From his humble beginnings as an original Youth Advisory Board Member — working in a temporary office space and seeing The UC Theatre being built from the ground up — our Floor Manager, Maleik Dion shares his experience of what it’s like as an artist in the music industry. He started producing shows at the Allan Bluford Center for Justice on First Fridays in Oakland and most recently opened for Ghostface Killah and Raekwon here at The UC Theatre in September.
How long have you been a performing artist?
- I started writing music when I was in college, in 2012 – 2013. I had my first performance in my mother’s backyard in 2014 and then in 2015, I started [performing at] First Fridays. I was present for pretty much every First Friday set at [Allan Bluford Center for Justice] from February 2015 until I started floor managing [at The UC Theatre]. I didn’t perform at all of them, but my sister and I hosted First Friday sets at [Allan Bluford Center for Justice] so even then I would usually do like a song or two.
Your sister was at the [Ghostface Killah] show right? Do you usually perform together?
- My sister was in the audience, but she had another show that same night. We used to [perform together] a lot more frequently, but we don’t do that as often anymore. She works for Youth Speaks, Oakstop, and The Well. She also does a lot of independent writing workshops and shows.
What was it like performing on The UC Theatre stage?
- It was dope! The thing that stood out for me was that I got to see the room fill up from a perspective you would never get to see otherwise. From the moment I got up onto the stage to the moment I left it, there was a drastic difference in the number of people in the audience. It was cool to see that happen in real time because you usually can’t see that. When you’re up on stage, you can see the whole thing happening. It’s also really easy to see specific faces, which is really cool.
What was it like performing here compared to First Fridays?
- Well, at First Fridays, I’m used to doing everything. I’m used to having to set up the sound, work the door, and perform. Having a team of people who are all committed to you having your best show is the biggest difference for sure. I didn’t have to worry about anything.
Did you think you’d be performing here at The UC Theatre?
I didn’t really expect to perform here. I think it was really weird going back to work as Floor Manger after performing on the stage. It was different from other performances in that way too. I’m glad I got the opportunity, I got a lot of positive feedback which I think was the most inspiring part of it all. Lots and lots of positive feedback from total strangers, which was really cool.
Do you think that this was a big step for you, as an artist?
- I think it was good for me to get re-inspired around my music because the last release I had was in December 2017. I have a lot of things that I wrote and that I recorded but I don’t have anything that I’m actively working on and releasing right now, so it was good for me to start thinking “Oh, I should release some new music soon.” I’m grateful for this opportunity. I never thought I’d be able to perform for an audience of that scale, but now that I have, I really want to do it again.