By Jordan Berns
On the south side of Reno by Damonte Ranch lives a young man who is making a name for himself. Alex Ficco, better known by his stage name, Feeki, has entered the rap game. But he brings with him his own special twist.
Feeki is a mullet-headed, dirt-bike-riding all-American who is blessed with the ability to sing and rap. His unconventional look and Americana-inspired lyrics make him stand out. He’s one of a kind at the start of his career.
I met with him in his garage, which doubles as his recording studio, after he just got back from a photo shoot. The recording booth is well known among Feeki’s fans as it is featured in some of his most popular videos.
“I have never really built anything before, so [the studio] was a good project,” said Feeki when explaining how he built the studio himself.
By day you can find Feeki parking cars at the Atlantis hotel where he works as a valet. He starts his day by waking up and going to the gym where he listens to music and finds inspiration. He makes it back home around 10 a.m. and listens to tracks when he starts to write a song.
“Very rarely can I do it all in one day,” said Feeki. “I only have four hours so I try to get the song written in that amount of time, but there is hardly ever enough time to go record it.”
Like most artists he starts with the hook and writes from there. After he is happy with the song, he pays for studio time at a professional studio in town to ensure the sound quality with the money he makes from working as a valet.
“I can just go to the studio and bust it out right away, so I can record a whole song in an hour there,” said Feeki.
Despite hard work and an active fan base he struggles to get his name out. His fans are quick to like and comment on social media, but rarely share their love for him with their friends and family. That can be frustrating for a young artist who wants nothing more than to have his music heard.
Feeki isn’t the biggest fan of social media, but knows its importance in promoting his brand. He currently has close to 89,000 Facebook likes and counting. Fans used to be able to message him on Facebook with an average response time of around an hour before he closed that service. I contacted him in this way and was responded to in half an hour.
With just under 2,000 Twitter followers, Feeki’s Twitter presence can be summed up by the buzz he creates on it.
“Nothing but @YoitsFeeki has been coming out of my speakers lately,” said @csimmins115, a fan of Feeki’s on Twitter. “Keep on keepin’ on, brother #ToTheTop.”
His fan outreach on social media is incredible as well. He recently released a new song for free to his fans for 200,000 plays on SoundCloud. This move has been great for getting his name out. The new song already has over 4,000 plays, and numerous people have shared it on social media.
I first heard of him from a YouTube video titled “Haha! This guy with a mullet raps back to the haters!” Internet trolls had commented on the video.
“Your style alone will be the downfall of your career …” read one comment.
However, when people hear his name they think, “Feeki? That’s that white guy with a mullet, right?” He is the only rapper I know who can rock a mullet and a “f*ck ISIS” T-shirt. It’s what makes him so popular. It’s a distinguished part of his image, which makes him stand out in a crowd, especially around other rappers.
His fans strongly disagree with people who dislike the mullet. They believe his style is what will carry him into stardom. There is a large portion of the population that will relate to Feeki and be opened up to rap music. His country-boy persona and Americana-inspired songs will bridge a gap between country fans and rap music unlike anyone else in the music industry.
Although he tries his best to engage fans on social media, he struggles to get more and more people to listen to his music. In addition to social media he has started to expand his local presence with a show at LEX Nightclub on Jan. 28, 2016, and a recent Super Bowl after-party at Cargo Concert Hall.
Feeki dreams of quitting his job and working on his music full time.
“I’m grinding till I get it,” said Feeki.
He will continue to work long hours and balance a busy life of work, love and rap to achieve this dream. He has blinders on only looking forward. Hate goes in one ear and out the other. He is also a humble man who has a lot of respect for himself and others in the game. There are high expectations for the future as he looks for his big break, which I think could be just around the corner in 2016.
Jordan Berns can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.