As Fort Wayne’s music scene grows, some local musicians are earning national attention.
You can hear the local band Downstait’s song, “I Came To Play,” being played every time WWE Wrestler The Miz walks out to the ring, or you could even be watching your favorite television show and hear a Fort Wayne native’s music, too.
Fort Wayne’s own Nyzzy Nyce has had his rap music played on the CW’s popular show “Charmed,” as well as the Rapper TI’s show “The Grand Hustle” on BET and “Nashville” on CMT—among other shows in the past.
Over the last few years, Nyce has been making a name for himself out in Los Angeles, and his work has laid the foundation for other aspiring rap musicians in Fort Wayne, too. Nyce says his goal with the "My City" project was to help unify Fort Wayne.
While Fort Wayne natives like R&B artists, Amanda Perez and Tasha Denae, have grown successful national careers by starting out in the Summit City, the local music scene was nearly impenetrable for rappers for a while.
That all started to change back in 2012, when Nyce worked on a popular local music video project called “My City,” with other Fort Wayne area rappers, like Pryce, Fuchyyy, Troy Amos, 2RQ, Dinero Moneybagz, Jamez, and the Chrome Cats.
“This is my city, where I’m from. Talkin’ bout change, well I want some. Just a group of kids tryin’ to get it on. But we’re gonna be the ones to put this city on,” Nyce raps in the video, standing above the downtown Fort Wayne skyline.
Along with unifying local rap artists, the project was also intended to unify the city's population, in general, and boost local pride with growing momentum in downtown development.
“I wanted the ‘My City’ project to bring unity to Fort Wayne,” Nyce says.
Since his venture out to the West Coast, he has proven that a Fort Wayne rapper can make it on the national scene. He’s released two albums, “Lost in Los Angeles” and “Lettin Go,” and a few EP’s, like “Lost in Paris.”
“It’s been really fun being out here in LA because I’ve been able to grow,” Nyce says. “It’s also hard at times because I get a little homesick.”
In February, he released a new EP of his own titled “Unloyal.” He’s also released a couple of songs this year, including his most recent, “Nyce To Meet U,” the title song from his upcoming album, which is expected to be released in early 2019.
The new album will include tracks, like “Fort Bang” and “Been Thru Hell.” Nyce says he’s also been working on another album that may be released sometime next year, too.
In the meantime, he hopes to the see his hometown’s music scene continue to grow and become more inclusive. After all, music itself can be unifying for a city.
“When I would speak at different schools for the ‘My City’ project, I would ask the classes if they liked basketball. A few kids would raise their hands,” he says. “When I asked the kids if they liked music, they’d all raise their hands. Everyone connects to music.”
With more venues like the newly opened Clyde Theatre in Fort Wayne bringing a wider variety of acts to town, there are more genres of music being played and appreciated in northeast Indiana. In late November, the Clyde hosted its first all-rap show, featuring Tech N9ne, Dizzy Wright, and Futuristic. Other venues, like Piere's Entertainment Center, have led the way, hosting rap shows, too.
Nyce says Fort Wayne’s rap scene can continue to grow as long as people keep coming out for shows and showing interest in new song and album releases.
After all, to have a vibrant music scene, a city needs to support a variety of music styles that can inspire and learn from one another.
“Everyone just has to support each other,” Nyce says. “I have love for all the local artists and want them to also grow and bring more light to the city. The more the better. The fight is never over.”