Family, music and money — in that order.
That’s the mantra of Vernon hip hop recording artist Rory MacLeod, who raps under the moniker NOX. And it’s a formula that has paid off for the father of two, who recently signed with Bentley Records — an international record label with roots in New York City.
“I focus on being the best father I can be and leading by example, showing them that you can achieve things if you never give up,” MacLeod said of the lesson he hopes to impart on his seven and nine-year-old sons.
MacLeod has been laying down tracks since graduating production school in 2003, striving to carve his own musical path along the way.
“I just had a bunch of tracks I figured where at the level I wanted them to be,” MacLeod said. “It feels great. It feels like a good step. Things are falling into place.”
With hopes of gaining traction outside the ultra-competitive American market and instead focusing on Europe and Asia, MacLeod is stoked on signing with an international record.
“It allows me to reach out internationally and hopefully have it hit somewhere,” he said. “The songs are good. I think if people hear them, it will gain some traction.”
Drawing inspiration from a variety of influences, MacLeod’s lyric-heavy tracks are backed both by smooth hip hop beats — demonstrated on his Nov. 29 single Nobody but You feat. Freysh — and deep rap grooves, prevalent on his Oct. 5 single Fire It Up.
“My end goal is to create something unique,” MacLeod said. “If you be yourself 100 per cent, you’re guaranteed to have something unique.”
Produced by Mt. Pleasant, Fire It Up and Nobody but You are tracks MacLeod is excited about for their ability to showcase his hip hop flavour.
“When I set out to write a song, I try to keep it real so there’s something for everyone,” MacLeod said. “And I’ve always felt that somewhere inside there is a hit song.”
But collaborating with Atlanta-based artist Freysh on Nobody but You and working with Shane Bouthillier of Cold Driven fame at his studio in Armstrong on his way to crafting his masterpiece is half of the fun.
“(I love) just getting together with right-minded people and seeing what can happen,” MacLeod said. “I just love the whole creative process of basically knowing that when you start, you don’t know where it will end up.”
NOX’s third single, produced by Bouthillier, is slated to drop early 2018. And in the meantime, MacLeod plans on continuing to follow his family, then music, then money mantra.
“I like to keep it simple and focus on what’s important. Between being a dad and the studio, that’s where my time goes,” MacLeod said.
“It’s not a bad mix.”
NOX’s Nobody but You feat. Freysh and Fire It Up are both available on iTunes and Spotify.