The road to fame is a long, unique journey that is exceedingly true for local singer, Montage. Raised in Dutch Village, located in Northeast Baltimore, Montage lived a typical teenage lifestyle. “Going outside, hooping, running around and chasing the ladies. You know, just a regular Baltimore nigga upbringing. Shagging and dragging,” is how he described his upbringing. Although Montage lived a normal lifestyle, watching other entertainers made him gravitate towards superstardom.
Growing up, Montage’s mother played majority of Gospel music in the house, which made him go out and discover other music. MTV Jams was one of the shows that he says gave him a place to look at for new music and videos. Montage developed his own unique singing style from being inspired by the likes of Musiq Soulchild, Robin Thicke, and Chris Brown. Chris Brown, being the biggest inspiration of the three, is who his fans are constantly comparing him to now.
The journey to coming out of his shell was not an easy one for Montage. He says, “It was nerve-wrecking. I had a bunch of ideas and I would sit down and write my own hooks and I just wanted to share those ideas with everybody, but I didn’t want to sing for anybody.” Even with an out-going personality, Montage was nervous to let everyone know that he could sing. After sitting on his ideas and voice for years, he finally decided that it was time for everyone to know about his talents. By the time Montage came out as a singer, his wave and energy was already so put together that it seemed natural for him. Although Montage is primarily known for singing, he also enjoys other aspects of entertainment like dancing, acting, and even comedy. He says “Before I became an entertainer, I did not have a lot of friends back in the day. So once I did something that everyone could relate to, it was like ‘Oh yeah, we want to fuck with you and chill with you.’ That love made me want to [entertain] even more.”
In 2014, he believes he truly became who he is today after years of improving himself, his music, and his sound. His first project BVO, or Baltimore’s Very Own, was released. Creating BVO was a long process, he says, because he took way too much pride in his work to put out music that was not 100 percent himself. Feeling as though too many artists are unrealistic with their lives through music, Montage makes it a priority to only write about facts. The project itself took about 6-7 months to put together, and it was well worth it. Singles like “Slumber Party,” and “R.T.G,” with Ron Dreamz and Blumondale, were two songs that really caught the attention of those new to the Baltimore artist. After the release of BVO, Montage’s career finally started to rise.
Throughout 2015, Montage was still employed at a local Skyzone and using the money to fund his music career. Between working and recording, Montage never lost his consistency and dedication to music. Luckily, in November of 2016, Tony Austin, former Def Jam A&R, found him on the explore page of Instagram and recognized his talent. It would then be in May of 2017 that Montage inked a deal with 300 Entertainment. Now, as a member of 300 Entertainment, Montage enjoys being a part of such a talented collective. Like many groups in the entertainment business, there is always friendly competition. Montage says, “I mean at the end of the day, we all are a team. But I feel like it’s competition at the same time. My project has to survive against the Migos, PnB Rocks, so it’s tough, but it just makes me work harder and makes me want to put even better music out.” At the end of the day, being a part of something is a good feeling for him, he says.
From working independently to working with a label, Montage says that he understands that he needs to move a little differently. Some expectations include moving along through his goals rapidly, and working even harder with the machine that is 300 Entertainment behind him. His new label has provided Montage with many connections that allow him to continuously build his career. Being motivated by others also helps him, he says, because it allows him to unceasingly work on self-improvement.
Going into the last quarter of the year, Montage’s short-term goal is to build enough buzz to have Baltimore City behind him. “It’s not as easy as it looks. I want to provide my own bandwagon for them to jump on.”
Interview conducted by Bryan Maple Jr.
Article written by Zhané Ashanti Riley