Jake Heinitz doesn’t have a home this summer.
When the University of Minnesota business student wants to sleep in Minneapolis, he stays in his parents’ basement.
But Heinitz won’t spend much time with mom and dad as he travels solo around the country, meeting musician after musician and networking for his growing record company.
Like many college students, Heinitz, 21, struggled to find a suitable major at the University, and explored fields from psychology to advertising.
By his sophomore year, Heinitz asked himself, “What do I love, what do I really love?”
“Music,” he answered.
Niles Miller, 21, Heinitz’s friend from high school and budding musician, needed someone to represent him in the music scene, so Heinitz had the idea to start a record label.
Heinitz met Matt Carter from local hip-hop group Duenday in the University residence halls, contacted local underground hip-hop star Big Zach from the group Kanser, and together the groups, including Miller, founded No Static Records in 2009.
“He’s always been one of the most passionate dudes about music I’ve ever met,” Carter said of Heinitz.
Heinitz said he never had the patience to learn music himself but that his strength is being able to create connections and network.
When Heinitz was 18, he lost one of his good friends in a motorcycle accident. This tragedy turned into his first experience with the music business, after he organized an outdoor memorial concert at the Normandale Lake Bandshell and got hip-hop artists Kanser and Prof to perform for free.
Miller said he and Heinitz used to write rhymes in high school, pass them back and forth during class and rap in the hallways.
With No Static, Heinitz said he wants to “bring the positivity back to music” in Minneapolis.
Many talented musicians exist but they never want to help each other out, he said, and music shouldn’t be a competition.
“If we could [grow] as a community of Minneapolis musicians, it would be insane, the things we could do.”
Alex Everson, an assistant at Minneapolis’ Rhymesayers Entertainment, which represents artists Atmosphere and Brother Ali, said he thinks No Static will benefit the Minneapolis music scene.
Heinitz now represents six artists.
“Every artist I put on No Static, I put on for a reason,” he said. “I believe they have something the public should hear.”
Heinitz handles the press and promotional aspects of the business, booking shows and networking for his clients.
“He’s done everything except make music,” Carter from Duenday said.
The artists at No Static call themselves a family, connected by the idea of working together.
Miller said it’s comforting to have people who give honest opinions about his music and act as a support group. “We’re all starting from the same place and we’re all working together,” he said.
Heinitz is spending this summer traveling the country, establishing No Static as a brand name and networking. He wants to meet as many people as possible who can give him business advice, he said.
“This is a summer of planting seeds for No Static,” he said. In each state he visits, Heinitz is interviewing different artists and posting his experiences on his music blog called Be Scene.
He said he believes there are a lot of artists who aren’t getting the love they deserve, but with his trip, he hopes to bring up the best from the underground scene.
In each state he goes to, Heinitz will meet up with one musician, who will refer him to another and then another until he’s traveled around that state. Then he’ll move on to the next state. “I want to see how people are connected through music,” he said.
Heinitz started his trip in June, traveling to New York where he met up with various hip-hop artists.
His next stops are Chicago, Los Angeles and Nashville.
To find artists before arriving to the state, Heinitz said he “scours” websites and blogs to find artists who he thinks are underrated and deserve to be in the spotlight.
“I believe in the artist that I represent so much that I want everybody around the country to know [them] too,” he said.
UMN students have traveled to Florida colleges to collaborate with students on various projects.
When UMN students plan for a vacation, having trip cancellation travel insurance is a worthwhile commodity to check out.
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