Devon Beck was the first runner-up of Funk Volume’s “Don’t Funk Up Our Beats 7”contest this year.

Hailing from Maryland, the emcee opened for the label at its Philadelphia tour stop.

“The energy in the building was unreal,” Beck says of the performance. “The crowds response to my music made the trip worth it. You can’t put a price on that.”

Beck says that observing  how Jarren Benton, Dizzy Wright and Hopsin conduct business gave him inspiration for his own brand.

“I plan on touring myself in the next year so, just watching how they put the show together, the merchandise, the meet and greet, they really take care of their fans,” he says. “Everything was on point. At this stage, I’m more interested in how the business works. Branding and marketing, that’s what will separate you from someone who is just doing this as a hobby. Or waiting around for a record deal. That’s cool, but I would rather do it myself.”

Beck takes pride in connecting with people and he says growing his fanbase this year gives him hope for the future.

“2015 as a whole for my career has been incredible,” he says. “I’ve been able to connect with fans of the music all over the country, which was something I’ve dreamt about for years. It’s shows my growth as an artist. And I’m a serious artist. It’s also a testament to hard work and determination. You can achieve anything. This is just the beginning.”