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Meet Aaliyah Nicole of Superstar Dream Entertainment

Today we’d like to introduce you to Aaliyah Nicole.

Aaliyah, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Whew! You sure you got the time?! In all seriousness, it all started back home in Chicago, I’m a Pastor’s kid and have been a pastor’s kid all of my life. So my initial start is no different than the average artist who grew up in a baptist church—the choir. I think my parents had me in the junior choir as early as three years old. Although I’ve always been surrounded by music, I didn’t fall in love with it until I was 12. By that time, I was still singing in the choir, at times leading. I can’t recall the exact details, but one particular Sunday, I was pulled to the side by a man named Ricky Campbell, Sr. Rick was a member of our Drama Ministry. The man was a gifted actor for real. Rest up, Rick! Anyway, he always called me Superstar, but this particular Sunday, he lit a fire that ultimately would alter my entire life. Hey, I just wanted to play ball and make good grades [laughs].

By this time, nobody knew I was quietly writing music at home. I started when I was ten, but it was just a hobby. Ricky saw more in me. After whatever the performance was that I gave at church, he basically told me that I need to take this thing seriously. He looked at me and told me that I had something, and I had the nerve to believe him [laughs]. Not long after I formed my first group with a couple of friends from my church, JEENYUZ (Genius). We were a hip-hop/r&b trio, and at 13, I put together our very first show. Back in the early 2000s, “Juke Parties” were very popular back home. It’s one of those things if you know, then you know [laughs] I digress. So, I used to throw these parties in my grandparents’ garage. I always had a DJ. He always had a mic. I always had the people, so I curated our own show before curating was even a thing.

Although the group didn’t last long, the experience convinced me that Rick was right. I was made for this. By 14, and with the help of my co-founder and classmate, Jam, I was the CEO of Music With Meaning Records (later published as Music With Meaning Productions). I knew I wanted to make enjoyable music, but most importantly, I wanted to make music that also came with substance. What’s the point of making music if you’re not saying anything worth listening to? Long story short, my mom bought me this cheap recording software and a call center headset, and I started recording my own music in our attic. Once she realized I was serious, she upgraded me to the real deal [laughs]. During this time, I connected with like minded individuals from my school and church, and by my 18th birthday, I produced and headlined my first non-violence talent showcase on the westside of Chicago. For a minute, that kind of became my thing. I’ve always loved providing a safe haven for my community and a stage for us to perform. I’ve hosted a number of non-violence talent shows around the city. The majority of the time, I was putting these shows together from my dorm at Clark Atlanta University or my off-campus apartment.

As I was matriculating at Clark, majoring in Mass Media Arts, with a concentration in radio-television-film, by junior year, I realized my vision had become broader than just music. I also wanted a fresh start, and I wanted to honor Rick. Unfortunately, he passed away before he could witness any of the things I was doing in music. I was his Superstar. He gave me this dream. So it clicked, Superstar Dream Entertainment.

I started on this journey with an army, but by my senior year in college, it was just me. Nobody was signed to me. Another failed group was under my belt—disappointment after disappointment. I felt like Drake because literally, nothing was the same. This was the first time in my career that I was alone. I spent so many years pushing and investing in other artists more than I did myself. Here I am at 22, about to graduate college, already ten years on this journey, but I felt like an infant. I’ll admit I was lost without them. I thought I needed them. But once I realized I was enough, everything changed. I started to reinvent myself. I branched out into shooting photography/videography, started recording comedy videos online, released my debut EP (2017) and curated one of my best shows ever for its release. I was finally starting to truly find myself, professionally and personally.

Fast forward a few years, and now I’ve built a respectable following on Facebook, I’ve released three projects this year; the most recent being my second EP. “Same Ol’ Me,” all written, produced, mixed and mastered by myself, and even in the midst of a pandemic, musically, I’ve had the best year of my career. Shout out to Big G [God] for that. And guess what? I’m only just getting started.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
You tell me! [laughs] I’m pretty sure that walk through alone shows that the last thing my journey has been is smooth, but one thing’s for sure; I don’t regret any of it because it has truly built me in a way that I didn’t even think I could be built. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.

Please tell us about Superstar Dream Entertainment.
My company Superstar Dream Entertainment is a freelance and multimedia based company. I specialize in music production, photography/videography and artist development. However, I am currently focused on my solo music career, and with the direction I’ve decided to go this year, I am currently not taking any bookings or signing any artists, but I am always willing to connect with other artists and possibly collaborate if it makes sense for all parties involved. I am also the proud mentor of my Lil bro and new Chicago artist, Mo Joe. Go check out my boy.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I don’t believe in luck. I operate by faith. Hey, everything happens for a reason. Most people would probably look at my story and see a long road of bad luck, but honestly, when I think about my story, I think about the lessons I’ve learned when it comes to business and life in general honestly. I used to feel salty that I didn’t pop back then, but now I know that if I would’ve made it at 20-22 years old, I wouldn’t have lasted. Mentally, I just wasn’t ready. The person I was at 21 versus the woman I am now at 28 are two totally different people.

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Image Credit:
Credit: Zoya Daé

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