E.J. Fontenot shot to his feet and laughed hysterically as his two-year-old son, DeShawn, began break dancing to his music at their apartment in Huntsville. Nearly 10 years earlier, Fontenot, or Iceman as his fans and friends know him, was getting booked by his mother to sing at bowling alleys. Yet two weeks ago, Iceman answered a call from Radio Wave Promotions in Arizona; the same record company that launched Good Charlotte and B2K’s careers. Only three days at the set, Iceman’s CD was reportedly “buzzing” throughout the station. Fontenot’s faith and determination were finally paying off.
“We went without a lot to get where I need to go,” admitted EDJ, “I Can Entertain” Iceman.
Scribbling his John Hancock on various forms from Radio Wave Promotions, the recording company chose Iceman and 30 other artists to work for a year and walk away with a record deal. Wave’s interest in Fontenot has scored him a booking agent, shows, a national magazine write-up and 20 major label consultations, among other things. His eight-track album, “Gone Postal,” gained favor from more than one record company.
Iceman’s success as an artist was not without a large degree of talent and encouragement throughout his ride. His six dancers and two background singers are close friends. In his music video shot in Galveston, Texas City and Huntsville, they performed alongside his then one-year-old ecstatic son. But Iceman’s co owner and manager, residing in Texas City, has sacrificed all she could to see him get this far.
“My mother was always helping me as long as I knew what I was doing, whether driving me, making sure I wasn’t getting connedeverything,” Iceman explained about his manager/mom.
Fontenot was born in Galveston where his grandmother and mother, a single parent raising three children, recognized his talents when he sang at their Baptist church. Moving to Texas City when he was in the eighth grade, Fontenot’s mother, a nurse, made financial sacrifices to help rent a historical area in Texas City for her son to perform and make a DVD. He would graduate from high school in Texas City as the hailed “most talented” student of his class.
When Missy Elliot held auditions in Dallas, Iceman’s mother scaled the state to give her son a shot. Things began gaining momentum in 2001 when MTV stormed Spring Break South Padre Island with artists like the Baha Men, Lil’ Flip, Mystical and Puddle of Mudd. Iceman auditioned to dance and performed on stage throughout the biggest party in Texas.
During his freshman year at Sam Houston State University, he described a show in Austin featuring Chingy and Lunatic at 6th Street during a phone call to his mom. His dear mother did not hesitate to rent a vehicle on the spot and jet her son to the scene. While Iceman played two songs at the Club Sparrows, his daunting task was yet to be tackled. Somehow he’d have to make it back to Huntsville in time for an eight o’clock final exam without the help of his mother, who had separate arrangements. Crammed and exhausted in the confines of his friend’s virtually worthless 1992 Dodge Neon, he and another friend’s vehicle made the long trip home.
“That was my first solo experience as an artist,” said Iceman, indicating next that it would turn into one of the most bizarre situations in his life.
It did not take long for Fontenot and his friends to realize that their crumby Neon lacked a heater during the frigid December weather. Enclosed in menacing 18-wheeler traffic, the old car’s tire exploded and sent them screeching to the side of the road. Every time the car was raised just enough to fix the flat, another 18-wheeler would burst by and knock the jack from under the vehicle. Iceman admitted that to this day, he will never know what animals were menacingly howling in the background has they tried to get out of there.
The rest of the journey consisted of a vehicle getting stuck on the median, the Neon sputtering and spraying fluids until it died, ultimately abandoning the vehicle, crowding into a small Hyundai and driving from College Station to Huntsville in 15 minutes.
“No lie, it was only 15 minutes,” said Iceman about a trip that generally takes 45 minutes. “I only had time to hear three songs on the way back.”
Fontenot laughed that the small Japanese automobile rocketed him back to Huntsville and chucked him into class at 7:45 a.m. In all the chaos, the freshman entertainer managed to pass his exam.
Iceman’s struggles have been shared and conquered with the help of his fianc and companion for six years, Robin Wheeler. In order to make things work, Wheeler works at Wal-Mart and Fontenot serves 40 hours a week at Whataburger, takes 12 hours for his music degree and depends on his album’s sales at Hastings to get them by. With his growing popularity, though, the sky is the limit. Street Flavor, a Houston TV program streamed through UPN, will show his music video in three weeks. This Tuesday, the CEO of Iceman Records will host the pool party at Sterling University before ending his tour temporarily for his “Going Away Concert” at the Old Town Theater on the Town Square on May 13. Admission is $5 and anyone else is encouraged to perform. The deadline for performance notification is May 6 and Iceman can be contacted at Myspace.com/edj.
The Texas City native turned Bearkat has just earned his possible ticket to the big time through nothing less than perseverance. His feelings and thankfulness have yet to be disrupted, though. Iceman’s grateful for those that sacrificed much to see him succeed.
“Nothing’s fake about me,” he explained. “All of these people that helped me are my family.”