By Tonya Fennell: CNJ staff writer
Famous rap artists rarely use their given names, preferring instead to adopt stage names to reflect their personal style.
Such is the case for locally grown rap artist J.T. Montoya, who is known by his musical fans and peers as “Keize” (pronounced keys).
Montoya, a self-described singer, rapper, producer and musician, acquired the nickname “Keize” at the age of 10 when he began picking out tunes by ear on a keyboard originally bought for his sister, according to the musician’s father, Ray Montoya. Now 20, the 2004 Clovis High School graduate is putting his musical talents to use as a producer for an Arizona recording studio.
Keize is one of several local artists booked to perform at El Big Show on Nov. 11 at the Clovis Civic Center. According to event promoter Rick Chavez, the show will also feature performances by Clovis female hip hop artist H.E.A.T. and Portales trio Unbreakable.
“Expect lights, music and surprise giveaways,” Chavez said.
El Mas Picoso DJ will spin the latest Duranguense and Reggaeton remixes.
“We (event promoters) wanted to bring something different to Clovis,” Chavez said.
“This show is a new level … a step up.”
A variety of musical styles will be highlighted at the show — including hip hop, rhythm and blues, and Duranguense, which is a Mexican-derived form of dance music, Chavez said. “This (El Big Show) is not mainstream hip hop. This is street music.”
Keize plans to perform original songs, including his debut single, “If You Don’t Care.” The musician said the song talks about being a good man in a relationship.
“I bring something different to the table,” he said. “I try to write lyrics that are as true as possible.”
Chavez, who is also a radio host, said the concert will appeal to a wide range of people. “This (El Big Show) isn’t just for Latinos,” he said. “Everyone from teens to people in their 30s can come and feel at ease.”
Chavez said the alcohol-free event will have ample security so parents can be comfortable when they drop off their teenagers at the Civic Center.
“I’ve always wanted to do something classy, safe and cool,” Chavez said. “I’m looking at making this (El Big Show) an annual event.”