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.