For the second week I’m going a little bit left field. This might be a slightly controversial review given that the artist is not expressly Christian; I contacted her on social media to inquire before making this article to confirm. She did say she was open to the thought which was a touch exciting to hear. Overall though I think Lizea Harper provides the perfect template for all of the right things that an artist can do when it comes to her music and presentation. Naturally I’m going to be as critical as possible while maintaining a considerate scope, but I think she is doing a lot of things that we can learn from as Christians, especially given our desire to connect with people who have a mind of ministry. Let me start by breaking down everything that I see that is right with her craft.
Lizea uses her platform and art to minister in a very real way. After reviewing some of Lizea’s stuff and social media presence I’ve decided, maybe to her opposing opinion, that she has a mind of ministry. From what I can tell she is an activist who uses her craft to shed light on social issues in a unique and powerful way. She isn’t a Christian but her music does speak on live, love, relationship and God often enough that you know that her heart is dabbling in the thought of Him. Quick side note, we should all lift her up in prayer as her influence grows! As Christians we are called to be activists for social justice. Jesus was an activist for social justice and His work was intricately tied into the fabric of what the gospel was and the most perfect way to present it. All this is to say that we should identify with the burden on our hearts and DO something with the music and the platform. If we are sitting on our hands and lack a bold courage to step out, we are preventing the great work that the Holy Spirit can do within us and through us. If all you’re doing is making music and sending it to NewH2O you may not be fulfilling the total call that Yahweh has designed you for.
She knows her sound and keeps her project cohesive. This is something that I was really impressed by. Her EP Build New is a body of work that has a through line in the production, mixing, sound, and lyrical content. Each track is exactly where it should be on the project, which is a huge accomplishment in my opinion. I often hear projects, even from bigger named artists, where the body of work is great with the exception of 3 – 4 oddly placed tracks that don’t fit the scope of the project, or veer so far from the rest that they sound out of place. This project definitely did not communicate that to me. Maybe the shorter tracklist allowed this to happen, but regardless everything was gelled together very nicely.
Her artwork matches the sonic qualities and lyrical content of the project. Just look at the art… It’s dope. It’s also exactly what I would expect the art to sound like. Whether you agree with the design of it (I see Instagram heads shouting ‘illuminati’ because of the eye) you’d be hard-pressed to deny the quality that’s brought to the table. Also I can see her name and the project name simply and easily. The art is something that I would want as a hardcopy disc whereas some art I’ve been a bit disappointed in. A great cherry on top!
On the flip side, here are some things that I noticed could be done better. They’re more minimally, but valuable and worth considering.
Lizea sent the project with a link to her Soundcloud (which is good), but no way to download the tape in it’s entirety. I wanted to download the full project, but I have yet to because there is no way to get the complete project all at once. I don’t mean to be threading camels, but the average listener is not going to be entirely interested in downloading 6 different tracks and then organizing them in iTunes before getting them onto their phone or audio device. Also this is a missed opportunity to start building a mailing list through the downloads. Liz, for this project, likely has no idea who is downloading her project unless they contact her directly and tell her. She might have missed 120 – 150 people who were willing to giver her their email address because of this oversight. I would tell her to do that RIGHT NOW! Noisetrade.com is my personal favorite.
She also didn’t send hi-res artwork. This is a general oversight by new artists, but if you are sending your music find a way to include some hi-res art. If your album cover is being shared across the web it will lose quality quickly and leave you with a sorry looking version of your art. This is also a bummer because her artwork is really great. Even the one I am using for this article is a slightly blown up version that has lost some quality.
Lastly, her website is bad. Harper, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry but your website is really bad. You might be in a better position to have a link that goes to a simple page with your project download in the middle. I’m arriving to a random mess of text and links (some of which don’t work – check your Contact, Soundcloud links) and weird looking banners. This definitely impacts the perception of your brand as a listener and the value that you bring to the table. My experience with the music was great and should be mirrored in the same way through every facet of my interaction with your brand; your website, social media, and music should all be held to a level of quality that you’re creating and holding up to. When your music is this good my expectation is that every time I interact with your content I’ll be having a similar experience. Instead what I’m getting is that you’re definitely an indie artist rather than an indie artist who is making moves! All important stuff.
So there you have it! We’re two weeks into spingold and I hope that this is giving some light into your thoughts and considerations as an artist. Things are only going to get more and more detailed as we move forward but I think we have a real opportunity to effect change for the Kingdom of Christ. Harper embodies a sect of hip hop that differ on some principles of God and His character, but are in-line with a push for common good and social justice. Again, I don’t think that her music or even her activism is going to capture the spirit of the Christian, but we have a lot to learn from someone who is doing it, in some ways, better than us! Thanks for your time this week! Please leave a comment below and be sure to share this with a friend! Also keep submitting your music and you may be selected for the next ‘spingold’ segment.