I was a loud mouthed, opinionated kid, who ditched his SAT’s and got expelled from high school.
My creative story starts in Fresno, California in my teens. I was 15, riding shotgun in my best friend Jons’ Toyota Four Runner, and my life instantly changed when I heard “Mastermind” by Deltron 3030.
After that I became obsessed with learning to “make beats” of my own. I was your typical suburban hip-hop producer; buying and selling drum machines, sampling records, cruising Amoeba for the newest underground tapes, and skateboarding - lots of skateboarding. It was fun, but to be frank–my music sucked. It wasn’t until years later that would I figure out my sound and where I fit in.
Growing up I didn’t subscribe to the status quo: get good grades, play sports, graduate and go off to college. I didn’t want to become a cog in a wheel of debt and predetermined life milestones. I despised the “normal” life. I was a loud mouthed, opinionated kid, who ditched his SAT’s and got expelled from high school. I was asleep, angrily resting, unable to communicate my deep sadness, yearning for art, genuine connections, and open communication. It took working 60 hour, sun-battered work weeks installing business furniture to realize I needed an alarm clock.
OPEN YOUR EYES KID.
I went from a low middle class kid pushing office chairs, to a low middle class somewhat artsy kid, with a BAS in Sound Engineering.
One day while unloading chairs in the back of a 140 degree truck, I thought to myself, “What the hell am I doing with my life?” I’m practically killing myself for $5.50 an hour. I didn’t want to be doing this the rest of my life. I wanted to make music. I wanted my music to sound good. I wanted to live where there was more art and music. I wanted better weather. I wanted to live in San Francisco! So I did it, I packed my bags, convinced my grandmother to co-sign on a student loan and went to Ex’pression College in Emeryville, CA.
It was the best decision I’d ever made. It was the first time in my life I actually liked school, no better yet, I loved school. I nearly got straight A’s and never missed a class. I went from a low middle class kid pushing office chairs, to a low middle class somewhat artsy kid, with a BAS in Sound Engineering.
It was almost like having withdrawals from creative heroin. What was going to live up to that experience? Where do I go from here? I’m only 25 and have no idea what’s next.
Right out of college I got hired to be an on-board producer on The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus: A non-profit mobile recording studio. The bus travels the country making music and videos with artists and students. Man was I pumped to land that gig. I had never traveled anywhere as a kid unless someone died or I got in trouble. Now I get to live on a studio tour bus that travels the country making music with the most famous artists in the world, whaaat! “Is this real?” I thought. It felt like a dream. I remember flying into Baltimore thinking, “I did it, I actually made something I want happen.” It was such an exciting time.
For the next 3 years I worked for the Lennon Bus collaborating on hundreds of projects and working with some of the biggest names in the industry. It was the equivalent of a masters education and then some. It was really intense. We had to be recording engineers, videographers, photographers, teachers, go on live TV, manage merchandise, troubleshoot problems, and handle human resources. It nearly killed me, but helped shape me into a multimedia-ninja. Nothing seems stressful after that. At one point during the tour I worked 19 months straight without a day off. So needless to say, living on the road is hard. After 3 years on tour I decided I couldn’t live on the bus anymore. But since I loved the family and mission so much, I became the Creative Director so I wouldn’t have to tour all year anymore. And for the next 3 years I would oversee the bigger events, train the crew, and would direct content for our corporate sponsorships. It was a good happy medium and an opportunity for me to transition back to life in one place. I learned so much in the 6 years I was on the bus, it was truly life changing. Life after the bus was a difficult transition though. It was almost like having withdrawals from creative heroin. What was going to live up to that experience? Where do I go from here? I’m only 25 and have no idea what’s next.
No more doing things because “that’s just what people do.” Now it was about turning inward, going on a more spiritual journey, to discover self and who I truly am.
During the next 5 years I created businesses that would ultimately fail and freelanced. I tried all sorts of different creative ways to survive in the bay area. I ran my own recording studio, I taught summer camps to kids, I was a freelance music producer, videographer, photographer, designer, and I even moonlit as a DJ and had multiple sub-par music projects. While none of it was “commercially successful,” all of it was amazing experience. I learned so much while continuing to hone my crafts discovering what I do and don’t want to be doing with my creative energy and time.
When I turned 30 it all made sense. I realized, I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do. That meant no more drinking and partying. No more nightlife I never really cared for anyway. No more doing things because “that’s just what people do.” Now it was about turning inward, going on a more spiritual journey, to discover self and who I truly am.
I quit all substances and distanced myself from toxic relationships. I was sober, single, and alone. A perfect way to calibrate myself, to figure out what beliefs and energy are mine and what aren’t. I learned to witness the origin of thoughts and emotions, and to understand that they aren’t real. To be witness as they come and go like a storm. This growth was due to an important decision; I was ready to do the work. I sought guidance and found a mentor, Valera Reznik. He has been my guide psychologically and spiritually, showing me places and things I had forgotten were real. I say forgotten because we all know deep down what the truth of life is, we just get distracted by egos, noise and fear in the world.
This isn’t the end of the story, it’s just the beginning.
Once I was reintroduced to my true-self and embodied my alignment, I realized that I want to create conscious art and make with purpose. Art that brings people up from the dark into the light. My mission is to utilize my different skills to promote health and well-being. It’s to collaborate with others who are doing the work and those that are just starting the journey. I created TÅEWN for this purpose. It’s a music and visual project to promote health and well-being through sound, movement and visual creation. I’ve also partnered with my best friend Seamus Harte to create Only People Media: a media design company dedicated to helping people share their stories of changework with the world.
I am so excited to embark on these new creative journeys and will be sure to share the experiences, growth, and connections I make here. Stay tuned. Peace & Love.