Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world. ~Joel A. Barker
WT: Who is Onyx? Where did your love for entertainment originate? Onyx: Ohio made, Texas raised. For as long as I can remember I have always had a love for the Arts. I’m sure my mother had a lot to do with that seeing as how she was a pageant winner and vocalist. Although we never had a chance to meet, my grandmother was a model and activist during her time. I grew up listening to a lot of Earth Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, Anita Baker, Nat King Cole and others alike. At age 4 I knew what I wanted to be. I declared it by the way of a classroom speech at the age of 6 when asked, What do you want to be when you grow up?” Nothing has changed.
WT: With the industry changing to a streaming format, where do you see the industry heading in the foreseen future? Onyx: This might sound very vague but I truly just see it continuing to evolve and open more doors for the everyday Joe. We have already learned that in some cases, you really don’t have to start off with any connections or ties for an opportunity anymore. When I first began in promotions|marketing we had myspace and facebook was a year old. I was hitting the pavement up and down the highway like crazy shaking hands…collecting cards. I don’t have to do it as much as I did before. It’s going to be more profitable to remain independent hence there are so many companies trying to get to their consumers and the labels just don’t have the same budgets like they used to. They put it where it belongs and look more for a partnership. These checks are rolling into the creator directly and they’re not bouncing. What’s good for some will be a disadvantage for others. You’re going to have to be multi-faceted but I don’t think us millennials are going to have any trouble with that at all.
WT: What is a typical day like for Onyx? Onyx: Each day is different but what remains consistent is I’m a mother first. My twin sons share the music, business, and sports gene so they are busy lol. Kirk Franklin Praise and Jeezy while I tend to the domestics, cooking, bills and a corporate hustle that requires weekly calls to tend to. My background is Hospitality– Director of Catering and Global Accounts. I put in a few hours a week to a separate gig remotely. I have about 3 calendars I utilize to make a to-do-list before I rest, and when I wake up I reorganize the list based upon received emails, texts, or social media correspondence. I have to check about 4-5 emails a day, multiple times. We recently hired staff for the show so that cuts down on some of the technical sides but I carry the bulk load of the weight. It just comes with the position.
WT: The number 1 advice you would give to independent artist out there today? Onyx: Set goals. There really is no right or wrong way into the industry or any business for that matter. Everyone’s journey is different. Keep in mind goal setting often requires some research of some sort. If we inform you that the music industry is a business then treat it as such. Set a goal, then set another one. Your goal may be to move to New York, find an investor, or protect your music. If you find that something isn’t working for you, then try another way or another lane. It’s so important to set goals so that you can work towards achieving it. That’s 101.
WT: How important would you say the focus on one’s brand should play in building a musical career? Onyx: Your brand is everything. It should definitely be a priority when establishing your foundation as an artist, producer, or whatever the position of choice. Licensing, publishing and corporate companies are great avenues to explore. Take some time out to read up on marketing techniques, current trends, and take advantage of the easy scores around you. The viral “challenges” though sometimes oversaturated, are a great loophole to gain some notoriety. It’s up to you to keep it.
WT: 2014 SEA Internet Hustler of the Year, what an impressive honor; what made your plight different, and what did you do to stand out? Onyx: Thank you so very much, winning the SEA Internet Hustler of the Year Award was truly an honor! In 2013, I attended my first SEA conference. That year I was pretty much at every music event trying to put a face to the show while spreading the word that we were based online! Don’t get it wrong, that didn’t mean we didn’t hustle when we were offline! I wanted people to know I did it all and I knew many aspects of “the game.” With the combined efforts of the heavy movement and power moves at the time, my nomination came about the following year. I didn’t expect to be nominated or win, nor did I campaign regarding winning. I take pride in that award, and I’m thankful that people saw exactly what I was doing. WORKING by any means necessary!
WT: Tell us about Hosting Global 14 the Cut? Your experience with working w/ Jermaine Dupri? Onyx: Executive Producer, I feel privileged to also Host Global 14| The Cut. The Show was originally part of a station concept then later became the sole foundation. I created the show in Nov 2011 and named it “The Cut” in honor of my first promotional record that landed two radio stations within my area entitled “Cut wit U.” I share the live stream with the other host Goldenfleece. If a listener were to browse our archive, they might take notice that we were ahead of the wave in regards to today’s trends in urban media. We base the show more on core journalism practices rather than any of the gossip, but we definitely make mention of those as they come about. For me, it’s always about finding a balance. We’ve gone viral a few times but try to focus on our guest experience and their fan interaction. My goal was to do something different. I think we’ve been able to accomplish, and progress a little along the way.
My experience with Jermaine Dupri comes thru his platform global14.com. He allowed me the opportunity to utilize the brand while creating for my own betterment. I don’t spend time with him during his day to day, but have always had his full support and encouragement from the beginning. I like that he will congratulate, take notice, or s/o our small yet recognizable efforts. He’s an innovator and a visionary much like myself so it’s always nice to have affirmation that you’re headed in a dope direction from someone of his stature. He’s clearly a living legend with many accolades. It’s an honor to be able to open a few doors thru the strength of his reputation.I have the utmost respect and admiration for Jermaine Dupri and will forever be grateful for the encouragement he has shown me thru these years.
WT: What’s your affiliation with X Squad Dj’s and US Dj’s? Onyx: I became a member within the Xsquadd Djs Coalition by way of a merger from Lucky of Indianapolis. The CEO, Damel genuine vision and work ethic personifies greatness. The USDJS was founded by a man named Poncho who I’ve known for many years. We were from the same city so the support was automatic, but my schedule didn’t permit me to fully engage in more than one coalition. I support his company from afar, and he continues to do the same for me.
WT: Tell us about your artist Young Mayne? Onyx: Young Mayne is near and dear to my heart. He is extremely talented and passionate about his craft. Our delay with his career was mainly due to legal matters & decisions that led to incarceration. My belief in Young Mayne ability as an artist is so strong that I set aside my love for singing to help him pursue our dream. He’s my older brother so this talent thing really does run thru our veins, lol. Young Mayne’s raw, but gritty Southern tone has an undertone that is musically influenced from pioneers such as Jay-Z, B.I.G, Scarface and the Legendary Tupac.
WT: What’s next for Onyx? Onyx: I’m literally headed for the Mogul status. I wish I could speak on all of my projects but I don’t believe in presenting the floorplan until at least the ink is dry lol. I currently offer services available by accessing my website or contacting me thru social media. I’m a music professional and I often write articles/blogs pertaining to the areas of my expertise and more. I just took on one of my younger brothers, Brandon Nichols, as a sports client. He’s my first under division. I’m still working on my own songwriting placement endeavors while developing my artist, and the radio show is headed towards new heights. Mayne and I are actually creators of artwork as well. I’m talking canvases, portraits, designs and more. Another family gift among others we collectively share. I do a lot, but I can’t yet speak on it all. I hope I can circle back once it all comes to fruition and share more.