Interview with theMVP

TheMVP tells his rollercoaster tale of a life in music and where it's lead him.

Give an introduction to yourself, how you got into music, where you are today, and where you'd like to be.

Geoffrey B. Smith is the name my mom gave me but — I AM theMVP, which in this case stands for “the Man’s Very Passionate”, I was born and raised in Rhode Island, the middle child of 4 brothers and one sister. Growing up in a small house with 7 people there wasn’t much privacy, the house we lived in had 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, there was rarely any peace. Music became my regular escape, my Walkman and headphones and a backpack full of cassette tapes.

When I was around 9-10 years old is when I first began listening to hiphop music it was love at first listen. Around 12 years, mix-tapes from DJ’s like DJ Juice, DJ Clue, and other turntable DJ become very common on the streets. I remember I had this one mix-tape from DJ Juice that had a 2 or 3-minute instrumental portion, this mix-tape is the reason I began to rap, I would freestyle and make my own songs as I was listening to this mix-tape. I would stop rewind that part of the tape 20 times and do my freestyle/song and that was it, I was an MC.

As time went on I started becoming a battle rapper freestyle addict. It became my therapy, my escape from reality, which was a nasty one for me. Bad decisions I made and an even worst attitude towards life kept me in and out of trouble and blinded me on my pursuit of a career as an artist. Although I was making songs I never took the possibility of being a career musician seriously.

Around the age of 24 I was living a very gloomy and unstable life, it was the definition of depressing and my bad decisions caught up to me and put me behind bars. When I got released I made a decision to change my life, cleaned up, got a job, and put any thought of a hiphop career away, but I still rapped almost every day as a therapeutic exercise. My life took a massive change, love entered my life, and moved out of Rhode Island to Miami. Within the first 2 weeks of my move my girlfriend gave me the news she is pregnant and life got very real, VERY FAST. In Rhode Island I was a degenerate person in and out of trouble with drugs and the law, now I had to be ready for the responsibility of a father and provider.

RSPMVP at RSP Nutrition

I worked a few regular jobs, a hotel, operations for a sales office, then I landed a job as a salesman for a start-up supplement company called RSP Nutrition. They were not selling at all, and I began the field sales work using my freestyle hiphop swag to sell the products with customers. Very quickly I became the company lead salesman, moving from field sales to sales manager, to national sales director, and this is where theMVP was born.

I became the RSPMVP and quickly developed an urban legend with the industry and money was coming in, traveling all over the country, all I did was use my hiphop ability to think sharp and spit out words that sounded good and grabbed attention. I ran the retail side, brick and mortar stores, and the independent distribution. Like most retail stores, by 2016-17 foot traffic slowed down, sales dropped and the Amazon effect was taking a serious hit on the mom and pop shops around the USA. It seemed like overnight stores were closing down left and right, my position in the company was on thin ice, and then the ice cracked.

The fall from the top hurt, and I slowly began to relapse into the gloomy state of mind from my past, drugs, and booze becoming my numbing agent. I checked myself into rehab and cleaned up. From there I was planning on starting my business, taking theMVP character I developed from the company to start my own fitness brand.

At this time I had a meeting with a local film director, and content creator, who happened to be a musician and owned his own studio, for filming and music recording; somehow this meeting turned into a 2 hour all eyes on my freestyle session and earned me free studio time to create a demo album. I never worked in a professional studio, or really ever wrote songs in a structured form, mostly I just battled rapped, and clowned around on the mic. This time I wrote 24 songs, and I wanted to set up my game, and record with an industry-qualified producer, engineer team, and have the music made as professional as possible. 

I landed in Tropical Studios, Miami – a professional studio owned by Music Industry awarded producer/artist Emilio “YEYO” Canico-Bello. We listened to all 24 demos I made, selected 9 songs to re-record. YEYO made original beats, and had engineering teamwork on the mixing and mastering.

Blood on the MIC album released on June 22, 2020.

Blood on The Mic album cover art

I got into music because it's always healed me, listening, freestyling, now writing and creating songs. I started very late considering my age, and the current state of hip hop, my belief in myself, my talent, and the art that is in my head, and I truly believe I am going to create a song, or album or EP, something that will be embraced by the right audience and I will give back to music for what the power of this art has done for me.

Tell us about your latest release, what's it about?

My latest release is a single named “Addict” this song is about the internal thoughts of someone who is dealing with addiction, it's a painful song, and it's a song that I know those who suffer from addiction will understand.

How did you record it?

We recorded in Tropical Studios in Miami, Emilio “YEYO” Cancio Bello produced the song, and he did the mix as well. We recorded as a demo first, to a different beat, talked about the vibe and the energy we wanted to create, then we recorded the song to the beat he made for it. The session was quick and very natural, the song did very well.

How did you distribute it?

I use Distrokid for distribution. Great service, I also started a Label and registered my label through the websites as a publisher, BMI, ASCAP, etc, important to understand this industry, I’m learning it, take a music business class at a community college that offers the course, just some advice to the artist out there, own your masters, own the publishing rights, read about learn as much of the legal side as possible, you never know if your song will take off organically and some else registered your work. MAKE SURE YOU DO IT RIGHT!

How did you promote it?

I break promo into 2 ways:

  1. Online - playlist, social media ads and posts, submit hub, bloggers, emails texts blast, etc.
  2. Offline - gorilla marketing, flyers, hire a daily street team to promo and have fam and friends plug people at gyms, jobs, etc.
theMVP standing in front of a waterfall

The music industry is in a state of flux right now, where do you see it heading?

I feel this happens every few years, the industry spins around and does a 360, right back to where it started. There will be a savior soon, MJ was one, GnR saved the day for rock, Eminem for hip-hop, maybe theMVP needs to jump out of the phone booth and save the day!

What's the most important thing missing from Songwhip?

I would like an advertisement service through the website, where Songwhip offers the artist an ad campaign to help get the link in-front of the listeners' face.

Which artist do you look up to the most and why?

No one really, I respect all artists that are daring enough to put the art out for public criticism. Micheal Jackson is an artist that I respect a lot, completely devoted to the creation of his art and craft. Axel Rose songwriting I really like a lot, Nas, 2pac, Eminem, Billy Joel. Music is amazing, I listen to so much music, all different artists and genres. What I can say is I don’t like where the state of hiphop is, has very low energy.

theMVP sitting on a painted wall

What is your advice to other indie artists to help fund their work/produce music?

My advice is to have zero expectations of anyone but yourself, and when it comes to funds work hard, and then WORK HARDER.

Anything else you'd like to plug?

theMVP has a new album “You Ain’t Stopping ME” coming out late August-Early September 2021.

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