J. Cole and Melanie Fiona joined forces Thursday (March 17) in Austin, Texas, as the two gave advice to aspiring artists as part of the "Baby I'm a Star! How to Get Major Exposure in a Multi-Platform Media Environment" panel at SXSW Music Conference.

Both Cole and Fiona spoke on the directions they took to get their music out to the masses before they were signed to recording deals. The rapper recalled how he once pressed up 1,000 copies of his debut mixtape, 'The Come Up,' and sold each one for $1. "That weekend we only got out 700 copies and even that was a task," Cole said. "Fast forward to my next mixtape and I had it figured out -- I cut straight to the case and went via the Internet."

The Roc Nation signee also voiced his thoughts on West Coast rhymer Lil B, whose rise to fame seemingly came out of the blue. Cole credits B's unique outlook as to why he's managed to stay on the tip of critics and fans' tongues. "Let's say you think he can't rap -- you see what I did there? If that's true, there's something genius about what's being done where he has all this attention," the rapper said. "Talent doesn't matter if you have vision and marketing and buzz."

As for the Canadian singer, she explained to those in the audience that is was vital for artists to never lose sight of their vision. Fiona also made it a point to reveal that she still caters to fans who first discovered her as a fledgling songstress on YouTube. "One of my most viewed videos is an acoustic video of me singing in a backyard on YouTube," she disclosed. "It got people buzzing about me when they did find out, so I keep doing impromptu videos now."

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