Take a moment to think about your favorite rapper or singer. Most likely, a single person comes to mind. That’s because in today’s music world, the performer tends to be the person that gets most of the attention and credit. But if there’s one thing I learned from my time spent working on my latest album Wizdome, it’s that putting together a high quality music project truly requires a community.
And that’s been one of the biggest blessings of this whole experience! I’ve received so much support from friends and professionals, drawn from the talents of others, grown through artistic collaborations, and overall been surrounded by such love and encouragement by the community of people that helped make the Wizdome album a reality.
First there were the Kickstarter supporters. I was pretty apprehensive to launch a Kickstarter fundraising campaign to fund the project, but after seeing a friend of mine successfully raise money through Kickstarter, I decided to go for it. I was amazed at the results! 85 people contributed $6,200 to finance the project.
Next were the recording and mixing professionals who helped take my music to the next level. The biggest contributor was my now close friend, Nabil Moghaddam, founder of Nkindle Productions, who did all of the mixing and mastering of the music. More than this, he went above and beyond by walking me through the entire process of producing a quality album, sharing countless insights from his experiences as a professional, many of which were critical to the success of the project. For the recording of the album, I decided to work with TallCat Studios, a local company in Northwest Phoenix, and was very pleased with their work.
And then there were all the other artists I had the honor of collaborating with on the various songs. 16 other artists, in fact! Each song has it’s own story and had it’s own process of development. It would take several pages to share them all, but in short, it was such a joy to get to work with so many talented people and see how our gifts complemented each other.
The instrumentals came from a variety of sources, some from friends that I knew personally, and others from online producers that do a wonderful service by sharing loads of beats with the world digitally with all kinds of different sounds and feels.
The beautiful album artwork was done by two of my good friends, Ivan and Quincy. Ivan also plays the flute on the album Intro. The t-shirt prints were done by another close friend, Eduardo, who I met recently and is also featured on the album as a rap artist. The video work has all been shot by one of my closest friends since childhood, Brian, who I am incredibly thankful for. One of my favorite parts about creating music is putting a song to film, which Brian has helped make happen.
And I can’t forget the album release show! What an amazing way to culminate the project. A packed crowd of family, friends, and members of the community helped create one of the most memorable experiences of my life! They rocked to the music, sang along with the songs, and surrounded me with such love as I performed. After the show, I was showered with encouragement and inspiring words. It was perfect!
This music project has drawn me closer to my community in so many ways. Beyond the collaborators of the project, it’s taken me into spaces for artistic expression, schools and youth centers, and many other community environments, all of which have blessed me with the privilege of connecting with so many wonderful people through the channel of music. Building community was not one of my original motivations or intentions in creating music, but I’ve certainly realized it is one of the most rewarding parts of the experience :).
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