Stan Bravo is no stranger to this rap game! With over a decade in the Australian Hip Hop industry, he knows and has experienced the highs and lows that Hip Hop can offer, been to the show and bought the t-shirt in a manner of speaking.
Considered a well versed veteran in the game, Harlemite Stanley Campbell aka Stan Bravo has continued to do what comes naturally and spit forth handcrafted rhymes that leave his contenders in the dust. Proudly reppin for Sydney’s Western suburbs where he grew up as a young boy, Bravo never forgets his Harlem NYC roots and his flow is eerily reminiscent of a young Jay Z back in his Reasonable Doubt era. But don’t compare Stan to anyone, he is sure to remind you he rides no coat-tails and expects no favours in this industry, preferring to hustle his way or no way at all.
The hustle has proved rewarding in many aspects as Bravo has grown up from the young gun who had that hip hop chip on his shoulder to a man who has fought back against defeat, never taking no for an answer but taking heed to the lessons bestowed upon him. He has written songs and leant his vocals for that much needed dose of street cred to a host of Aria Chart topping pop stars, collaborated with the industry’s finest talent on songwriters projects, giving back to the community with youth mentoring work and national hip hop radio show The Worldwide Show on Sydney’s Koori Radio 93.7FM and continues to create his own music and sound along the way.
Stan Bravo is living a different reality today. He is a husband, father, businessman and creative artist on a totally different platform, seeing the world through a clearer lens and aiming higher for more quality over quantity. He continues to maintain his ground as one of Australia’s illest Hip Hop artists with a style and delivery that is second to none and continues to raise the bar for himself and any other artists in his midst!
What’s up Stan…..it has been a minute since we last spoke. How has life been for you over the past 4 years since our last interview?
Wow Max has it really been four years? Man time has flown! Well where do I start, the last four years were a very dark time for me. On the one side I was nominated for a couple awards for a couple of the songs I worked on but on a personal side my life was falling apart. We (my wife and I) lost a child. I left the company that I was working with and then too top it all off I got very ill and ended up in the emergency room. When my airways closed up and I almost lost my life. After all of that and more, I just simply hated everything. That time I was in a very dark space and I couldn’t write for a while. So I turned my back on just about everything for about two years.
This period really forced me to revaluate a lot of things in my life including the people in my circle. Seeing who was really down for me and who was just coming along for the ride. But through the grace of God and my family, I picked myself up and got back into the studio. From there all the songs just began to flood my mind again and I found my inspiration and remember my personal reason for why I choose to be an emcee again. I just feel back in love with life and music again. And once I had my son everything began to really make sense again.
Congratulations on the birth of your son – parenthood is a whole different level! How has his arrival changed your outlook and perceptions as an artist?
Thank you and parenthood really is a completely different level. Becoming a father has made me more aware, as a man and artist. You see I don’t believe in parenting by the “do as I say, not as I do” mentality because I am aware that as a parent you are a leader and great leaders lead by example. So in saying that, I will not record or put out anything that I would not want my son to listen to and or watch. In saying that I’m not going to switch up completely neither and water down what I do because I don’t believe in hiding anything from him either. I believe a parent should be able to be honest with their child. Educate them, Give them both sides of the story and guide them to make the right choice in life.
You are considered a veteran in the Australian hip hop industry having paid your dues and gone through the pitfalls that this industry comprises of – what would you say has been the consistent tool that has helped keep you in the game and making that music?
Two things, love and honesty. I have such an intense love for people and for what I do and I believe that always transcends into my songs. Another factor is my honesty; I pride myself on always being myself. My philosophy towards writing is what I call “Look in the mirror rap”. This means if you can look in the mirror and say everything you talk about you live, then what can somebody tell you. In other words, to rep yourself or to go even deeper, to love yourself. And if you can love yourself then you give yourself permission to love someone else.
You have had some great releases in 2012, especially your hot single “No Regrets”. How would you describe your sound now as opposed to say 5 years ago….why the change?
You see the thing I didn’t know five years ago that I know now , ( after almost losing my life ) is that time is something that we don’t have a lot of and when it’s gone you can’t get it back . So as long as you’re coming from a good space and are not trying to harm nobody, you should be able to do and say anything you want to because when you’re sitting on your death bed you don’t want to be thinking , I woulda, shoulda, coulda, you know? You want to be able to say I’ve done everything I ever wanted to do with my life and more, so I have no regrets and I’m ready to see whatever’s next. And that was the sole inspiration for the song.
You have successfully crossed over into the radio field, hosting your popular WorldWide music show with Mirrah – what was it about radio that appealed to you and how has the show added value and change to your life?
I’ve always been a pretty opinionated guy lol so that helps…I think. But on a more serious side, when I was beginning my career I always wished there was a radio show out here similar to the kind I remembered listening too as a kid in NYC. So I said to myself if the opportunity ever presented its self I would make it happen. Another aspect of this (and possibly the most important aspect for both Mirrah and myself) was the chance to give other artists a platform to be heard on radio. Finally, I’ve done what I’ve done in the music industry and Mirrah is also an established artist in her own right. Because of that we can relate to the artists and they relate to us so it just made sense to have the show. I believe the biggest change to my life has been the ability to get a response out of people so quickly. Like when you write a record, it can takes a minute before you get a response from the people but in radio you get a response instantaneously.
What are you working on musically right now?
Right now the main thing I’m working on is my debut album ‘A New Life’ which will be out in a couple months. It should’ve been out this month but I have to clear a couple samples so that’s holding everything up. But once that gets settled I’m putting the album out! In the meantime, I’m working on a free (still untitled) mixtape/album that I will be putting out shortly, just to hold the fans over until the real album drops. I will say that the album is a classic and does have a few nice features on it so look for it when it drops.
How do you think the Australian hip hop industry has changed over the years since your early days and where do you think it’s headed?
Well when I first started the game over here was still in its baby stages. Sure there were artists doing their thing out here before me but overall it was still pretty new. And because it was new there really wasn’t anyone (from a rappers stand point) to really look at and study what they were doing well and what they were doing wrong. Since that time there have been so many rappers from my generation that have come up and done their thing, that have served as predecessor for this new generation to look at. So I think the Hip Hop industry in Australia moving forward is going to be great. Plus we have the internet now which instantly widens your reach which we didn’t have when I was coming up.
What are currently listened to and who do you think is a hot pick for 2013 in Hip Hop?
To be honest there aren’t too many new heads that are really impressing me in today’s climate. I come from an era where you had to be nice to be considered as a rapper or emcee. Right now we’re in the corporate era where money matters more than love does and that feeling comes across in most of today’s rappers so I’m not really checking for too many new heads. In saying that, they’re a couple guys that I am listening too. Like Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, Slaughter House, guys like that. For 2013 I think Meek Mill is definitely one to watch. I’m also looking out for GOOD Music’s Cruel Winter. That’s about it.
Your thoughts on the US elections and what Obama’s re-election means for hip hop?
Politics is something I don’t really get into too much purely on the basis that I still have a bad taste in my mouth from the Bush eras. I will say that this year’s election was very engaging. My mind state and if I can offer any advice too future voters is too pay less attention to what a man says and more attention to what that man actually does. Now that I’ve gotten that part of out the way, I will say that President Obama really does appear to be the people’s president. This was the reason why I believe he was re-elected. The Republican really needs to hire a good PR person because their whole ideology is just not relevant anymore. And I believe that’s what the people highlighted when they placed their votes.
Your mission statement in life?
Keep God first. Love what you do and do what you love. And always turn your fear into focus.
For more information on Stan Bravo tune in to The WorldWide Radio Show – Sat Nights 8-10pm 93.7FM
Always Hip Hop,