This weekend I told my friend that I feel different from other musicians because of the depth of pain I have been through and the efforts I have had to go through to get to where I am today. I did not find punk in a basement I found it on a cruise ship. I had a late start with music, the diy scene was not exactly welcoming to me, and I did not grow up in a pop punk suburbia. I did not worship Green Day, The Beatles and Nirvana as a child; I was listening to Wu Tang BB King and Marvin Gaye. I never was in a band where I could say cliched words like "I am making music with my best friends and I love it so much." I have been pretty much a lone wofl who drifts from project to project only to find disappointment. In the end of the day I feel like I am an outcast’s outcast and I have always had internal struggles with relating to people, especially musicians in my own scene despite how many people I have been able to meet.
In some ways, I am spiteful because I notice no one really tries to look at the story behind the music, but instead people buy into the image. We are in an age where bands are noticed for their blog reviews, internet memes and social media presence over their talent and it honestly makes me sick. Artistic integrity is dying and musicians are being bought out and have to compromise their image for the sake of being heard and it is sad.
I do not really think I have much of an image to show for. I am a black man in a white person's genre of music and, I do not feel like people care about my story but instead they just see me for my skin and challenge me for my authenticity. In the same way that women are discriminated against for playing music I am treated like I don’t deserve the right to speak aboutmy problems and experiences with being discriminated in DIY. I don’t really feel like I have a support group nor does anyone really care too much about my experiences. Maybe it’s cuz I haven’t tried hard enough, maybe I have not put out the next trendy bit of material, but at times I feel like my voice isn’t being heard and part of it has to do with the color of my skin or just the simple fact that I don’t have any sex appeal like my peers.
I know it's fucked that I use my race as a cop out, but it happens everywhere I go. It fucking sucks it's like people don't want to hear me and when I do speak I get overly criticized and dismissed for having an opinion. People think I am full of shit and I can read it all over their faces when I read and it confuses them more when they find out I am educated.
Despite all of that, I do pride myself for being different. The beauty of being an outcast is you learn about different types of people. You travel to find a home, you never really get close to anyone, but you keep an open ear and an open hear to get to know people for who they are. You still are fucked over, you still get hurt, and you learn to protect your own, but you gain more knowledge than people who are trapped in bubbles. This record is for people who are tired of dogmatic living, for people who are so burnt out they physically feel sick for existing because they are on the brink of losing hope. From the bottom of my heart I would not even wish it on my worst enemy that anyone would have seen or experienced the things that I have seen and it's relieving that in two weeks I am able to finally start the process to help others.
I don't really have much of an anticipation on what the media will say about this record, and in some ways I don't care. I care because i know the media will help spread the positive message behind the fucked up shit I have seen, but at the same time I don't cuz I won't bend myself to the media's rules to get noticed. I am confident that this record is different and I can only hope that it will help people who have nowhere to go feel like they have something.
For the first time in my life I am talking to public media about not feeling okay about myself. In a few months, I will be releasing a book about my experience with depression and to be honest it's pretty fucking overwhelming. It's like I am showing the world I am vulnerable and all I have is a dollar and a dream. I lost my job, watched my grandfather die of lung cancer, and have been jobless for about 7 months. The terrible thing is that’s not even everything I have gone through just to be able to write this record. This is the most honest thing I have done and it scares me, but it also makes me excited. I have Sounds and Tones Records to back me up, and I could not be any more thankful.
In two weeks, I am going to be tracking my first full-length record, which is a collection of songs that describe my experiences with suicide, addiction, systematic corruption, diy culture and racism and how I have come to grips with trying to cope with it. Thank you to Bill, Aaron, Olivia and Jake for working with me. I really have no fucking clue what I mean to you guys but what I can say is I will remember the shit out of you all and it’s fucking a blessing from God that people are working with me. I thank God for that.
In the end of the day I don't know what will come of my music, but I need to be brutally honest because I am tired of the pain I have and continue to experience and I think music saved me from losing my mind and I hope this record can do the same for others. In some ways, I hope that means I am doing the right thing.