’s awesome man. She sounds lovely.
I wanna ask you a little about your influences but with a fun short answer question.
If you can handpick three artists that Spotify could match you with under the ‘Related Artist’ category who would you pick?
The Dream (Cause of his writing style and sound)
(Graduation) Kanye West
Id likes to say I’m really my own artist, but if I had to answer, those are the three. I’ll let the listeners decide.
MF: What is next for Kurt? Is there another tour on the works?
KR: Well Im working on new music with E.White, and shooting a few more videos for the songs on Life of the Party, the fan feedback made us decide we need videos to songs we don’t have videos to already, so it’s going to end up being like more than half of the songs on the project has a video to it. No Full tour coming up yet but any artist that wants the best performer on earth on tour with them, HOLLA., Were going to be doing a few “pop up parties” in select cities, and I have a BIG COMING HOME SHOW in NYC Friday, Dec 7th at SOBs, its going to be CRAZY! Buy Tickets we gonna sell that bitch out (www.kurtrockmore.com/tour)
MF: Where can we find your music online?
KR: I’m on all streaming services under the name Kurt Rockmore
I also have a SoundCloud you can listen to everything for free at http://soundcloud.com/KurtRockmore
and you can follow me on twitter, Instagram, facebook all that stuff at @KurtRockmore
Hit me up with a DM with your feedback on the project or if you need someone to talk to I try to respond back to everyone. Oh and you can text me too 631-823-7072
Words and Images by Manuel Frayre