It’s been three months since I left the Bay and have returned to LA. As 2016 nears its end, I've been doing a lot of reflecting. I'm grateful to keep things moving amid all the lows and highs experienced this year. How is 2016 drawing to a close for you?
A few things and learnings since I've returned to LA:
- After all these years growing up relying on my family and friends for rides and relying on public transportation in the Bay, I purchased my first car. It’s an investment in my return to LA as I replant myself here. I also love any opportunity to drive for the sake of bumping music.
- Through this time of massive transition, I'm grateful to be surrounded by family and friends. Don't forget to tell your loved ones how much you love them. People ask me how it's like to temporarily live back home, often with a tinge of sorrow in their voice. Don't feel sorry for me, I say. It's certainly an adjustment after having lived independently and apart from my family for the past 10 years, but I’m saving money and there's nothing like my mom's cooking. Living back home doesn't deserve the stigma it receives especially given other cultural reasons as to why an individual might live back home. Anyway, as Busdriver sings in "Worlds to Run:" "I can run the world from my mama’s house."
- My dog Kiwi has been a blessing to be around every day. She has taught me to always show love, be present, take the time to pause and soak in the sunlight. These things are easy to take for granted. I want to start organizing some hikes and walks. Dog therapy is real.
- I’m reconnecting even more deeply with some great people I’ve met over the years but mostly knew through a professional lens when I was working at SoundCloud. Being independent has allowed more room for connection in other ways. Opening up to people can feel scary sometimes, but it also builds bonds of trust. In doing so, I’ve allowed myself to be even more comfortable with who I am and be proud of all my accomplishments up to this point. I've received different signals that have encouraged me to know that the leap I’m making now is the right one for me. Author Bob Goff's tweet is a solid reminder: "Everyone's leap looks different; make yours, not some else's. Comparison is a punk."
- Good vibes only: If you find those whose company you enjoy, stick with them. I’m grateful for new people I'm continuing to meet too. I've learned something new or interesting that's resonated with me from each new person I've met so far. I'm also meeting more people from the Bay Area than I thought I would, which is exciting because my time up there has shaped me into the person I am today. I do miss my peeps in the Bay (you all know who you are) and look forward to visiting again soon.
- Daily meditation practice has been transformative. I'm learning a lot about myself and teaching myself the importance of patience and self-love. It’s okay for me to take the time I need in my own pace. It's okay for you to take the time you need in your own pace too because your journey is yours, and my journey is mine. We're all experiencing different things.
- Writing has been rewarding, challenging, frustrating and therapeutic all at the same time. Ultimately, it feels good to devote my time and energy into my craft. I haven't felt this creative in a while. Being back home has also opened up the memory floodgates. I’ve come across all my old journals, creative stories, newspaper clips and more that serve as reminders that I’ve always been and will be a writer.
- I’ve been digging into my interviews I’ve conducted over the past few months and published two stories so far on producers D. Sanders and Free P (published this week, see below). It's also fun learning the ropes on audio editing and compiling interview clips. It's a lot of effort to do all this on my own, but it's fulfilling. I have more interviews to sort through, including some from my time in Atlanta, so stay tuned. If you have read or shared my post, or listened to the interview clips, thank you for your support.
Produced By: Free P
Channeling compassion and empathy into beats
I interviewed Free P on his journey so far as a creator. Check out the tracks he’s produced for artists like The Game, Wiz Khalifa, Lorine Chia, Isaiah Rashad, Michael da Vinci, Tut, Two-9 and more.
From my writer's note I'll be including in my stories moving forward:
I was first introduced to Free P through rapper Rikki Blu whom I first met at SXSW in 2014. Free and I instantly connected about our shared sense of self-awareness and the journey of trusting the process, a major theme that’s come up especially this year and is the inspiration behind my pursuit of stories in music.
Free is also a good friend of D. Sanders whom I first profiled in this series, and they’re part of the same creative community that’s been bubbling up out of Tennessee, home to one of my favorite artists Isaiah Rashad.
In fact, Isaiah was a key motivator for me to write about producers since I’ve been as much a fan of his writing and rapping as his production; the story of his come-up with his producers has been inspiring to learn so you’ll hear from more of them.
I’ll be continuing to profile more artists with roots in the South and beyond from interviews I’ve collected in the past few months so stay tuned.
Thanks for being a subscriber to my letters and reading this. Reach out if you want to say hey.