Why I quit singing and started rapping..
So my 2021 album "Note to Self" isn't actually my first album. In fact, it's the 3rd project that I've released since embarking on this journey of becoming one of your favorite artists. I mean, why else would you be here reading this blog if I wasn't.
Anyways, when I started recording back in 2012 I literally started with Mixcraft (a music recording program) and no skills at all using a cheap computer mic.
My first project "Broken Boundaries of Existence" which was a fusion of Pop and R&B with a touch of Alternative Rock gave me my first opportunity to show the world what I could do as an artist. From that album I released the first single "We Gonna Party" which I paid $120 for 2 hours of recording time at a local professional studio.
My ex, my cousin Moo Moo and a friend of mine Brittany helped add some background vocals. Not knowing anything really about being in a studio, writing or recording, I was super excited that I had an opportunity like this to "record like the stars."
It was nothing like that, I'm sure. But that's how I felt.
I barely had enough time to finish the song so at the end I continuously repeated the chorus over and over until I ran out of room on the instrumental to say "we gonna party, we gonna party, we gonna party, party, party, party, party.."
It was a bit of a mess to be completely honest.
But we finished the song, I released it and still to this day (for some reason) people always ask me, "where can I listen to 'We Gonna Party', is it on Spotify?"
At that time, yes I did think the song was pretty good. I mean for my first time recording and "professionally" singing, I felt comfortable enough to release it.
My mom, who supports everything I do regardless and my family all seemed to like it.. or at least that's what they said when they came to my album release party.
BUT I will say I appreciate their support. That support is what made me keep going and pushed me to become a better artist and vocalist. Thinking back now after listening to my music, I don't think it was THAT BAD but I definitely didn't sound like I needed to be signed to anyone's record label.
So after the first project in 2012, I released another project titled "My Own Religion" which was one of those "I fucking hate you" albums about a relationship that I was in. I wanted to break away from all of the things that people were also saying, critiquing my music and questioning my sexuality.
I also wanted to tap into a different sound, incorporating more of what I had done in the past but add a bit more R&B/Soul and Funk with records like "One Life to Live", "Saturday Night Fever" and "Hot", which were fan favorites.
This album, I didn't have the help of my friend Teri, who assisted in recording and co-writing 99% of my first project. That project was the first of many to become self written and recorded. I felt like I had a lot to prove with that one. Listening back now, the sound quality was still really bad and the vocals weren't the best but a lot of the lyrics were decent.
There was a time after releasing that project where I felt I wanted to find vocal lessons after two of my cousins were dissing me on Facebook, saying how I was an amateur and couldn't sing. Yeah, my cousins. But it's all good..
A few years went by and as I continued to write music, I was still in a relationship (which lasted 7 years) and at that time it started to take a toll on me. I found out that HE (yes, I'm gay) was cheating on me with various people.
How did I find out?
Well, he had a video of him fucking someone else on his phone and other shit too.
Honestly, I was completely devastated and had my very first out of body experience dealing with heartbreak.
I had to vent and I did so through my music of course.
Around that time, I had already graduated high school, was working full time and decided to pack my bags and move.
I packed my shit and moved into my very first townhome. I felt so free but then my feelings got the best of me and decided to give the cheating bitch a "second chance."
It didn't last that long. The following year, I moved again even further away so that I couldn't give him a third chance. Once again, I felt so liberated and the responsibilities of an adult didn't feel so frustrating as they do now. I guess I was still warming up.
When I walked into this apartment, I sat down on the floor before even receiving my keys or being fully approved for it.. and prayed.
Thankfully, I was approved.
My little one bedroom apartment.
Coming from so much chaos, it brought me so much peace. I honestly was at one of the most happiest moments of my life. On my own, single and just enjoying life.
So, I moved in and immediately started working on music. Of course I had to take a few selfies though.
Check me out:
Haha, yeah yeah yeah.. I know.
Ya'll see my little dreads?
Shoutout to my cousin Resha who did my hair and laid me out for cutting them a year later.
So, back to the story..
Somewhere between 2016-2017 I said that I was going to quit singing primarily. I had tried my hand at rapping a few times on my previous records and wanted to challenge myself to doing it more. I honestly didn't feel as confident with my singing voice due to my voice getting deeper and just some feedback that I received from family and friends who suggested "don't quit your day job."
Not sure if many of you know but I can be very tough on myself sometimes.
Yeah, yeah, Yeah.. I know. How could I right?
I always here how "sexy" I am and how "talented" I am but I am my worst critic sometimes. At the same time, I am my biggest fan as well. It depends on the day.
So after moving into my new apartment, I finished up my 3rd album titled "Young Man Ambition" which was completely different from ANYTHING I've done. The music was more aggressive, lyrically I was more vulgar and explicit.
I titled it "Young Man Ambition" because I felt so accomplished and motivated to become greater than all of my self doubt and my naysayers. I didn't hold back. There was still a small element of softness but for the most part, I wanted to talk my shit.
I released a few videos, including the one for "Friend Zone" that I shot myself in the new apartment.
Another one I filmed was "Hunnit Bandz" which was one of my brothers favorites.
Peep the dreads still?
And "Three Sixty Five" was one of the most fun to film. We filmed it in my neighborhood in front of an abandoned house at night. That was one of the best nights and my mom even had a cameo!
So after releasing so many songs rapping, I honestly did give up on singing primarily.
I felt like for me, rapping was my way of venting even more than I could with singing. When I want to be soft and sensual, I seem to sing. When I want to talk my shit, or express myself lyrically, I write raps.
Also, because I was "working on my voice."
I took a break from singing because I wanted to study the artists that inspired me to sing.
I wanted to get better.
Perfecting my imperfections.
Two years later, I fell in love again, relocated to a new city..
Oh and cut my hair..
And started back singing again..
Check out this unreleased video of me in the studio:
To shorten this long story, lets just say I'm still a working progress but I've released way more singing covers than I would have ever imagined.
Maybe it was the fact that I was in love again and it inspired me to sing?
I'm not sure, but I'm happy to be back singing and feeling a lot more confident about it. Even my Facebook friends started saying slick shit like..
DonBon asking "When you learn how to sing?" under my cover of Tevin Campbell's "Can We Talk." I'm assuming he was shocked that I was back singing and actually sounded way better than what I use to.
Well, I can agree to that.
So, I say all of this to say I'm working on a new R&B focused album.. 80% singing. Unlike most of my most recent projects. This one you definitely don't want to miss.
Here's a snippet of something I'm working on that may end up on the tracklisting..
And another one..
Andddd one more..
Well, I hope that answered some of your questions if you were inquiring..
- why don't you sing on your albums?
- when are you releasing a R&B album?
- why do you rap so much?
Thank ya'll for supporting regardless.
The reason why I improved and got better is because I never gave up.
I really appreciate the love.. especially from the ones who have been supporting me from the beginning in 2012-2014. You believed in me and never stopped. I love ya'll. Thank you.
Oh, and I'm sure you're probably wondering where you can hear my older music right? Well, unless you were fortunate enough to download them from the internet a few years ago or own a CD, you probably will never hear them. A few of them are still online somewhere, I'm sure.
But enjoy the music that's out and coming soon, it's way better anyways.
Remember, things will get better. Never give up on YOU or your dreams!