In the first few lines of his latest mix tape "I Love Music," Orange County rapper Calvin "Cnotes" Williams reveals the struggles of launching a music career in his central Virginia hometown. But that doesn't dissuade him, it only makes him hungry. Like any emerging artist, Williams' home is inextricable from his music, his rhymes rooted in the Orange County soil as he explores and celebrates Orange. He knows his geography does him no favor in his quest for lyrical stardom, but he's ready to earn the next level.
"I wanna be heard, I ain't been to sleep in three nights," raps Williams on the mix tape's title track. "Networking, talking to deejays, making these hits, trying to book a show or two, pay attention to me, 'cause the grind is what I'm showing you."
Williams has been circulating his mix tape recently and has already filmed three videos from its 12 tracks. Thursday, Cnotes will begin on his fourth, choosing the Orange Fireman's Parade as his backdrop and fittingly titled "Orange County."
"I want to put Orange on a pedestal [in the video]," said Williams.
"Orange County" began as a song to pump up the OCHS basketball team, played during the season as an intro song, said Williams.
"It's a song with a simple beat, all about coming from Orange," said Williams.
Orange County has always played a major role in Williams' videos, with an open casting call for "I got Swagg" and Veterans Park and many other Orange landmarks providing the backdrop for "Mama, I made it." Williams said growing his audience from his home outward has always been his goal, because if you don't have your hometown behind you, what do you have?
"I feel as an artist, the main things you want to do is get your hometown's attention," said Williams. "You get your name out there and then you build out."
Williams plans to be busy this summer, making trips to California, Myrtle Beach and Atlanta for recording and networking opportunities. The mix tape, he said, has already received plenty of buzz and is building to the likely release of Williams' first album later this year. Mix tapes will be available for sale around town, Williams said and interested fans can get a sampling of a few tracks by logging onto http://www.reverbnation.com/cnotesmp1.