The grind doesn’t stop for Muhammad “Mvstermind” Austin despite the coronavirus pandemic.
2020 was a year of blood, sweat, and tears as he released “Be’, the 29-year-old’s first project in four years, and the first installment of the three interconnected EPs titled, “BEGREATFOOL," a 23-song collective.
Austin released the first EP in November. The lead single “Gems,” which rolled out in July, is centered around Austin’s skyrocketing success as an indie rapper. The journey included marriage to his wife, Savis Davis Austin, and becoming father to their now 2-year-old son, Moon.
During these unprecedented times, some artists struggle with the idea of still putting out music. They’re left uninspired and uncertain of what’s to come next. As a result, they choose to take a break from the music.
Austin hasn’t had that problem, he’s been fortunate to consistently perform virtually and in-person. On Halloween, he headlined “All Hallows Bash,” a socially distanced outdoor concert at The Lot, a pop-up venue in downtown St. Louis, alongside Tonina, singer/songwriter from St. Louis who recently signed with Empire, an independent record label.
“It’s important for me to continue to push my artistry and perform during this time because I have a refreshing love for performing and expressing myself in front of people,” Austin said.
“Expanding that light from myself to others at this time is important because the world needs musicians, entertainers and people who are going to show others that you can do this and still tap into your potential in the midst of a pandemic.”
Not only is it pertinent for Austin to provide hope and positivity to his fans and supporters during the pandemic, it's just as crucial for him as an independent artist to always place himself and his team in a position where they all can eat.
“Being an indie artist, I take care of my family when I get paid from these shows,” he said. “I’m also taking care of my team since they’re employed by me. I always want to make sure that we can find other types of facets to bring in income.”
Last year, Austin and his production manager, Bryant Powell, created an in-house performance venue called ‘The Gem’, lifted from his single “Gems.”
A newly renovated warehouse now serves as an incubator hub for indie artists and other creatives throughout the St. Louis region. The studio is equipped with cutting-edge audio and high-quality video technology.
Astroturf serves as carpet. Walking into the space you’ll find walls plastered with paint in a collage of vibrant colors done by Javyn Solomon, lead designer for many of Mvstermind’s live shows.
“The Gem is a magical manifested spot,” Austin said. “I want artists and creatives to come into the building to get whatever they need accomplished done and continue to focus on themselves, while they better their craft.”
Austin and MVCO have partnered with Maven, a digital media company started by Solomon, a graphic designer, and Matthew Scott, a filmmaker. The teams will collaborate closely at The Gem in an effort to produce dope high-quality content in visuals and concerts.
On Friday, Jan. 22, they will debut, “Gems: The Augmented Reality Experience,” an interactive engagement that unites the environment of the real world through objects emphasized through computer-generated imagery. It is the venue’s first official concert.
“COVID threw a wrench for everyone around the world,” Solomon said.
“Instead of reflecting on the negative, Matthew and I decided to launch our startup during the pandemic so we can collaborate on projects such as this. We’re looking forward to everyone seeing the end results and appreciate Mvstermind for extending this opportunity to us.”
“We really want people to phenomenally enjoy this show which they will, but also [we also want them to] understand the story behind it, ‘cause we think it’s quite a motivational tale,” Mvstermind said.
“Gems,” will be streamed live for free online at 7 p.m., Friday, on Mvstermind’s Facebook page, Mvstermind; and Instagram page, Mvstermind.
To RSVP and sign up for event updates, visit https://www.mvstermind.com/gemsxr.