Zachary Lewis Beck, known professionally as FUTURISTIC, is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter. He was born in Bloomington, Illinois, and currently resides in Tempe, Arizona. Futuristic went viral with the video "Nerd Raps Fast in Compton" and gained recognition after the release of his album, "The Rise," along with his single "The Greatest" in 2015.
Over the next five years, Futuristic went on to collect many accolades including releasing six albums with 65 songs hitting over a million streams, publishing a book titled "The Declaration of Independents," creating the opening song and performing it at halftime for the Phoenix Suns, released a documentary, "Still on the Rise," about his journey, and more. In 2020, he launched Indie Amplify, an all-inclusive web-based platform for music creators. With much more to come, Futuristic is one to keep an eye on.
WHAT OR WHO INSPIRED YOU TO GET INTO MUSIC?
As a kid, my biggest influencers were always animated rappers. Will Smith, Ludacris, Busta Rhymes, Eminem & nelly were my favorites. As I grew a little older I discovered independent rap & really got inspired by childish Gambino & Hopsin.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE OF MUSIC AND PERFORMANCE? HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PHILOSOPHY AND STYLE AS AN ARTIST?
As far as performance, I’ve always been animated as well passionate. Regardless of how many people I was performing for, I’ve always given 100%.
My philosophy is to plan your work and work your plan. I’m very regimented and structured with how I do most things so I dream, plan, then execute.
My style is forever evolving but I just continue to inspire from what I feel. Honesty is the best policy so when you hear my music it’s real and true.
WHAT DRIVES YOU TO CREATE, AND HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS FOR YOURSELF IN MUSIC?
I’ve been creating since I was 5 years old. I literally can’t NOT create. It’s what keeps me sane and happy. Success for me has always been to make a living off of music and not have to check the price of common things before I buy them. I’m able to support myself and my family while giving them experiences that wouldn’t have been possible without this career, and for that, I’m extremely grateful. At the end of the day, success can only be measured by happiness, so I try to focus on that more than anything else. All the accolades in the world don’t matter if you’re miserable.
THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER, WHO HAS HELPED YOU THE MOST WITH DEVELOPMENT AND SUPPORT?
There’s been a lot of key people throughout my career. My dad and my older brother were the first to really push me to make music. My mom didn’t come around until later, but she always came to my early shows and had a blast. Business-wise, Aktion, who was my producer, engineer, and head of marketing, was very pivotal along with Jakob Owens, who shot all my videos for free. After that, the Old Funk Volume Crew really put me in front of my first real fans and Big Daws changed my life by putting me on his YouTube channel.
SOMETIMES BEING IN THIS BUSINESS CAN BE OVERWHELMING. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR MAINTAINING PERSPECTIVE AND NOT SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF?
Don’t stress over what you can’t control. Take one step at a time. Make sure you’re happy in real life, not just on the internet. Great things take time and if you give it your all, you will end up where you’re meant to be.
WHAT CAN OR SHOULD THE NEWER GENERATION OF MUSIC CREATORS, AND MORE SPECIFICALLY BLACK MUSIC CREATORS, FOCUS ON AS THEY ENVISION A NEW MUSIC FUTURE?
Be yourself and never stop learning. All the resources you need are at your fingertips and all you need to create is already inside you.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE MUSIC INDUSTRY DO TO TRULY BE A REFLECTION OF THE CULTURE AND COMMUNITY IN WHICH IT CREATES?
Ideally, I wish that the world had longer attention spans and appreciated art more than they do on TikTok, but I don’t see that happening. I hope the music industry continues to adapt and reward independent artists.
BLACK ARTISTS, SONGWRITERS, AND CREATORS HEAVILY INFLUENCE MOST TRENDS IN MUSIC, ENTERTAINMENT, AND SOCIAL MEDIA - BUT THEY OFTEN DON'T RECEIVE THE RECOGNITION THEY DESERVE. DO YOU HAVE ADVICE FOR DEVELOPING CREATORS WHEN IT COMES TO PROTECTING THEIR WORK?
Learn the business side and be just as involved in that as you are with the music.
DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER ADVICE FOR YOUNG ARTISTS AND MUSICIANS JUST STARTING THEIR CAREERS, BASED ON WHAT YOU’VE EXPERIENCED?
Follow @indieamplify and visit indieamplify.com for all your needs as an independent artist.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE COMING UP IN 2022?
Sooooooo much. I’m going to make Indie Amplify the biggest and best marketplace for musicians. I now manage some amazingly talented artists in Michael Minelli, Oswin Benjamin, Chris Rivers, Anickan, Alyssa Gutierrez, and Poetics who I hope to have all completely living off their passion this year. I am rebranding my artistry as I have evolved into another artist, Zachary Lewis, and I will be known as one of the most successful independent musicians turned entrepreneurs of all time.
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