You can read the animated version of my story with more pictures here: My Story
It was the year 2002, I was 12 years old and I had recently stumbled across an amateur music, film & video game website called Newgrounds.com which still exists today.
I loved watching and voting on the videos and games on Newgrounds so much that it inspired me to try my hand at creating videos myself. Long story short, I did not have the patience (or drawing ability) to create animations worth watching so I decided to try my hand at music production.
Just as videos and games could be voted on and reviewed, music that was uploaded to Newgrounds could also be voted on and reviewed. As I started releasing songs and promoting it on the community forums I began getting feedback both from people my age and people with far more experience than myself.
Each time I would receive a 5 star review, my young brain released endorphins and I became incredibly excited; so much so that I developed what you might call an addiction. Whether or not this was a 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 and votes 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. And this constant stream of positive and negative reviews became the tool with which I measured my self-worth and musical capabilities.
Rather than studying successful music producers (which I should have been doing as I later discovered) or taking music classes, I released well over 1500 songs on Newgrounds in the next 4 years, gradually learning the ins-and-outs of electronic music production with no formal training: to put it simply, through 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 oldmillenials) into abandoning my dreams and pursuing a “safe” career in Computer Science. I moved to New York and immediately got myself into 18 thousand dollars of debt on a Computer Science Bachelors 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 found myself sneaking into the “Music Major ONLY” section of the college and entering the soundproofed music rooms, inhabited by a solitary piano, where I would spend hours each day teaching myself scales and chords with the aid of other students.
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 in 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 Associates degree and abandon my Bachelors 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 small amount of basic music 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.
I learned the hard way that you cannot rely on other people to achieve your dreams, as he left Florida to move back to his home town, forcing me to abandon my apartment and find another plan in life.
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. I obliged and one thing led to another and we ended up forming a 3 person Electronic Rock band with the intentions of moving to Los Angeles California and becoming “rockstars!”
We sold our possessions, 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.
I again learned some very harsh lessons about relying on others to accomplish your dreams, and our guitarist ended up abandoning the project and moving back to his hometown a little more than half a year into us finding our first apartment on the corner of Mountain & Lake Avenue in Pasadena.
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 my music equipment I had to skateboard for miles to the Metro station only to spend over 2 hours commuting on the subway to Hollywood where I worked as a Telemarketer and a Door to Door salesman.
MY FIRST HOLLYWOOD CLIENTS
I don’t know if you have ever worked doing Door to Door sales in California, but to sum the experience up, it’s quite similar to the experience of running out of gas in the middle of a dangerous neighborhood in 110 degree weather and having to knock on everyone’s door with a sweat-covered hand and try to convince them to give you money.
It was then that I received my first lucky break. In a response to a craigslist ad I had put up advertising my music services, I received an email 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 handedlyprevented me from becoming homeless.
HOW DID I END UP IN THIS ROOM?
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 (which became Alcon Sleeping Giant,) the company behind the music for the Hunger Games films, the new Blade Runner movie, and many others.
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, believe it or not, I am still working toward earning my income exclusively through electronic music production.
Because I do not yet have a claim to fame and have not had my music featured in any major films or collaborated with any famous artists (other than Kim Bullard and Chris Pitman formerly of Guns n’ Roses) I am often overlooked in the industry due to the sheer amount of competition I have.
SO WHAT SETS ME APART FROM ALL THE OTHER ELECTRONIC MUSIC PRODUCERS I AM COMPETING WITH? WHY AM I SO SURE I WILL ONE DAY SOON BECOME A HOUSEHOLD NAME IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY?
A few reasons.
1. I had to overcome incredible hardship multiple times in my life due to my relentless pursuit of my dreams in the music industry and I never gave up (and will never give up)
2. I taught myself the foundations of music production by producing 1500 songs in 4-5 years and receiving community feedback rather than reading them from a book or learning them in a college course.
3. I learned through years of direct experience and eventually through my analysis of industry-leading composers and producers such as Hans Zimmer, Deadmau5 and Nobuo Uematsu what my competition can only hope to learn from textbooks and college professors.
4. I have no choice but to succeed because I intend on using my career in music to fund my lofty goals to improve the world.
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: How the Another Hero Movement Will Change the World
Whether you agree with me in my goals to reinvest all of my profits into the utilization of vertical farming, aeroponics, geodesic biodomes, LED technology and diversified farming as the key 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)
But here you are. Reading my sales pitch.
Thank you so much, it truly means a lot to me to have held your interest for so long, and your time is incredibly valuable to me.
I hope this has convinced you that I am an incredibly passionate, kind and dedicated individual unlike any other and that I am worth investing your time and money into, because if you choose to hire me for your upcoming project you will be working with someone who will not only transform your ideas into evocative and inspiring creations,but that you will be joining forces with a dreamer who will undoubtedly change the world for the better.
Thank you so much for your time, I hope to hear from you soon!
Electronic Music Producer, Sound Engineer & Composer