My love for songwriting began at age 13 when I wrote by first song, but my love for music began well before that. I guess you could say that it originated before I was even born as my mom tells me she sang all the time while she was pregnant with me. She has one of the most beautiful voices I have every heard and I guess that’s why I still get chills whenever I hear her sing. I would rush to put on my favorite album at that time, Fred Hammond’s “Purpose By Design”, while in the car with my mom, and my mom teaching me different parts of the choir. She would sing soprano, while I would sing tenor. It all just felt natural to me, but as a kid, I never saw the potential that I could possibly have as an artist in my own right, because I never believed in myself.
I remember being so excited to get in the car as a child because that meant I couldn’t possibly hear my favorite artists on the radio. even though I may have been too young to fully understand the subject matter, whenever my favorite song came on, those three to four minutes were absolute bliss. It was an euphoria that I had never experienced before. The combination of emotion and adoration for the creativity and vulnerability from the artists that somehow felt was being disclosed only to me made me feel special when I otherwise did not. It made me feel understood and hopeful. I would also dread the end of a song because that meant I had to wait at least another hour, or maybe another car ride to experience that feeling again.
When I saved enough money to purchase my first CD, it was heaven for me, and likely torture for my mom and our neighbors. I remember going into my room, closing the door, being anxious to hear the latest album from my favorite artists for just a little while. It would usually be a school night and close to bedtime, so I had to be very selective in choosing the song(s) I wanted to hear before going to bed. By this time it was more than the connection and feeling understood. I slowly began to discover my own abilities as a singer, and I found myself generating my own ideas and thoughts for expressing how I felt through song.
I will never forget, it was one day while sitting in my math class when I lost track of what the teacher was saying, and I just began writing down words. They began as random sentences about how I was feeling at the moment. But then I found that those sentences and words began to rhyme. As a guide, I would think about my favorite song at the moment and write my own lyrics over the melody. It felt a bit weird at first, but then it became therapeutic. Especially since I often found myself being sad, misunderstood, and feeling not good enough. Over time, I realized that it could possibly be something more than that. For once, I felt like I had found something that I naturally excelled at; something that I could be good at. Something that was my own special thing.
Education has been a priority for my family, and has also been a priority for me. Therefore, getting my education was never a question. My family sacrificed greatly to provide me with the best possible education, and there was no way I would let them down. Witnessing my mom struggle as a single parent, going to school at night, working full time during the day, and doing whatever she can to provide. Doing the very best I could academically was the very least I could do to show my gratitude for her sacrifices, and the sacrifices of my grandparents and my mom’s twin sister.
Through college and law school, I was building my future to ensure stability, but my passion for music was still there. It was packed down, deep in my heart, but it was always there. I always knew what I really wanted to do, but practicality told me that it was not realistic. Upon graduating law school, I had made up my mind that I was going to continue to do what was safe; build a stable career, and live happily ever after conforming to what everyone else wanted.
I honestly believe that your destiny and what is meant to be, finds a way to intervene before you lose your purpose. Your purpose grabs the steering wheel and guides you to where you need to be. Following the news that I did not pass the New York bar exam, I was devastated. The constant, calculated mindset of wanting to be successful, desperately seeking validation through success had caught up with me. At this moment, I had no choice but to confront who I really am, and what I have really always wanted. It was then that I decided to move back to Georgia to find myself, for once in my life, taking taking the chance to find my purpose.
When I moved back to Georgia, I was forced to find myself. I had plenty of time to reflect, and ask myself what I really wanted. In the midst of waiting my bar exam results, I was able to find my true love, music. Through the trials and tribulations of the process, I became inspired, and wrote my first full song in years, “Nobody Knows.” Unlike the never-ending struggle of passing the bar exam, I was able to write my first song in years in 30 minutes. It was then I found my purpose, and I was determined to fulfill it.
Passing both the New York and Georgia bar exams were goals that I am so proud to have achieved. But in more ways than one, it felt like I would finally have the opportunity to fulfill what had ultimately been my destiny since that first time I made those first few sentences rhyme in math class.