For this blog, my first written blog, I wanted to delve further into who I am as an Artist; my struggles, joys, insecurities, influences, the good times, the shitty times, and all that fun stuff. In short, I wanted to go deeper. I have told my story on my first video blog, but I think that as a Creative it is important to keep the story unfolding, to continually reveal different parts of yourself so that you can be fully understood. That being said, if I say anything that you already know, I apologize.
Before I begin my story, I want to give you a brief description of who I am and what I’m about. As a person, watching my generation grow up, I have seen a lack of hope and a lack of faith for the future in people. I know many others have seen this hopelessness grow. In response, as an Artist my desire is to make music that connects with people in places of struggle. I myself have been in those dark mental spaces, and sometimes you need to know that you're not the only one. Even still my music speaks to the human experience as a whole, hoping to show that we're all the same. I believe that as I pursue this as an Artist people will join me in this journey.
I grew up outside of Portland Proper in a city called Beaverton. For those of you who know the area, I grew up in Aloha (which sadly had nothing to do with Hawaii). I was homeschooled until the third grade, where I was enrolled in Christian Community School. Like I have previously stated, my family members are all followers of Jesus, and not religiously Christian. What that means, at least for me, is that I believe in Jesus as God, believe that He is good, and contrary to some pop culture Christians, I believe that Jesus loves every gay, straight, black, or white, Muslim or Jewish person (and everything in between) the same.
After joining a proper school, it was soon obvious to myself and every teacher I would have over the course of my education, school was not my thing. That is putting it lightly. I hated school. Not to mention I was ridiculously hyper active, so sitting still in a classroom setting for more than 30 minutes just about took my life.
The first real encounter with tragedy that I had came in the third grade, my first year of real school. Ever since I was born, and even before, my dad had been traveling to different parts of the world to bring aid to people in third world nations. One of the places he frequented was Nigeria. He had built a school there and medical clinics to help the poorest of the poor. The main contact he worked with was a Pastor named Samuel Folahan.
Samuel had over the years become a second dad to me. He visited us often, and when he did me and him became incredibly close. He even became my “official” Godfather; my dad held a legitimate ceremony for it because he was truly that close to our family. Then, one day, we got a phone call. Sam was in surgery, and had contacted some sort of virus due to the poor medical facilities in Nigeria. Within a few hours, he had passed away. It hit our family really hard, perhaps harder than any other death our family has experienced. Beyond this loss, I had a pretty amazing upbringing. I never went hungry, and my parents were and are some of the most loving parents I’ve ever met.
During my sophomore year of high school, I had my first girlfriend, Samantha Wetter (sorry Sam). I loved her, naturally. We dated about two months, and then she called me up one night, dumped my ass on the phone, and that was that. A flash in the pan. Being the emotional being that I was and am, I’m pretty sure that I cried for three months straight. I was depressed about the relationship far longer than I was actually in it. Unfortunately the pattern of over-mourning has not gotten much better.
My senior year of high school was difficult. It was then that I first began to deal with actual Depression. I can literally remember the second it hit; I was driving into the parking lot the first day of my senior year when what felt like a heavy blanket of sadness and gloom descended on me. Looking back, it was most likely chemical, because of how it onset. I struggled all year through it, and I have to thank my girlfriend at the time for really helping me through it. There were several times that I can recall where she literally held me as I cried because I didn’t know “what was wrong with me”.
Life moved on, and I was admitted into Azusa Pacific University for College. For those of you that don’t know it, it’s a private Liberal Arts University outside of Los Angeles. College was a mixture of awkward growing up moments, 2 am taco runs, and somewhat regular moments of streaking through the night. I still hated school with everything in me, but I really enjoyed the social interaction of college. If I remember correctly, I tried to drop about 4 or 5 times because I hated the school part so much. If it wasn’t for my gracious professors who barely passed me, I would have failed out or been kicked out.
Somewhat ironically parallel to my senior year of high school, it was my senior year of College that I struggled the hardest I’ve ever struggled (and ever will) with Depression and Anxiety. I really, really, was in a rut. There were circumstances that made it worse, but to some it up, it was hell. I ended up on a high dosage of Lexapro for several months, which helped a bit. If it wasn’t for my family and friends and God (not just saying that), I don’t know where I would be. But hey, I made it :)
Since my College Graduation, I have been pursuing music as my professional career. I wrote a lot of songs and took professional vocal lessons in College, and through the ring of school, I realized that with my personality unless I pursued what I am most passionate about I could not get very motivated. Therefore, music it was. Now, you have to know that no one in my family has ever pursued a career in any type of art. My mom was an amazing concerto Violinist, but she went to law school. My dad, mom, sister, and grandpa, are all lawyers. My announcement that I wasn’t going to endure law school to take over the family practice was blasphemy at the time; but I was going to prove them wrong.
I knew that I was made to make music, and that I was going to be able to figure out how to do it full time. Of course that would be (and is) a risk, but it was one that I was absolutely going to take. How could I deny who I was? How could I bury the very thing that I was meant to show the world? For as long as I remember, my dream has been to be an Artist. My first memory is me asking Jesus to make me become a “famous singer” (not even kidding).
The journey in what it would look like has matured and changed along the way, but I am glad with where it has landed. For a long time, I wanted to be in some big church group. Than I wanted to be in a boy band. The more I wrote, it soon became clear that Secular Artist was the way I was going to go. It was the only thing that didn’t feel fake when I did it. I realized that I had to be able to just be who I am, and not try to become something for anyone. That may sound very millennial of me, and maybe it is. But I genuinely believe that the only way to bring anyone hope is to lay out your journey as honestly as possible, trying not to give a fu*k about opinions, and let people read it. Music is my was of letting people read my life’s journal.
Shortly after starting my career, I soon got recognized by an Artist Manager in London. It wasn’t overnight though, not even a little bit. She essentially “discovered” me, and told me that I wasn’t good enough yet, but could be if I tried hard enough. So I signed up for several online courses in music production, and began producing my first album. By the end of the process, about six months later, after multiple online courses and dozens of Youtube video tutorials, I independently tracked, wrote, mixed, and mastered my first album. Because of the time it took to learn this side of the music process, I still and will always do the lead writing of my own music, a majority of the production, even down to the mixing and mastering, mostly because I’m cocky and don’t want anyone else doing something that I can learn on my own.
After I finished this album, I started playing small shows in Portland and selling hard copies of my album (old school I know). A few short months later, I got an email from the London Manager who now felt that I was good enough for us to start working together. A month later, I was in Italy recording on a beach front studio with one the top producers in the business. The next year would be spent in trips to London, mentorships by producers and PR people, meet and greets with big names in the industry, and multiple studio sessions across the globe.
We recently just finished mastering 5 songs that I recorded in January 2017 in Manchester, which will be released in the next few months most likely via radio in the U.S. At the same time, I just released my first single in a while, “Brother,” a song that I wrote, produced, and mixed/mastered here in Portland with the help of some of my Portland musician buddies. (It’s up on SoundCloud, click here to check it out and to share it with your friends and everyone you know!).
I will be playing plenty of local shows in my hometown of Portland while I record my second full length album (click here for show dates), set to be released early December 2017 to early January 2018. This album will be given away for free digitally on SoundCloud and probably a few other platforms, and sold physically at my shows.
So, that’s me :) I really appreciate you reading this whole thing, and for staying connected to what I am doing! To sign up for my email list, which will give you updates on when things like this and more music comes out, click here. For my SoundCloud, which has a free download link for “Brother,” click here. For my Instagram, click here. Much love Wolf Pack, couldn’t be more grateful to call you not just my fans but my family.
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