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07.03.2004 Diaspora News

Pair unveils the Mysteek of local artists

By Post-Standard
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Syracuse, USA -- Alexander Gause and Kofi Quaye know it's just a matter of time until they make a singer or rapper from Syracuse famous. The two first met at the School of Hearts on South Warren Street in downtown Syracuse.

Gause was there to talk about starting a clothing line for the physically challenged with School of Hearts president Rufus Morris. Quaye had been working with Morris doing publicity for the arts school.

Last October, they heard Central New York artists performing for Morris. A noted Syracuse Christian rapper, Morris, who goes by the name Godchild, was holding auditions for local performance spots at Russell Simmons' Hip-Hop Summit.

Gause added two plus two and came up with a new talent management company for Central New York artists.

Mysteek Entertainment, with Gause as president and Quaye as marketing and public relations specialist, already represents several Syracuse-based musicians.

Gause mines the contacts he made when he lived in his native Brooklyn and worked for Sony as an agent who picked and represented artists for the music label. Quaye uses the contacts he made in his native Ghana, where he worked for newspapers and magazines.

"Basically, I want to get them a record deal," Gause says. "I want to show that people can come out of Syracuse. I think a lot of people need to hear about Central New York. They need to see there's a lot of talented people here. And I want to

show the artists that with a lot of talent and work, they can make it from Syracuse."

Rapper Dave Majesti already is impressed.

He signed with Mysteek Entertainment after meeting Gause at the School of Hearts in October. Now, Gause has Majesti recording music at the Ill Bill Studios in Syracuse.

"He had a really good game plan to get my record out in a really short time and get me with a major label," says Majesti. "So I'll take his route and see what happens."

Majesti is no stranger to the music business. While living in New Jersey, he had deals with two labels based there, Step to This Records and Lawton Records. He found no success there, however. He married a Syracusan and moved here in 1998.

"(Gause) is doing more for me now than the labels I was signed to ever did," Majesti says.

Gause understands that Majesti's music will deal with his personal struggles.

"Dave is very distinctive. He's old-school in his own way," Gause says.

Majesti says his biggest struggle has been with depression. A Native American - both his parents are Mohawk - Majesti says officials from the Oneida Nation have helped him with his depression. That's one reason he decided to stay in Syracuse after divorcing his wife a few years ago. By day, he works as a baker for Corso's Cookies in Solvay.

"This is like a second chance for me," he says of his deal with Mysteek. "I bounced back. I found the right medication, and I bounced back. This is a breath of fresh air, me and Alex."

Mysteek also represents pop singer Travis Barr, of Cazenovia, and Stephanie Tan, a sophomore at Syracuse University.

A native of Singapore, Tan is a pop singer who moved to New Jersey with her family five years ago.

"That's one of the qualities that makes me stand out," Tan says. "I haven't seen an Asian-mixed pop artist in the industry yet. Hopefully, I'll be the first one."

Tan stopped in New York City this weekend to meet several of Gause's contacts, on the way to enjoying spring break in Miami.

"He seems very dedicated," she says of Gause. "Very persistent. He boosts everybody's morale."

Gause set up a showcase for Tan and Majesti last month at The Foundation music club in Armory Square.

But that's just the start, he says.

Quaye may use his contacts to send Mysteek artists to Ghana.

"The interest in contemporary American culture is very high in Africa, particularly with African girls. They like everything American," Quaye says.

Gause says he hopes to meet Russell Simmons on Wednesday.

"We want to discuss an African tour, possibly (for Simmons) to give us permission to maybe take (the hip-hop summit) to the international level, part of our package to Africa," Quaye says.

"We can do it overseas," Gause says. "When we get back here, everybody will have their hands out (to embrace Mysteek and its artists)."

Bring it on, says Majesti.

"I'm open to travel anywhere," he says. "I've never seen the world. I wanted to join the Army, but they wouldn't have me because of the Prozac. If I take it this way, fine by me. I'd love to see the world."

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