By Barry Lewis
Detroit hip-hop artist Tony Cash (aka Willie Witcher) prides himself on being different.
“Everybody in Michigan is talking about the same things, drugs and killings, I can make the same music because I have seen it, but I’m different,” he says. “I pride myself on being real and I pride myself on staying consistent with who I am.”
Cash has built an international fan base through Twitter (over 27,000 followers) and YouTube and by releasing mix tapes on datpiff.com. Unlike many artists, however, Cash has not always aspired to be a rapper.
While growing up, Cash said he wanted to be a special education teacher, something he says he still aims to do. It wasn’t until listening to Young Money Entertainment’s, Drake “Sooner or Later” did Cash decide to become a lyricist.
“I would listen to music and I kept hearing my story being told so I thought to myself, ‘I can tell my own story. Why don’t I put my own music out there for myself?’” he says.
Cash kept a poetry journal while growing up that prepared him to write songs.
“I have been writing poetry since the third or fourth grade,” he says. “My dad was incarcerated and it was hard to deal with so I kept a journal, which turned into me writing poetry. Last year when I started writing raps I had the foundation needed to write, in order to write poetry you have to have a concept and music has to have a concept, too.”
Marlaana Jordan has been a friend of Cash for three years and worked with him on “Tiffany’s Vicky’s,” a song off his latest mixtape, “Sooner Than Later,” and said that he is precise and determined.
“He had just started in 2010 and for him to just be starting out, he knew exactly what he wanted,” Jordan says.” He was very particular; it was refreshing to work with somebody who had a vision.“
Jordan feels that listeners will find that Cash’s music is different from what other Detroit artists produce. She said that when Cash makes music, his vision goes beyond Detroit. She feels his lyrics can affect people internationally.
His different style of music has allowed Cash accessibility to fans from around the world. He said that when he first starting promoting his music last year he traveled across the Midwest to places like Chicago, Ohio and Indiana. He also mailed CDs to fans who requested them in Australia, Africa and Canada.
“I started doing stuff on Facebook, I went out on foot and handed out CDs,” Cash says. “I started doing Twitter and people kept following…more people started listening to my music, it was like a chain reaction.”
Cash gained credibility that allowed him to perform at various events. He has performed in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Chicago and has done various shows at the Bullfrog Bar and Grill and Headquarters in Michigan. Witcher also added that his songs have gotten airplay on Wild 96.3, a radio station in Fort Wayne.
He is working on two albums that he will release sometime this year
“’Never on Time’ was supposed to be out this month but it will be released in May,” he says. “I am currently working on ‘Better Late than Never,’ which will probably be out by early August.”