[INTERVIEW] The International ICON – A Man Of Many Trades ‘Septimius The Great’
Septimius The Great is a fashion icon, musician, actor and a Grammy nominated artist, and a Grammy winner this past year for his contribution on the Best Reggae Album. He is known as the man with many trades, but his position places him in many rooms and amongst people that will lead him to fulfill his dreams.
Septimius the Great is not like many artists that you may encounter, in fact Septimius The Great started his career without knowing anything about music or acting. Although he has family who is in the industry, Septimius took on the role as being his own professor and what he likes to say, “grabbing that PHD in music.” His story is enlightening, refreshing and powerful as he makes his way up the ladder to where he already knows he belongs.
With the constant push to share his story and the obstacles that he has conquered, he also shares the meaning of his name and where it derived from as well. He tells us it was from the first African American Roman Emperor who’s story isn’t often told or found in the history books. Septimius The Great isn’t just a name but it’s a movement to reach his aspirations by being a character, a person who doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer, who doesn’t give up but who walks with their head held high and who knows that he will succeed because he believes in himself.
His story is one of resilience. He previously auditioned for America’s Got Talent and was cut in the audition round, but that was just one obstacle of many, en route to his successes.
We were honored to sit down with Septimius The Great so that he can share with the world who he is, and what he’s going to do next. Check out the full Septimius The Great interview below:
Parlé: Where did the name Septimius The Great derive from?
Septimius: Great Question, a little black history fact. I wanted something that was going to be powerful, I started researching powerful names, black kings and black powerful figures. As my search continued, I found out that there was a Septimius from the Roman Empire who was very powerful. I want to be Septimius the Great the Roman Empire of Music.
Parlé: What created your interest for acting, fashion and being a musician?
Septimius: Well, I went through a break-up back in 2010 after that I decided that I wanted to be a music artist. All of my friends thought that I was silly because I never even played music, wrote music or knew anything about it but I told them to watch me. Music was the first thing I did, which led me to writing songs to an EP and now an album. I’ve always been into fashion since I was little. I would be at the fashion shows & all so sort of things. For the last three years I stumbled on acting. Acting is my new passion. I like to create a character. When I created Septimius the Great out the blue, I had to bring that character to life. So now I love acting, I have the acting bug.
Parlé: Being a creator with so many different ventures, how do you stay organized & afloat?
Septimius: It’s a lot. It’s honestly like be careful what you ask for! I’m a person where if something lands in my face or my lap I’m not going to say no to it, I’m going to figure it out. I have all these pots on the stove, for instance, but I don’t know how to cook at all but they are all coming to a boil at the same time. You just have to figure out a solution. I’m just making sure it’s all working.
Parlé: You have been nominated & have won the Grammy’s but is there something that you haven’t yet accomplished and waiting to?
Septimius: Good question, getting in the music industry was my fluke. I submitted to every independent music awards there were. The Grammy win this year was a collaboration on the best reggae album. There were twenty-five different artists on this Grammy album win. What I would like to do is win a Grammy that will be in my own name.
Parlé: How are you working towards having a Grammy in your own name?
Septimius: Well, I joined the Grammys membership. I’ve been picked 9 times, out of like 300 submissions. This last time I was number 16. So I will continue creating music and every year I’ll just kept submitting.
Parlé: Have there been moments in your career where everything may have felt too heavy? How did you maneuver through those emotions?
Septimius: Yeah, that happens quite often but like you said I’m always in a chipper spirit. Even when I’m in a bad space or a dark space, I just look for that one glimmer, that one hope that pulls me out of it. I may go down for like a day or two and even ask myself do I even want to do this anymore. Give myself reasons like no one even gets me. They keep trying to place me in a box but I just think about little situations that have happened to me throughout this journey. So if I could reach one person to say that I have inspired them or that they look up to me or maybe even ask how did you do that, that’s all I would need. It keeps me going.
Parlé: What have been some of the obstacles that you had to overcome when juggling your career?
Septimius: I knew I had a great sound and created a nice look to be different but I couldn’t get people to understand my vision. I’m from Baltimore, Maryland, so in my area it was all hip hop. People would tell me to get my music on the radio. So I was focused on that back in 2010. But every radio station that I went to they would tell me that my music is a little too international. That they were looking for someone that is more like Chris Brown or Trey Songz. They would tell me that I needed to go to dance class but I kept telling myself that I don’t want to be like them. I look up to people like Michael Jackson, Prince, Lady Gaga, Will I Am those who are so unique and in a different lane. I don’t want to be a cookie cutter. Although I hit some stumbling blocks, there were people who really believed in me but they just didn’t know what to do with me. So I would build relationships with so many different people but they just could not elevate me past the level I did in my quick PHD study of music. So I had to do everything on my own. This was the same with acting, although I never took a music class, I never played any instruments, never made any beats or anything like that, my acting career was the same. I never took any classes when it comes to acting. It’s so funny because when I created the Septimius the Great brand, there was a guy in London who is a film director and creator of a book called ‘Severus the Black Caesar’. He told me that he wrote a book about the real Septimius and told me to check it out, so he sent it to me. That’s when I learned more about my the brand/character. Later he asked me if I ever did any acting. I was immediately about to say no when I had to stop and say wait a minute, I created this brand, this image, I’ve been performing and dabbling in the music industry, so yes I’ve been acting. So he asked me to be the lead role to the Severus the Black Cesar. So hopefully it will be on HBO or Prime but they’re doing all the details on that right now. That incident lead to my acting career but I haven’t been to anything like auditions or like that. Honestly, that’s all due to the relationships I have built. These relationships are very important to me than just doing auditions. If you build relationships then your referral process will be smoother and there will be e a lot of things given to you. I may not be ‘A list’ level but the things I have been handed, I have been blessed to have been given a chance to act.
Parlé: Without having any background when it comes to music or acting, how were you able to become so great at it?
Septimius: Well, obviously everything has been self-taught but I do have family connections with music. I have family members who are in the industry although I’m not close to them. Sisqo from Dru Hill, Valerie from Ashford and Simpson they were on my father’s side of the family but I was never that close with that side of the family. So I guess it was always in me, I just never noticed. But when I woke up that day of June 2010, it was during my birthday party, I wanted to reinvent myself. So yes, its been self taught the whole way. I like to say I gave myself a PHD in music. I learned the copywriting, the trademark not just popping bottles in the studio and having fun. I took my time and really study MUSIC.
Parlé: What or who motivates you to continue your journey?
Septimius: The word no. When I hear the word no it gives me motivation, to say “well okay, let me show you then”. Even when I started the Septimius persona, I came out with Roman Emperors, dancers the whole façade. I would do all of these showcases which were all hip hop. So they would tell that you don’t really fit in the hip hop genre. I was like you know what don’t even pay me just give me a chance on the stage and let me show you what I can do and then we can talk about the name. People would come up to me and say that they have been doing this for 15 years and it makes them want to go and put on some clothes just so they can “look like something”.
Parlé: Are there other fields that you want to experience that are outside of what you are currently doing now?
Septimius: You know, my bottom-line is to create something that no one knows about & add some education components to it and all that. Whatever I decide to do has to have a meaning or purpose for me. I wanted to educate everyone about the meaning of the real Septimius, especially in my acting career. I want the audience and just other people to ask questions about who he is so that I am able to educate and enlighten them on new history.
Parlé: Who is Septimius to you & how do you want to be remembered?
Septimius: This is funny because I wrote lyrics about how I want to be respected, how I want to be remembered. It’s a song called ‘To be Remembered’ on my album. But I want to be remembered by someone who grew up with fear, grew up with the unknown, no knowledge, it sounds cliché but who ended up taking on faith and trying it. You have to know what your passion is. It’s okay if you try ten times and only one works out. Don’t let those nine failures block you from the one that will give you what you want. I’m the type of person where I may fall on my face but I will dust myself off. I will also be told ‘no’ but I’m going to keep going because for one I’m persevering through & two ‘no’ turns me on. You may not see what I’m presenting you but you will see it.
Parlé: What is the difference between being Septimius and who you are on a daily basis?
Septimius: The lines are kind of blurred. Septimius, he is more fearless and doesn’t really care what others say and also wants to do any and everything. Septimius also doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Whereas me, I still struggle with that. I created Septimius as a show character but I really do believe that it will become one, that there will not be anymore blurred lines.
Parlé: What advice would you give someone who is trying to work towards their aspirations?
Septimius: The funny thing is, I went to an event and one of the speakers were saying, “if you’re looking to get to the top of the mountain for success don’t ask people who are at the bottom of the mountain because the people who are at the bottom don’t even know what you are talking about”. Don’t surround yourself with negative people or nay-sayers. I have really close friends of mine who know the real me and who could careless about Septimius. You have to classify people by who they are, it’s not a negative or positive outlook, you just have to understand what they show you is how they are. There are some people who don’t have malicious intent but you have to be able to point those people out. Look on the positive side, do what you feel. Normally, if it feels awkward that’s what you should do.
Parlé: What is one thing you would like for someone to gain from your story?
Septimius: Definitely understanding that I am a safe place. That I didn’t give up. Sometimes you have to stop and think about the idea you have. Even if it doesn’t go as planned it’s okay to just try another one. Don’t become stagnant and don’t be afraid of the world. Life is going to throw so much your way but don’t give up, keep the path because our path is already written.
Septimius the Great is the actor, fashion icon and musician who is steady allowing his dreams to unfold the way he envisions it. We look forward to seeing more of Septimius the Great story unfold.
[Photo Cred: Septimius the Great]
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