My good sis Scottie Beam sent out a reminder to the people. She said “I pray you never lose sight of why you started in the first place." And of course that made me think about my “Why.” Why did I want to do music? Why did I want to work in music? Why did I want to write? If I’m being honest, I feel like my “why” has shifted a lot over the years. I think my main goal is to reach and unite people like myself. People who work and grind hard and want to be accepted, who want to feel “seen.” I write and make music and work in music because I can freely express myself. I can say what I feel and people can enjoy it (or not) but either way I feel seen. I struggle with needing validation in some ways (that’s a topic for another post) but I strive for my work to have a voice of its own. And I remember the day that this fire started burning in my belly so vividly.
Everybody wants to be the man in their city. I know I did (the woman that is lol). I remember when I first fell in love with the Detroit music scene. I think I was in like 9th or 10th grade. A friend from middle school invited me to this event. It was called “The Red Cup Session.” I remember it like it was yesterday. It was an outdoor showcase and party. They had it at one of the frat houses in the backyard. I remember getting out of the car and hearing the music banging. I was so excited. First off I felt “grown” because I was going out lol. Secondly, I’ve been doing music (in one form or another) since kindergarten so yea. We walk in the backyard and there’s people everywhere. Laughing, drinking, having a great time. The stage is in the middle and people are just crowded around. Folks up there performing their hearts out and the crowd is rocking with them. It was amazing to me because these weren’t “celebrities” but it felt like it lol. These were just local creatives, some even my peers, rocking the stage like they were made for it. And from there, I was hooked.
I wanted to be in all of these spaces and places. I wanted to go to every showcase. I wanted to know all the artists and be “on the scene” as much as possible. My friend and I were regulars at a lot of shows. And even when she left for college I stayed in the mix. I went to showcases solo and I also tried to introduce my new college friends to that atmosphere. It was something like 7th heaven for me. Something about being around all those creatives fueled me. I felt seen. I felt like I belonged. And even though I’m a more quiet, reserved person, a lot of folks recognized me from being around. I felt at home. So imagine how I felt when I decided to start “working” on the music scene and folks didn’t keep that same energy.
I’ve covered all my music ventures and what not before but here’s a brief overview:
-I played the violin from like 1st or 2nd grade to 12th grade
-I started going to local showcases in high school
-I planned my first showcase freshman year of college
-I was a regular at the Untitled Bottega and TAUT
-helped a friend start their music label
-Tried my hand at management
-Worked for a music management group
-Went back to doing showcases
-Started singing and writing music
-Worked as an A&R
-Done some vocal producing
And the list goes on and on.....
And as much as I’ve done with and for people in my city, I don’t get half as much of that love back. I got a chip on my shoulder the size of Texas because I feel like my city should know me. I feel like I should be part of the “in crowd.” And I’m not.
But I’ve come to the realization that it's not even about that. Like since I’ve moved, and it’s only going on 2 weeks lol, I feel like the weight has lifted and the narrative has shifted. When I think back and remember my why, I realize that I didn’t even jump head first into music for myself. It was always for people “like me.” It was about building community and feeling “seen.” And as I continue to write and continue to grow, I realize that though my tribe is few in numbers, my impact is H E A V Y! And I didn’t really notice until it was time for me to transition to another state. I recognized the impact of my character and the reach of my spirit. There are tons of people watching me and counting on me and rooting for me. And even though sometimes I feel like no one has my back, my tribe is holding me down. And that’s what I do it for.
So nah, I’m not popular. I’m not a part of the “in-crowd,” your fave rappers and promoters don’t know my name. My IG following isn’t massive. I don’t get hella likes. But there is a very strong tribe of people in my city that will vouch for me a thousand times over. So I stand proud on my God given gifts, praying that he allows me to continue to grow and build. Sometimes you have to drown out the excess noise and opinions and get directly connected to the source.
So to all my creatives that are struggling to find your place, to the creatives who are invalidating their work based on the amount of ‘likes’ and ‘followers,’ to the creatives that feel like they need to bend and mold themselves into someone that their not just so people will “see” them, to all the creatives who feel out of place and overlooked, this one is for you. I literally see you. I’ve literally been you. And I can say, wholeheartedly and with evidence, IT WILL GET BETTER. Just make sure you remember why you started and keep that tucked away in your heart for safe keeping. It’s hard, but imagine abandoning your gifts for the “easy route".......miserable right? Trust the process.