It’s not SparkDawg’s first time at the SXSW soundstage, but this year there are new expectations.
The Killeen High School graduate has returned home to Texas to perform at the annual music festival as a signed solo artist under Drum Squad records, owned and founded by Grammy Award winning-platinum producer, Drumma Boy.
He officially signed with the record label in August 2018.
Spark, born Michael Cunningham, has performed quite a few times at the Austin venture before — once as a member of Killeen-bred rap group Green City and as an independent artist.
“There is so much riding on this as I am coming back for the first time as a solo signed artist, the focus is now all on me,” Cunningham said. “I especially want to thank B106 (local radio station) for rockin’ with me since the beginning.”
Born in Panama to a Panamanian mother and African-American U.S. Army soldier, Cunningham describes his upbringing in Central Texas as a “dream military family.”
“It’s always been a dream to have my name in the Killeen Daily Herald, as I read it all the time growing up, so now I can scratch that off my bucket list,” Cunningham, also known as Spark-A-Lot, said.
In the music world, Spark’s songs describe how he approaches the industry: killing it one single at time; with album titles such as “Black Roses & Closed Caskets” and “Funeral Music.”
Cunningham’s latest single “Coolin’” (produced by Drumma Boy), takes a lighter approach as it “takes you down his very chill life while talking about overcoming obstacles,” as described by hip-hop blog SwaysUniverse.com.
His singles can be heard at radio stations throughout the country and Canada.
For his trip from Atlanta to Austin, the first stop was on March 14 at the Doris Miller Auditorium during the Official SXSW Showcase of Austin Urban Artist.
Today, Spark will grace the stage at two different locations, one with a special guest performance.
“This is something I have always strive for, I worked hard to get to this point,” he said.
Catch SparkDawg at the following SXSW venues:
• 3 to 8:30 p.m., Bat Bar 218 E. 6th St.
• 8:40 p.m., Little Woodrow’s Southpark Meadows, 9500 I-35 No. 100
• Meet and Greet, 1 to 2 p.m., Happy Clouds Smoke Shop, 7205 North Lamar Blvd.
• 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., Ironwood Hall, 505 E 7th Street