My sister TAHIRA just released a new song entitled Freedom Call. The hook of the song repeats the phrase “Rise up my people.” Her song (of which I’m grateful to be a part) is a call for black people to finally rise above global racism and oppression. Her song could also easily be appropriate for artists of any background. It could easily be an anthem to our current situation. People of color have been struggling universally, as have artists. There is a golden opportunity for musicians to create a revolution…Read more
Since my favorite season to ride is upon us I thought I'd share some lessons I've learned from being on my Harley that are also applicable to life, in general.
Focus on where you want to go, not where the danger lies.
Bikers are taught that in the unfortunate circumstance that you find yourself riding out of control and potentially into a crash, you should focus your eyes on where you want the bike to go and not where the crash could happen. If you're going around a corner too hot and see the edge of the…Read more
TAHIRA introduced the concept of Black Joy to me about a year ago, and it has been sitting with me ever since. To a degree, the idea of the “angry black man” might be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Images of Huey and Malcolm ready to go to war for their freedom are inspiring and justified. America forced black folks to sing the blues and rap “Fight The Power”, and I’ve realized the people and music that I admire most are always full of anger and pain. What’s a soul singer without “pain” in their voice? Hell…Read more
I work with a rapper from Dover, Delaware named Splitfaces who has around 15 albums in the bank and God knows how many additional songs and verses. I didn’t realize until recently, that he literally writes every single day- no matter what. He keeps his artistic muscles in shape and it shows. I’ve worked with the man for decades and I’ve had the pleasure of watching him grow into a masterful MC. He’s like the old ninja in a karate movie that young cats should never fuck with because they will certainly die…Read more
I'm constantly toiling with whether or not my music matters. Hell, I'm constantly toiling with whether or not art, in general, matters. But...it does. I just need to keep filling myself with inspiration to remind myself. I recently listened to a wonderful episode of Joe Rogan's podcast featuring Dr. Cornell West. One of his most pithy quotes from that appearance stated “This is why the arts are so crucial. Because it’s in the music and the arts where the breakdown of white supremacy begins to take place.”…Read more
Freedom. I finally have a sense of freedom that I thought would take me much longer to obtain. Since I left my day job 4 years ago, I’ve been hustling my ass off to meet my financial obligations; that lead to me having to initially take any gig that comes my way. $75 to sing for 3 hours at a location two hours away? SURE!!! I’ll take whatever you got. Sing for tips for two hours at a coffee shop? SURE!! I GOT BABIES TO FEED!!!
But then I was guided into singing for a corporate cover band, and I started…Read more
I’m going to create a new genre. There!!! I said it. Now, you can measure my character based off of me being able to accomplish this task. I feel like America and the world needs a new genre. Hip-Hop isn’t dead, but I honestly don’t know what else that genre can do to grow. Like Jazz or Rock and Roll, there will always be artists creating music under those genres, but I don’t know where else the music as a whole has to go. I want to see people dancing again. America and the world needs a new way to move…Read more
I only do my best when I have to...and that's bad. It's honestly the story of my life and as I look back upon my years it's embarrassing. I've realized that I'm fundamentally lazy which results in behavior that is fundamentally disrespectful towards the giant shoulders on which I stand. Deep down, despite the fact that I started music at a relatively late age, I know that I should have mastered AT LEAST one part of my craft. I should have complete control of either my voice, my piano, or composition. You…Read more
For me, creating music is a puzzle...a spiritual experience, and it provides ventilation for my obsessive nature. Most musicians share common threads within their creative processes, but everyone is unique when you get into the overall experience of writing music. I've studied music composition formally, but I'm far from an expert on formal songwriting. I'm just here to share my unique process so that fans can get a glimpse into my crazy brain.
I feel like my best work comes to me at 3:00am. There's a…Read more