The big stage called, and Erik Van Hulse answered.
Now, after taking a chance at the recent Coast 2 Coast Live competition in Seattle, the Enumclaw native is heading to the national stage next year.
Van Hulse, who also goes by his stage name Siboh Nisoh, has been working toward this big break for almost as long as he can remember.
“I’ve been writing raps since forever. I remember in second grade, getting in trouble and going to the solution room because I wrote swear words in my little black notebook,” he said. “But I didn’t start trying to rap until sixth grade, and that’s when my dad got me a keyboard and music software.”
Slowly but surely, Siboh Nisoh worked his way up from his first-ever piece of music software until he was able to record studio-quality music in his Plateau apartment.
While he’s been writing raps, recording instrumentals and mixing the music for years, he’s fairly new to the stage, having his first ever open mic last January — but once he stepped up there, he said, it was as natural as anything else.
“I like being on stage,” Siboh Nisoh said. “Some people, they just want to be the background guy or just write songs. After seeing and working with people, I need to have my control. It’s got to be me.”
After performing a few more open mics, Siboh Nisoh received an email from Coast 2 Coast, which boasts being the largest artist showcase in the world, as well as bringing together an impressive list of celebrity judges that score your performance live.
This was simply too good an opportunity to pass up, though he obviously knew it was a long shot.
He arrived at Studio 7 in Seattle on Oct. 8, surrounded by a plethora of other performers and ready to have an experience of a lifetime.
He got more than he expected.
After performing in front of DJ Jay Fields (On-air host of Kube 104.9 FM), CoolNutz (On-air host of The Breakout Show & The Playlist on 107.5 FM), and DJ Fatboy, a tour DJ for Rapper E-40, Siboh Nisoh walked away with the competition’s grand prize — a spot in the 2018 Coast 2 Coast World Championship in Florida, a VIP pass to the Coast 2 Coast 2018 conference, a spot on an upcoming mixtape hosted by a major artist, airtime on Coast to Coast radio, a spot on Coast to Coast’s Spotify playlist and be a featured performer at a live upcoming showcase.
This is Siboh Nisoh’s first big step toward his ultimate goal of creating his own record label and, in his own words, being the dude.
“It’s fun to be the dude,” he said.
Siboh Nisoh will be performing sometime in late August, early September at the Maimi Live club in Miami Beach, Florida, with round one of the competition looking to start Aug. 30, though the full schedule is yet to be determined.
He’ll be competing not just against other performers from the U.S., but from around the world, for the grand prize of $50,000 and an album deal with Coast 2 Coast, among other prizes.
“Getting to go to a national stage is a dream come true. I get to perform the music I create in front of A&Rs, label heads, other artists, and other people I’ve never met,” he said. “As a kid I would always picture performing in front of huge crowds, having songs on the radio, making money, having nice cars, traveling, etc.
“Now my work is starting pay off and it’s an amazing feeling,” Siboh Nisoh continued. “But this is just a baby step to me. I want more than just the nice stuff. I want to make people’s days better, and make a positive impact through music, and this is just the start.”