(Fresh Fruit is Kelvin Cowans' periodic look at upcoming and rising talent from Memphis and the surrounding areas.)
I caught up with Memphis Music Producer Nico Anderson while he was doing a little Christmas shopping so we could talk a little music. The Oak Court Mall was packed beyond parking room and inside the people were elbow to elbow frantically shopping for deals. Nonetheless, Nico – aka Trackstar – was mellow and, as he put it, always ready to talk about music.
Kelvin Cowans: When did you start producing music?
Nico Anderson: Let me see, I graduated Trezevant High School in 2005, so it had to be right around 2007 that I started getting serious about music. I had always loved it but it was then that I really started moving in a professional manner about it.
KC: What produced the change?
NA: My brother, Bishop. He's the one in our family that is musically inclined and watching him grind hard at it for so long actually sparked something in me.
KC: Who are some of your early music influences?
NA: That's easy, Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones. I was just watching "The Wiz," which is a soulful remake of "The Wizard of Oz" and I was enjoying every performance by the artist. They were off the chain. That album is also produced by Quincy Jones and it's a musical classic.
KC: It seems like your heart is definitely for producing.
NA: Yeah, as you know, I rap also, but there's nothing like hearing a beat and then picking the voice that you think goes great with that beat and then producing something so creative that people love it. That's essentially what music is – sounds, rhythms, voices meshed together that become one unit that is desirable to the ear.
KC: What do you have coming up in 2014?
NA: Work, work and more work. I'm releasing my mixtape titled, "No Days Off Part 2" in early January. Then me and D.J. JB. Smoothe out of Nashville will collaborate on a mixtape in late February titled, "Sweet Serenade."
Also, I just signed with Six~Four Management and I will be featured on you guys' mixtape titled, "Unsigned, Underrated & Unphased" due out by summer 2014. I am a movement and the people I collaborate with are working on big things themselves, so it's all good.
KC: Speaking of movements, how does it make you feel to see the kind of talent coming out of Memphis. There's Yo Gotti, Juicy J, Don Tripp, Young Dolph, etc. These fellas are getting it in. You can't pick up a magazine or turn to a hip hop radio station without hearing them.
NA: That's true, and what I feel about it is all love. They paved the way for anybody out of Memphis who says they have a gift of doing rap or producing music. They are pure motivation because no one can argue with the fact that they are living it,which means if you work hard and stay focused you can to.
I have complete confidence in myself that I can be successful. I get down with PCF (Pay Checks First), that's T-Bizzle and Stang Maine who do music with Project Pat, who is Juicy J's brother. I mess with The University of Six~Four Records and Trigga-Trigga from New Orleans and I get down with so many other artist I can't even name them all, Producers like TrillBoi and rappers like Champ. What I'm saying is that I make music with everybody because everybody know everybody.
KC: Where can fans find your music?
NA: Man, they can get my music out of my lap, off of my back seat and out of my trunk. Anybody that know me will tell you that I will roll down on you with my work.
(Trackstar music can be downloaded by singles or albums at www.datpiff.com. Reach him at Twitter: @DaTrackstar; Instagram: @DaTrackstar; Facebook: Bishop Trackstar.)