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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week - Niles
Monday, May 11, 2009

With a name inspired by the Nile in Egypt, Niles describes the similarities between him and the legendary river saying “the Nile flows upstream in an unorthodox way. I'm going upstream in life in an unorthodox way. The Nile has been a provider since its existence. I have been a provider since my existence. It is of African descent. I am of African descent.” The list goes on as Niles is not just an emcee, but a huge history buff, both of the ancient and personal variety. Although he now lives in NYC, Niles is originally from Michigan, a state that he’s quick to point out was also the birthplace of Magic Johnson and Malcom X. Niles recently released a single, “This Time,” on Koch Records / E1 Entertainment and after seeing a live performance of his a few weeks ago I was so impressed that I had to sit down with him to find out more about his story.

Adam Bernard: Start me off the basics; who is Niles?
Niles: Niles is a man who stands up for what he believes in and shows it through art. Since fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, he tries to live life from that perspective.

Adam Bernard: What makes you unique in this crowded Hip-Hop scene?
Niles: I keep every single leader from the ancient days to modern day in mind whenever I write, perform, or do anything within the arts. Art is the last hope to change the world and I understand that. I understand the importance of being original, captivating, and well rounded, and that doesn't stop with just the music. The music has to be crafted to the best of your ability, but the whole mystique has to be intact and this includes how you speak off the mic, how you carry yourself, how you dress and what you stand for and showing it effortlessly through your art. Also, your live performance has to be breathtaking. Every time you get on the stage, that's when you take the crowd to a place way beyond earth. That's when your imagination becomes reality for the crowd to see and experience. The artists who are remembered forever are the one's who pull the world toward them. They utilize their imagination 100% and the end result is captivating and mesmerizing to the whole world. The mind is so powerful and the artists who understand that the most have the opportunity to become legendary, so me knowing all of that and not just talking it, but living and breathing it, makes me shine with a uniqueness that is my own.

Adam Bernard: You came to NYC in 2006 and all of a sudden it was like a career explosion with EOW, BET, Hot97 and Koch Records. Tell me about some of these events and how they went down.
Niles: I truly believe that it was bright karma from the dues I paid before I moved here. There was so much nonsense that I could have gotten into that I dodged. When I moved to NYC so much happened so fast, it was like a dream blur. I moved here December 14th, 2006. By the summer of 2007 I had won an EOW MC Challenge, the 100 MC Harlem Rapathon, performed at Summer Jam, and won a talent search that HOT 97 and Koch Records threw. That was all within eight months. I’d heard about EOW around the way and went there to perform at the open mic. They had a cypher outside and the Dubb Crew told me I should get in it. I did the Rap Off and the crowd voted me in. I ended up getting second place. Two months later I entered it again and won it. The BET commercial, I tried to get a gig at BET when I first moved to NYC, but no cigar. So I grinded my way up, working as a camera assistant at the NYC Fashion week, doing P.A. gigs here and there on movie sets, office work at Burson-Marsteller, all of this temp stuff led me to a two month gig at CBS as a broadcast associate. Around that time the Hip-Hop Cultural Center staff gave me the opportunity to be in a commercial. CBS is in the same building as BET, so when I went up to do the commercial I was actually on my lunch break from CBS. {laughs}

Adam Bernard: I hear your Koch story is pretty crazy, too.
Niles: I only had $20 on me and it cost $20 to get into the contest. That investment ended up being the best one I ever made. The finals involved me and 30 other people. I ended up winning and got interviewed on Hot97 the next day. I was thinking "what the hell is going on? This all happened within the blink of an eye." Then I vanished from the scene for a whole year. That year was trying. I went through doubt, despair, tribulations, I was unable to find a gig, I was broke, I had questions of if I should keep doing it, and this is all with a single on Koch sitting on the table. Surviving that test gave me the validation from God to go out and let my reason shine. I feel stronger because of that lost year. I'm motivated, energized, poised, king minded… I'm ready. We all can relate to struggle and triumph. I hope my testimony helps whoever is willing to listen.

Adam Bernard: You are also a part of The Hip-Hop Project, which had a documentary film made about it a few years ago (yup, saw it). How did you come to be involved with the program?
Niles: I remember seeing the movie at the Magic Johnson Theatre in Harlem when I first moved here and for some odd reason I knew that I was going to be a part of it. I met the founder of the Hip-Hop Project, Kazi Rolle, at Summer Jam ‘07 after my performance. He told me he was impressed by my show. I told him that his movie was inspirational to me and that his curriculum was something that I wanted to be a part of. He gave me his card and we built from there. The next summer there was a one month session at John Jay College. He called me and asked if I wanted to teach the performance week. I said yeah. After that Kazi brought me along to teach for the whole school year at Brooklyn Academy. I can't explain how fulfilling being amongst the youth in an educational setting is.

Adam Bernard: Very cool. Let’s close this interview by talking about what’s in the works for you musically. That “Phantom of the Opera” joint I saw you perform is CRAZY!
Niles: Thanks brother. That joint, I don't even know where it came from, honestly. To modernize that story and add my own theatrics was just live. I love performing that joint because it's something that’s Hip-Hop music, but it's on some ancient theatrical type stuff. That joint is going to be on my debut album entitled To Remain. I’m done with the first quarter of that. The main thing right now is my upcoming mixtape project When the Clock Strikes XII. The concept is a 12 hour day from 1pm leading to 12am. The project starts off with a bright vibe that reflects the sky at the time of day and instead of track one it's 1pm, 2pm and so on, leading to midnight. The closer it gets to track 12, 12am, the darker and more mystic the vibe gets because the time of day and the vibe coincide. It’s almost like you can tell that the sky is getting darker leading up to track 12, and when the clock strikes 12 something happens. When the Clock Strikes XII is an ancient saying for when fantasies are over and reality hits. What will happen when the clock strikes 12? You will see very soon!

Related Links

MySpace: myspace.com/1alias
YouTube: youtube.com/unolove1


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:38 AM  
  • At 12:25 PM, Blogger YC The Cynic said…

    Niles is an amazing talent...his wordplay is ridiculous!

  • At 5:56 PM, Blogger Homeboy Sandman said…

    when is that yc/niles track dropping?

  • At 7:24 PM, Blogger FinaL OutlaW said…

    Try timeless artist....

    Niles = One of the best in Hip Hop.


  • At 11:55 AM, Blogger yaya said…

    I agree...Timeless artist indeed. Keep up the good work. I'm waiting on that mix and debut album. I got "more juice than communion."

  • At 10:16 AM, Blogger Dyalekt said…

    Niles is ridiculously talented, relentless, and an eternal student. Hip Hop to the core.

  • At 8:43 PM, Blogger LaRue said…

    you know what it is niles. Alias came through and tore down The B.U.R.N. U Movement open mic in Harlem

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