"last year in october, as a struggling artist starting to lose faith in what i could be, i went looking for beats on youtube." ~ Lil Nas X

This year, Lil Nas X made history when his "Old Town Road" remix featuring Billy Ray Cyrus completed its 19th week straight topping the Billboard Hot 100 chart. (At 17 weeks) This officially made the song the longest running No. 1 single of all time. It also soon became the fastest song to reach diamond status (10 million units) in music history.

Lil Nas X is a prime example of how an undiscovered artist can write a song to a random beat they find online, & it ends up dramatically changing their life. His is such an inspirational unfathomable Cinderella tale, I thought I’d try my own luck at the “Lil Nas X Method” by competing in the Airbit Hitmaker Recording Artist Competition.

Who is Symbolyc One?

Symbolyc One aka S1 is a Grammy Award Winning Producer with a “guy next door” personality & a spiritual swag that exudes a serene disposition; but is also unwavering and intense. There aren’t many successfully employed people in the music industry that you can legitimately describe as unpretentious. Industry professionals considered masters of their craft, who are surprisingly down-to-earth & also generous with the knowledge & expertise they’ve gained throughout the years. But this perfectly describes the type of person that Symbolyc One is.

What Is Airbit?

Airbit is the world’s largest urban music production marketplace that provides a platform for music producers to sell their beats online. It gives artists the opportunity to purchase music at an affordable rate so that they can create their very own "Old Town Road-esque" masterpieces.

Airbit cuts out the middle-man represented by gate-keeping record labels & the “old school” music-industry-formula as a whole. Thanks to their platform, and others like it, the dystopian methods of music industry past are quickly fading away.

The Competition

I found out about the Airbit Hitmaker Recording Artist Competition from a video S1 shared on social media. The basic rules of the contest were to: log on to the Airbit website, download a beat he created, write & record an original song to it, shoot a video & submit the entry.

Airbit would then rate & choose who they felt were the top 50 contestants, & from those finalists, S1 would choose who he felt were the top three winners. The grand prize winner would score the opportunity to work with S1 in the studio.

 The Consolation Prize

As I stated before, the benefit of a guy like S1 is that, although he himself is 100% an “industry bigwig,” he still makes himself accessible to us “lowly commoners" who desire careers in entertainment. Therefore, whether or not I won the grand prize, or the consolation prize or nothing at all; if I really want to speak to him, all I have to do is simply book a 1-On-1 Online Chat Session w/ S1. He schedules them in 30 min or 1-hour increments, and you can use Skype, Facetime, iChat, Google Hangout etc. According to his website: He allows you to:

Play songs/tracks and receive live feedback and critiques; and, ask questions about anything Industry related including production process, mixing tips and techniques, software tutorials, publishing, management, etc.

The Strategy

“Marketing is creating awareness and branding is creative value.” The vision for my entry was to create a song that not only paid homage to Airbit and to S1, but also to the creation of the competition itself for this amazing platform we were all given. The ability to showcase our talent in front of these industry juggernauts on a level playing field; without expensive fees & without that “industry gatekeeper mentality,” was truly a blessing.

When listening to the track that S1 created for all of us to write to, I knew that I wanted my entry to be different. It had to. Not only did it need to be sonically pleasing; I knew I wanted it to bring about a certain value that would last long after the contest was over. I figured the best way to do this was to write lyrics that would musically express the process of this contest to other undiscovered artists that may desire to enter the Airbit Hitmaker Recording Artist Competition in the future.

The Power of Community

The power of community was more apparent than ever in the creation of my contest entry. From planning, to preparation, to execution; I had the help & support of a lot of amazing people. When I get a vision for something in my head; my ideas have a tendency to quickly become pretty massive for some. Engulfed in my “creative mad science,” sometimes the people on my support team soon become considerably overwhelmed in my "imaginative chaos," and back out.

Fortunately for me, this time around I can say that my friends, my family, my job, local business owners, other creatives, students, their parents and the entire community in the city that I live showed real kinship & support in my efforts to successfully enter this contest. It was very apparent to me from the start that I had their full support with whatever I needed. For that, I will be eternally grateful to the people who helped me put this entire project together.

 The Outcome

Thank you to everyone who showed their support by voting, but unfortunately, no…I did not win 1st 2nd or 3rd place. Airbit felt I was good enough to be in the Top 50 though. In fact, they even went as far as to say that they “loved my entry,” and that my video was, “one of the most creative & entertaining entries.” Shout out to Airbit, I really appreciated that!

But, whatever the process or blueprint S1 & his team used to decide the actual winner; for whatever reason, my entry did not make the final cut. Hey, not everyone can be Lil Nas X, right?! Quite frankly, not everyone wants to be…no shade to the dude Lil Nas X, of course.

Prayerfully and, obviously, the end result of the Airbit Hitmaker Recording Artist Competition does not stop the possibility of me having a meaningful career in music & entertainment; nor does it keep me from possibly collaborating with someone as important to this industry as S1, or others like him.

The beauty of being so multi-faceted creatively, as you can see, is that there are so many ways to enter the game. It doesn’t take much to pursue your dreams, but always remember that the outcome of doing so could also change the game and bring you closer to your destiny. 

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