Happy Saturday, it's been a while since I've written. It's officially Spring, a new season, which means new opportunities to set goals, let go of things that are holding you back and start things anew. You can choose to at any moment in time of course, but I love how the changing of the seasons is an opportunity to step back, make the changes you need and move forward. "To everything, there is a season, and a time to every purpose..."
How's everything with you?
At this point, I feel that with every letter I write, I'll be celebrating the next anniversary of my return to LA. It's nearing 7 months so far. It only feels appropriate to mention until it gets old and/or I feel more settled in. There are a lot of moving parts, but suffice to say, I'm loving it and learning a lot. Here's a recap with the latest on my end.
I wrote a few things in these past few months:
- Most recently, I interviewed Little Simz for Mass Appeal. I wanted to capture her reflections on the growth she's experienced over the years, in light of the release of her second album Stillness in Wonderland and as she continues to remain independent. She's a star. I'm grateful to continue to support her as I reflect on my own growth over the years.
- I wrote about and premiered a track "Sleeping on Gold" by producer Park Ave, notably known for co-produing Isaiah Rashad's single "Park" from The Sun's Tirade. Check out the story and interview compilation.
- I contributed a post on setting up your first online release for Stem's blog which is geared towards articles on artist development and support. If you haven't heard of Stem, they help make it easier for artists to get paid online. Check it out.
- I wrote artist profiles on my good friend and artist Mark Redito and Seoul-based singer-songwriter and producer Neon Bunny in support of the recent Likido showcase that happened at the Globe Theater last weekend.
- I started a new gig at Spotify as a creative writer and producer on their Video Originals team. I write, pitch and help shape creative concepts for videos centered on artist content. New videos are delivered every Friday to the Rap Caviar playlist on Spotify which is where they're starting to test out videos. I'm excited to flex my writing skills in another way and use more creative muscle. Shows and events:
I've been to a handful of shows since I last wrote to you on Valentine's Day (it's been a minute!)
- 2/19: Noname and Ravyn Lenae at The Regent. Noname's Telefone was one of my favorites last year, so it was a treat to see her live. In the middle of her set, she donned a glittery, red custom cape and wore red sunnies. I felt like I was in the presence of a queen. Ravyn Lenae was lovely as well. I particularly liked that she took the time to share the significance behind each song. She also envisions color ways for each of her songs, so it was a treat to imagine them while listening and watching her perform.
- 2/25: (Re)present: Black women in front of and behind the camera: Dana Washington, Kayla Reefer, Oriana Koren and Sophia Nahli Allison. I appreciated the time and energy these incredibly talented women took to share about their work, perspectives and the challenges they face in the industry where they are underrepresented, highlighting the importance of raising visibility of black women in media, both in front of and behind the camera. Representation matters. This was held at Las Fotos Project, which is a great non-profit photography program in LA geared towards positively influencing and supporting teenage girls facing adversity in LA.
- 2/25: Quentin Miller at The Airliner. Quentin Miller is an Atlanta-based rapper who's collaborated with Drake on If You're Reading This It's Too Late. Check out this recent track produced by Childish Major called "Darkside" that's a good one to bump to in the car.
- 2/26: Good Posture turns 1.5. Artist Theo Martins, whom I've written about in a previous letter, celebrated 1.5 years of his line. He's also opening up a cereal bar at an awesome shop called Virgil Normal worth checking out if you're ever visiting LA.
- 3/7: Isaiah Rashad at The Observatory. Drove down to The Observatory in Santa Ana for the first time to catch Isaiah Rashad on one of his last stops of The Lil Sunny Tour. Cheers to Zay for selling out every single one of his shows on the tour that started in January.
- 3/19: The Laundromat at Lock & Key - This is a little party that happens every Sunday evening at the bar Lock & Key in Koreatown. My friend Modi just recently made his DJing debut as Coach Bombay (if you know the reference, you know what's up) so I had to come out to support. It's a chill, kick-back style where you can hear good tunes, eat and drink to your heart's content to conclude the weekend on a good note.
- 3/20: Little Simz at The Echoplex. What more can I say about Little Simz? If you haven't seen her live yet, please do yourself a favor. She blows a lot of rappers out of the water when it comes to live performances. As she mentioned in her interview with me about her spare time, she truly uses her spare time to tour all over the world.
- 3/23: Yeek, KeithCharles Spacebar, and DUCKWRTH at The Bootleg Theater. This was a fun show. Yeek is one of my new favorite artists because of the way he blends both indie and hip hop together. His songs will both get you in the feels and make you want to dance. One of my favorites from Awful Records' KeithCharles Spacebar is the song "About Me" in what I feel is a statement about our interactions on social media–"You heard about me but don't know nothing about me." DUCKWRTH's energy draws you in immediately, and he was truly made for the stage.
- 3/24: Likido showcase with Princess Nokia, Seiho, Bae Tokyo, Neon Bunny, DJ Clickbait and Mark Redito at The Globe Theatre. Likido's mission is to promote underrepresented groups and build an inclusive space within the electronic and dance music scene. This particular showcase was special because of the different acts on the lineup, from rappers like Princess Nokia to Japanese dance music producers like Seiho. The diversity of the lineup was reflected in the crowd as well. Hats off to Mark for creating and organizing these important showcases in music.
Health and wellness:
- I've been cruising on the skateboard whenever I have a chance to. I'd like to expand my skills and land some tricks, but for now, finding balance is good too.
- I heard on a podcast recently that a good trick to relaxing and letting go is to wish other people happiness and you'll feel lighter. Think of some people that may have frustrated you or stirred some of your emotions. Wish them happiness and you'll feel your mood uplift instantly.
And finally, everyone's seen Kendrick Lamar's new video, "Humble," right?
All right, this is a substantial update since I hadn't written in more than a month! I hope to find a good rhythm to keep this going. I'm contemplating whether it makes sense to move this content to a blog for ultimately better reading. Let me know if you've got any thoughts on that and feel free to drop in to say hey.
p.s. You can also find me on Twitter, SoundCloud and Instagram.