I just want to start this off by letting you know what we've been saying at the label since our inception: There are no coincidences. The fact that we were able to successfully book a show exactly a week after saying it might be time to get started, says so much about timing and opportunity, regardless of what your religious beliefs are. Enough about that though, let's get to the nitty gritty.
I know what I didn't want to do to promote this show. I didn't want to put a picture up, then tag 300 people in hopes that they would randomly show up. Everything about our approach has been grassroots so far, so I wanted to keep our promo the same way. Instead, I went through my entire phone contacts, and my fb friends, and my ig friends, and my twitter, and proceeded to hit up EVERY single person I had who was in New York. Well... not every, but i know I contacted a good 300 people on my own. (DISCLAIMER: This is a great excuse to catch up with people you haven't spoken to in years).
Most people were just thrilled to get a text message, or a private message, and regardless of whether or not they could make it, we were able to talk about our lives and the different things we had going on. I don't know what that does from a business standpoint, but it made me feel like a better human being, so that has to count for something.
Having a poster made was clutch. It changed a few people's perspectives from "Oh they're doing a thing..." to "Whoa this looks legit! When did you guys get to this level? How did I miss it?" They may not have said it out loud, but there reactions after seeing our show poster, spoke volumes. Definitely a good move.
So we walk into this bar and don't know what to expect. Open the door, and the water from the AC drips onto our clothes, and we're thinking: "What did we just walk into?" They show us the performance space, we get our soundcheck on, and get a feel of the acoustics. Best way to describe it is a mini (SUPER MINI) colosseum, with a performance pit in the middle, and an encirclement of seats for the audience. Maybe an even better way to describe it is a fishbowl with a piano taking up half of the tank.
Didn't feel too much from a nervousness standpoint until guests started to trickle in early. That's when you start realizing "if this performance crashes and burns, its going to be a LOOOONG time before I can convince my friends to come out and support me again." Shout out to my lil bro and former neighbor, Afro-Rabbi for stepping up to the plate and being ready to perform due to a few show glitches. You start hugging people, and remind them its happy hour. Really, I'm telling them to go drink, because even a bad performance ain't so bad when you have a lil booze in your system.
I can't speak on Line3's performance, but I am glad they were able to come out and open for us. From the back room where I was hiding out and getting myself ready, they sounded great, and they definitely kept the audience engaged. I love them boys. Next time we gotta make sure their bassline situation is sorted out, but they still did their thing. Shout out to the other rapper who performed too. I didn't get to hear his performance, but I heard all good things.
I'll tell you this: It got real when I heard them announce Solomon. This guy's talent is ridiculous. Every time he starts singing, rooms go silent, and this time was nooo exception. Glad we convinced him to sing that Adele, J. Cole "Hello" matchup. You could feel the chills spreading through the room. I'm sure he can tell you what he was going through in his post, but this one is my perspective.
When I was announced, and I saw people leaving the bar and people sitting on the steps just to hear my performance, it was more humbling than anything else. Its an understanding that all the people in this room REALLY believe in you enough to share this moment. It wasn't just being there. Screams, cheers, cameras recording, and of course, my wife making posters when I specifically begged her NOT to. They trusted me to deliver and they believed I could. I know a few people there had never heard me perform before, so I started a capella. Gave em a few bars so they could get a feel for what I'm about. The song "Be N C Y" is easlily one of my favorite pieces of all time (so far). Between the lyricism, punchlines, and humor, it just really is a 4 minute intro into who I am and what I value. If I could make it through that, I knew I'd have them pulled in for the rest of my set. The rest of the set went smoothly. Premiered two new songs: Red Dress, and "The Best."
Red Dress, definitely a millennial dating guide disguised as a love song. Anyone who had AIM, or tried to talk to a crush on FB Messenger, or instagram can relate to the tension in that song. The Best, is like the movement anthem. With all the tragedy and media-fueled rage, I had a song that I wrote 2 years ago that was strangely still relevant today. If nothing else, I think people definitely felt the passion and self-affirmation of value. Regardless, it felt good to have 3 songs and not forget my lyrics. Its a new day for real. The Solomon Session Freestyle was dope. I liked the audience participation. I might start doin more of that. It was perfect for that small environment.
The love was unreal! People came with compliments, love, pictures, free drinks, and ideas for how we can continue to grow. Its beautiful because now The Label Noir isn't something to just support anymore. Now, we are something that people can be a part of... a true movement. Its a beautiful thing. Can't wait for the next one.