By HEATHER KEELS
6:10 PM EST, December 8, 2011
An aspiring hip-hop artist from Hagerstown is making waves on the Internet with his first professionally-produced music video, which has attracted nearly 3,000 hits on YouTube and has been featured on more than 25 websites.
The video is called "Music's My Life," and for artist Ryan Collins, who calls himself 301, the title not reflects his hobby, but his professional aspirations.
"I just want to be a performer, an entertainer," the Boonsboro High School graduate said. "I would really love to do something that I love every day."
Collins, 23, has been writing songs since high school, but decided recently to take that hobby to the next level.
"I just now got serious about it," he said. "I put together a strategy, a plan, and this is Step 1 of the whole attack."
Collins plans for the "Music's My Life" video to be the first of many. He has songs prepared for four more videos that he hopes will become his ticket to a career in music.
For now, he works as a security supervisor at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda.
The "Music's My Life" video was shot in Ocean City, Md., Collins said.
"That wasn't going to be the original location for the shot, but I was on vacation, and the videographer said he'd like to do it there," he said.
Collins' producer, Shaun Holly, directed the video, which intersperses scenes of people playing music with Collins singing on the beach.
The video was released online in September.
Collins said he wrote the rap lyrics and purchased the beat and chorus from Main Event West, a producer in California.
The chorus begins: "You've got to listen to your heart speak/rhythm is your heart beat/music makes the heart sing."
"It just kind of sums up everything," Collins said of the song. "It sums up passion and how passionate I am about (music)."
In addition to his solo work, Collins is part of a rap duo called Cloud Nine with his friend Matt DiPlacido. Together they have recorded several songs that have been well-received on YouTube, including "When You Come Home," a military tribute set to a photo montage that has reached more than 36,000 views.
The next step in Collins' plan is to begin marketing himself, which led to the decision to call himself 301.
"I spoke with record labels and management firms, and they liked my music," he said. "Pretty much what they told me was I needed some kind of presence, an Internet presence and all this, so by me changing my name, I'm not competing with Phil Collins, I'm not competing with Collins and Associates — whenever you type it on the Internet, I'm going to be findable when you search for it."
He chose 301, his home area code, as his new brand.
"I think if anything takes off, the name 301 will always keep it grounded," he said.
Collins said he doesn't want to talk about guns or drugs in his songs.
"I don't represent any kind of gangster rap, the way it's stereotyped — I don't want to represent that," he said. "I want to make my own music, even if it's not being classified as rap. It has a little bit of this, a little bit of that. You can call it what you want."
On the Web:
• See the “Music’s My Life” video and read more about 301 at http://www.301jams.com
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