I am very lucky to have a great support system! It gives me such a relentless drive to provide more inspiration to those who are in dire need of it. My good friend Christian Troy is one of the individuals that truly recognizes my grind and my ability to pick out the best new artists that are on the rise. With that being said, He introduced me to a Tap Dancer turned Rapper who goes by the name of Lee Howard aka Lee How. Now at first I was a bit skeptical (I’m not going to lie!) because I have never heard of anyone that have taken such a drastic change in their career. Nevertheless, I checked out Lee’s work and was pleasantly surprised! Not only is he an incredible Tap Dancer, his flow on the mic is pretty solid.
I had a chance to conduct an informative interview with the man himself, check it out below:
Me: Where did you grow up?
Lee How: Morgan Park in the South-side of Chicago.
Me: How was life growing up? What ethics did your parents instill in you?
Lee How: I come from a two-parent household with one brother and one sister, and grew up going to church, and things like education were very important in my family. I was kept in a safe environment and surrounded by good people. Ethics like respecting your elders, family comes first, stay in school, get good grades, ya know.
Me: When did your passion for Tap dancing come about?
Lee How: Well, it didn’t really start as a passion, it just started as something that I took up. My mom put me in the Sammy Dyer School of the Theater where I started out with taking tap and aerobics classes. Bril Barrett was teaching there and I was in his class and he kinda scouted me out because he noticed that I was able to catch on to choreography quickly, so he invited me to join M.A.D.D. Rhythms (A Chicago-based tap company), which I was a member of for about 7 years. This experience helped me to indulge into the tap community and understand the art form’s culture and history throughout endless rehearsals, performances, and festivals. Tap grew on me and I started appreciating it more & more.
Me: Were your parents performers? If so what exactly did they do?
Lee How: Both my grandma and my mom were performers, so I guess you can say it runs in the family. My dad never was, but my Mom did everything: Sing Dance, Act. She came up with Shirley Hall Bass, the Director of the Sammy Dyer School of the Theater. She actually traveled and performed with a group that toured with Sammy Davis Jr.
Me: When did people start taking notice of your extraordinary tap skills?
Lee How: I think when people starting noticing my skills is when I started getting out of Chicago and began traveling to tap festivals, participating in cutting contests and student showcases with other tap dancers throughout the country and training with some of the tap masters.
Me: What is the biggest award you received from tapping?
Lee How: I haven’t ever received any trophies from tap dancing, but I consider being able to get paid to do what I love as the biggest award I could ever receive.
Me: When you wanted to transition from tapping to music did you get backlash from the tap world? If so, please explain.
Lee How: No, there has only ever been love and support from the tap community since I decided to make the transition into music.
Me: Were you always rapping, or was it a hidden talent that you just surfaced?
Lee How: I had a phase when I was younger before I was producing music that I did write raps. I would just write little raps and stuff here and there. I had a whole stack of papers of raps that I wrote. Not that I was doing anything serious or thought I could see myself as a rapper at all. I’ve always done music. I played instruments and definitely had musical abilities but never looked into them until later on. Once I actually started to find myself more interested in doing music, I worked on developing it more. So it wasn’t a hidden talent that hadn’t been surfaced, I just didn’t take the time to develop it until recently.
Me: Are you leaving tapping completely to Rap?
Lee How: No not at all. I’m actually incorporating tap into my persona as a Hip Hop/Rap artist. Besides writing and producing all over my own music, Tap dance is what is going to distinguish my identity from the rest of the game because I’m going to be the only one doing it. I’m definitely not abandoning it. In fact, on my mixtape ‘ART PROJECT’ there is a track entitled “Vibrations” which I’ve incorporated myself tap dancing onto the beat. I’m hoping that through my music I will gain more exposure for the tap community so that this will help to open doors for more tap dancers to have jobs and the recognition they deserve.
Me: what is your main goal in this music industry?
Lee How: No matter what happens, my main goal is to become an industry artist, and create music that everyone likes to hear and enjoys. I want to inspire people, and bring tap dance back to the forefront. It needs to be made current, relevant, and shown that it does fit into pop culture in this world today.
Me: Are there any future projects that we should be looking out for?
Lee How: I’ll always be making music and have project ideas up my sleeves, but as far as right now, be looking out for ‘ART PROJECT’ as it’s just being released as my debut mixtape, along with some upcoming tour dates throughout the next several months.
To download, Lee How’s recently released mixtape Art Project, simply click here! Below is the footage of the mixtape release event that took place at Jugrnaut in Chicago:
To find out more on Lee, here are his social networking sites.