KNOW YOUR SCENE: Carvin Haggins of Forge Recordings

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Rock On Philly: We heard you recently started at Forge Recording in October. What lead you to Forge?
Carvin Haggins: Is it crazy to say it was divine? I was in the process of moving back to Philly and I hadn’t even begun to search for a home base. I had a few studios contact me to see if I would be interested, but they were not the perfect fit. I don’t have the typical studio life. Forge embodied everything my home studio was, so it only made sense to make Forge my new home.

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From left to right: Ivan Barias, Algebra Blessett, Carvin Haggins, BriaMarie, Dejure Hest, Ron DiSilvestro of Forge Recording

ROP: You have worked with some high-profile and talented artists. What do you look for in an artist to collaborate with?
CH: Determination. I’ll take that over talent any day, because determined people will never stop until they get it right. I also look for honesty and integrity, and then talent.

ROP: What are your major inspirations when you write music? Any tips for writers stuck in a writer’s block?
CH: My inspiration is GOD-fueled. When I write, I like to know that I could play it for everyone I know and not feel uncomfortable when it’s playing. My tip for writer’s block: I never actually had writer’s block, but if I’m ever in the process of writing and I get stuck, I just erase the line that has me stuck because it’s obvious that it does not belong there.

ROP: How did growing up in Philly influence your writing and music?
CH: Philly is the backdrop for every song I have written. I’ve lived from 8th and Indiana to City Ave. I’ve seen struggle and success all in the radius of ten blocks. The balance of this city is what helps my lyrics penetrate the heart.

ROP: In your “Rage Against the Ratchet” campaign, you advocate for better morals in today’s popular music, particularly rap music. You also started out as a rapper.

When did you start to notice the questionable morals in rap music? What hip-hop and rap artists today do you admire and see as role models for others?
CH: It’s hard to say when because it’s been here the whole time from the start. I think it’s more like I noticed there was no balance. We had dumb rap years ago but there was balance, something to counteract the stupidity. Now it’s all just dumb rap in the main stream with about two or three exceptions: Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, that’s all I can think of off-hand.

ROP: What advice do you have for musicians that feel pressure from the music industry to diverge from their morals?
CH: Here’s my thought, at the end of the day you have to live with you and face yourself in the mirror. The money will come and go but the mark you make will last forever. Ask yourself: do you want that to be your legacy, your contribution to the world?

ROP: What else should the city of Philadelphia be doing to support its community, especially its musicians and youth?
CH: Local radio should be supporting local artists, and local venues should be putting local artists on the main stages.

ROP: What upcoming plans do you have at Forge and your other endeavors?
CH: Right now we are working on three film projects. We are also preparing to sign a major distribution deal as we prepare the albums of our artist BriaMarie and Alycia Miles. Plus, we are producing other signed and unsigned artists – Algebra Blessette, Nadjah Nicole, Stokley Williams, and many more.

Check out what Carvin Haggins and the rest of the Forge Recording team are up to on their website! And don’t forget to check out Rock On Philly’s upcoming Battle of the College Bands coming 4/29.

What do YOU think of Forge Recording and Carvin Haggins? Tell us in the comments below!

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