Mekka Don is an up-and-coming MC from Ohio. He used IndieGoGo, a crowdfunding site, to fund his debut album, The Dream Goes On.
“As an independent artist, it’s difficult to compete in the market without funding,” Don told MTV News. “We had no investors and no major label backing, so we decided to crowdfund. We wanted to compete. It’s something I had been looking into for awhile and eventually said, ‘F–k it, what do we have to lose?'”
Don was born as Chukwuemeka Onyejekwe. Using the crowdfunding site, Don raised some $21,000 in just 30 days from more than 300 supporters. His goal was to raise $12,500 for the album. Don promised those who helped fund the album that they would receive CDs, autographed photos and merchandise from his clothing line, Pilot Boys.
“We’ve been able to do a lot of our own promo, a lot of our own P.R., our own marketing, so it’s a blessing,” Don said in an interview on “Sway in the Morning.” “It’s really a testament to the fans.”
Don graduated from New York University School of Law and left his high-paying attorney job at Weil, Gotshal & Manges in New York City to work on his album. He worked at the firm as a corporate litigation attorney.
“I’ve built a fanbase off of my mixtapes, EPs and videos, but this is my first album. It tells my story: what it took to get here and what I’ve gone through in the process. I think it represents the story of anyone who is chasing a dream.”
Don also played wide receiver on the Ohio State University football team while earning his undergraduate degree. He has gone a very different route to make money during his career and promote his music. He licensed his music to ESPN and to Ohio State.
“Music licensing is something we looked into fairly early in my career as an alternative way to get exposure but also generate revenue,” Don explained. “We were able to connect with ESPN and license music to them for college football in 2008 and we built on that and leveraged that into multiple other licensing situations.
“Then Ohio State University got word of this and asked me to create music for them as well. So now we have an official licensing agreement with OSU and my songs “Juice,” “Let’s Go (O-H-I-O)” and “Go Nuts” are official university anthems that play at the football games and basketball games,” he continued. “We believe this deal is the first of its kind with a major university and a rapper. Licensing is a great way to create revenue and exposure; it’s a big part of our business model.”
Don said the following in regards to leaving the courtroom for the music world: “Passion over pension. Passion over pension.”
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