2019 was a year filled with joy, creativity, collaboration, and continued growth! I find the end of the year a nice time to reflect on progress, and I thought I’d write up a little something to share the major highlights with everyone who has been supporting me along the way – LIKE YOU!
The Release The Power Album
In May 2019, I debuted ‘Release The Power’ – my 4th album! This project was special to me for a number of reasons. Most importantly, the story behind this album is just so awesome! It was created during a Ruhi Institute youth empowerment training in the summer of 2017, inspired by Book 5 of the Ruhi Institute (“Releasing The Powers of Junior Youth”).
After a couple of years of refining, raising funds, and producing the album, it was finally able to be released this year. It features amazing youth artists Brenn, Reflectionz, and Ally Black.
The album uses the dope beats of DJ Sabzi and lyrically centers on spiritual themes such as friendship, unity, love, and service to humanity. I’m so proud of how it turned out! In early 2020, we’ll be releasing some visuals for the album in the form of some eye-catching lyric videos. So stay tuned!
New Single – NBA
Earlier, in April 2019, I debuted a new single titled “NBA” to align with the start of the 2019 NBA Playoffs. For those that aren’t basketball fans, NBA stands for National Basketball Association, however, my song had a different meaning: Noble Being Always. The song uses basketball as a metaphor for striving to live a life of spiritual excellence. It was a fun song to create!
I also had the joy of collaborating with some new artists throughout the year on some new songs. A “feature” is when you write a verse to be included on another artists song. In 2019, there were 2 songs released that I had the honor of being featured on: Congratulations by Ally Mopoz and 2morro by L.O.D. No Relation.
I have a couple more features currently in the works, so also stay tuned for more in 2020!
Digital Album Experiences
Something I poured a lot of time and energy into in 2019 was learning how to create an interactive, online experience for those who enjoy taking a deeper dive into an album. Specifically, I created a digital album experience for my projects LIT and Release The Power.
In combination, I had several hundred people sign up for the experiences, and received quite a lot of positive feedback. Essentially, the digital experiences provided participants access to a free download of the album, along with exclusive behind-the-scenes content, like personalized video blogs explaining the story behind each track, the song lyrics, performance videos, and bonus gifts!
If you missed these experiences, both are still currently available online. You can sign up for free with your name and email for each album experience here:
One of my favorite parts of the creative process as an artist is bringing a song to life with a music video. Sadly, in 2019 I wasn’t able to create any new official music videos… 😭. However, I was able to produce some other video content, mainly performance and lyric type videos to complement my new releases.
Here is a playlist of performance and lyric videos I created for my LIT lyrical remix album:
Tour and Performances
I continued performing live in a variety of settings throughout 2019. I wrapped up the LIT album tour by visiting a few additional locations around the region, namely Bullead City, Las Vegas, Tucson, and Nogales.
In May, The ‘Release The Power’ youth team had an awesome local album release show at the Phoenix Baha’i Center. We had an intimate crowd of around 60 kids, youth, and adults, but they brought the hype! The crowd loved the concert so much, they even requested an encore at the end of the show!
In January I had the honor of performing at a World Religion Day celebration at the Scottsdale Baha’i Center, performing my lyrical remix “Eternal” to highlight the beautiful life of the soul. The following day I performed at the Martin Luther King Day Festival in Mesa, Arizona, sharing a new collaboration with my young friend William called “Nothing But Love”.
Later, in April I was invited back to perform once again at the Mesa Youth Peace Building Summit, sharing some of my peace-inspired songs to motivate all the young people in attendance. I’m always so joyful when I get to participate in spaces with youth who are focused on building a better world! 🌎
In May, the incredibly inspiring organization Aliento held an Education Day at the Arizona State Capitol to raise awareness on the situation of injustice towards undocumented immigrants in Arizona, spefically focusing on the limited access to higher education. I was humbled to be invited to perform a couple of my songs to bring inspiration to all the passionate young people in attendance, sharing the songs The Movement and Education Is Not A Crime (DREAMix).
I took a break from music throughout most of the summer, as I was heavily involved in a summer of service program in my local neighborhood, working with young people to get involved in contributing to the betterment of the world. We had ongoing activities in our home, as well as multiple out of town camps for youth that required intense energy and focus. However, it’s hard to turn off the creative energy, so while at the camps, I was able to integrate some music activities to bring out the youth’s powers of expression!
In September, I was invited to perform at an awesome new event called “Raise The Vibration”, which brings together speakers, artists, and community members that are focused on uplifting and advancing society. My music fit in perfectly, and I was invited back to perform again in November! Throughout the rest of the fall I also performed at a couple of house concerts for close friends, which is one of my favorite types of environments to share my music.
In December, I was invited to perform at the AZURE concert series alongside the amazingly talented Tetra String Quartet. We got spontaneous and performed some of my songs set to violin in the background. It turned out epically awesome!
I hope to be blessed with more opportunities to perform my music in 2020! If you are hosting any events (or know others who are) that need music, please keep me in mind, as performing is one of my favorite things to do!
In August of 2019 I launched a new venture in the form of a podcast! This past year, I personally started listening to a lot more podcasts, primarily on topics I want to learn about like music, marketing, spirituality, and news-related content. I enjoyed listening to them so much, that I thought to myself “why don’t I make a podcast?!”
After doing some brainstorming, I decided that I would create a podcast that focused on topics I was passionate about, but really aimed to elevate the conversation by infusing spiritually focused themes into the topic. I aptly called it “Elevated Conversations”.
I got 5 episodes under my belt throughout the year, and I’m really excited to continue (and ramp up!) the podcast in 2020.
If you have any podcast episode ideas for me, please be sure to send them my way to firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve always enjoyed writing, so blogging has been an off-and-on passion of mine for the past several years. Throughout 2019, I ended up writing a few blogs, focusing on my musical experiences, educational tips, and sharing music that I enjoy. Here are a few of the blogs I wrote this year:
In addition to the music playlists I shared in my blog, I also started creating some Spotify playlists. I’ve created my first three (which I plan to regularly update) and hope to create a few more throughout 2020. You can give them a listen here:
Looking Ahead to 2020
As usual, I’ve been continuing to write and brainstorm new music, and I have a lot of new material in the works! I’m excited to get working on my next major album, and plan to produce a couple of music videos for the top songs, as well as go on a regional tour to share the music more widely. If you’d like me to come perform in your community, please reach out to me!
Thank You For All The Love!
Lastly, I can’t say this enough… THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I am eternally grateful for all the love, support, and encouragement you have shown me. Your emails, comments, messages, and overall awesome vibes have been SO UPLIFTING and give me the fuel to continue on this challenging, but amazingly rewarding creative journey! Bring on 2020!!!
Much love from your bro,