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It's Official: Local hip-hop artist on cusp of success

By by aprill brandon/abrandon@vicad.com
Jan. 31, 2011 at 6:05 p.m.
Updated Feb. 1, 2011 at 8:02 p.m.

Victoria native and rapper Jacob Canchola, aka: Official, will have his first major album drop this year.

HOW TO GET IT:In anticipation of Official's first album release, SouthernMade Records has released a mixed tape that can be downloaded for free through Official's Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ officialsmr. The mix tape is also be available through iTunes.

The album will be released through E1 Music later this year.

Although he's only 22, Jacob Canchola, a.k.a. Official, has been tirelessly working on his hip-hop music career for a decade. So it comes as no surprise for those who know him that people are starting to notice his skill.

"He's a tremendous talent. He has one track that has taken off and is in radio rotation in Victoria, Corpus Christi and San Antonio, and right now, we're working with a distribution company to release his album later this year," said Edward Briseno, the owner of Victoria-based SouthernMade Records who has been working with Official since he was 13. "He lives in the studio, and everything is now falling into place. He's finally reaching his peak."

Originally from Victoria, Official moved to Corpus Christi four years ago but kept working with Briseno and SouthernMade vice president Marc Cuellar. His song, "Circles," featuring Bruno Mars, has been getting radio play locally, including on Victoria radio station KVIC 95.1 FM, and for years, he's been releasing mixed tapes of his original material, which helped him develop a loyal fan base. Now, with an album about to drop and his career on the cusp of taking off, all the hard work has finally paid of, Official said.

"For nine years, I've dedicated all my time to making music, and I'm still working on my music every day. I've been blessed to have the opportunities I've had and that I'm able to work on music," he said, adding that he can almost be like a recluse sometimes while working on his songs. "And now that 'Circles' is out there, people are loving it. It's kind of awesome that people who know who I am can hear it on the radio. That doesn't happen every day."

So how did he react the first time he heard himself on the radio?

"It's a bit embarrassing actually. I was in the car talking on the phone, and the whole song was almost finished before I realized it was my song," he laughed. "I was jamming to it and liked it before I realized it was me, so I guess that's a good thing. The second time I heard it, though, is a much better story. I felt totally inspired. I think it's great that my hometown, my city, wanted to be a part of it and wanted to play it."

Although the album has been a long time coming and Official has been working on it for most of his career, he said he's excited now that it's coming to fruition to see what happens next.

"I put a lot of work into it, as did my team, and I think there is something on it that everyone can like. I hope when people listen to it, it triggers an emotion that inspires them. It's positive music, and that's the direction I hope all hip-hop starts going toward," he said.

As for what the future holds for Official, he said he's hoping for good album sales and to jump on a U.S. tour. He also wants to get to a point in his career where he can help other Victoria musicians make it in the industry.

"I want to see myself make it and in turn try to help others make it. For a while, hip-hop was going down the wrong road. Genre sales were down and attendance was down at shows. But we have the ability to change it. My goal is to make that stamp, to see what hip-hop can be," he said. "The best advice I can give to other aspiring artists is to remember we're all on the same team. If one of us makes it, it increases the chances of others making it. We need to buy each other's music and go to each other's show. Show love and respect for one another."

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