My Top 5 Moments of 2016

5 Young Life Camp Timber Wolf Lake(MI) & Feed The Fire(IN):

I could rap like everyone else, you know, say some fun stuff and then get out the way. But honestly thats really not how God made me, Its not the passion He’s given me. I rap and speak because I enjoy seeing people have “aha” moments and truly become who God made them to be. I was given this opportunity as a teen and It changed my life, so its always a joy when I get invited to speak or rap at teen events.
One particular weekend I found myself booked to speak at a Young life camp for the Michigan area Young Life groups and Feed the Fire Youth Conference in Elkhart, IN. It was one of the most powerful weekends of my year. Of course I was exhausted from all the driving(we nearly put in 6 hours a day) but it was worth it to see the teens responding and getting to encourage their leaders.

4 Interview With DJ Wadeo: I’ve listened to DJ Wadeo for years, we even met in DC back in 06 but he forgot This year I had an amazing oppurtinty to do an interview with him on his nationally syndicated radio show. We talked Heroes Never Die, my spiritual and Cleveland up bringing, and life in Chicago. Wadeo has over 3 million listens to date and puts out quality work. This was definitely a resume moment for me, plus he’s a good brother from Ohio:D

3 Released Heroes Never Die: This was the hardest project for me to released in my 11 year short career. Between running out of financial means to finish it, not reaching our Indiegogo campaign goal, and business investments that didn’t go well I sat on release day emotionally and spiritually tired. I had 5 additional tracks for this project that we weren’t even able to release. I’m confident that my next one won’t be as exhausting. I have developed tougher skin and been given the capacity to ask questions I won’t have prior to this experience.

Along with the downs of HND there were many good things that happened. I got to work with my good friend Alex Hitchens to begin crafting my authentic sound, and my brother in law Adam Amezaga, Insomniac Studios, and Miller Street Studios provided me a polished mix and mastered project. Honestly, I don’t know how far this project will go, but I do know it was a labor of love from my indiegogo supporters, faithful partners, Wife, and Jesus.

2 The Cavs Won: 

I remember in 6th grade when I went to a CAVS game with my math teacher, CJ Rice. The Cavs were following their late 90’s trend of being awful and possibly losing, but that wasn’t what I remembered. I remember receiving a Mark Price jersey button as they retired his number in to the rafters. Moments like those allowed me to love a home team as terrible as mine.

Halfway though high school that was not the case because one of my fellow Ohioans was drafted to the Cavs. We got Lebron James! We had some good years and the Cavs became a good team, but like any sports moment for a Cleveland fan it all came crashing down when he left. Now a days it almost seems like that never happened because Believeland got its long awaited championship after 52 years of anticipation. For a kid from a depressed town this lifted  my spirits even if it was only a game. I felt like I was watching the story of my life unfold on a hardwood floor. We were down 3-1 and no team had ever comeback from that end of an NBA match up. But we did it and that’s a moment that I will never forget.

1 Stepped Off The Boat: 183665_6149245323_6671_n
This year I turned 30 and with that I began to think even deeper about how I’m made and why I’m made that way. After much thought and prayer(for years) I decided to leave my familiar job of seven years and become a full time artist and speaker. Since I was a boy I have loved to draw cartoon characters and pen poems, but at 19 when I started rapping all my other artistic passions took a backseat. I could freestyle for hours and most of all I loved creatively telling people about God’s love for them. I loved it so much that I began to think it must be wrong. This was to fun to be a God thing. Then soon after I began to settle and tell myself that I had to keep my artistic expression a hobby and keep a real job(which was legit for a season) because that will honor the Lord more.

The one thing I had neglected in this rationale of thought was the reality that making music is hard work! Its a lot of thinking, planning, reading the dictionary, and creatively sharing in a way that is memorable. Show planning can be a wholenother(thats slang for another) beast! The sales, budget, personnel, venue coordination, promotion, hoping, an
d expecting but never being for certain about your turn out. Then I said “Yep, thats a job!” And I began to put away comments like “Your a selfish missionary” and “No one is going to pay for that.”

So my number one is dedicated to all the people who encouraged me to step out in faith and be who I was uniquely crafted to be. I am thankful for your words of encouragement, and much need critiques. I’m a better man for it all be
cause I know who I am and I won’t waste another 30 years not taking the risk the Lord has called me to.