Hip-Hop Rising Star

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Kennesaw State sophomore balances school, career as recording artist

Elgin Nation is breaking out in hip-hop via social media, merchandise sales

Elgin Nation is almost everywhere in social media. He has almost 10,000 followers on Twitter. Fans go to his Facebook page to download his mixtapes; and his music videos can be found on YouTube. He is also active on playpromedia.com, a start-up that connects budding artists directly with fans.

Most of the time, Elgin Dominique Moore, known artistically as Elgin Nation, is an aspiring hip-hop artist. But when he is not doing music, Moore is a Kennesaw State University sophomore attending lectures, doing homework and taking tests. As the 19-year-old balances college with his “career outside of school,” he also is navigating an evolving music industry landscape. Whereas in the past record sales were key to revenues, nowadays artists rely on downloads and merchandise sales to generate revenue and make a name for themselves.

With the help of social media, Moore is getting himself out there to build his brand. Eschewing the traditional labels, Moore runs his own business and writes and publishes his own music through BMI, a music rights management company. He also produces most of his music and fills in as studio engineer. He stays connected on Twitter and Facebook. He is constantly asking himself, “Who owns my brand? Who owns my name?”

“He understands that music is about creating the experience and about direct fan involvement,” says Brad Todd of PlayPro Media, which works with Moore to build his fan base.  “He thinks like an entrepreneur.”

Moore has performed at Atlanta venues such as the Masquerade, the Fox Theatre and Tavern 99. In August, he performed at Kennesaw State in front of a crowd of 2,500 to celebrate the opening of University Place II. Now he is taking on Orlando, using PlayPro Media to build buzz and connect with fans at Full Sail University, where he will perform live in October.

“Elgin has raw talent that comes through most when he performs live,” says Keith Perissi, interim director of the Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business Program at Kennesaw State. “He has an infectious energy that the crowd feels as soon as he hits the stage.”

Moore learned about the business side of the music industry while participating this past year in the Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Program’s A&R Southern Talent Expo, where students enrolled in the program managed 10 artists, including Elgin Nation. The expo, Todd says, taught Moore the difference between signing a recording contract with a major label and taking a more grassroots approach to spread the word about his music and his brand.

Born and raised in New Orleans, Moore comes from “a huge music family.”

“My dad was a drummer. My grandfather was a drummer. My uncle was a drummer,” he says. He started playing in his school marching band as young as nine, practicing the same drum routine day in and day out. Soon after, he was climbing on a ladder with a $10 mike to record his own songs. At 14 or 15, he got into writing his own music and performing in school talent shows. All along, he loved “anything Michael Jackson.”

“I got really comfortable on stage at a young age,” he says. “I still make beats and produce a lot of my own music.”

On his Twitter feed, Moore calls himself “CEO of the Nation.” “It’s a movement,” he explains. He thinks like a businessman and, since “people get their music online for free,” he is focused on selling merchandise and sponsorships and on touring. “Selling music is not the main push,” he says. “We have to follow the trend. Social networking is big. Fans want to follow you.”

Todd says that nowadays, a deal with a record label is not the only way to work together creatively with music. “There are a lot of ways to make revenue with music that’s not based on record sales,” says Todd. “It gives the artist a lot of freedom. A lot of major labels do not give the artist freedom.”

Moore has big dreams, saying he wants to be a dominant player in hip-hop. “I want longevity and I want to make my mark,” he says.

Although he is serious about his music career, Moore is intent also on finishing college. He is an information systems major in the Michael J. Coles College of Business and is working hard to finish his degree.

“He is working hard on his craft and he is working hard on his degree,” Perissi says.  “Elgin is a friendly and humble young man. As long as he keeps his feet on the ground, he will go far.”

For more information on Elgin Nation, please go to

http://elginnation.com/

-- Aixa M. Pascual