Picture of Visto HLKThere are so many talented and deserving of attention music artists in the DC area that it would take years to write about even a third of them. We’d like to, but then again if you follow OnStage on social media you know we do more talking about articles that should be written than actual writing cause just like pimping, writing ain’t easy. That shit is work! But there is one artist we feel compelled to say something about because we admire his combination of talent, persona, and dedication to his craft.

It’s obvious Visto had been on his grind for a while prior to our catching notice of him shortly before he released the attention grabbing video for “How That Pxssy Taste.” Before we heard it we thought it was probably a case of an artist masking lyrical dullness with sensationalism. We paid more attention to the mechanics of the social media team working to give the video a deft build up. Surprise! The track was a complete departure from everything else we were hearing from local artists. And it revealed a mature artist with texturized range in his voice. Then “Before Euphoria” showed how capable Visto was of blending genres. And he had features on that mixtape by Kaye Trill, Phil Da Phuture, Kyonte, Black Cobain, and producers like Mark Henry and Sunny Norway. So we were hooked.

When we asked Melisa Kim about Visto’s trajectory and what it would take for him to get to the next level, this was her response:
Visto is where he is because his humility allows him to listen, his grind and hunger make him apply, and his art allows him to transcend. I didn’t start working with him because of his music; I was interested in his work ethic and vision. I could hear the potential in his music and recognized that his sound and look (or what he wanted it to be) wasn’t just restricted to a niche within hip hop. I’m really proud of the leaps and bounds he’s taken over the last year in his artistic and personal growth, which are manifesting externally into career opportunities and milestones. For him to get to the next level, he needs to do what he’s doing now: not get comfortable and continuously evolve. Also, he has to be able to filter out all the “noise” that comes with notoriety. People don’t seem to realize that artists’ lives can change very rapidly, and few are emotionally equipped to handle the changes, both positive and negative. It takes a very special person to make it to certain levels and not become lost in themselves or to the industry.”

That response is why this is a #ThoughtfulThursday article entry. It’s something to think about. Because what we see in Visto we see in some other artists but we don’t see in most. That may be difficult to understand, but here are the basics… First of all he’s grounded. He knows what he wants to achieve and from all appearances has dedicated himself to it. In the time we’ve watched him his artistic evolution has been a very visible thing. The difference between the first time we saw him perform (and he was very polished then) and the most recent is light years. He owns the stage. But he hasn’t become “lost” in himself. To the contrary he is what industry people find most appealing about an artist; he is humble, thankful, and dedicated to creating opportunities for the people around him as well. He “gets it.”

If you are a relatively talented local artist and you don’t “get” the value and virtue of staying grounded and humble you aren’t going to make it. Not in the music industry of today. A success isn’t guaranteed for anybody in any case, but trust this; folks have seen thousands of talented promising young artists. You aren’t special unless you are. As much as his music and his stage performances do, what catches our eye about Visto is seeing him standing in the crowd at another artist’s show, not just showing support but genuinely enjoying the show. And with the Hippie Life Krew he is part of a mutually supportive and beneficial ecosystem that seemingly assigns equal import to all the roles, functions and facets. That’s what’s up today. And they know how to use social media for the purpose of advancing the art. That’s how you grow a fan base and an audience. In the new music industry model that’s a key ingredient for success.

The last time we spoke to Visto a host at The Fillmore introduced him to the crowd as an “Up and coming young artist.” We told him the guy was wrong. Not "up and coming"… Up!


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