The 18-year-old Spell, who goes by the stage name ‘Lil Riq, is ready to unleash his new music to the crowd, music that he has been working on for the past two years. It is the same music that the Clinton City Board of Education gave Spell special permission to record as his senior project.
“It is all very exciting,” Spell says with a smile. “I had to present my case in front of the board, and it feels good to be the first person allowed to make a CD for a senior project.”
With the help of Salim Graham, CEO of DEK Records, Spell’s dream will come true.
“This is the one I have been telling you about,” Graham says, pointing to Spell. “His CD is going to take off, I’m telling you. This guy has a lot of talent.”
Spell takes the compliment in stride and says that he is remaining focused depsite the pressure to deliver a solid effort.
“This is for everything I have worked for in school,” Spell said. “If I fail, then I don’t graduate, so yes, there is a lot of pressure on me. I am going in the studio with that in mind. The best thing that I can do for me, is to stay true to what I believe in. If I respect me and the things that I am doing, it is easier for other people to respect it as well.”
The well-spoken and down-to-earth Spell also knows that the rap game doesn’t have the best reputation behind it, but he is ready to change that.
“I am not in to all that selling drugs and killing people rapping,” he says, smiling. “My music is more like gospel-rap, not about selling drugs, it has a more positive message. I write from experiences that happen to me. I am not making everything up just to be hardcore or whatever. I am a real person and that is where my music comes from — respect.”
Spell said he has loved singing since he was a young boy growing up in Clinton.
“I have always loved it,” he said, “so to be doing this and to be in the situation that I am in right now, is like a dream to me.”
The “Talent Explosion and Concert” event, which was produced by Wright’s Entertainment and DEK Records, turned out to be a successful event, and one that Spell said he was thrilled to be at on this July night.
“This is great for Clinton,” he says. “I am really blessed to be able to be here tonight and performing. It is all ages, so it is clean, and so far, we have seen some tremendous talent.”
The acts that performed at the event ranged from singers to actors and everything in between.
Special guest judges were producer/director Brian Harris and actress Kara Poole. The pair came in from Greensboro to scout new talent for a film Harris is shooting in Cary called Chains. Harris said that he has been pleased with what he has seen in Clinton.
“I’m loving it here,” he said. “We came in last minute and the people here have been wonderful to us. We have been pleased with the talent that we have seen out here tonight.”
Before Spell takes the stage, he gives hugs to Graham and fellow rapper Venchete, who also performs later in the evening.
“Thanks,” he says simply before delivering a blistering performance for the crowd.
However, his biggest performance still awaits.
Although he will perform a free concert on Aug. 12 at Royal Lane Park, release his CD some time in September, and no doubt have a list of shows before the end of the next school year, Spell says that it is the audience he is hoping will be crazy about his music.
“Oh yeah,” he laughs. “That is the most important one. This is fun and great and everything, but that is for graduation and all I can do is my best. I put my heart into this and I feel like when they hear that and know that, it will make a difference.”
To reach Doug Clark call 910-592-8137 ext. 123 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.