A local hip-hop artist is performing a show in Fargo later this month. Erik Kiley, 19, of Valley City, will open for Pledge Empire Records, a group of hip-hop artists based out of the Twin Cities, at concert venue The New Direction in Fargo Sept. 21.
The show begins at 5 p.m., and tickets are $5 in advance or $7 at the door. Kiley can be reached for tickets via Facebook or on his cell phone at (701) 334-9006.
Kiley said his hip-hop career stemmed from writing poetry when he was younger. He began writing lyrics about a year ago.
"I've always loved music, and I guess I just kind of converted writing poetry into writing music," he said. "I used to just listen to beats all the time, just music without words, and substitute my own words."
Kiley said he had friends who were into music, too, and after seeing their success, he decided to give it a try himself.
Kiley's first song was first produced on his iPad mini less than a year ago. That song, "Money on My Mind," received 300 plays in one night on ReverbNation, a social networking site for unsigned musicians. His website is www.ReverbNation.com/ErikKiley .
"There were four people in Valley City that were doing music in (the area), and I released my first song and took the number one spot in Valley City over night," Kiley said. "And that's when I thought, 'Oh wow, people really like my music; this could actually go somewhere.'"
After that, Kiley continued making music and now has released 10 songs. He plans to continue pursuing music and make a career out of it.
Kiley said he writes songs to appeal to everybody and wants to change people's opinion on hip-hop.
"I kind of want hip-hop to be what everybody listens to," he said. "It's just a different type of music; I feel like a lot more is said in hip-hop than is said in any other kind of music."
Some songs Kiley is most proud of are "Leave Them Behind," "Just Some Kids," "Pen and a Pad" and "All for the Struggle."
"Those are songs that have a lot of meaning behind them," he said. "'All for the Struggle' I wrote about my grandpa passing."
While he hopes to do more shows in Fargo, Kiley has also performed for a Valley City audience at the Teen Center during a dance in late May.
Born in Hawaii, Kiley has lived in Valley City most of his life. He graduated high school through online correspondence classes at the age of 16 and is now working as an advertising sales representative at the Times-Record.
Read this story in Friday's Times-Record.