Floco Torres is a self-made man in Macon

What do you do on your lunch break? Rush out the office door to grab something from the nearest fast food joint or food truck you can find? Order take-out from a nearby restaurant to eat at your desk?

Floco Torres has something different in mind.

The Macon-based independent rapper helped launch Lunch Beat Macon, along with downtown Macon arts organization The 567 Center for Renewal. Lunch Beat offers an alternative to the usual boring, rushed lunch hour that serves merely as a bridge between the first half of your workday and the second half. On every second Thursday of the month, Torres and other organizers bring in different DJs and have food catered for the best lunchtime dance party you’ll ever attend.

“On your lunch break, come dance and sweat it out!” says Torres. There is no alcohol (you still have to go back to work afterwards), just food and DJs and other people dancing as an alternative to the usual boring old lunch hour.

Artists, professionals, service workers, and college students alike come together to eat lunch, dance, and network for one hour. This is just one of many creative projects that Torres is involved with.

“I always try to stay as involved as possible with the music scene,” Torres says. Torres has been a musician and songwriter since he played violin and trumpet as a kid, but didn’t consider a career in music until life brought him, quite unexpectedly, to Macon.

“I went to [journalism] school and a professor told me to get out and not be a journalist because there’s no money in it,” Torres says. “He said, ‘You’re going to be miserable. If you want to do writing, find another way.’ So I dropped out of college and moved to Atlanta for an internship with a record label that fell through [before I got there]. I was bummed out so I came to Macon where my grandparents live. My plan was to stay a little bit and move back to Atlanta, then move to L.A. and become famous,” he laughs. “I’ve been here six years now…it’s sort of the kind of place that grabs a hold of you.”

Torres learned early on that if you want something done, you have to do it yourself. As a rapper and recording artist, he is a self-made man, self-distributing his own albums, booking his own tours, even handling his own album artwork. As an independent artist he has been named Macon’s “Best Hip Hop Artist” three times and recipient of “Best Local Album” twice. He’ll have another self-produced album coming out this summer and will be back on the road touring this fall with yet another new album to follow this winter.

As he grows as a rapper, his tours branch out further to other parts of the country. He takes opportunities to play in the southwest, northeast, and Midwest as much as possible and to get on as many major festival bills as possible. “I don’t do as many shows in Macon anymore. You have to try not to play out your hometown too much.” As an indie rapper he has made a lot of noise, he says. “[I can’t be] ignored as easily as before.”

Torres is also a camp counselor at the Otis Redding Singer/Songwriter Camp through the Otis Redding Foundation, which he has done for six years now. He also serves on a number of nonprofit and arts organization boards, including the Macon League of Creative Interventionists. And, despite his old professor’s advice, he still writes as a freelance journalist, covering the music beat for the Macon Telegraph. “That’s my way of contributing and making sure the information gets out there.”

When opportunities have passed him over, Torres just went ahead and made his own. He is still writing – and creating and producing and teaching and engaging – but now he does it all on his own terms.