10/24/11 — Eastern Wayne grad gets chance on BET

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Eastern Wayne grad gets chance on BET

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on October 24, 2011 1:46 PM

Six years after graduating from Eastern Wayne High School and embarking on a journey that's taken him across the world as a member of the United States Air Force, Mitchell Bowden is about to get the opportunity to showcase what he really loves doing on a national stage.

Wednesday, Bowden and his performing partner and second half of the group, Flight School, Detroit native Ryan Russell, will perform as part of BET's video countdown show "106 & Park." He explained that each week, as the show counts down the top 10 videos, three amateur groups are selected to perform and compete for the right to come back at a later date.

For Bowden, 23, a former drumline captain at Eastern Wayne, it's an opportunity of a lifetime.

"I was in band since the sixth grade, but I've been doing music since I was 5 years old," he said.

And that interest in music continued after graduating and joining the Air Force.

He said he and Russell started out as solo artists -- Bowden by the name of Mitch Moolah and Russell as Mino Bam Dollar$ -- before being introduced to each other by a mutual friend.

At that point, Bowden said, he and Russell began hanging out and recording in their closets in the Air Force dormitories, and eventually made enough connections in the industry that they were able to start getting to professional studios.

The duo was then split up when Russell was stationed in Korea, but eventually they reunited at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., and picked up where they left off, each continuing to work on solo projects, but also recording mixtapes together.

Bowden, who deployed to Iraq in 2009, explained that their music isn't necessarily based on their experiences in the Air Force, but is influenced by all the traveling they've done and the things they've seen. Wednesday, the two senior airmen will perform their song "The Good Life."

"We've got a little bit of everything -- R&B, hip-hop, rap," he said, describing their music. "We try to put a positive turn on everything."

But, he said, trying to nurture a music career while also serving in the military can be difficult, especially getting the time off to record and travel to events.

In fact, he said, this is actually the second time they've been invited to perform on 106 & Park. The first time they had to cancel when Russell was deployed. But fortunately, he said, they were noticed again while performing at a live event in Manhattan.

Still, he said, he doesn't plan on leaving the Air Force to pursue music full time -- at least not yet.

"We get paid to be in the military and we're not getting paid for our music," he said. "But if we could make money off our music, that'd be awesome. I'd love to make music 24/7.

"For us, this is one step. I'd love to have something come from it, but we're just trying to have fun with it right now."

The live show, "106 & Park," will air on BET at 6 p.m. Wednesday.