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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 – Nyle
Monday, October 19, 2009

Anti-machismo, lonely stoner, and a post-Tribe/Pharcyde type of vibe are just three of the ways Nyle feels his work can be described. Most people who hear him rhyme, however, have found a shorter, one word, description for his style – dope. Nyle’s fan base has been growing steadily since his arrival in NYC from Philly a handful of years ago and he points to his content as one of the reasons for this, saying “the stuff I write about is easy to relate to.” Nyle also has a great range when it comes to his music as he point out his body of work includes everything from “straight rap jawns like ‘Gangrel,’” to “a T-Pain parody song called ‘Fuck A Nice Guy.’” No matter what he may be spittin about, Nyle has developed a reputation for always gettin busy on the mic and this week I caught up with him to ask him about making it in NYC’s crowded hip-hop scene, which kind of naysayers he loves, and why so many people know him by so many different names.

Adam Bernard: Nyle, first of all, am I crazy, or when we originally met did you go by the name NyleLee?
Nyle: {laughs} Yeah, and I'm so glad you spelled that out. When we originally met I went by the name NyelLee, pronounced Nyle-lee. This is because back when I was in Philly there was an older rapper named Nile Hardin, so I couldn't just go by Nyle. I went by Nyle E, but I didn't want to spell it that way because it reminded me of Sheila E., so I changed it to Nylee. People mispronounced it as ny-lee, though, so I spelled it out phonetically – NyelLee. Of course, no one ever spelled it right - case in point, you asking me this question – so after four years of misspelled show flyers and emails I changed it to my government.

Adam Bernard: You came to NYC for school and gave yourself a mission to record an album for every year you were in college. You recently completed that mission with the Capstone EP. Was there ever a time when you thought you weren’t going to be able to reach your goal?
Nyle: Well it’s still actually not complete. I have to go back and record my junior year album, III. I wrote it during a trip to Ghana and still haven't recorded it yet. It’s coming together slowly, and I'm not sure when I'll release it. I went through a lot of stuff over there so it’s the most personal album.

Adam Bernard: As of now all your music is available for free. Has anyone told you about this amazing thing called commerce? Just kidding, but on the real, how has letting people download your work for free worked for you?
Nyle: Right now we are in the age of free music. If it weren't for the invention of Napster I probably would have never pursued music as a career. I'm a believer that your music exists for people to enjoy and spread, which will lead them back to your live shows. When I finish my Capstone LP, I might actually sell it, but it always depends on the situation I'm in. For up and coming artists I believe its essential to make versions of your music free, because if you're new the only people that will buy it are your friends, fam, and avid supporters. While it’s good to reinforce that fan base your main goal is to attract new listeners.

Adam Bernard: Speaking of attracting new listeners, over the years you’ve ascended in NYC’s hip-hop scene at a very nice pace. I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of people fall by the wayside during that time. Why do you think this happens to so many artists?
Nyle: I think people fall by the wayside because this takes an incredible amount of work. It’s pretty impossible to have a job, a life, and be an underground artist. If you're not promoting and updating your content online, then you’re practicing for your next show, featuring on someone's album, recording your own album, or at an event just to make your face seen. So that's one reason, people get lives. They want to date, go to the movies, not be broke all the time. The second reason is that the hip-hop scene in NY is filled with more talent than fans and it’s easy to reach a plateau. You have to be pulling in fans some other way, mine was through school. Others have a great online following. Others are signed. But you can't just stay in this circuit and expect to blow up, you'll fade out.

Adam Bernard: You had a video, “Let The Beat Build,” that gave you a heck of a buzz. Was the reaction it received expected, or did it totally shock you?
Nyle: It was definitely a surprise. Which is funny because whenever you see someone on TV and the host is like "Did you imagine your {fill in the blank} would be this successful?" and they're all like "No, never in my wildest dreams!" you're just like “What a load of BS,” but that’s exactly how it was. I was really really hoping that it would get on Nahright, but I had no idea it would take off from there, to Kanye's blog and MTV.

Adam Bernard: A lot of people hate having naysayers, but I hear you work a group of them. Tell me about your NaySayers.
Nyle: My band! When I perform with my backing band we are called N Y L E x NaySayers - Nyle versus the Naysayers. It’s D. Sig on the keys, Funknasty on the skins, and Mitch Friedman on bass. We've been together almost a year now and the sound is finally locking itself in. D. Sig uses Ableton to trigger different samples and crazy synths while he simultaneously holds it down on the keys. Mitch is obsessed with the HUGE bass sound that makes every venue vibrate, and Funknasty is the illest drummer I know. They’re also my production team.

Adam Bernard: I know your life is not limited to rapping. Hit me with a rundown of some of the other work you do.
Nyle: I live breath and snort music, but that all ties in with my passion of social justice and entrepreneurship. Right now I'm working with Urban Art Beat, which is a hip-hop songwriting program in the Bronx, and I teach a music production class at Validus High School. I've also been working for a couple of years on 3 Feet High and Rising, a not for profit whose main goal is to create a network that helps hip-hop programs that work with youth pool resources.

Adam Bernard:
Finally, I’ve been to your website. What’s up with clicking on your tongue! I can’t get mono by doing that, right?
Nyle: Ha, probably. Isn't mono a virus? Get it? Computer virus? I'm a rapper I can just come up with witty things like that.

Related Links

Website: nyleraps.com
Twitter: twitter.com/nyleraps
MySpace: myspace.com/nyellee
Facebook: facebook.com/nyleraps
Capstone EP: Free Download


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:12 AM  
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