We had the good fortune of connecting with James E! Walker and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi James E!, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Running my own business was a desire I’ve had since my early teenage years. Being from the South, Houston to be exact, I was heavily exposed to a culture of having pride about independence. Witnessing the legacies that entrepreneurs like J. Prince, Master P, Swisha House and The Screwed Up Click, independence and pride of ownership was always celebrated. Before I was old enough to work legally, I worked with my grandfather who had his own carpentry and construction business. Once I got older, I started mowing yards to make extra money for myself. Eventually, my drive evolved and I began creating mixtapes and selling them to my classmates in high school. Being able to make money from my own creative ideas as a teenager gave me the confidence in knowing I could acquire a DBA and start a creative business in anything I was passionate about.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
What I’m most proud of is the fact that I’m still actively doing art, design, and music. The fact that I didn’t give up and I’m doing the same things that I was passionate about as a child. I took a leap of faith 10 years ago when I quit a great paying career position to walk into the unknown of entrepreneurship as a creator and entertainer. The same creative freedom I had as a child, I’ve been able to making a living from and has taken me around the world. It took a lot of work, thousands of hours and many sacrifices but it was all worth it. What sets me apart is that I not only create art and music for myself, I also provide a creative service that contributes to the dreams and vision of others. In sharing the experience of others hitting milestones throughout their journey, I’ve been able to receive that energy back into my own side projects. It’s called reciprocity.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, I have a special project that I’m working on called Designer Rap Tour, so as the tour guide, the first place I would take them is Downtown Houston. It’s the central spot to tap into with the most tour attractions. Great food, scenery, and several popular tour attractions. Then I would guide them throughout the art scene to take photos at the Graffiti Building. This would allow them to capture some memorable photographs. I’d then go through Midtown, perhaps AxelRad’s for a cold beer or drink, and perhaps pizza and wings at Luigi’s. I’d take them meet some of my friends and family to get acquainted with our culture and southern hospitality then work our way out to a few local clubs or bars. From there we’d explore the music culture and get more food.. things that are only popular in Houston. To name a few other spots: Frank’s Pizza, Timmy Chans, HighVibes Kitchen, Bernies Burger, 8th Wonder Brewery, Saint Arnold Brewing, Hopdoddys, Triple J’s BBQ, Frenchy’s, Electric Feel Good, MFAH, CAMH, The Menil, Harrisburg Arts Museum, Mr. A’s the Club, Dave & Buster’s, Screwed Up Shop, MLK Blvd, etc. I’d expose them to each side of town and few areas on the outskirts of the Greater Houston Area.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are many people I could thank but I’d like to parents and grandparents. I was fortunate to have both my Moms, Pops, Step-Pops, 3 grandmothers, and 3 grandfathers in my life. Each of these individuals all carried a special vibration and sowed a unique seed in me that I carry with me through life.
Website: www.theartofjamesewalker.com & www.designerraptour.com
Instagram: @theartofjamesewalker_com & @designerraptour
Linkedin: James E. Walker
Facebook: The Art of James E Walker & Designer Rap Tour
Youtube: Designer Rap Music
Other: Twitch @DesignerRapTour Spotify & Apple Music: James E! Walker
James E! Walker (The Art of James E! Walker/aVisualSoundtrack) Jerome Stephens