A Syracuse native who paved his own way in the entertainment industry is hosting a space for Upstate New Yorkers to share their talents this Saturday. 

The Upstate New York Artist Showcase ‘22, presented by Syracuse-born, and now Atlanta-based, music producer Byron Perry — better known as BlackNailz — is seeking to find the next best rapper from the region.

The showcase will be held at SALTspace at 103 Wyoming St. in Syracuse on Oct. 29, from 1:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tickets will be sold at the door for $20 and are available for online purchase on eventbrite.

“I don’t want to take from the community,” BlackNailz said, expressing the need for artists’ recognition in Upstate New York. 

The showcase is sponsored and was launched a few months ago by BlackNailz. He said it is his way to give back to his hometown. 

“I’m not making any money from it,” BlackNailz said. He emphasized he is committed to uplifting local artists who dream of making it in the industry, rather than exploiting up-and-coming artists. 

With nearly two decades of experience, BlackNailz has produced hits for rap icons, including Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and Dr. Dre.

BlackNailz said he wants to help restore life back into the city he grew up in.

With the help of his supportive staff residing in Syracuse, BlackNailz and his team collabarorated to curate local outreach and actualize the showcase. 

Ironically, for BlackNailz the most challenging part of planning the event was finding a venue.

He said it was much simpler to recruit the talent. For artist outreach, he said, “it just took one video.”

The video he posted online from his Facebook account sparked bustling conversations among regional talents. After submissions rolled in, BlackNailz and his team finalized their selections of over 20 artists expected to perform. Many of them hail from Syracuse and neighboring upstate New York cities including Buffalo, Utica, Albany and Rochester. 

BlackNailz describes this event as something new for Syracuse and desires to give back by sharing his resources with local talents from the region. 

An alumnus of Bishop Grimes Jr./Sr. High School and former basketball player, BlackNailz grew up on the south and east sides of Syracuse.

BlackNailz describes his trajectory to becoming a music producer as “real typical.” Growing up he attended church regularly with his family, where his affinity and involvement with music developed naturally. He learned to play the conga drums, then honed his skills as a self taught pianist along with teaching himself to play six additional instruments. 

His natural progression of being a multi-instrumentalist introduced him to alternate places to explore his talents. At 15 years old, while attending high school BlackNailz began DJing at local college parties. Shortly after he began creating beats in college and making connections throughout Syracuse. This was the start of his producing career. 

The key lessons he shared were to take risks and, “stay ready, so you don’t gotta get ready,” he said. 

Viewers will get a chance to witness the lyrical battles and rise of the next rap star from Central New York.

Alongside BlackNailz, the competition will be judged by nationally-recognized producers including, J Beatzz, Mike Zombie, and Louke. 

The online contestant submission closed on Oct. 3. However, performers who attend the showcase can still have an opportunity to shine. At the end of the showcase, artists seated in the audience will get a chance to perform. The winner of this open mic portion will be rewarded with a $300 cash prize. 

The official winner of the Upstate New York competition will receive a $1,000 cash prize, an opportunity to create an original theme song for a new comedy show, and they’ll be flown out first-class to Los Angeles to work with BlackNailz.

“This is the first time Syracuse is doing something like this,” said BlackNailz. 

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