TDB: On the album “Empire” did you feel like you had a lot to follow up with after the other albums you had written, and how did you decide “This is what I want to write about?”
Derek Minor: “Empire was the first album in the last two or three years that I felt like I got to do it exactly like I wanted to do it. With me owning Reflection Music Group and putting an album out myself and really being the person that was overseeing the album and the whole process totally, it was really cool to do that. And I felt like I wanted to follow “Minorville” up with something really strong. I mean, this album was really, really special for me. Last year my dad, sister, and aunt passed away. My wife got into a car accident, Canon fell off a bridge – shattered his jaw and broke his ankle. I just went through a lot of stuff and I remember early on I said, ‘God, I just want to use my platform to your glory and I just want to build your kingdom.’ I feel like I went through all that stuff and God was like, ‘Okay, alright, let’s see if you’re really about this!’ The album is really special because it’s my most successful album to date, and also I got the chance to perform at the Dove Awards with it. It’s just a special album, you know?”
TDB: Last year at the Dove Awards, you announced that your album “Empire” would be coming out in January. How have things changed since the last Dove Awards?
Derek Minor: “Oh, man!” [laughs] “They’ve changed exponentially! Obviously we put “Empire” out and it debuted #1 on the iTunes hip-hop charts and the Billboard charts, doing really well. I’ve done two tours since then, my platform has grown exponentially. Coming from Reach Records, which has such a strong platform and then striking out on your own and saying, ‘I’m gonna do this and I’m gonna do it the way I feel like it should be done in my heart,’ that’s a scary thing because you don’t have a parachute. When I was at Reach I could say ‘Alright, I can at least float off this Reach parachute.’ But it’s like, people are either going to like it or they’re not going to like it. I didn’t know what was going to happen. This year I was nominated for two Dove Awards and I was the only true independent in that. NF is at Capitol, all the Reach guys were at Sony RED as far as distribution, and Rapture Ruckus I think are with Word. It was just really cool to watch God do his thing with that.”
TDB: What do you feel you’ve learned most about hard work? Do you have any encouragement for someone starting out and trying to hone in on their skills even as early as you started doing it?
Derek Minor: “They say ‘luck is when opportunity meets hard work.’ I think for a lot of us, we’ll get opportunities. But if you don’t have the hard work and the preparation, you won’t be in a place to take advantage of those opportunities. So I would say for people starting up, what I would tell you is to keep growing, getting better at what you do everyday. Then, hopefully when those opportunities come you will be able to take advantage of them. One thing I am a firm believer in is that there may be people more talented, better-looking, or whatever than me, but there won’t be anyone who can outwork me. That’s something I have taken since I was 15. It’s taking those sacrifices where I would see my friends going to games and all this and I’m in the studio tapping on the keyboard. But fast-forward to now, I’m doing what I love for a living! I think that was a great sacrifice, because not a lot of people are living their dream job and I get to do it everyday.”
TDB: Last night you won a Dove Award and performed — between that and the success of “Empire” since it came out, how have you stayed humble in everything?
Derek Minor: “I think the best way to stay humble is to recognize that humility is something that outpours from your soul. I can honestly say that when I look at where God has brought me at from last year at the Dove Awards to now, I couldn’t have planned any of this. There was nothing I could have done – I can’t make people put me on the Dove Awards or buy my albums. I think some of that is just being aware of who you are and being aware that everything is a gift from God, and I can’t orchestrate this myself. But some practical things are I meet with my pastor every other week. We meet Tuesdays at a coffee shop like this and he asks me tough questions like “How are you treating your family?” and “How is your spiritual life?” I think when you have people who aren’t impressed with your talent and care about you and ask you tough questions, I think that helps you stay grounded. For me it’s been a great team of people and also that I couldn’t have orchestrated this if I tried.”
TDB: What can fans expect from you in the future?
Derek Minor: “I’ve been in the studio non-stop ever since “Empire”. I have tons of singles! I just dropped my single “No Quit” and I have tons of music I’m just prepping to release. So if you’re a Derek Minor fan, I’m going to give you as much music as I can give you. We have that tour, we’re working on Canon’s album, Deraj and B. Cooper are working on some stuff. RMG as a whole is growing in our merchandising and everything, so stay tuned! It’s going to be a wild ride and it’s going to be fun.”
TDB: How can those reading this pray for you?
Derek Minor: “The biggest thing for me is that oftentimes, if we’re being transparent, I can be a workaholic. So pray that I take my sabbaths. Pray that I chill and have some ‘me time’. After this that’s what I’m going to go do – go to a park, go read a book, or go do something fun.”
Thanks again to Derek Minor and Biscuit Media for allowing us to do this interview. It was an absolute honor!
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