Happy Winter Solstice. Today marks the first day of winter and the shortest day of the year. The end of 2018 is officially near.
A lot of major transitions and shifts took place for me in 2018. It’s been a painstaking yet beautiful process, but I’ve gained a wealth of emotional and spiritual growth on a level I haven’t felt before. I’m grateful for all that’s transpired this year that has led me to this point in my life.
In 2019, I look forward to finding more courage to share my voice and my story, to continue elevating and supporting artists I believe in, to continue writing and producing to my heart’s content (no pun intended), and to continue shedding old narratives to make room for new ones to honor who I am today and who I’m becoming.
In the meantime, here’s what I’m reminiscing about and celebrating in 2018.
Favorite milestones of 2018
Making my spirituality a bigger focus this year
I’ve been processing a lot, and my spirituality is one of the most important things I’ve reconnected with and regained this year. I will expand on this more in 2019.
Launching janeshin.co, my website and blog in January
It took a lot of courage and hard work to finally launch my website in January. It was an emotional process revisiting my past work and past lives, but it reminded me I’ve come a long way. In case you missed it, I wrote about the process of launching my website.
Embarking on my first mother-daughter trip to Japan and Korea in March and April
It was special because I learned more about my mom on this particular trip. It was both our first time in Tokyo, and it was my third time visiting the Motherland, Korea. My mom continues to amaze me as the strongest person I know. She’s the only person in her family to have immigrated to the U.S., so I’m always in awe of her courage and independence. I already knew she was a musichead, but it was cool to learn just how much of a musichead she was e.g. she loved falling asleep listening to music, and she’d play American pop songs for her younger sisters so they’d pick up English. I’ve been piecing together the ways in which I’ve found myself on this journey in music, and in learning more about my mom, so much makes sense. Her ears of gold and her love for music have made their way through to me.
Turning 30 in Kauai and learning to surf for the first time in June
I was excited to turn 30 this year and in no better, more magical place than Kauai with my best friends. I learned to surf for the first time too and hope to have another opportunity to surf again in 2019. 30 has treated me well so far, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the 30s have in store for me.
Organizing the first LA Women@Spotify event for International Women's Day in March
I’m honored I got to make this happen during my time at Spotify by bringing together women working in the worlds of music and film. My heart was full seeing different women connect and share their experiences navigating the challenges of working in male-dominated industries. Read the recap and tune into the full recording of the panel here.
Creating and hosting my first music showcase in LA with April + VISTA, Ivy Sole and Bathe in August
This was a great reminder of how much live shows are a vital form of expression for artists and another avenue to support and discover artists. It meant a lot for me to be able to create this with the help of Forecast Recordings because it sparked some great milestones–this night served as April + VISTA’s first headlining show in LA and they were subsequently broadcast on KCRW the day they left for the airport. It was also Bathe’s first LA show, but they hadn’t released any music out at that point. They released their lovely single “Sure Shot” in October and it’s received great reception. It was great to have Ivy Sole perform for new ears and especially for loyal LA fans who came out to sing back her words perfectly. Read the full recap of the showcase here.
Favorite music projects of 2018
A lot of great music was released this year, but I compiled the above projects as homage to the fact that I’ve listened to these EPs and albums the most consistently and repeatedly, from start to finish with no skips.
April + VISTA’s EP You Are Here has been the perfect project to carry me through the ups and downs of 2018. It’s a project that imbues growth and the importance of pausing and breathing through these transitions. I’m excited as April and Matt continue to challenge the status quo and experiment with their sound.
Tierra Whack has shaken up the music industry off the strength of this unique project alone. While I eagerly await more gems from Tierra, I’m grateful I had the chance to end my last Spotify video shoot in Philly with her and her team.
Rico Nasty is one of my favorite artists I discovered this year. She’s refreshing and her brazen raps reminds me to give no fucks about what anyone thinks about me and what I do.
I feel carefree, present, and positive when I listen to Yuno so Moodie is a good reminder to enjoy the ride and feel my feelings. His music has always made me feel this way since I first found him on SoundCloud back in 2012. Things came full circle, and we finally got a chance to meet in-person in September when he came to play his first LA show.
Mac Miller’s Swimming has had me crying too many times to count. I can admit, I never grew up listening to Mac Miller, but this album was so beautiful. Rest in Peace to a truly talented soul who seems to have touched the lives of all those who crossed paths with him.
777 is a catchy, solid tape and feels like a major contributor to Kenny’s rise as one of the top producers of 2018. The two have orchestrated a project that’s perfect for any occasion, cruising or kicking back with friends.
What else can I say about Beach House other than the fact that this is their seventh studio album? I’ve been listening to this legendary band since high school, and they always take me back to places and feelings I can’t describe.
J.I.D has easily become one of my favorite rappers this year. His bars are impeccably catchy, and after listening to DiCaprio 2 through and through, I can’t wait to catch him live.
Black Panther: The Album elevates director Ryan Coogler’s iconic masterpiece of Black Panther that went on to become the highest grossing film of 2018. The fact that Kendrick Lamar is the co-producer already makes this a monumental compilation too.
I had to edit this post to add 21 Savage’s latest album that was released today on 12/21. I got a chance to listen in the car driving around this evening, and it’s excellent from start to finish and will be a repeat listen for sure. I can’t wait to get back in the car to bump this.
Much love and blessings as you wrap up your 2018,