Eighteen-year-old rapper Tim Montgomery (otherwise known as Royal-T) of Newark is an artist who does everything on his own, from creating music to mixing it.
At a time when credibility and artistry in the music business is waning, Royal-T has brought back to life what it means to be an artist. He creates his own beats, writes his own raps and edits his own songs, all out of his own “recording studio”—a room in his house where he is often found working late into the night.
The Bay Area native has had his songs featured on radio stations in Texas and Missouri, but he primarily showcases his music on websites like YouTube and Facebook.
Montgomery doesn’t like to stick to one genre. He experiments with hip-hop, rap, rock and R&B.
“You give me a country song and I’ll lay a rap down for that too,” he said jokingly.
He finds hip-hop the easiest because that’s the genre he originally started off with. The most difficult genre for Montgomery is R&B because of its emphasis on vocals. Singing doesn’t come as easily as rapping, said Montgomery.
The Newark Memorial High School senior is completing his high school credits—and starting his college credits—at Ohlone College in Fremont, where he currently maintains a 4.0 GPA.
Montgomery’s passion for music began in elementary school when he started writing poetry. In junior high school, Montgomery began experimenting with his poetry, paring them with beats and uploading the finished songs to MySpace. His little experiment soon became a hobby which then a serious venture after he received encouragement from his older brother, Wiley.
When he first started his music career, he would write down his raps, but around the time he started high school, he started freestyling. It’s only quite recently that he started writing down his raps again as a growth exercise.
Inspiration for his lyrics come from his environment.
“I’ll be at school and something my teacher said will spark something in my head, and I’ll just write it down before I forget it,” Montgomery said. “It can also be stuff that happens at home, something that interests me. I always try to incorporate it into my music somehow.”
Montgomery initially went by the name Young Prince (inspired by watching re-runs of Will Smith’s “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”). However, he noticed how, at the time, a lot of rappers went by “Young,” so he decided on the name Royal-T (T for Tim) in keeping with the royal theme.
In between writing songs and attending school, Montgomery likes to remix songs by mainstream artists, like Bruno Mars and T-Pain, to keep the creative juices flowing.
What separates Montgomery from other aspiring rappers in the Bay Area is his fine attention to the dynamic between music and the lyrics. You can’t have a good beat with bad lyrics, or vice versa. Montgomery explains that an artist must also look for meaning behind their songs.
After graduating, Montgomery hopes to restart his old record label, The Kingdom Entertainment. He also plans to attend San Jose State University this fall, where he will major in Business, which he believes will help him further his music career.
Down the road, Montgomery hopes to be finished with school, and to have a bigger fan base.
When it comes to giving advice for aspiring artists of all kinds Montgomery keeps it simple and encourages you to just be yourself.
“Your focus shouldn’t be on people getting to like you,” said Montgomery. “It’s about saying what you want to say, getting your message out there, and then seeing who relates to that.”