Nine months ago if you asked Craig Palm what he did for a living he would have told you he sold health insurance. Fast forward to the present and he will tell you that he is a rapper and goes by the name Na Palm. So how does somebody make the jump from selling health insurance to touring with the likes of Sam Adams?
It started in college where he used his freestyle talents to flirt with girls and joke around with his fraternity brothers. Palm never planned on being a rapper, “I just picked up a pen two years ago which is kind of crazy.” His brother, Michael Palm, was well connected in the Chicago club scene and got him rapping at after hours parties where his underground support grew. While Michael got him the exposure he needed his friend and business partner, Roo, introduced him to Na’el Shehade and Lenny Hooks, “Roo stepped in and took me to the next level. He is the financier, Tricoastal CEO, and overall executive producer of all things involving me.” The three of them got to work on his early singles, some of which would end up on “Dirty Girls Like Dirty Beats”.
He continued writing, recording and putting out songs but it was all still for fun. “I never really promoted my music before,” but while Palm was still peddling health insurance a fan sent his song “I’ll Take Everything” into B96, a Chicago radio station. The song played for four weeks in a row giving him the push he needed to commit to his music all the way. Balancing a 9-5 job with partying and performing all night just wasn’t cutting it anymore, “I guess you can say I’m a big college kid that never grew up.”
Though it may sound easy and almost too good to be true Palm didn’t follow the yellow brick road to success. Just as he was gearing up to go to Illinois State University at Bloomington his family took a low blow and lost virtually everything. The loss almost kept him from going to college but he took out student loans and got his degree. “Now my parents tease me saying I don’t even need my degree; I took five years and barely graduated. I had a fucking 2.3 I think.”
Palm has come a long way from his days of skipping class and flirting with sorority girls, “I don’t think a lot of people thought we could do this.” Back in May he and his team made the move to Tahoe to work on his mixtape, “Dirty Girls Like Dirty Beats”. “Tahoe was the best move I ever made. I literally packed up all my bags and left for a house in the mountains– the perfect place to get shit done.” Don’t expect an album before next fall though, “nowadays you have to have people drooling for you.”
Just before making the move to Tahoe Palm signed on to the independent label Tricoastal Records, “I don’t have to deal with any major label bloodsuckers, it’s all cool.” In addition to being an artist on Tricoastal Na Palm is heavily involved on the business side hoping to sign a few acts himself, “I’m a musical artist and an entrepreneur—drinks up!”
Though his main influences are the Chicago club scene and house music that is not exactly what he wants his music to sound like. Ask him who he would love to work with and you will get an unlikely answer—Mick Jagger, “I’m a huge Rolling Stones fan, I think that would be kind of ground breaking.
Going back to selling health insurance isn’t an option Na Palm is willing to consider, “I want everyone to know that I’m here to stay.” In fact, he is so dedicated that after a show early in his career while with his former girlfriend he decided to get a microphone tattooed on his rib cage. The ink says “no turning back” in Latin, “if I give up now I’d have a pretty shitty story to tell my grandkids.” Palm claims that the tattoo keeps him focused and he plans on going back to the same spot to get another; this time lyrics from one of his favorite songs.
Recently Na Palm just got done bouncing around the country on tour with Sam Adams, “I’m losing all my clothes, I’ve got different fucking spots where all my clothes are at.” Sleep was put on the back burner while he was out touring and connecting with fans, “I like to make a point to go hang out with the kids afterwards, I’m not untouchable—I’m a regular dude.” Palm relies on his brother and his friends to keep him sane while he is on tour. They serve double duty as managers and booking agents as well as his family on the road, “we’re like the real life Entourage, there’s like six of us, we’re doing this ourselves with almost no music industry experience.” Now that the Sam Adams tour has wrapped up Palm plans to continue touring and opening for a number of different acts.
Download: Na Palm – Sober