SING | THE EP Finished!!

Working on this EP was such an incredible learning experience. When I set out to do this I had one main goal: prove to myself that I could drive the completion of a original body of musical works that I was proud of. I accomplished this goal, but along the way learned so much more than I anticipated. 

The amount of insecurity and self-doubt I was forced to face with every release and every performance was at times overwhelming. The constant narrative playing in the back of my mind reminded me of the "normal life" I used to live with a job and a paycheck and a coveted title on my LinkedIn Profile. On paper, my former "normal life," left little room for doubt as to whether or not I was at least "on track for success" - by some standards I was already successful. In every decision to share a song with people, I not only experienced the questions of self doubt in my head, but I also took liberties in making up and entertaining all the questions and doubts my audience might have about my music and my path. I got a glimpse into how and why artists go a bit cray historically. 

I've always felt squeezed and confined by the jobs I've had. I know this isn't uncommon, and some would say it's a necessary part of building a "successful career". But when you're as far away from your calling as a research scientist is from a musician, the tension gets intense. From working on my PhD in cancer research labs, to working in tech, I discovered there were many things I could do, but making music was the only thing that made every molecule in my being reverberate and every synapse in my brain fire like I had never been alive before in my life. I've known this for years, but decided to fit myself in a box because I thought we all belonged in boxes. Now I understand that we're all destined for boxes when we die - when our Spirits have left our bodies - but while our God-given Spirit is still in us, we're called to be ALIVE.

So the simple response to my questions of doubt about this path, or whether it's worth facing insecurity, uncertainty, the stripping of titles, and instable income, became - "Do you want to be live ALIVE, or call it early and hop in your box now?" I choose to be ALIVE while I'm here. As a disclaimer, this is not a knock on corporate America, or anyone who I've had the pleasure of working with in some of these other environments. In fact it's quite the opposite. It was the passion that my mentors in the research labs I worked in had for their work that drove me to find that same thing for myself. One man's box is another man's open field of freedom. Your Spirit knows the difference.

In faith I will keep walking this journey, and I will continue to share as I feel led. My prayer is simply that I can get out of the way, with all my fears, selfishness, anxiety, desire to conform, yearnings for security and the normal life, so that I can allow God to use me exactly as he's created me to do that which he's called me to do on this earth. Right now, it's music, and it is only the beginning. 

Thanks for following along!!


I'm spending time producing and writing with some folks in LA currently and will have more music out soon. For now, enjoy the EP and let me know what you think!!

Quick Update on #SING | THE EP

Hey Family,

I know I've been a bit quiet over the past two months, but rest assured I've been working hard finishing this EP. I've spent most of the time in Atlanta (mostly in a closet turned studio) producing and writing the final two songs. I'm really excited about these last two songs, and I think they are a leap closer to the kind of music I want to create in this world. This whole transition to full time musician has been scary and difficult but incredibly rewarding. I've never felt more like myself, I've never felt more free, and, perhaps most importantly, I've never felt more filled with purpose.

I will be updating this more regularly through the EP release because I really do want to share this journey with you all. Check out my previous blog post for more on my decision to leave tech to pursue music as well as other events that have shaped who I am.


My Interview with the Jake Sasseville Show

I almost ended up locked up when I was 16 for something I didn't do because someone said "the black kid did it".

I had the pleasure of being interviewed on the Jake Sasseville show and I decided to open up for the first time publicly about an incident in high school that left me facing 4 years in juvenile detention for something I didn't do because someone said "the black kid did it" and because the judicial system is faulty at best. I get emotional about the ordeal to this day for two reasons.

1. Because only as an adult have I been able to begin to empathize with the absolute fear and terror my parents dealt with during the 9 month ordeal from incident to trial as they watched their black son, with all of his good grades, and community service hours, and church activities, and his private school education, get pulled into the same BS that so many boys of color unfairly get pulled into and never get out of. There were countless nights of tears for them through it all - I can't imagine.

And 2. Because my story is a terrible story with a "happy" ending not just because of my innocence, but because of the socioeconomic and educational privilege I was born into. My "not guilty" verdict after the two day 9 hour trial came only because of parents with certain resources and education, the ability to take time off of work, a whole lot of prayer, and a church community that stood with us through it all. I was sucked in because I was "the black kid" but made it out because I was born into a blessing of a family. Other black and poor kids are not so lucky. I get emotional thinking about how many not-guilty teens are pulled into the system and whose lives are ruined because of the system's self-serving revolving door. And then I think about the kids who are guilty of minor infractions, whose lives are ruined because they're KIDS and kids make dumb mistakes and the system is neither built to rehabilitate nor empower. And if you are poor or a person of color you will be penalized more severely and your life changes more drastically because of that punishment. I made it out, but only in part because of my innocence. I get angry and upset about all those who did not. Something has to change.

Jake - thank you for giving me the opportunity to share. I hope you all enjoy this conversation with open ears and hearts and that you question whatever blind faith you may have in the "justice" system.

Peace and Blessings

LEAVING TECH TO PURSUE MUSIC: Silicon Valley Taught Me To 'Keep Goin'

My recent decision to leave my 9-5 to finally pursue my lifelong passion for music was heavily influenced by years of Silicon Valley grooming. Between Stanford graduate school and roles in the startup/tech space I had the opportunity to work with, live with, and befriend some of the most intelligent and courageous visionaries who helped shape my perspective on entrepreneurship, growth journeys, and failure.   

I was blessed to be part of the epitome of a Silicon Valley success story, when Wildfire Interactive was acquired by Google, and I saw an incredible founding team (led by the brilliant and always inspiring Victoria Ransom and Alain Chuard) reap the rewards for relentless pursuit of a vision while operating with integrity and transparency. I witnessed some of my best friends and roommates grind to start and maintain businesses from scratch in the face of uncertainty and frequent failure and I learned from their experiences the beauty of the struggle, the value of the growth journey, and the unmatched reward for working hard to accomplish lofty goals. I learned to question paradigms and to challenge the status quo - and that paths to "success" are infinitely diverse with consistent themes of risk, hard work, creativity, and a trusted support system. And the scrappy and optimistic spirit of Silicon Valley is in everything I do.

I don't know exactly where this journey is going to end up, and mistakes and disappointments are inevitable, but I am committed to creating a music product of value that positively impacts the lives of those who hear my music. Sound to-market strategies and scalability are certainly on my mind, but developing an authentic offering that touches lives is paramount. I believe in my ability to create that kind of music and that kind of live experience. I have a big vision for this, and even though I am just getting started, I am incredibly grateful for the journey to this point. 

Along the way I'll be sharing my growth, and if even a single life is touched by what I create then I truly believe I am fulfilling my God-given purpose on this earth...though touching a few million lives would be nice as well ;-). #SING

The Making of: GIrl From La

We often focus on the finished product, the manufactured image, or the destination without giving credence to the journey, the growth, and the process - I want to do things a bit differently with my music. I have a vision of where I'm headed with music and I'm self-aware enough to know that I am not yet there, but every day on this journey is an opportunity for growth toward that vision that I am infinitely grateful for. So I want to invite you to catch a glimpse of what that journey looks like.

Girl From LA started as a slow set of chords and a few melodies I would play while still living in California with no real plans of turning it into a song (let alone fully pursuing music). When I moved to NYC to meet artists and creatives with positive energy that I could vibe with, I met the music collective The.Wav. They are a huge part of the reason I had the courage to embark upon this journey and constantly remind me of my obligation to cultivate and share the gifts in music that God has given me. The week after I decided to leave my 9-5 to pursue music, The.Wav moved to Los Angeles, as if to say "our work here is done." 

I went to visit LA for some music tech consulting I was engaged with at the time and I spent a lot of my time writing music with The.Wav. During one writing session that lasted until 4AM Badí, Cardigan Deville, my first guitar (that my sister bought for my 18th birthday) and I created what we called "Girl From Vallejo". I brought the chords and "Ooh Ooohs ooohs" and Badí, being the talented vocalist/rapper/songwriter brought the swag to the verses, as you can hear in this first recording of what would later be known as "Girl From LA."

Notes: We had just written the so I couldn't play it and remember the words yet so Badî is singing the lead; I couldn't play the vamp at the end and sing at the same time, hence the strugg - im sliiightly better at the guitar now. enjoy


I love listening to this version of the song. Badí has a really dope tone and we were able to write a dope song to kick off my journey in music. The.Wav have always created the perfect space and energy for artists to feel comfortable and open to let the music flow and I'm grateful for it. I would later add the chorus and bridge to bring the song to it's current state.

I've had the opportunity to perform this song several times over the last couple months -  with a band (including MIA's drummer Kiran Gandhi!), just a drummer, and by myself, and I love how many different versions of the song I am able to create with the live performance and I'm excited to see it evolve. 

So I've also dabbled in production over the years and I gave "Girl From LA" a quick pass before deciding to work with the pro Kennard Garrett down in Atlanta for the final single. I almost didn't share this, but I figured if you're reading my blog you're in a present minority that is interested in stuff like this. 


As fun as this track is, I decided to go with a professional producer - my Morehouse and Fraternity brother Kennard Garrett was the perfect choice for this track (I specifically asked him to make it sound less Rugrats lol). I'm super happy about how it all turned out and we will undoubtedly be working together again soon. 

This process was daunting in a lot of ways that are hard to explain - from conception to release. But it marks a long overdue beginning to a journey that's guaranteed to be incredible. Peace and Blessings


#SING: The Mission and The Music

“Know when people try to make us live in fear, joy is resistance. It’s hard to mourn about tragedy and rejoice about blessings all at once, but that’s what Black folk have always done.” — Dr. Daniel Stringer


June 17th, 2015 was my birthday, the day I released my first single “Girl From LA”, and the day 9 members of Emmanuel AME in Charleston, NC were gunned down by a racist terrorist. I experienced an intense range of emotions that week. In retrospect, I recognize the significance of the coincidence of events, thoughts, and emotions.


Sharing my music is still daunting for me. It is impossible to communicate everything in an artist’s mind, heart, and soul without something being lost in translation. On a micro level this occurs when you take something as formless as a written song and turn it into a produced record — there’s always "something more" inside the artist that “could have been added” and a song is "never done" (hence why I live for the live performance). On a more macro level, when I released “Girl From LA” I felt like that singular representation became my entire identity in music and I even felt limited and judged for the fun pop song I loved creating and sharing. I love the record, and every record has its place, but with a backdrop as consequential as the Charleston Shooting — the light and fun song seemed almost trivial. And then I remembered why I decided to embark upon this journey.

I embarked upon this journey in music to find out what it’s like to shed fear, live in truth, grow in purpose, walk in faith, and discover absolute freedom. The desired outcome is a thorough testimony through which I might inspire others to discover their true purpose, shed fear, and live in freedom as their truest and highest selves. With that goal in mind, I am committed to sharing every part of me. I am committed to making music that makes people feel what I feel - happy, insecure, frustrated, pensive, joyful, sad, and everything in between.

#SING is a nickname, but it is also a charge — a challenge even. To truly #SING is to release whatever energy is in the depths of your soul and thrust it into the universe. It requires removal of inhibition, insecurity, and self judgement. More than the words you say when you truly #SING — your emotion and your soul tells no lie. We all layer lies on top of our true souls that we might fit common archetypes without having to fully expose our unique individuality. The truth of the matter is that this world yearns for your uniqueness. God did not make us unique so that we could conform to someone else’s version of “normal,” “successful,”or “happy”.

So my journey, and my mission, is to shed the lie layers I thought were protecting my truest self — in reality they were inhibitors of the worst kind — to give every unique contribution to this world that I was created to give. For me it starts with music, and my mission is to #SING. I hope you hear me, and I hope you all #SING along. My vision: that moment at a concert or church when they drop the music, and all you hear is the voices singing out. They are never pitch perfect, but the chorus of unique voices create perfection. So, here we go — I hope you enjoy the music. I hope you see yourself in my journey. And above all, I hope you find the freedom and courage to #SING.


Dylan Roof: An Extremist Not An Anomaly

He’s an extremist, but not entirely an anomaly. And there are those along the spectrum who believe parts of what he wrote in his manifesto (it’s what many have believed for most of American history so of course the ideas persist). And his admission of “subconscious white supremacy” being taught in schools is accurate, sadly leaving even many African Americans to believe some of these things about themselves.

We talk about race because racist hatred is alive in this country and we want people to stop pretending as though it’s dead or there’s only one Dylan Roof and then no other racists. Or that people who share his beliefs don’t sometimes hold public office, or teach in schools, or hand out sentences as judges, or prosecute as a DA, or become police officers, or become hiring managers, or create zoning laws.

The things he has ascribed to my entire race are hurtful and mind boggling, but many people in this country don’t know a single black person well and accept the media’s perspective and whatever their surrounding culture tells them about us. And then the “rare, smart, and nonviolent negro” (read:President Obama) is an exception.

Then we’re not looked at as human, but as the inferior kind. We don’t get stories written up about our troubled homes like Dylan Roof does when we make mistakes and get penalized more severely from the classroom to the courtroom (see Jason Okonofua’s work). We’re labeled thugs, and our “violent nature” is highlighted, not the socioeconomic circumstances and conditions.

I have too many words for all of this but even as I write, there’s this voice saying “your white friends are going to think you’re overreacting and talking about race too much”. But it’s too important to talk about and my only intent is to foster understanding, empathy, and love. And that’s it.

Why Charleston Matters

The Black Church for African Americans has been one of few rocks we’ve been able to cling to throughout our tumultuous history in this country. It has served as more than simply a physical shelter through slavery and civil rights, and an attack on this anchor is the definition of terrorism.

The “you don’t belong here, you’re not protected here, America is not for you” narrative is hammered into our brains from youth. It often starts in the household, with the ideally unnecessary “be careful you are a Black boy” discussion, then quickly becomes too real the first time someone calls you a nigger. It persists in the classroom where history books minimize our contribution to this country while leaving a Black child to think there might be a reason people that look like him were worth less than dogs and then actually upgraded to 3/5ths human in this country. We see our parents’ pain and fear in reaction to incidents like the Rodney King beating and know that these acts of racism are not isolated in time nor place and they have everything to do with all of us in this country.

I know, I know — we’ve had 50 years of “equal rights” to clean our act up, fit in, and pull ourselves up by our bootstraps — 50 years to figure out how to reverse 400 years of legal chattel slavery, torture, rape of Black women, emasculation of Black men and breakdown of Black families. Every Black family sees and feels the lasting generational impact in some form or another. A few of our families have “made it” — but I know firsthand that being an “upstanding, contributing member of society” doesn’t protect us from the pervasive evils of foundational racism.

And then the acts of terror, from the burning down of Black Wall Street to the Birmingham church bombings to this. The police brutality and killing of our youth — reminders that as we work to right ourselves in this country, there are still those people, institutions, and systems that are pitted fiercely in our opposition.

I’ve lived around, and worked with mostly non-Black folks my entire life and have a lot of love for many as family. I just hope they recognize that I’m not a “different category of black man” — that I identify strongly with Trayvon Martin, The Gardner family, Rekia Boyd, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Kalief Browder and God knows I identify with praying church folk in Charelston. It’s so heartbreaking, so difficult, so confusing, so paralyzing at times. I could choose to ignore it, but I must stay awake or how could I possibly be an ally if I blind myself to the reality of the Black experience in America? How can anyone be an ally if they turn a blind eye or remain silent about the truth?

Charleston should matter to all of us. ‪#‎PrayForCharleston‬

Love, Peace, and Blessings