The Rapidian

Winner of three Jammie Awards, Lady Ace Boogie, shares her journey to 'Feel Good Music'

The local rap artist Lady Ace Boogie closed out the show at the WYCE Jammies. She shares how love, hard work and toilets brought her to where she is now.
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Rapper Lady Ace Boogie is all smiles. There are a few reasons for that. Her latest album, “Feel Good Music,” just won three WCYE Jammie Awards—Best Album by a New Artist, Hip-Hop Album of the Year and Critics’ Choice Award.

Some say it's just part of who she is.

“She’s one of the funniest people. We’re out of breath all the time, laughing,” says Steve “Crossworm” Weatherbie, who mastered “Feel Good Music” and is currently engineering her next release. “You’re not allowed to have a bad time with her.”

“Feel Good Music” is an appropriate title, as the album’s lyrics are unabashedly positive. She says the platform her music provides comes with the responsibility to spread positivity.  

“What’s going on in the world today?” she says, quoting the lyrics from a new song. “All I see is money, sex, drugs taking over on the TV screen. And y’all keep making excuses like the youth ain’t looking up to us…”

Lady Ace says she’s tried to temper her tone when it comes to criticizing other rappers. It wasn’t that long ago when her own songs resembled the hedonistic music she rails against today.

Years ago, when Lady Ace Boogie was still Linda Tellis from Charleston, West Virginia, her outlook on life was much different. When Tellis was young, her mother suffered a stroke and an aneurysm, putting her in a coma. Her father, forced to raise seven children on his own, decided to move the family to Dayton, Ohio, where his family was from.

“At 13 years old I made the decision that I wanted to be independent,” she says. “What if one day I wake up and my dad’s not there? My mom’s not physically or mentally capable of being there.”

Dredging up this memory gets Tellis uncharacteristically emotional. She’s choked up. She doesn’t often talk about her mother, she says.

“So naturally I sort of gravitated to the streets, and allowed the streets to raise me,” she says.

For the next eight years, that would be the story of Tellis' life. She became heavily involved in gangs. She sold and used drugs. She became addicted to cocaine by the time she was 18.

“Everything I knew, everybody I knew…was negativity,” she says. “There was nothing positive about my life in Dayton.”

Tellis says that negativity was reflected in the music she wrote at the time. Her lyrics concerned the life she was living—gangs and partying. She decided it was time to make a change when she shot a music video featuring her nieces and nephews that had them singing along to some very inappropriate lyrics.

That realization led her to move to Sandusky, Ohio, where she took a job at Cedar Point. There, in the unlikeliest of circumstances, she met the person who she says helped turn her life around.

Her name was Callista Cook, and today she’s Tellis’ fiancée. But at the time, she was the person who trained Tellis how to clean toilets. 

“She came from a whole different world,” Tellis says. “She grew up in Lakeview, Michigan, this small little town with no Black people, nobody of color. And so she was very sheltered.

“I remember being heavily influenced by her personality. She was a very caring, loving person.” She continues. “And I always knew I had that inside of me but I just never had anyone around me to bring it out.”

From that point on, Tellis said she vowed to be a good example to those around her. “Feel Good Music” is the result of the lessons she learned from her old life, she says.

Tellis moved to Grand Rapids with Cook, working for a plastics manufacturer for several years before deciding to pursue music professionally. 

“I feel like Grand Rapids is a huge platform to do good, to inspire, to motivate people,” she says.

She now has two new projects in the works: a collaboration with local rapper JROB and a solo album due later this year. Her solo project will see Tellis dealing with themes of her life on the streets for the first time--everything from her addiction to gang involvement.

“I think it’ll be a good thing for people to hear that,” she says. “Because it wasn’t always ‘Feel Good Music.’”

Follow Lady Ace Boogie on Facebook for information about upcoming shows and new music. 


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