“My best advice is to stay true to yourself. Find out who you really are as an artist and learn how to communicate that in a way people will remember you. Perfect your craft. Don’t be so anxious to put out material until you are confident that it could bring you home a Grammy!”
Skilly: Tell us where this all began. What is your history in the music scene? Eclipse:My passion for music all started in my younger days when I attended an arts magnet school. When I first heard Bone Thugs, Twista and Busta Rhymes I knew I had to be the next tongue twisting artist internationally known. Since I’ve been doing music, I’ve had the honor of working with Busta and Twista on a song. I even got MIMS on my last album.
I’ve made an appearance on America’s Got Talent and even had the pleasure of visiting London for a release party with Rude Boy. I’ve done quite a bit and still working to bring home a Grammy.
What are the best ways to promote yourself as an artist? Any tips you can give us?
I feel the best way to promote yourself as an artist is by being visible as much as possible. When I say being visible, I mean physically being in the public eye. Performing at open mics, doing as many shows as you can, and building relationships with promoters. Also, spend some money hiring a marketing team to give you a boost and create more awareness. Most of all make sure you’re always presentable to represent your brand.
What do you ultimately want to become in your career?
I ultimately want to become the CEO of my own label and open up several production studios around the world that will offer high quality service to independent artists and majors. I want to help others succeed and live their dream as I am doing. I want to become a household name.
What is the hardest thing about being in the music business?
The toughest part about being in this music business is having a budget. This industry is very expensive I have learned. If you want others to take you seriously and invest in you, they must see that you are already doing so in yourself. Another thing that comes to mind is standing out. If you want to be in this business for a long time, you must ensure that you stand out and bring quality. I always say quality over quantity. It only takes one hit.
What is it like in your city? What is the music scene like, and how is it like living there overall?
The music scene in my city is definitely alive. There are tons of music events always going on around the city. You can find an open mic or concert almost any day of the week. I love that we have plenty of opportunities to showcase good talent. I enjoy living in Dallas.
What are some of advice you can give and share to other artists who are still trying to come up?
My best advice is to stay true to yourself. Find out who you really are as an artist and learn how to communicate that in a way people will remember . Perfect your craft. Don’t be so anxious to put out material until you are confident that it could bring home a Grammy!
Build a solid team. Start off with close friends or those who you have a good relationship with and who share the same passions and work together towards a common goal. Always aim to fulfill your full potential. I make a plan every week to progress somewhere in my career. Invest your time in your career as you would a 9 – 5 job. Have a plan and stick to it.
What is the best thing that’s ever happened in your career?
The greatest moments in my career boils down to 2 major events. First was my appearance on America’s Got Talent. I gained so many more fans when I performed. I was the best rap artist they have ever had appear. These were the words of all judges. Working with Rude Boy on the release party in London was another great experience in my career. The support from everyone was amazing. I’m now calling London my 2nd home.
What is your inspiration?
Seeing my mentor’s success with his several businesses inspires me to work harder each day to achieve that sort of success. Working with Will Zhong has changed my perspective on life and what it really takes to make it in any business. Consistency and persistence.
Do you feel anyone can be successful now in today’s world of music?
I do feel that anyone can be successful in today’s world of music. But to really answer that question, you would have to define success. My definition of success could be totally different than someone else’s. So it really depends on what that person’s degree of success is.
The words Hip-Hop and Dallas have not historically been married to each other. In fact some would say they never even met to court, get engaged and definitely never got close to marriage. If anything it has been one night stands that made those involved feel good, but as they sobered up in the morning they wondered ‘what the hell was that’. That is of course a metaphor for Dallas Hip-Hop with the one hit wonder dance songs of the world that Dallas has been renowned for in the arena of rap music.
But there was a marriage that many never knew existed between Dallas and Hip-Hop, in the form of hip-hop pioneer The D.O.C. who was and still is a respected confidant to Dr. Dre as great as he was an artist in the late 80’s signed to the West Coast pioneering record label Ruthless, which was home to ‘the world’s most dangerous group,’ N.W.A. The D.O.C. is still helping to define what that marriage with Dallas and Hip-Hop will be as he has slotted a new upstart to be Dr. Dre’s next white hope for hip-hop named JT Mohrle. Mohrle is from Garland and is currently planning his future with hip-hop’s good doctor.
When you think of the Dallas Hip-Hop there are many others on the horizon that possibly make this marriage happen, names like A.Dd+, Pooca Leroy, T Cash, Prynce P, and Grammy winning producer S1 to name a few. One upstart known as Eclipse is looking real right to be involved in the next season of FOX’s Empire. Eclipse was on season 4 of America’s Got Talent and is about to tour in Europe. Wouldn’t it be great finally see Dallas and Hip-Hop together forever, well guys we are counting on you all.
Black Music In Dallas: A Piece of The Past
When discussing Black Music Month, the eternal knowledge created and inspired by black music is an unending conversation. We tend to whittle down all that knowledge into small burst of emotional nostalgia, and as a city Dallas’ black music scene has been largely unspoken nationally, bur highly influential. We had the opportunity to speak with Roger Boykin, Dallas musician and music teacher, who has been playing jazz, blues, funk and other genres in Dallas since “at least 1955”
So that’s where we will begin, in the 50s. Dallas, a segregated north Texas town is hot bed for jazz and blues. “Music scene at that time was limited to mostly the beer joint, or juke joint (laughs).” Boykin recounts growing up in South Dallas and going to Madison High School in the mid and late 1950s. “The places didn’t have any air, so the had their windows open and the kids and people would just look in and hear folks playing, really wherever black folks came together there was always live music, even if it was just a guy with his guitar.”
Boykin even recounted the Cool Jazz Session, started by Dallas Weekly founder Tony Davis and Billy Burke, a sales rep for Pearl Brewing Co. “It became the most popular musical event in South Dallas history, it lasted on and off for about 17 years, Every Sunday that was the place to go.“ Boykin says, “ It originally started about 3:30pm so folks were still in their Sunday best, and it was a very popular event; and the music was incredible”
Starting around 1960 some other neighborhood establishments started. “Somewhere in the history the law changed to where you could have private clubs… so you could bring your own liquor, and the bartender to could mix it. One bar was the Sands on Second Ave. and Hatcher. Another was on Grand near Meadow, it originally opened as the Lark then became the Flying Fox, and various places like that where jump bands and groups played.”
Boykin is a literal almanac of music in Dallas, the styles, the clubs and bars, the subcultures and the legends. Even telling a story of Ray Charles being stranded in Dallas and coming to schools and charging the student 15 cents for a show during the day which the faculty and staff were happy to accommodate. “He was really trying to get some money to get outta here! (Laughs) and we didn’t know who he was really but he was a blind man singing and playing the piano, so it was exciting.. I later realized that was Ray Charles.” Boykin says. “When I was in high school I played in a club on Oak Lawn owned by Jack Ruby called Vegas… Joe Johnson’s band was playing and I would go there with my guitar, and Jack Ruby would pay me $8 a night, which was good money in 1956. SOME of the black bands were allowed to play in North Dallas, but mostly it was just white bands up there.”
Moving into a more modern era almost into the mid 1990s Boykin discussed the transition of live music to electronic music and the Deep Ellum scene. “Well, the Deep Ellum Revival probably started in the late 80s. They, of course, named the neighborhood for the lower part of ELM St. and they said black people couldn’t pronounce Elm so we called it Ellum. It was NOT called Deep Ellum when I started playing there… it was called, the Prayer, like prairie but prayer, over the Oakland bridge. I never heard it referred to as Deep Ellum until that revival…” Boykin explains the jazz scene in this time as well. He discusses a purest attitude towards music and that in certain spots the music was so important that they wouldn’t even mix drinks, “They didn’t want event the noise of the glass shaking to take away from the music”
As Dallas evolves so does it’s music. The city still has a love of all things blues & jazz is held in scattered wine bars clubs and lounges around the city. Hip-Hop pump through he car speakers now, but the attitude is the same. If it’s from here give it a listen, and share it with your neighbor, because how we connect beyond our neighborhoods, names and ideas… we all share Dallas music.