While it can be said most people probably did things like learning to tie-dye or bake banana bread during the first part of quarantine, Rising Midwestern hip-hop artist Aundre Myles decided to grow his business to foster and develop musical talent. Putting the focus on the music, the hard work, and the talent has put him at the forefront of one of the only growing industries during the pandemic.
Because of the heavy emphasis on streaming and the online presence aspect of the business, Myles was able to grow in a time where everyone else was static. He realized that staying in his house wasn’t going to be sustainable for him. He recognized that if he got moving while everyone else was still, he’d have a competitive edge that others did not, so he did exactly that.
In comes the Midwestern label Blvck Hoodie, Aundre set out to form an independent record label that focuses on highlighting hip-hop and RnB acts with a promising and unique sound. Though they’re based in the Midwest, their reach is far beyond. They currently represent eight different acts, each with its own distinctive style and tone. Aundre aims to create a tight-knit community in his label of artists to support each other and the music they create.
It has been far from easy though, as the number of man-hours and research put into starting a label are demanding. Myles says that he’s been using the pandemic to grow his business, leveraging his online interest with his tangible assets of good music and talented artists, he’s created a network complete with his own distribution deal for the artists on his label, a studio to work in, and a content creation center. With over 14k followers himself, Myles understands the value of social media and online presence. Blvck Hoodie boasts both a videographer and photographer, allowing its clients to create it all in-house, truly letting the artists be their authentic selves and have all the tools at their disposal. Even including a 24/7 online radio station for Midwestern Hip-Hop, RnB, and Lo-Fi, allowing him to at least sign people to his label to distribute their music and get them started with the buzz from his station.
The truest artistry is taking a time that was unfortunate for everyone, difficult for the entire globe, and making it into something beautiful. Aundre didn’t pick the name Blvck Hoodie arbitrarily or because it was glitzy, he picked it because it represented the simplest of uniforms, one he dons daily and realized even the simplest of uniforms can hold the most power. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got on a suit or a hoodie, as long as you show up ready to work, that’s all this is about. Beyond that, Myles says Blvck Hoodie is an ode to the early days of hip-hop when you could catch most rappers rocking hoodies and gold chains. In an era that’s always changing though, Aundre also notes how a Black Hoodie has been an icon as well during a time of change and solidarity. Showing that anyone, no matter your background can have the potential to do big things. Those same big things are what Aundre hopes to accomplish in the music industry.
“I started this all with a small dream, and watching it grow so far has been wild beyond belief.” the South Dakota artist says. “I would love to make music all day, and that’s what my long-term goal is, but Blvck Hoodie is more than just the music. The more this grows and generates profit, the more I want to use my platform to give back and strengthen communities, starting with my own. I’ve always wanted to use music to help people the way it helped me.”
What makes Blvck Hoodie so unique however is Aundre didn’t learn this structure from anyone though, he figured it out on his own, putting in the determination and grind that truly makes an artist successful. In doing so Aundre Myles has created a platform for a new era of music entrepreneurs. He’s learned that the lessons are in the hustle, and if he keeps his head down, he’s going to create something great. Through hard work and staying committed, he’s found success and shared that with young artists he believes deserve a shot. Though he may just now be gaining some attention, one thing is clear. Aundre Myles hit the ground running and personally, we can’t wait for what we’re going to see come out of Blvck Hoodie and its founder.