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Amillion the Poet turned a bitter situation sweet during COVID pandemic


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When the pandemic gave Amillion the Poet lemons, he took the fruit to North Carolina and “accidentally” traded them for his own show on iHeart Radio titled “1NA Radio Show.”

The show, named to represent the phrase “one in a million,” runs for an hour every Sunday at 10 a.m. The radio host will deliver his third episode this weekend.

The Dover musical artist, born Lucas Amillion Mayfield, landed his radio show after going to WDRBmedia in North Carolina in May. He brought Wilmington singer Kason Miller there so the upstate vocalist could get media training doing interviews.

After Miller interviewed with WDRBmedia, Amillion was sitting in the background and ended up having an impromptu meeting with a radio boss at the station, the Dover artist said. The boss said Amillion’s voice sounded familiar.

“[He] was like, ‘What's your name again?’ ” Amillion explained. “I guess they were already playing my music down there in Charlotte because they remembered the song I had called ‘The Quarantine.’ ”

Their conversation led to the radio boss complimenting Amillion on his vocal presence. He asked the Dover rapper if he’d consider having his own show through iHeart Radio, where WDRBmedia’s content is streamed. 

“iHeart hit me back the next day with an offer. I said, ‘Oh man, this is real,’ ” Amillion explained. After thinking about it for a week, the Dover emcee inked a deal with iHeart.

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What excited Mayfield about the radio show, the emcee said, was the chance to market himself and share his music with new listeners. 

Dover resident Anthony Mosley, a friend of Amillion, is thankful the rapper has a big platform that will help him reach new fans. Although Amillion is his buddy, Mosley said he’s a fan of his tunes, too.

“I love Amillion’s music. It really sets the mood, no matter what the setting is. Whether you’re getting ready to have a night out with the guys, or starting your morning, his music has a great flow to it, and it gets you right where you need to be,” Mosley said.  

Amillion said his episodes are prerecorded in the new home studio he built during the pandemic. He sends his content to his team at iHeart for it to be streamed.

Episodes 1 and 2

The first episode of “1NA Radio Show” was aired on Father’s Day, so Amillion brought on his 14-year-old daughter and father as guests. But his daughter bowed out after a few minutes because she wasn’t feeling well.

Amillion’s parents have been divorced as long as he can remember, and his father wasn’t around much when he was young, he said.

When the Dover emcee was in elementary school, he moved with his mom from Washington, D.C., to Dover.

“There was a time when there was such a resentment and anger,” Amillion explained. “Now it’s turned into great conversations and understanding.”

He credits his father, who is now in his life, with his gift of gab on the mic.

“My dad was a real slick talker and very charismatic,” Amillion said. “Growing up, I might have a conversation with him only one time a year. But during that hour, I would have forgot about the other 364 days. That's how good of a talker he was.”

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Amillion’s second radio show was last week, and he highlighted some of the artists he’s worked with over the years. One artist is Wilmington singer Miller, and the pair is slated to drop a music video for their song “Can You” later this month, Miller said.

Six countries canceled from tour

The lemons Amillion received during quarantine showed up in the form of cancelled tour dates he was supposed to do in six countries: Africa, United Arab Emirates (concert in Dubai), Amsterdam, Jamaica, Dominican Republic and the United Kingdom.

Amillion has been a full-time entertainer since around 2009. Over the last few years, he’s continued to build a strong touring presence internationally, averaging multiple countries per year. Some of the cities he’s played most include London and Toronto.

Like most performers, Amillion makes the bulk of his money touring. But he’s also made money from selling books he’s written, and from hosting poetry workshops for young people.

Amillion, who was gifted the Key to the City by Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen, also has performed at multiple prisons and detention centers.

His hunger to get better as an artist, and to support his daughter, of whom he shares custody, has kept him inspired over the last decade, he said.

Feeling overlooked for Firefly

After feeling slighted for years in his backyard, the Dover man finally made his debut at Firefly in 2018.

“Instead of getting mad about not being selected for Firefly, I was like, ‘I just have to keep working harder.’ ”

Wilmington singer Miller said Amillion has taught him that having good character is just as important as talent. “One thing he always says is that in order to be great, we first have to be grateful,” Miller explained.

Miller is working with Amillion because the singer wants to “be able to touch the same stages as the big homie Amillion; and impact others and my family like he does,” he said.

'Doesn’t get any bigger than iHeart'

Amillion is planning to drop a new project named “Island Flow,” inspired by multiple performances he did during the pandemic in the Virgin Islands.

He’s also tapped to play the St. Thomas Carnival this year, he said, although organizers haven’t announced the date for it yet.

“That's definitely a big deal, because not too many hip-hop artists get to have that [platform],” Amillion said.

“Island Flow” is also reflective of how Amillion sees society right now.

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“We’re emerging out of this quarantine, and now it's good to get back into a more uplifting, outside type of vibe.”

Amillion's is on a one-year contract with iHeart Radio. He said he's been studying popular podcasts to improve his radio presence and he's taking his new gig very seriously. 

He hopes to turn this into an even better situation in the future; and he's confident he can't make that happen because he's on a major platform.

“It doesn’t get any bigger than iHeart or Sirius Radio right now,” he said.

The third episode of "1NA Radio Show" will stream at 10 a.m. Sunday at iHeart.com. 

Andre Lamar is the features/lifestyle reporter. If you have an interesting story idea, email Andre Lamar at alamar@gannett.com.