Charlotte’s multi-talented promoter–Curtis Walls holds a weekly “happy hour” event at Apostrophe Lounge that features live music from @harveycummings who plays a combination of music-R&B, Hip Hop, Jazz, and Pop. Today Apostrophe Lounge becomes a part of the art crawl in SouthEnd neighborhood of Charlotte which gives Curtis Walls an opportunity to bring out his vision for fusing art and culture into Charlotte’s nightlife. The venue will feature a live band and an art presentation.
Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Curtis Walls who is co-founder along with Damu Winston of Nxlevel Charlotte, an event planning company that started in Greensboro, NC. NXL21 Charlotte is a brand of Nxlevel. He is also the owner of a service-based company TIME. Walls is a man who has a passion for the arts, and he intends to incorporate that passion into event planning and creating charity events. To my surprise, I found out that he is also an athlete. Let’s get into that first before we get into Walls’ vision.
Nikki: Would you introduce yourself and tell the people what companies you own and what you do?
Curtis: Alright my name is Curtis Walls. I have a service-based company called TIME–Taking Initiative Moving Efficiently, and I also have a marketing company and an event planning company called Nxlevel. NXL21 Charlotte is a brand of Nxlevel. And I’m an athlete.
Nikki: You’re an athlete too?
Curtis: mmhmm I was just released from my team in Canada-CFL, and that’s why I’m back in Charlotte.
Nikki: And you look real muscular. I mean I was thinking this dude most be on protein, drinking milk everyday.
Nikki: So what sport and position do you play?
Curtis: I play football. Wide Receiver and Returner.
Nikki: Ok, so let’s talk about NXL21. You’ve been throwing some parties around Charlotte. And you have a little bit of experience … You’ve hosted parties at …
Curtis: NC Music Factory, Republic, Enso and a little of bit of everywhere.
Nikki: And tell me about the focus on your events? Are they going to be like everyone else’s events? Are there going to be some go-go dancers? Is there anything unique going on?
Curtis: Well … I’m a Libra, and I believe in balance. I like a splash of ratchedness from time-to-time. But really my main focus is really bringing another type of atmosphere, a cultural environment to Charlotte’s nightlife and finding that demographic of people who can appreciate it.
Nikki: A lot of event planners and promoters have been trying to achieve that goal and trying to fuse in art and culture. Tell me how you plan to achieve that? Do you have any bright ideas as to how you’re going to fuse both nightlife, art, and culture?
Curtis: First I have to reach out to the right network in my circle and create a certain caliber of events for people who already get it. Marketing 101 is that you go after the people who already get it. My main thing is that I’m reaching out to people who get it. I know some promoters wanted to do it, but then they started to compromise their vision just to get the dollar. My vision is to have a band and create a LIVE atmosphere. I think it’s going to happen. The key to it happening is creating consistency. Whether it’s the first or 40th night of the event, it will look the same, have all the same [elements].
I’m also finding that I have to reinvent my whole following.
Nikki: So what does your following look like?
Curtis: My following? It has to be young professionals, athletes, musicians, artists, eclectic … you’re tailored, clean males, educated. It doesn’t mean college, a 4-year. It means ambitious. I envision my following on a more conceptual level, because when you get to specific with what they look like, you weed out too many people. The concept governs the specifics.
Nikki: So what do you know about the arts? I understand that you want to create art and cultural events … but how what makes you qualified to do so?
Curtis: I appreciate you asking me. I’ve been playing the piano since I was five then played for the church, starting at the age of ten. I’ve been in that type of atmosphere all my life. My mom is a singer. She’s an educator now. But she started off singing. As far as art, I’ve always been an artist.
Nikki: Do you draw? Paint?
Curtis: Yea yea … I like a lot of mix-media. I draw as well. And I haven’t made that time for art recently; but I want to get back into it. I’m an architect by degree. I was offered a job while at A&T, a position in Aspen, Colorado. So I worked out there at Design Workshop who are known for their resort planning. I was the first black architect to work there.
But I later decided that being an architect is not what I wanted to do. And that’s the reason I wanted to create Nxlevel because I know the power behind exposure … exposing people to different elements.
And that’s what I was telling you about my non-profit organization–T.I.M.E–which I will use to expose these young kids to new things. I didn’t grow up in the best neighborhood. I grew up in Hampshire Hills/Hidden Valley. But my mom saw that I was gifted in a lot of areas, and she exposed me to a lot of stuff. Looking back, I understand how exposure can lead to more possibilities.
Apostrophe Lounge–1440 South Tryon Street Charlotte, NC 28203