(Listen While You Read)
I WAS WHAT THEY CALLED A “TROUBLED” CHILD.
I was the class clown.
It seemed to the faculty at Lumpkin County Elementary that I could not focus on any work they gave me and it was suggested I may have something wrong with my brain.
As time went on, I became very well acquainted with the elementary school principal. I remember that office room more than any other room in the school.
Staring at the clock, watching the minutes of my life tick away while waiting to be lectured for the 300th time about why I shouldn’t purposely fall out of my chair in the middle of a teacher’s lecture or put tacks in her chair in an attempt to make the classroom laugh.
They didn’t find it amusing.
I was put on experimental ADHD medication which gave me hallucinations. I saw numerous doctors, and long story short I was falsely diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome and placed in special education because the teachers simply couldn’t deal with me.
So I’ve always been a little “different.”
They should have been asking how I was keeping up with all of the other students without studying, doing any homework or seemingly participating at all in class studies.
Lumpkin County Elementary School is located in Dahlonega, GA and is so little-known that I can’t even find a photo of it on a Google search.
The current Board of Education for Lumpkin County. Hopefully they have improved their methodology for determining which children end up in special education.
As a child, I loved being in special education. You didn’t have to do any work.
I could play on the computers all day and teach myself whatever I wanted on the internet. I had no homework and basically got a free pass to do whatever I desired.
But after years in special education, I decided of my own volition that I didn’t belong there.
Doctors came again, this time to give me an IQ test.
I don’t know what I scored but I know the narrative did a 180. They stopped calling me “challenged” and started calling me “gifted.”
I was immediately reinstated into “normal” classes in 5th grade where I continued my education, taking advanced placement courses for college credit in whatever interested me.
It wasn’t long before I was hacking into my high school’s computer network and utilizing exploits in their infrastructure to create undeletable folders on the root of their network called “LOL” and “OMGWTFM8.”
I guess two things became pretty clear about who I am. I did not like being told what I could and couldn’t do by authoritative figures and when left to pursue my own interests I could learn things that take the average person many months in the span of a few days.
How many people do you know taught themselves C++ computer code for fun in their spare time when they were 14 years old because the school they were at didn’t offer advanced courses?
I’m not trying to show off here, please don’t misunderstand. I don’t think I’m some prodigal genius, that isn’t the point of this story.
I’m actually venting a little because…I mean, look what they did to me and imagine how many other children went through similar circumstances in tiny little towns like Dahlonega.
Imagine if I had my talents cultivated from a young age instead of being treated like a mere nuisance and stowed away with the developmentally challenged.
But anyway, enough about that.
Let’s talk about music!
HOW I BECAME ADDICTED TO MUSIC PRODUCTION
Rewind. It was the year 2002, I was 12 and I had stumbled across an amateur music, film & video game production website called Newgrounds.com which still exists today.
I loved watching and voting on content on Newgrounds so much that it inspired me to try my hand at creating videos myself. Long story short, a monkey could probably draw better than me, so I decided to try my hand at music production.
As I began releasing songs and promoting them on the community forums I was flooded with feedback, both from people my age, and people with far more experience than myself.
Each time I would receive a 5-star review, (whether or not my music actually deserved it at the time) my young brain released endorphins and I became incredibly excited; I was hooked.
Whether or not this was healthy is up for debate.
It got to the point where I became so addicted to this feedback loop of releasing songs and getting comments that between the years 2004 and 2005 I released over 500 songs on Newgrounds.com when I should have been studying, socializing, exercising….eating….you get the picture.
PROOF OF MY ADDICTION
Tens of Thousands of Downloads and Reviews by the Wonderful Community of Newgrounds in my Childhood Helped me Perfect my Craft and… Develop Somewhat of an Addiction.
So here I was, not even old enough to qualify as a teenager, teaching myself music production and releasing thousands of songs on the internet while other children were doing their homework, going to the mall or theater together, etc.
This constant stream of positive and negative reviews became the tool with which I measured my self-worth and musical capabilities.
I released around 1500 songs on Newgrounds in the next 4 years, gradually learning the ins-and-outs of electronic music production with no formal training, purely by trial and error.
It was this unconventional upbringing and my, perhaps unhealthy addiction, which would become the foundation of my music career today.
After I graduated High School I was deceived (like most 18-year-old millennials) into abandoning my dreams and pursuing a “safe” career.
I moved to New York and immediately got myself into 18 thousand dollars of debt on a Computer Science Bachelor’s program with Rochester Institute of Technology.
Here is where you might begin to notice a trend…
ABANDONING THE SAFE CHOICE
In my downtime between classes, rather than study for my Calculus exam or memorize historical dates for my WWII course, I would sneak into the “Music Major ONLY” section of the college and spend hours each day teaching myself scales and chords.
I made a serious error. I didn’t want to be 40 years old, looking back on my life and wondering what would have happened if I had just stuck with my passion for music.
Did I seriously want to spend the rest of my life sitting in a cubicle somewhere, bug testing programs for some corporation that viewed me as an expendable resource?
I decided to finish my Associate’s degree and abandon my Bachelor’s program (to the dismay of my family) and pursue my passions, rather than the safe choice.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT WAS A SERIES OF TRAGEDIES, CHANCE ENCOUNTERS, AND ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME OPPORTUNITIES.
My very first production studio in Los Angeles. I couldn’t even afford a chair.
Stopping by the Grand Canyon on our drive from North Carolina to Los Angeles, California to become “rockstars.”
I sold my car to pay for a modest set of production equipment and moved to Florida to team up with my best friend from high school with the plans to release an electronic music album with him as the vocalist and me as…..everything else.
(Here’s what it sounded like) soundcloud.com/love-song-for-her/sets/me
But here is where I learned the hard way that you cannot rely on other people to achieve your dreams.
He became homesick and left Florida to move back to his hometown leaving me with no choice but to abandon my apartment and make another plan.
It was then that I met a charismatic man who had discovered my music through the internet and wanted to meet with me for lunch.
As things go, we did perhaps the most stereotypical thing country boys from North Carolina do: We formed a 3 person Electronic Rock band with the intentions of moving to Los Angeles California to become “rock stars!”
We sold our possessions (again), saved up an irresponsibly small amount of money and drove for 3 days across the United States in a car with no air conditioning to move to Los Angeles with absolutely no plan whatsoever.
A little more than half a year into us finding our first apartment on the corner of Mountain & Lake Avenue in Pasadena, it happened.
Our guitarist ended up abandoning the project to move back home. This is not a pleasant reoccurring theme to experience, let me tell you.
Suddenly rent was split 2 ways instead of 3. I couldn’t afford to eat. I couldn’t afford to pay rent.
I was working 2 jobs and because I had sold my car to pay for music equipment I had to skateboard for miles to the Metro station where I would commute for 2 hours to Hollywood where I worked as a Telemarketer and a Door to Door salesman.
MY FIRST BREAK
I don’t know if you have ever worked as a Door to Door salesman in California, but if you’d like me to sum the experience up for you…
It’s quite similar to the experience of running out of gas in the middle of a dangerous neighborhood in 110 degrees weather and having to knock on everyone’s door with a sweat-covered hand to try to convince them to give you money.
It was then that I received my first break, but I won’t call it lucky.
I received a response to a craigslist ad I had put up from a man named Kim Bullard who I agreed to meet for some sushi and to discuss business.
I did not know it at the time but the man I was speaking with was the keyboardist for the Elton John band, and he contacted me to help him produce music for his daughter, Katy Rose.
Not only did this wonderful man pay me substantially more than I had ever been paid before (to him it was probably nothing,) but he introduced me to more and more clients via word of mouth.
He did not know it, but working with Kim Bullard may have single-handedly prevented me from becoming homeless.
FROM A BASEMENT IN NORTH CAROLINA TO ALCON SLEEPING GIANT’S CONFERENCE ROOM
A few years went by and suddenly I was in a room with Ken Calliet, the founder of Sleeping Giant music group (now Alcon Sleeping Giant,) the company behind the music for the Hunger Games films, the new Blade Runner movie, and many others.
I guess the point of all this is to say, in incredibly long-winded fashion, that I am dedicated to my goals and I will never give up on my dreams.
Today I have produced electronic music for over 15 artists across the world, my music has been featured in short films, 2 video game productions, and countless non-profit video productions.
Despite all of this, I’m still not where I want to be in the music industry so I decided it was time to finally put myself out there, design this website and start meeting like-minded people!
SO, WHY SHOULD YOU WORK WITH ME?
A Few Reasons.
1. I want to be friends, not coworkers. I have spent too much time being a recluse and I know that isn’t the path to success in this industry. If you work with me, you are working with a friend who will treat your project as important as his own.
2. Your artistic vision will shine through our work together. My unconventional education has led me to learn a vast array of music techniques I can apply to capture your unique vision whether you’re an electro fanatic or in love with acoustic instrumentation. (or both!)
3. My dedication to your success does not end when the song is finished. I can help you create a website, distribute your music online, advise you on marketing and much more. After all if you succeed, so do I.
4. If you work with me, you’re working with someone who genuinely desires to improve the world and will eventually reinvest all profits into accomplishing this goal.
HOW I INTEND TO IMPROVE THE WORLD
Crazy, I know. But if you shoot for the stars and fail then at the least you will hit the moon.
And this isn’t just an idea, I already laid out the blueprint here: https://antipropaganda.today/philosophy/how-the-another-hero-social-movement-will-change-the-world/
Whether you agree with me in my goals to reinvest my profits into the utilization of vertical farming, aeroponics, geodesic biodomes, LED technology and diversified farming to help end starvation in the world…
Or utilizing solar, tidal and wind energy generation projects to end war over oil…
And whether you believe decentralized blockchain-based social media and voting systems are the revolution which will guide us into a new era of freedom, prosperity and equality where all human beings can thrive rather than merely survive…
You are probably starting to get the picture that I am either a genius or a deluded madman. (I hope for the former)
THANKS FOR READING!
If you read this far then you probably know more about me than most of my family members and many of my friends.
Thank you so much for taking your time to read this.
Get in touch with me! I’m not just on here for business, I’d love to be friends. Maybe you’ll feel inspired to tell me your story.
Electronic Music Producer, Sound Engineer & Composer