Man, 2017 was a memorable year in music. Despacito dominated the charts. We got albums from Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar and Jay-Z. Sadly, musical great Tom Petty passed away as well. But this year would inspire a creative mind hailing out of Canada, yes… I said Canada. Haliburton, Ontario to be exact. Nolan Nicholson, or better known to the Sounds of Seventeen music community he created, “MMXVII” pronounced as the year “2017” would emerge. Might I also add, that from a PR perspective and a fan of the rap genre, MMXVII has literally been killing it this year. Let’s unravel how he has caught my unwavering attention, displayed an expert understanding of the current industry playing field and why he deserves a spot on your playlist after a short Q&A.
It all started with searching for advice on how to have a “successful” or “engaging” release using Distrokid. It was late November 2020… I was determined to make the upcoming 2021 “my year.” This was similar to making a “New Year’s Resolution.” I came across MMXVII’s music channel and his track “Woke Up” seemed to show that he clearly knew what he was talking about. This song was a total banger! Then, after teasing the album art for a few months, on January 1st, 2021 he dropped a nine-track project titled “Nothing But Tomorrow.” The track that really defined the project for me was “Blood on My Hands.” Swervey, 3DEE and Kashaga collaborated with MMXVII on the album.
MMXVII wasn’t quite finished with his January release, he figuratively took it back to the lab for some reverse engineering. On April 30th he would re-release a “(Time Shift)” version of the masterpiece. After pushing his project for a solid six months, new inspiration would strike. Now it seems that a stampede of singles is on their way… “A Lot” featuring Parsival on June 4th, followed by the recent “Make The Bed” released July 16th, is our evidence of this.
The Make The Bed video was shot by Rowan Tofflemire, edited by Nolan Nicholson (MMXVII himself), the song was produced by beatzbyluc and the video features “downthealiway.” It begins with MMXVII waking up for his “9 to 5” at a respectable 7:45 am. The video shows him running all types of errands or performing small jobs for others. From dropping off groceries and receiving one coin as a tip (Sheesh) to doing yard work, MMXVII echoes the images of him helping others. He does this with a buzz on his YouTube channel every week – giving advice and tips to starving indie artists all over North America and elsewhere. As the video changes scenes, it goes from watering plants with a bucket and hose, then cleverly cuts to him flaunting a bottle of Stolichnaya Russian Vodka, otherwise known as “Stoli.” This creates the strongest symbolism in the video, detailing how his expertise could be mistaken for water, but in fact packs a punch like the signature zing you receive after a shot of alcohol. MMXVII later tosses the bottle near some dead grass as the song cuts out. “I hear what they sayin’ without even sayin’ it,” is one of the songs many hooks. MMXVII only shows us that he is in full control of his hydration and can bottle up or release his talents whenever he wants to.
If you aren’t intrigued yet… here is a Q&A to get to know MMXVII even more:
Q1: How did you come up with your stage name?
MMXVII: “2017 was of course the year I started music, but a close friend of mine took his own life that year and it really woke me up to the ‘life is short’ shit people always say. Much more changed in my life that year and it had huge effects on my path in life, so it felt right to own it and make it my alias.”
Q2: How long does it take from concept to release? Precisely how long did it take for “Make The Bed?”
MMXVII: “The song took me about three weeks from start to finish, but I always give lots of time to build proper release strategies. Since this had a ‘MV,’ it took me about three months to fully get everything ready!”
Q3: Did you make a community around your music, or around the industry first?
MMXVII: “My music brought in a fair community for me, especially people I met online through graphic design and esports. I love that kind of shit and it got me connected with other talents, which we all shared audiences. After, I started doing ‘YT’ content and it took off out of nowhere, so I just leapt at it and started branching more into the industry itself rather than being just an artist.”
Q4: What is your biggest tip for young artists to get more engagements?
MMXVII: “I made a whole video about it (linked here, and here) but make connections. Not connections as in ‘get the emails of the biggest people in the industry and say hi,’ I mean connect with other people at your level that you truly believe in. Work together and push each other. Sort of like a friendship but with a goal behind it. It will do so much more for you long term then trying to just get quick streams or posting daily on TikTok, trust me. A community will grow, just watch.”
Q5: What is next for MMXVII? Album mode vs. Singles?
MMXVII: “For my own music? … Likely just singles for now. It’s so much more volatile and people cycle through singles so quickly now, you might as well focus heavy on single songs. Unless you’re a Kendrick or J Cole, I think albums are fading. But for the ‘Bigger Picture?’ … I want to manage artists in my circle and make them known. Slowly build that into a label that is ACTUALLY ethical and not looking to fuck over the artists.”
Take the time to peep the Make The Bed video below, you won’t be sorry. Also, check out MMXVII on his YouTube channel with over 5k subscribers -> here. It is crystal clear that MMXVII has major moves on the horizon that should not be overlooked. #staytuned.