Interview with Suffa from Hilltop Hoods

Thursday, 30 Jan 2014

Hilltop Hoods and APRA AMCOS are teaming up once again to give one emerging Australian hip hop/soul artist or group $10,000 in funding. The initiative is open to artists around Australia who haven’t previously released an album professionally and who are members of APRA. It will be judged by a panel of influential Australian hip hop figures and artists including Hau, Nish, Ran-Dee, Raph and new judge Tom Thum/Tommy Illfigga who is an MC, beat boxer, graffiti artist and producer.

The initiative will be accepting entries until COB on the 25th of February 2014.

We interviewed Suffa from the Hilltop Hoods to gain an insight into what can set your entry apart from the next applicants.

What inspired you to start the initiative? Is this your way of giving back to the scene?

For our first album we received a grant from the South Australian Government, which helped us immeasurably with our first album. We thought this initiative would be something positive which we could put back into the hip hop community.  A lot of the recipients are great. There’s K21 who we signed to our label Golden Era, while other artists have been signed by Elephant Traks. Remi from Run for Your Life was named Triple J Unearthed Artist of the Year for 2013. Not saying we are responsible for all their success, but a lot of the artists who have been recipients have had positive outcomes! That’s our goal, to hopefully get careers started and on the way.

You have a pretty diverse panel of judges. Why were they chosen?

We chose people with great taste in Aussie hip hop! Hopefully that translates when they choose a recipient who deserves the opportunity. We hope it not only propels the artist forward, but will propel the Aussie hip hop culture forward as well.

What are they looking for? What will help someone’s application stand out?

I’m a big believer in everything coming back to the song.  You can have the most amazing back story, the best promotion and a huge label behind you, but all of that is trumped by a great song. The advice would be, put your best foot forward. If you have a song that’s a winner put it first in your application. You just need a banging tune; that will win people over at the end of the day.

How important are lyrics? Is it about the performance but also about connecting to lyrics within the song?

Lyrics are what its all about, it’s connecting with people. The judges are hip hop heads- they want lyricists, not just a catchy song. There’s a saying within hip hop: good artists write great lyrics and commercial artists write great hooks. Ideally the perfect artist is someone who does both. If you can marry those two things together I think that’s what the judges are looking for, someone with appeal but also someone with raw talent.

What stage in their career should they be in?

It’s aimed at up and comers, so if you have been demoing and performing that’s great.  If Sony put out your EP last year, you don’t need to apply.  We are looking for up and comers because we see those artists as the ones who need the most help.

Anything else?

APRA AMCOS have been a huge help getting us to the point where we were able to make this grant nation wide and include the scope of artists we wanted to include. We want to thank APRA AMCOS for supporting the grant and supporting Aussie hip hop!

Thanks Suffa, we like you too!

Enter the Hilltop Hoods and APRA AMCOS initiative now!


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