Adulthood as a Creative

Photo: Chris Ebin Halkyard

Photo: Chris Ebin Halkyard


Time happens whether you're ready or not. Days blend into one another and you find that your body and mind have changed when you weren't looking. It's weird. Adulthood happens, and as creatives we are often late in realizing that we made a choice that was so rebellious, so anti-prescribed narrative that we never bothered to voice the happening. It started when art was a lovable hobby and when it seamlessly became the way you asked questions and provided solutions, you didn't notice. You didn't notice until someone from the outside questioned your "radical." Maybe it was that 10 year high school reunion invitation that reminded you that you don't have children or a mortgage. Or that family member that asks you about work, you mention your survival job, and you can see their faces question your "wasted degree." This place of friction between the worlds often brings flooded feelings of pride, questions of self, and a fog of the unreality of life. This list is an acknowledgement of lessons. 



Mourning and rejoicing in the loss of love

Images courtesy of: Cha'ves Jamall 

Images courtesy of: Cha'ves Jamall 

What role are past relationships supposed to play in our current lives? When I mention a past relationship in conversation, I worry that I'm dwelling, but in the same breath I lived so much life with these persons how could I not reference? They aren't dead or they are, but still they aren't here. The proverbial house we created still exists in my mind but I walk through its halls alone, scavenging for memorabilia to take with me. I own a  boulevard of these homes but I myself live in a small apartment with overflowing shelves of artifacts. Do I live in a cramped room of sour and sweet nostalgia, or do I burn the whole damn thing down and "just get over it" as prescribed?

As artists we have made a commitment to acknowledge the complexities of human emotion. Nothing's yes or no but an opportunity to create destinations out of 'the middle,' that in its best form provides comfort for  yourself and for others. The way you choose to articulate and create is up to you, but you have the right to acknowledge your history. 




The dysphoria of new places/The opacity of former selves

You moved. You changed the rhythm of what you knew. You double-dutched and sang new songs, but then you started watching the ropes and it made you dizzy. So you sat down only to realize the person holding the ropes wasn't the girl from next door, or that kid that got on your nerves but you let him play anyway, it was someone you didn't recognize. This in fact wasn't your backyard and this isn't some sort of long summer break. You won't return to your former life in the fall, and it's not even that you want to return to where you were but you just always thought you'd have the option. Your same eyes view these same places in different ways.  It still feels safe but you can't taste the potential anymore. The optimism that you grew here, that  brought you overseas, that showed you the realities of others, also allowed you to out grow these familial covers. You hover every time you visit and you know your feet will never touch the ground again but that's the price when you decide that international is local. There are no regrets. When you find yourself in these old rooms make sure you hum the tunes you learned on those foreign shores. Whistle these lullabies to your little cousins or that friend longing to deep sea dive but is looking for a breath, and although you are hovering






you're not above them. 






The evolution of faith

God maybe isn't the man they told you he was, and you feel sinful every time you attempt to unpack this  thought.  So you hide it in the back of your mind and only pray when things feel heavy. You don't want to renounce the label completely yet you are fully aware the original description as it was taught to you simply  doesn't apply anymore.  

Your heart tells you that there is truth in the bass, but the melody needs to be rewritten. You don't need to forget the songs. You don't have to forget the stories. In fact take the things that you know to be true and weave them through your approach. It's okay to pray. It's okay to take moments of gratitude to battle frustration. Try to resist taking a final stance and choose to hear the stories of others without judgement. Welcome this place as an ongoing conversation. 




The shape-shifting of your creative

Creativity is language. It has an ever-expanding list of dialects, each one providing nuances in tone and unique advantages in conveying specific emotions. I'll say this plainly: you have no obligation to stay in any one lane. There will always be that starter medium that hooked you. That told you yes. That affirmed your contribution as an artist, but creativity isn't a jealous lover. Challenge yourself to explore new vessels to tell your stories, because the more dialects you speak the more potential you have to reach. 




People do what they can do (but the rest is up to you)


To quote my mother and probably every black woman in America "no one owes you anything". Unfulfilled blind promises with the best intentions will not hold up in a court of law; cannot serve as the reason you didn't get the job, or the reason why your rent is late. We've all had people in our lives who have offered to help but when it came down to it they were nowhere to be found. I used to be hurt by this occurrence because more often than not it wouldn't be a stranger off the street but someone that meant something to me. Someone that wasn't disposable. Someone that maybe even had a history of helping but in that moment they fell short. You can't be mad. People do what they can do and the rest is up to you. I should rephrase 'people do what they can do but PLAN to do it all.' I'm not talking about not trusting others but rather owning the things that you have control over. So when people ARE able to help it feels like a welcomed addition. 




The end of the show


"Thank you ladies and gentlemen for coming out! This was in fact the last performance of me catering to your needs before I consider my own" 

Yes, I'm witty and clever.  I love to laugh and I love to make you laugh but in the same stroke, I will allow my face to voice disgust when injustice is the topic. 

It was so wonderful to be able to see you this evening, and no I will not give a reason for why I'm going home before the next shot. Let me kiss you on the cheek and text you to let you know that I made it home safely, you do the same. 

I'm aware of the characters I created in my extended adolescence that were more "down" than I am today. Those were not false truths but simply projections of the time I was having. Time is a complex system of archives and current systems that work together to build future expansions. Yes, outdated code often needs to be rewritten in order to ensure optimization.

So let's plan for lunch next week, enjoy your evening. 


A breath for gratitude


You aren't always winning, but you aren't always losing either. The sky is big and the bottom of the sea has regions that are still undiscovered. As long as you are breathing there will always be opportunities to find joy. Even when the room is dark and your happiness seems like a hole in the corner of the room the size of a penny. Choose to fit. Finagle your body into that small opening and choose to make it a destination. 




The value of your work has to change but respect for others can't

(You can be the shit, but you can't be an asshole.) 



Your body is yours to love

My body is mine to love.

My body is mine to love.

My body is mine to love.                                                  

Say that to yourself as often as you need to. Repeat it in moments of insecurity, in moments of disrespect and neglect. Your bones, your skin, is your home.  














Briana and Terrance meet up every week in a small studio in the West Village to record The Bruised Ego. With incense burning and wine flowing they let go of The hustle  of the city and start to cleanse their Souls, one story at a time. 



How did you and Terrance get the idea for this podcast, and what does it mean to you?   

Terrance. The Bruised Ego was birthed out of a previous podcast that myself and Briana were both a part of.  Both projects were conceived around the central idea that sharing and communing are both important and essential to growth. This project is a safe space I've created with my best friend, and our listeners. I've gifted myself an opportunity to learn from my own words and experiences.  

Briana. I loved learning how to record, and just the idea that I could just talk to my friend and include others in on the conversations blew my damn mind. We decided, after batting around a ton of names, that The Bruised Ego reflected the message: daily struggles we had with learning how to love & be ourselves in the world. Basically, for me it was us reflecting on ourselves in these very common place experiences, in everyday occurrences in life and deconstructing how we work through and get stuck in moments like requesting things, getting ghosted on, or letting go of things.  






"Us in the face of ourselves." 







What is the most difficult topic you had to discuss? 

Briana. The most difficult topic thus far, which we haven't even dealt with yet to be honest, is financial security. Usually I have a ton of topic ideas I want to contribute and it's just funny to me that the one that seems to have a lot of effect on me is the one I steer the clearest from. Another day maybe...BUT as far as the one's we've been brave enough to approach, maybe the one on having bad thoughts. It was hard to utter the thoughts that sometimes crossed my mind in regards to myself and others. I just kept thinking maybe people would think I was weird or something. Sometimes stuff just gets said in that room and it isn't until later that I realize how loose these lips are willing to get. 

Terrance.  I feel like most subjects we talk about require at least a little bravery.  Not only do we unpack our shit, but we do it to an audience! I feel like the episode that was most difficult for me to delve into was our 12th episode " The act of requesting".   My co-host Briana has always been an inspiration to me when it comes to requesting.  That word "requesting" to me is first, about feeling grounded and convicted in my own values and opinions. Secondly, acquiring a boldness that brings those values to others, and thirdly letting a sort of trust move in that makes it possible for both parties to see the best of intentions within that request.  But maybe I'm over complicating things...I should just start requesting things of people and see what happens!

The bruised ego talks about a lot of issues involving mental and spiritual health, it struck me as important because these issues are usually swept under the rug, especially in African American communities. Why do you think it is important to discuss and share your experiences? 

Briana. I think it is very easy to live life in my head. For quite some time I held all my anxiety, pain, trauma, and even joy to myself in my mind. I didn't easily give it or share it with others without a lot of shame and mistrust. I was reactive, uneasy and sometimes just a mean person to myself and others. For a while, everyday began to feel heavy. It wasn't until I actually started seeing a "life coach" I guess that's what I'll call him, that I realized how much freer I could feel when I gave up some of that stuff. I started to just trust my sharing and listening with others and saw that I made up a lot of shit about my own versions of life. I made people mean things and their actions translate to things about me. Most of it negative, leaving me with a sinking feeling of never being good enough to have a better life. A lot clicked for me as far as seeing where I could be a bit more proactive in creating my life. It almost energized me daily to challenge the world I thought I knew. I'm not some anomaly and that was and is enough for me to try this experiment out with everyone in my life. We're here together so why not try to see myself in others and invite others to see themselves in me. Maybe we'll find our way closer to love, or just accepting each other. Imagine what that kind of openness could be for us en masse. If I personally got so much freedom and love in my own by doing this I know it's possible. I think that kind of love starts with sharing ourselves in all of our beauty and ugliness as transparently as possible.

Terrance. My experiences are shaping the person I am becoming. I would be nothing without other people.  They are my mirrors and I am theirs. So why not talk about the things we reflect at each other?  The importance of language and experience started to reveal themselves to me during and after the death process of my mother.  In her I saw so much space and potential in myself. She continues to teach me!  Now that's amazing, and I feel compelled to discuss that power and strength. I think once we understand that potential we can begin to shape and mold our lives into something that works not only for ourselves, but for other people as well. 





"This project is a safe space I've created with my best friend."






What do you want a listener to feel while listening to your podcast? 

Briana. I don't really want them to feel anything in particular. Maybe just that they listen to what they listen to and leave the conversation with whatever they leave with. In that way, I've kind of done what I've wanted to do with this project. I'm satisfied that they were simply there to begin with.

Terrance. I want them to feel whatever is inside of them –passion, grief, joy, anger, love, interest, disagreement, I feel blessed that we have listeners.  I'm happy that they feel something from our conversation.  that's kind of the whole point.  


How has this podcast helped you heal? 

Briana. This process has helped me heal relationships, find more easiness by listening to others, expressing more gratitude for the most basic shit and just live on 1000 all while loving my hot mess of a self. It is teaching me patience and how to produce work and be committed to it. By showing up every week for this, I am telling myself that I am capable. I am worthy. I've never quite felt that I was any of those things before now. 

Terrance. Clarity. This project has provided a clear space for my introspection.  I often can get tangled in the intricate stories I tell myself about who I am, about who other people can be.  Going into the studio and talking with Briana has given me a clearer space to see myself.




Shortly after OUR INTERVIEW WE LINKED FOR a discussion on faith. The first HOnest One I've Had in A long time. Listen Below.  




Get Involved. 






1. 10.


South Carolina native Dorian Wilson tells us about the Journey from being a student of photography to capturing life in the eyes of Scottie. 

I met up with Dorian to work with him on a beautiful summer day in Harlem, New York. He had recently promoted a photography special on his Instagram page and was only in town for a few days to fulfill it. I booked a session because I wanted some new shots but I also wanted to talk to him about his craft and figure out a little bit more about him. I arrived at his place and he greeted me wearing a vintage cowboy hat and distressed denim jeans. He shook my hand and treated me as if I was an old friend and not a client. I was in awe as I watched him transition from getting to know his subject to setting up his camera to shoot. It seemed effortless, and I knew I was going to walk away with a shot I was happy with. While he is not working he is a student of photography and is on a journey to mastering his craft. After the shoot, he sat down with me and discussed his path to overcoming depression and life's obstacles to becoming Scottie in our exclusive interview with The Lunch Bx. 



[Q] Describe where you are from and what was it like growing up?

I was born in Beaufort, South Carolina and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Growing up was an ordeal in itself. Ages 14-17 were the years of my life when I was rebellious and totally against authority. I used my creative mediums of choice to escape my reality, instead of dealing with my problems head on. I went through depression, running away from home, to being homeless, drugs, sex, yeah.


"Growing up was a defining milestone for me."




[Q] How did you get into photography?

My mother always taught me to think of the bigger picture. Approaching the end of my sophomore year of college, I was coming to a crossroads. I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do in the next 5 years or so. Back when I was going through depression, I used to write a lot in order to escape my problems. That hobby inspired me to create various genres of stories, which lead into theatrical settings and plot lines. I figured I should be interested in Film Production. Upon looking up Master Degree programs in the subject, I noticed you had to have a film or photography portfolio in order to apply. I was more familiar with the camera, so I figured building a photography portfolio would be easier. Thus began the journey to where I am now. 







[Q] What images of yours are you most proud of and why?





One day I posted a tweet on twitter. It said: 




Ever since that day, I’ve been genuinely PROUD of All of the work that I’ve put out into the universe. It’s almost like my photography tastes are finally catching up to my photography skills.



[Q] What are some of your worst experiences while pursuing you dreams and how did you overcome them?

One of my biggest struggles was simply trying to be an artist full time when I was NOT ready. As much as I want that to be my reality right now, it’s not smart. There is nothing worse than creating art solely for money. Working with someone you don’t really want to work with because you have bills to pay, or you need food to eat.

Overcoming my trials was easy: FIND A DAY JOB! It is not ideal, especially for a passionate artist. However, keeping a day job teaches you essential skills and fundamentals that you will need once you are granted that one opportunity you’ve anxiously been waiting for.




"Overcoming my trails was easy: Find a day job!"

Victor and Me

Victor and Me


[Q] What is some advice you would give to a young photographer just getting started?

Find your muse. Find 2-3 personas or other photographers who get your creative juices flowing just by looking at their work. Really analyze and study your muse. Study them to the point where you can easily identify their work, every artist has their own style. You’d be surprised how much your muses can teach you just by watching and asking questions when applicable. 

[Q] What can a reader do to support you?

Share my work with family, friends, bloggers, other artists, etc! Anything to get my work seen by the masses! If you see my work on the internet or any social media channel, like and comment on it! If you see my work, but my name is not mentioned (which is copyrighting) put my name on it for me! It’s the little things that someone can do that puts a huge smile on my face and shows that you are truly Looking Through My Eyes. 

Stay Connected.






Houston-born Singer-Songwriter Denitia Adesuwa Odigie guides us through her life in this exclusive interview with The Lunch Bx. 


Adesuwa met up with us at The Con Artist Collective in The Lower East side. It was a busy day in New York and I was running a tad late as usual, her calm presence caught me off guard. She immediately made me feel at ease and opened up about her life and the times she spent navigating the busy New York music scene. We talked about her journey from finding inspiration on the highways of Houston, Texas to honing in on her craft in Nashville and selling out venues in the big city. Adesuwa tells us how she became the artist she is today. 

[Q]Talk about your upbringing in Texas and how it affected you artistically and as a person. 

I grew up in Texas right outside Houston. I came from a family of hard-working people, there's a lot of soul in my family, a lot of personalities. I feel really blessed to come from a supportive family. People who’re supportive of what I do. People that love music. I’m the only musician in my family but we listened to a ton of music growing up.  

"Music was always important."

We spent a lot of time in the car commuting on the highway. My mother listened to a lot of Al Green, Smokey Robinson, The Righteous Brothers. Those were her jams. My grandmother listened to old country, classic country. My dad loved The Temptations, he loved Sly and The Family Stone. We all listened to country music and went to the famous Houston Rodeo every year. Just a part of our routine, a part of our swag.


"I feel like all of those things combined shaped me to be who I am today."






[Q] What impact did moving to Nashville at a young age have on you?

I was graduating high school and I had the choice of going to school in Tennessee at Vanderbilt University or going to a couple of schools in California. Coming from where I was coming from – a Christian upbringing, small town, went to a private school, my advisers at school were like you should probably just go to Nashville. You're 16 you should play it safe and go to a smaller school in a place that comparable to Houston.  I loved Nashville, I really started to get more honed in on my interests in music. That's one of the reasons I went there, it's a musical city, my family has visited there before, we'd gone to all the studios on

Music Row.

That excited me that I could go to a place that had such a legacy of music. I was excited to leave home and being in Nashville kind of wet my appetite when I was in undergraduate. I was like, I can't wait to get out of here and be a part of this rock and roll singer-songwriter community. When I finished at Vanderbilt, I stayed in Nashville for six years. I feel like it's a second home of sorts. I learned a lot about the music industry; I learned a lot about music in general, and to my songwriting professor at Vanderbilt I felt indebted to her for teaching me the value of a good well-crafted song.

[Q] How did the change from Nashville to New York happen?

I left Nashville because I felt like I had done everything I could do there and I was hungry for New York. I went to Austin actually for six months; my label was based out there, and I lived there, and I just was like dude I can’t stop thinking about New York. If I'm going to live there now is the time. People were like you're crazy like you could make a living here in Austin! You're building your fan base, people are coming to shows, you're getting all this draw, why would you pick up and leave? I wanted to be a part of New York, I wanted to be a part of Brooklyn, now is time. I was on tour with a couple of artists, and we were in New York, and I was like I'm gonna leave some stuff here because I'm gonna come right back. I went on that tour and came back to Austin and packed my stuff. I'm so glad I did it. I'm so glad I followed that instinct that drive to come here because this is where I've found the most success.

[Q] What were some of your best musical experiences in New York?

Maybe it's not like a typical answer, but I learned how to produce here. I was living in an artist collective in South Brooklyn, and I learned how to record myself and really experiment with sounds and like actually produce a song, this is something that felt very alien to me. I feel fortunate enough to play in front of some really big crowds here. I've had the pleasure of playing with my partner on

denitia and sene.



The first night that I moved into the artist collective that I mentioned earlier Sene had been working in the studio that was based in that house. I met a whole slew of people, I was playing some songs on the guitar and singing and I had a great time. A few months down the road Sene had asked me to feature on a rap song that he was working on at the time and it just kinda worked out. I never sang anything that anyone else had written before, and we just kinda kept working together after that. We made an EP of three songs and we decided to keep going. We released some songs on soundcloud and it was a really organic thing, people liked it so they shared it. We just kind of kept releasing music and we were on an incline from there. 

[Q] Talk about some obstacles you had to overcome in your experiences in New York. How did you overcome them?

Yeah sure, I think briefly, and broadly the cost of living in New York can feel a little disproportionate to the incoming income for lack of a better word that a typical artist on the rise is receiving. Being spread thin and trying to get the resources together to make more records I think has stood as a challenge but those are the kinds of things when I did have the time to make a record it helps to motivate one to make it count. To make something happen in those precious moments. Yeah, I think obstacles are kind of how you want to look at it. If I'm making music, then I don't see a problem. You know what I mean? If I'm able to write music and work then, whatever obstacles might quote unquote come my way they're just challenges – things that have to be worked through to keep doing what I love to do which is freakin' singing. 

[Q] What's the best piece of advice you've ever gotten?

Time and time again in different culminations it's don't sell yourself short.

"Value what you do."

Download Adesuwa's 'Air Light' EP on iTunes

1. 10.

Walter Cruz






[Q] Tell us about The Bronx and how it's influenced your work?



It affected me more directly as I got older. I think when I was younger I took it for granted like – this is where I live, this is my home. My brother and I went to this middle school in district nine, which was the worst district for a whole lot of messed up reasons. So I guess somewhere a long the way my brother and I were like, we gotta break this cycle. We convinced our mom to let us leave, and we left at 14 to go to high school in Massachusetts. That made me more aware of The Bronx because we would come home from vacation and it created this double consciousness of – I gotta navigate white suburbia but I still live in the hood.  




The Bronx, NY









[Q] How has your twin brother supported you through the years?

The first thing that came to mind is how hasn’t he. Through highs, the lows and everything in between, Kleav has always been there. Whether it was encouraging me to explore art, to going on adventures together, or being roommates post-college. Through thick and thin, Kleav has always held me down. I’m forever grateful!




I've always been into art, I've always liked drawing and immediately after college My brother and I moved to Beijing. Someone paid for us to move over there so I was like alright we out. So we get there and there's this huge art area called the 789 DISTRICT




When I got back to New York I started going downtown all the time to Chelsea, to the museums. I was going to all these openings like I gotta meet all of these people! I was in it full swing. 



"One day I took a step back and I was like yo this art is cool but I never see anyone that looks like me."


I never see a black face I never see it. At first, there was a lot of resentment like – this is bullshit, I'm not going to Chelsea no more, I'm over this! Then I was like that doesn't solve anything so I started painting.

I realized what I saw the least all the time was black women. So I started painting portraits of black women since I never saw them in those spaces.  I wanted to help create that space and show respect to them, cause when I did see black women it was anger. I wanted to make portraits of them smiling or laughing cause It's not just the angry black women. 





She's happy too, she cries too, she laughs too.


Thinking about back in The Bronx. My Mom and my Grandmother they [didn't] see something they can reflect in. So when I started creating the portraits they were the first people I showed them too. So whenever they approved I was like – this one's good, this one's done. 






[Q] What has been some of the biggest obstacles in pursuit of your career?

I really wanted to get into organizing art shows. That fall when I got back from China I started working downtown at this non-profit and I hosted this show. I brought together 20 different artists and I rented out this gallery, everything out of pocket. We did it, we had like 300 people show up and I was like oh shit this is something, we can do this! It just got me so hype, I was like this is my thing I need to do art,

I need to be around this always. 

People started hitting me up [saying] I need you to do a painting I need you to do this. It started getting out of control where I would go to work and then be up till 5 in the morning and then go back to work. It got to a point where I had to decide. Either I'm going to be comfortable at my office job, getting paid, I'm chilling, or I'm going to take a chance and try this art thing out. So I talked to my mom and she was like look – if you want to do art and quit just understand that this is going to be the hardest thing you've ever done in your life. So I was like alright, I took the leap. I went to work and put in my two weeks. The rest has been history. 



Fear is an illusion danger is real but fear is in your head. Once you get over that you're good and then you just walk away from that because you want to try something different. There are days you wake up and you're like fuck did I make the right decision, should I have just stayed at that job? But it's a constant battle. I'm not at a point yet where I can just sit back and say, alright I did it ya know.


I'm still grinding like crazy.







1. 10.






Binnie Freud came over my tiny Manhattan apartment to talk about his goals and dreams. At over 6 feet tall there is no way anyone could ignore him, but what strikes me the most is how grounded he is. As I'm running around my place looking for my charger he's patiently waiting seemingly unbothered by my nervous energy. I told Binnie about The Lunch Bx as soon as the idea started forming in my brain and he was immediately interested which took me by surprise. With him it is not about ego, he was open to being interviewed and he was ready to share his story. With Lauryn Hill playing in the background he let me into his life and the lessons he's learned. 


More opportunity FOR THE MOST PART, I FELT LIKE THIS WAS THE ONLY PLACE YOU COULD GROW. I wanted to escape the small town trap.






It was an escape from the pain, I was going through a lot in the past and music was the only thing that made me feel like I could talk about my problems. It was like my public journal. It was cathartic for me. 


I was homeless for a little bit in New York, and I guess trying to find the balance of working a normal job and trying to build a career, especially in this place. New York will suck you in and you might find something where you’re making a lot of money but not doing what you want to do.  My biggest obstacle is dealing with the abuse of artist. 



It's just like the nature of the business, or even the nature of capitalism. If you don’t have good representation or you're not somebody that's making a lot of money, or you don’t have a lot of money in general, people treat you as such. That just what we've built. It's even tougher on artists because it's something that's tied into expressing your emotions. Any art form that's tied into expressing your emotions, your gonna take that extra personal. So there's always that fight. It's like you know your worth you get a little prideful of that. I’m not going to have someone tell me I’m not worth anything when I know

I'm worth gold. 




Honestly, don’t let New York be your last stop, any bubble is still a bubble no matter how big it is. When they say – if you can make it here you can make it anywhere, you have to go to other places to prove that fact. Stay one hundred percent focused on what you want because you're gonna deviate from that path so many different times. 










I have a project called Chocolate Diamond that I plan to premiere in late March/early April. The inspiration behind the project is reflective of the time. When you think of a chocolate diamond it's supposed to be this rare material just as a white diamond is, but the difference is they say it's impure, that's sort of how people are. You know people who've made it [to be] successful they've gone through the dirt they're not exactly one hundred percent pure –whatever that's supposed to mean, but they're themselves so they're perfect. 


I guess.







1. 10.


With several projects in the works. Cha'ves Jamall continues to create art that is undefined by boundaries and spans multiple mediums. 


[Q] Where are you from originally, and what was it like coming of age? 

I'm originally from a college town in Northern Indiana called South Bend, mostly known for Notre Dame University. The school district I grew up in was primarily made up of white upper-middle-class families. However the government-assisted apartment complex that my family lived in was barely in the district, and I believe that the only reason they bused us in (my largely black and Hispanic neighbors) was as a way to diversify. My home life was chaotic. I grew up in a single-parent household with two brothers and a sister. My mother is a smart, caring woman who suffered from depression. Having a child at 19 with few options leaves dreams unrealized. As a result, she was sometimes angry and I think resentful of the opportunities I fell into in this very white, privileged school system. I don't blame her. I lived two lives. One as a stereotypical, poor black child dealing with the friction of repression.  And the second as a charismatic, theater kid working very hard to not let the happenings of his home life affect 'the show'. See, I learned that I was pretty funny and creative, and I could make people feel included. The separation of these two lives worked, in the beginning.

[Q] What was the reason for your move to New York?

I moved to Chicago pretty soon after graduating high school after a short cameo at a state school. In Chicago I played around in a few mediums; ballet, photography, fashion, before landing a gig with a web agency called The Plum Tree Group. There I began learning a new language of marketing, branding, and e-commerce. After learning my creativity could be flexed in ways that I didn't know existed, I began getting anxious and curious about the pieces of me that were still yet to be found. Because Chicago was so lucrative in my creative understanding, New York seemed like the natural next step.

[Q] How did you decide to become a creative? 

I don't think I actually decided to be a creative. However, I did actively decide that I would animate this world however I wanted. And that the opinions of friends, family, and colleagues were just that: opinions. And, ultimately, I have the final say in my narrative.

[Q] Who are some artistS that inspire you?

It's hard to just pick a few artists that inspire me. I am the result of a cluster of several influences. My mother provided a backdrop of artists like Tony Toni Tone, Johnny Cash, Luther Vandross, Loretta Lynn. In independent childhood, I listened to a blend of India Arie, Lauryn Hill, White Stripes, Hellogoodbye, Nelly Furtado (her first album).

"These days I am the most comforted by Nina Simone."

[Q] What does your artistic process consist of? 

Process. Such a funny word because there really isn't a process for the process. Art happens. I would consider myself a serial creative. I'm inspired by a lot of different mediums. So I supposed my process would start with understanding the message I'm trying to communicate, and pairing it with a medium that makes the most sense, or I think will be the most effective. Currently, I am looking to contribute to conversations around mental health and racial injustice. The music felt like the best platform to not only be heard but also to listen. 

As far as my process specific to music, I typically start with a message, create a story, and litter it with emotional connections. My first single 'Field Trip' (slated for release in late May) is a track about mental health and how it affects the perception of self, specifically in a relationship (or in lust). One of the lyrics in the song is "When will I be loved next? I love sex. Standing in the mirror maybe I should work pecs... obliques, now I'm feeling on your buttocks" in a few lines, and I talk about insecurity AND sexual positivity. They do live in the same world. And as an artist I believe it is my job to communicate complex feelings in ways that are not only consumable but also relatable. 

"Art is therapy for you and me."


[Q] What are some obstacles you had to face and how did you overcome them?

The biggest obstacle that I encounter regularly is me.  My work is becoming less about what the world did to me and more about what I plan to do about it. Globally people of color have been misled in so many ways. Which can make it hard to not dwell in failures and false promises.

"The thing I have to remember is that while my voice is strong, the voices of a community have the potential to be much stronger. "

[Q] What are you most looking forward to in 2016?

My first single is coming out soon and I will continue to work on my first EP. It's funny because you always see interviews in which musicians talk about how much they love the studio. Well I guess I'll be cliche. Being able to take a written piece and translating it into a sonic experience is such a satisfying process.






1. 10.