Dover's Amilllion The Poet gets the party started at Firefly
Every Firefly performance for a Delaware band or musical group brings a mix of raw emotions: nerves, excitement, angst and unadulterated joy. For Amillion the Poet, who basically kicked off the seventh annual installment of the four-day music festival, it was a cavalcade of all four.
The Washington, D.C. native (but longtime Dover resident) got things going on a sun-soaked afternoon at just before 6 p.m. on Thursday. Early bird campers and glampers were still filing into The Woodlands, but it didn’t matter to Amillion if they were there to see him specifically or just passing by. After years in the hip-hop game, he was going to make the most of his shot on the big stage.
“Hey y’all in the back, I see ya! Come on up and join the party,” the 29-year-old shouted from in front of a large screen sporting his image, as well as five different musicians accompanying him on stage.
Despite temps in the low 80s and a nice breeze blowing across the grounds, the Backyard Stage faces right into the slowly setting sun, and Amillion’s energy had him soaked in sweat not more than five minutes after he began.
“If ya standing next to ya girl, I’m sorry,” he said apologetically, tearing his shirt off to reveal a six-pack just two tracks in.
Throughout the set, the perpetually upbeat and smiling performer stood tall and did his thing.
“I’ve been all over the world, but it’s all led me back here to the biggest stage in my adopted state: Firefly in Delaware,” he said proudly as he hyped up the crowd. “To be great, ya gotta be grateful. And I’m so grateful for my time on this stage here today with all you beautiful people.”
Leading up to his performance, Amillion (aka Lucas Amillion Mayfield) said he wouldn’t be nervous. After all, he’d played big stages in the United Kingdom and toured regularly in Jamaica. But when the time comes to actually get on the big stage and perform in front of a crowd of hundreds of eager, hardcore music fans, would he still be cool, calm and collected?
“That felt great. I mean, I felt home. I know I’m at home, literally, but it just felt so comfortable,” he said. “I saw smiles, I saw tears; it was a range of emotions. Before I got on stage, I had a conversation with my daughter [Aaliyah]. She said, ‘Daddy, have fun.’ There were no nerves after that.”
Toward the end of his 11-track, 45-minute set, Amillion performed a set in honor of one of his hip-hop heroes, Eminem, who would be on tap to play the Firefly Stage Saturday night. Although it was doubtful the Detroit legend was on site, Amillion was ready to pay homage to a huge influence on his career.
“Y’all love Eminem? That’s my man! Eminem, I know you’re from one D – Detroit – but we wanna welcome you to the other D – Delaware – the 302,” he shouted as a sample of one of Eminem’s discoveries – Dido – played over the speakers. The 1999 hit “Thank You” echoed up the corridor of The Woodlands as Amillion thanked all his family, friends and new fans for coming out.
Amillion’s plans for the remainder of the weekend include networking and collaborating with some fellow artists, checking out Eminem’s set Saturday night, and possibly an impromptu set Sunday afternoon, depending on scheduling.
And last but not least, he’s taking his daughter Aaliyah’s advice, and plans to just have fun.
Delaware Public Media' s arts coverage is made possible, in part, by support from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.