By Nyesha Stone
Some would say Milwaukee is in the middle of a renaissance. Entire neighborhoods are being redeveloped, healthy grocery stores are being placed in the hood, murals are being painted to bring scenery to the city, and the music scene is evolving every day.
Milwaukee is becoming a place of endless events.
Rapper, Quron Payne has found a way to add to the rebuilding of the community.
Payne decided a year ago to give Wisconsin’s artists a platform to perform, be seen and a chance to win a paid trip to the A3C Festival & Conference in Atlanta. The showcase will be held September 22, 2017 at 414 Spotlight Studios, 10003 W. Carmen Ave with an entry fee of $10, and doors open at 7 p.m.
Payne was given this same chance while he resided in North Carolina. In 2015, he competed for a spot to attend A3C and him being from Milwaukee, Payne felt proud to be one of the winners of the competition.
Payne’s trip to A3C changed his perspective of his rap career. He came back a business man, and not just a rapper. He gained valuable information that he currently uses. Payne came from a poor background, and knew that if he didn’t win that competition he would have never received that experience.
He is still working on his career, but as he’s grinding he wants to help other Wisconsin artists. “There’s not a lot of events that get Wisconsin artist of out the city,” said Payne. He travels frequently and he’s disappointed to see Milwaukee’s music scene not following along with the rest of the country by supporting each other. Artists in Milwaukee see each other as competition, according to Payne and he doesn’t understand why.
“We got talent that can be shared with the world,” said Payne. “I just want everyone to win.”
Since Payne started his beginning rapping days in North Carolina, he never considered himself a local artist to Milwaukee. He wants local Milwaukee rappers to become more than local, which is why he’s providing this opportunity to the state.
“If I can introduce people to not being local, I feel we can get can further in Wisconsin music,” said Payne.
Payne is using his own money to pay to send two Wisconsin artists to A3C. Music has provided Payne with opportunities to give back to others and he’s taking advantage of them.
Payne originally wanted to send the two winners to SXSW, but due to life he couldn’t commit to the showcase at the time.
This is his first showcase, but it won’t be his last.
After graduating from Riverside University High School, Payne joined the Marine Corps. He spent his spare time writing and recording music. He didn’t drink or smoke, so he had to find another way to occupy his time. So, Payne set himself up a low-budget studio area in his wall locker—a small area to keep belongings. He used an ironing board and two pairs of shoes to hang the mic a few inches from his face. Payne rigged the area so it was sound proof, but it wasn’t properly put together because the music quality was low.
Payne removed those songs from DatPiff; the music was too embarrassing for him.
At the beginning of the year, Payne visited Universal Group music. After meeting with them, he soon realized most major music labels don’t think of Milwaukee as a go-to place for talent. He tried his best to convince Universal that Milwaukee’s music scene needed a better spotlight than the one they’ve been receiving over the years.
Payne more so listens to Milwaukee music more than Wisconsin music as a collective. This showcase is to help him, and those around the state expand their music collection of Wisconsin’s artists. Payne hopes to see a variety of genres performing, and most importantly he hopes to see the community supporting its own.
Payne believes once Milwaukee’s music scene gains support then the city, and state, will prosper from its success.
His showcase will be Apollo style because it’s not about what he wants, but, instead, it’s about what the people want, according to him.
There’s no politics involved in the picking of the winners for the showcase, and Payne decided to not get sponsors for that reason. He wanted complete control of his event, so he could provide the contestants with as much fairness as he could.
Payne’s ready for his event and he hopes the city is ready as well.