Get To Know: Carlton Ponds From UpNorth and Lyrical Lemonade

Introduce yourself

My name is Carlton Ponds. CP if it comes to that. I’m 21 years old, I write for Lyrical Lemonade, I’m one of the founders of a clothing brand called UpNorth and I currently co-manage an extremely talented artist named Femdot.

How was life growing up?

I grew up in Chicago on the Northside. I was born and raised in the Rogers Park area. It was kinda tough growing up in a household with just my Mom and Grandmother but it really taught me a lot. We didn’t have much but we had each other. I learned a lot about the real world at an early age. I also did my fair share of traveling from school to school so acquiring social skills happened naturally. But I was a hooper. I picked up basketball in like 7th grade and played organized ball all the way until my senior year. But that’s how I met Devin (Mulatto Beats). We hooped in high school together but he was doing music on the side, and that’s what really opened me up to a new world. That’s basically the origin of my interest in non-main stream music and the underground music scene.

When did you begin to witness you had creative talents?

I think It was the first time I dropped a shirt. It was right after I graduated from high school. My homie Jeremy and I decided to put our thoughts together and start this brand called Divinity, which later formed into Divine by nature. The feedback we got from our peers was what really motivated me to venture further into creating more clothing. 

Talk about your contribution to Lyrical Lemonade

Lyrical Lemonade is what really inspired me to push for more in life. I started writing in 2015 and I had no idea it was going to be as big as it has grown to be. At least not when I first joined the team. When Cole first brought me to the team it was just a friend helping another friend but it’s become so much more. Lyrical lemonade changed my life. I can honestly say as one of the vets in the writing department, it’s been a joy to see the growth and be aa part of something so special. We’re really more than a team. We’re like family.

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Your clothing company, Upnorth 

UpNorth started as just a phone conversation between me and my friend Faisal. Once He pitched the name out there it was a no brainer. For those who don’t know, the north side of Chicago is commonly referred to as “Up North.” With both of us growing up on the Northside I took it as an opportunity to not only rep where we came from but to also put on for our side. The South and Westside have put out some notable creatives and people rep their side with pride. We wanted the same for our side. That’s what motivated the very first drop we did. Alongside my partners Lance and Faisal we dropped a black and white Upnorth logo tee and the feedback was unbelievable. We had to keep it going.

Talk about your most recent drop

We dropped sweaters right after the first drop and I brought along one of my best friends on board and we made a killing with those. We wanted to promote ourselves in a way that’s not normally done with up coming clothing brands. what better way to do that then a promo video? Shoutout to my brother Cole for shooting both my last and my most recent promo video. He shot the coldest video ever for our sweaters and that was key in our brand receiving heavy notoriety. We currently have pink “Northpole” tee’s on sale. There’s a video for those too, check it out.

What’s the future hold for Upnorth?

In the future, we want to expand on the types of apparel. We want to make windbreakers, hats, tank tops, etc. We’re working on something new even while dropping new things. I have to thank my boy Toni Sudimac because he’s really been my running mate ever since I added him on board to the team. My boy’s Lance and Faisal also have been getting their creative juices flowing so you can expect some crazy things. Big Shoutout to them.

You’re the manager for Femdot. How did that come about?

This process made me nervous but it always had this serious overtone for me. There were lots of long convos and a couple of meetings with my boy Elliot who I co-manage Fem with. The connection was made through Lyrical lemonade at a video shoot I attended. We’ve become great friends since then and its a blessing to be a part of his journey.

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What could we expect from Femdot for the rest of the year 

You can expect him to say “On baby” at least once at future shows lol. No, but honestly, we can expect big things. He’s going to level up. 

Give us 3 important tips when it comes to managing artists

Best advice I could give is

1.) Make sure you’re all about the artist. I would probably suggest starting with establishing a genuine friendship first.

2.) I think organization is key. That’s applicable to basically everything.

3.) Last, I would say just be ready for anything and be constantly trying to evolve or get better. I think the more put-together you become, the smoother everything will go as you progress.

When it’s all said and done how would you like to be remembered?

I just want to be remembered as a good person. I want people to remember that I was always trying to beat the odd and that even when things were tough, I didn’t give up.


Written By: Nicholas Rud

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