Derby’s Scott Al-Tall found his way to music shortly after he moved to the Wichita area in seventh grade. By age 15, the Rose Hill High School graduate was writing his own songs – getting his first chance to perform in front of his teammates and classmates.
“The first time I ever actually rapped was in high school. I did a song for my basketball team and for my soccer team. My first time I ever performed them was at the pep assemblies there in high school,” Al-Tall said.
After that, Al-Tall set up his first studio in his dorm room at the University of Kansas and began his music career (under the stage name Bilistic) – paying an outside studio to produce his first album in 1999.
Unhappy with that experience, Al-Tall began to pursue the opportunity to open his own studio. While he operated that out of his own home for a time, the Derby resident has been running NLR Studios in downtown Wichita (1006 W. Maple) for a decade now.
Outside of recording and producing artists, NLR Studios also offers photography, videography, graphic design services and more.
“Literally, my studio offers anything that an artist could possibly need,” Al-Tall said.
Al-Tall has worked with hundreds of local artists – like For the Birds – as well as mainstream performers from Kevin Gates to Lil’ Flip and more.
Starting out, Al-Tall noted music was a sort of therapy for him – putting his own trials and tribulations into his songs as a way to process what he was experiencing.
While Al-Tall admitted he started his music career with aspirations of superstardom, his own experiences helped shift his goal to focus on opening his own recording studio.
“I just wanted to learn how to do everything myself. Once I started getting good at it, I figured this is another way to make money doing music, so why not help other people achieve their goals,” Al-Tall said. “The goal was just always to make a decent living by doing something that I love, whether that be performing or writing for other people or producing other people. As long as it had something to do with music, that’s what I wanted to do.”
Through his career, Al-Tall has performed in nearly every major U.S. city – including some extremely memorable stints at MTV’s Spring Break 2006 in Florida and a Memphis afterparty following a bout between Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis. He has also opened for some of the most popular musical acts of the 2000s like Shakira, Jay-Z and more.
Getting married and having a son put a pin in his performing career, though, and helped Al-Tall focus on his studio and label – New Life Records. As his son has grown, he has even gotten the chance to work with him on his own music career.
While he remains committed to his studio, Al-Tall is getting back into performing as well – releasing his latest (and 15th total) album, “Nothing But the Classics,” this month.
Al-Tall has been working on the album for the past two years, handling all the writing, recording, mixing and mastering in house with the intent to begin touring and performing again.
Having helped open the door for a number of young artists through his studio, Al-Tall said his latest album brings his career full circle, as the songs are inspired by the artists who influenced him when he was starting out.
“The tracks that really inspired me to want to be a rapper is what I redid on this album. We redid everything from scratch so it sounds familiar but it’s brand new,” Al-Tall said. “I’m trying to bring back that feeling that I had when I was first starting – the excitement that music brought me.”