The Music Business: My Experience Balancing Relationships, Parenting, and “The Itch”

With the Grammys airing on Sunday music has dominated conversation on social media outlets for the last 48 hours.  It made me do a little thinking.  Albert, a friend of mine from college sent me a text message on Friday with a link to a YouTube video asking me what did I think of a certain artist.  I meant to respond right away but life got hectic and I finally hit him back last night.  I liked it.  I’d been thinking about if for a while and a big part of me wouldn’t mind being in the music business again.

Music has been my life.  I’d been singing in choirs since I was about five and writing songs since then (I don’t care what anyone says even though I don’t remember the words or the melody “Rediculous Girl” (1991) was a hit song that was gonna change the world).  I took piano lessons starting at eight years old.  I started playing the saxophone at eleven.  Realized I had perfect pitch at twelve and started assisting in directing choirs in seventh grade.  Not very well, but I taught myself how to play the bass as well.  I didn’t take any of those lessons seriously because I didn’t connect with playing instruments.  I just wasn’t passionate about them.

My passion was in using my ears.  Once my father told me what perfect pitch was I became his show pony among his musician friends.  Everyone was amazed at something I thought every musician can do.  One of them said to me “What you can do is something 1 in 2000 musicians can.”  To this day I have never met anyone with perfect pitch and I don’t know too many musicians who have met another with absolute pitch.  Perfect or absolute pitch means that I can hear any note out of the air and tell you “It’s a C” or whatever it is.  People with very good relative pitch can do this, but they’ll get something wrong.  I truly believe in the saying never say never, but unless I go deaf or messing with you I will never tell you a wrong note. 

Having this gift frustrated all of my music teachers like to no end.  I didn’t care for playing instruments.  I liked to listen to things and figure out arrangements.  When I was eleven years old I realized what I wanted to do with music: I wanted to use my ear to be on the business side.  I wanted to be Puff Daddy when he was Puff Daddy and ruled the airwaves.  I made just about everything in my life as a stepping stone towards that.  I started off making mixtapes of different artists in ways and sequencing that would be good albums.  I spent hours listening to Hot 97 with my finger on the pause button to record good blends and exclusives from DJ Clue and Funkmaster Flex.  At thirteen I started rapping.  It was my outlet.  I never wanted to be one or a star myself, but I figured that if I want to perfect my ear for production, sequencing, and what I would later know is called artist and repertoire (a&r) with no artists then I would start with me.

I recorded albums in high school and would sell them.  That’s what I set out to do when I started ninth grade.  Graduating and getting into a good college was a guarantee so I didn’t think twice about that being my goal.  I would produce songs with my friends who I would convince to rap or I would write verses for them.  The sessions would be amateur hour for real but I learned a lot about making people who sucked (sorry guys) sound decently.  I had a strict no punching in takes policy unless you had no rhythm so I really learned how to make them sound good.  Of course I always wound up editing stuff and putting things on beat later, but that was part of the game.

I began learning how to mix.  It made me listen to records differently.  It’s the first thing I listen to.  I pay attention to how sounds and vocals are panned to the left and the right and all of that.  Everything was a stepping stone.

In college I had turned my little rap thing into a little buzz on campus.  I became the music guy who did songs for the football team, coordinate and edit stuff for pageants and events around campus, and when I’d drop a CD people actually cared.  If someone told me they liked something I did they could actually quote something back if they didn’t do that beforehand.  To my SpelHouse family, my claim to fame is that I was the first person to have a release party/listening session at Jazzman’s.

In college i started working at a record company.  I loved it.  I had put in enough work and was slowly somewhat working my way up.  That was the goal.  Work hard and when I graduated have an a&r job somewhere.  I loved the people at Disturbing Tha Peace, so ideally I would have loved to stay there.  Then I started seeing Timile.  A couple of months into it I had to make a choice: the music business and my dreams or her.  I chose her.  She never gave me an ultimatum.  I just knew that both lives couldn’t and wouldn’t coexist so I acted preemptively before I lost one or both. Professionally I’ve been lost ever since.  I’ve done a thing or two here or there, but nothing that I was passionate about because I was just receiving a check.  I was okay with that.

With how things have played out I made the right choice.  It’s been a long road but I am happy with that.  I had something with someone many people wish that they could have in their lifetime.  It sucked that it ended when I was 26, but there’s a reason for that and I have an idea of what it is but I have to wait on God to confirm it to me.  I have a little girl who is my world and y’all to talk about her to because of it.  No regrets.

Two years since Timile’s passing and a myriad of crazy wild heartbreaking motivational daunting enjoyable but hellish experiences later I’ve been getting the itch again.  I think that with all that I’ve gone through I could balance both in my life and if I were to be in a relationship again with someone they would understand this.  In a perfect world, they’d be someone who is just as passionate…that is if it works out.  Honestly, I don’t even think I’m done.  Since it’s on my mind and heart why not?

The only reservation I have about it is Cydney.  I don’t mind working long hours but I want to continue to have the awesome dynamic that I have with her.  I want to be able to come home to my little girl.  I know a few people who are blessed to be able to do this.  To y’all I have questions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s