Editor’s note: The following Q&A is part of Xpress‘ annual Kids Issues.
Cactus, the Asheville-based hip-hop artist also known as Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, discusses encouraging self-expression, the lessons children can teach adults and the importance of embracing failure as a means of growth.
Why is it important to expose kids to music and art?
Kids happen to be in the most foundational phase of their lives, where they’re forming their identity and their understanding of the world. When they see the pure joy and brilliance of others’ self-expression, they realize that they can feel safe being a full version of themselves. And they realize that life is diverse, exciting and worth endlessly exploring with their imaginations.
What’s your favorite part about performing for kids?
Grown-ups have what kids need, which is knowledge, guidance, love and protection. Kids have what grown-ups need, which is a new perspective, enthusiasm, love and the ability to be fully in the moment. When we create situations where we get to play together, we get to exchange those things. What a bargain!
What advice do you have for young aspiring musicians and artists?
Remember that the main reason to make art or music is because it feels good. Self-expression should be fun, so don’t be afraid to fail. You have to fail many times before you get really good at anything, so instead of beating yourself up about it, lose the perfectionism and keep your sense of humor. Even art that releases pain ultimately feels good in the end, so don’t forget to enjoy it.