YouTube Royalty AHMIR On Being The Self-Described ‘Princes Of R&B’ [INTERVIEW]

Why are pseudonyms so popular in R&B? Even R. Kelly, he is Robert Kelly, but still goes by R. Kelly. You guys both have pseudonyms, and everyone in AHMIR has pseudonyms — what are your specific reasons for that?

Sing-Sing: The name I got, I got “Sing-Sing” and it throws a lot of people off, just like the “ah” of AHMIR. You know, I’m in a fraternity Phi Beta Sigma Inc., and we took a road trip and all my guys had their own pseudonyms, or nicknames rather, and all these guys traveled under their own pseudonyms. They were like, “What do you do? You sing? So Sing-Sing.” They made this big deal of the name, and I took it to the guys and said, “Guys, what do you think of this name, this stage name Sing-Sing?” I thought it was kind of silly at first, but then it stuck. To speak for Big Mike, I don’t really know why they call him Big Mike. Do you get that?

Mr. Jones: No, he’s 6’4, two hundred-something pounds, that might have something to do with it. KC is just his initials, and if we ever told you what those initials stood for he would kill us … I think overall the pseudonyms help us to transform into a different character, like how Beyonce has Sasha Fierce, and this helps you get into that mode, to get into that zone that helps you bring that energy out when you are performing or on stage. Kind of take it to the next level.

You guys could have been very successful and are successful offline. Why rely on YouTube?

Mr. Jones: A lot of people rely on record labels to do their publicity and marketing, and we really wanted to be very involved with the social networks and very hands-on with the fans. Plus, tons of people were getting tons of exposure from YouTube at the time, people were getting signed off YouTube. We just needed something different to happen. We had exhausted different routes to try to get signed and to try to market ourselves, and we just needed a new outlet and that seemed to be the one that was doing well for people. I know that if we could get involved with that and get our feet wet, that we could be really successful and garner a lot of attention.

Sing-Sing: We were heavy on Myspace, big time, and we realized that Myspace was just pictures and you post your MP3s, whereas with YouTube, you could talk to people and vlog a little bit. People could see your personality through your videos. It was a little way to add more of a personal touch to a Myspace page or a Facebook page. It helped us to connect with people a little more too.


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