If you’re reading this, and don’t know, surprise! Wande signed to Reach Records! Not only is it a big deal for the artist and label, but she also becomes the first female signed to the imprint. Rapzilla recognized Wande’s talent when we named her a Freshmen in this year’s class and it’s encouraging to see others have recognized that too.
“I think it means a lot because I can do things at a bigger level than trying to do it myself. The reputation that Reach has, it’s great to be on there with the other artists and the culture there,” she explained. “There’s a legacy there, and just being unashamed about faith and the gospel and yet fully embodying hip hop culture.”
At the moment, Wande is employed as an A&R admin for Reach Records. Obviously, at some point, this will be a conflict. However, they’ll cross that bridge when they get there.
“Reach values me, so I get to keep my job. I’ll still be doing both until I faze out into full artist mode whenever the time is proper.”
While many thought the writing on the wall was for Wande to get picked up by Reach Records, she didn’t see it that way.
“It was a surprise for me. I didn’t see it coming. My job is to help artists,” she explained. “Ace Harris told me we were having a meeting for one of the artists. I was getting prepared like normal. In the room, Ace told me the artist was running late, which is typical. After that, he was like, ‘Man, I don’t know why they’re not coming, so let’s just play some music’.”
She continued, “Then he started playing my songs. That was kind of normal at the time because that’s when ‘She’s Got Aesthetic’ was out and the Christmas album had just dropped. It was normal to play music around the office. Then I saw the exec team come in and start dancing. Which is still slightly normal because they’re always dancing. I still didn’t question it. Then they all sat down and ambushed me like, ‘Plot twist, this is a meeting about you’. I’m not complaining.”
This announcement is about four months in the making. She was offered a deal right before the New Year.
Wande is not naive to the fact that her signing with Reach Records as a woman is a big deal. She hopes it’s the spark that helps get other deserving women deals.
“I think it’ll show other labels that you shouldn’t be afraid to sign females. I hear a lot of excuses like, ‘Oh it’s expensive’ or ‘Oh, we don’t know how the market will react to a woman’. Will they buy her music?’ Obviously, a lot of Christian companies don’t have the money to just casually experiment with a Christian artist because you have to make sure they are profitable. So a lot of women get the short end of the stick because they don’t want to gamble on a woman,” she revealed. “The money becomes the determining factor of who actually supports you for real-for real. I think this will show a lot of labels, ‘Yeah, we can be successful in this field, and people will support us, and we’ll be profitable’. Honestly, you can stop with your excuses now.”
Almost two years ago the “#CHHSexism” hashtag trended. Some of the qualms brought up by men in Christian rap were rooming arrangements, needed more capital to keep women and men separate, spousal concerns, etc. Some of the concerns were more valid than others, but for whatever “problem” may exist, there can always be a solution.
“We’ve had those discussions,” said Wande. “Honestly, it’s really not that hard. Most people have their own road person who comes with them. I’m just going to bring another woman with me. A lot of things aren’t as difficult as they seem. It’s difficult if you don’t have self-control. I went to school with guys. We were all in the same classroom every day. If you really need the funding to get another room, you can find the funding to get another room.”
Speaking of rooming, eventually, she is going to need her own tour. She’s not sure what it looks like yet but it’s going to feature a lot of “pink” and “female energy.”
“There’s a lot of brainstorming I have to do. I want things to be more intentional…It’ll be interesting,” said the rapper. “I like 808s and I like hip-hop for real-for real. There’s like a J. Cole side to me where I like deep stuff but I also like having fun and turning up. Also, I like performing too because I used to do dance in high school in college.”
As far as music goes, Wande has her “welcome to Reach” single dropping [Blessed Up]. A project will be coming next but it’s not the priority yet. In fact, prior to the signing, she was mere weeks away from dropping that project.
“I was looking to grow my fanbase and solidify myself as an artist. That was my main goal and doing more shows. Basically, more consistent to where you can be taken seriously. My goal was showing labels like, ‘Hey, I take my job seriously, and this is not just a hobby’.”
For her, it worked out in a big way.
“It’s weird, now I can literally do anything. I don’t know how people will react to me until after the announcement happens. I’m someone who is content with wherever God wants me to be. Obviously, I do want to expand. During the first year, I want to show the fans who I am.”
Wande has a bit of an edge when it comes to her music career. She’s had the opportunity to work in the business end and can now take those experiences into the creative end. She knows what an A&R is looking for because she works daily in that department.
“I think CHH could have better business practices. There’s a lot of passion but I think many people don’t know business practices to sustain themselves. A lot of people want to support, but if you don’t have the money behind the song so people can have careers it’s hard,” she shared. “There’s a lot of producers out there who of course want to make music for Christians but if they’re not getting paid, and this is what they want to do for a career and secular people are paying proper then I’m sorry guys. They don’t want to do charity. How can we be fully Christian but also fully profitable in our endeavors in terms of the entertainment field?”
Hopefully, Wande uses this inside knowledge to her advantage and can even inform other artists on the come up. As for now, she’s just soaking it all in.
“I’m excited to see where things go. I’m excited to bring encouragement to other people. Whatever you want to do, you can accomplish it if you trust God and stick to the plan.”