"If you don't like the way you're living, you can change that," raps Wakefield resident Nick Kermelewicz, known in the Boston music scene as The President.
And he means it.
A self-made musician, Kermelewicz, 21, is the , the month-long competition that pitted local acts against one another and looked to the community to pick the top act.
But Kermelewicz, who grew up north of Boston in Chelsea, MA, is no stranger to success. He has already started his own production company called Jotdown Entertainment, and is now looking to make it as a recording artist.
"I’ve just built myself up from my mom’s basement," he said. "I produce about 75 percent of my own music, and I work with a producer out in California as well."
Since his graudation from the Northeast Metro Technical Vocational High School in Wakefield in 2009, his career is music is still just a side job - he works as an IT support specialist in Gloucester. But Kermelewicz has released two mixtapes, "Portrait of My Life" and "Revenge," and is working on a third.
Behind the lyrics
Kermelewicz says his inspiration for his music comes from his real life, whether it's troubles or emotions he faced growing up, past relationships, or even what's on his mind this week. As evidenced by his tracks "You can Change That," or "For the Kids," where he raps about children dealing with cancer, hunger and autism, Kermelewicz says staying upbeat and becoming a role model is also central to his message.
"I know that life gets rough, but you're the strongest thing in the world right now," he raps.
"I've put a lot of emotion in my songs," he said. "I’ve got younger sisters and a lot of younger cousins that look up to me, so that drives me to stay on the right path."
As far as influences, Kermelewicz lists well-known rappers such as Eminem and Jay-Z, but also a couple of locally known artists, including George “Slaine'' Carroll, a Boston-based rapper who landed a large role in the recent movie "The Town."
"I look up to these guys," he said about local performers. "I'm not where they are yet, but I would like to be. It's hard to look up to multi-million dollar rappers like Kanye West or Jay Z... I just like to take it one step at a time."
Kermelewicz first took the stage while he was still in high school - at his own prom, he said. His name, "The President" is inspired by the fact he was chosen as president of his class his junior year of high school.
"I was really inspired by Kanye West his grammy performance in 2008, and I ended up performing the grammy performance of "Stronger" by Kanye West," he said. "There were like 400 people at this prom, and to this day I feel like that was my best show. I didn’t have my own studio or production company but once I performed, I knew that’s what I wanted to do."
Since then, The President has booked several gigs at The Middle East in Cambridge, MA, has a few more lined up for this summer, and his working on his third mixtape. Making it big in the music industry is no easy task, but Kermelewicz is hoping that by putting himself out there, he'll make the right connections and meet the right people. To that end, he's enlisted a team of his friends, Joe Kermelewicz, Steven Post, Mike Dello and TJ Rosetti, to help with marketing, hype, and promotion.
"It took me a few years to find out who I was as an artist, but now I feel like 2012 is going to be a good year," he said.