LIFE AFTER: "T.K.O."
LIFE AFTER: “T.K.O.”
One of my favorite pieces of advice I give to those who feel lost and unsure of what their next step in life should be is to pick a dream they had when they were younger and less jaded. This could be starring in a movie, designing a house for your parents, starting your own brand (*wink wink), or going to space. The wilder the better (Mine is to make my own anime where everyone is wearing Spiff. P gear, but we’ll save that for another time).
Once you’ve decided which dream was most important to you, try and actually do it.
You’ll find that this will force you to do a variety of things.
- I guarantee you’re going to take a minute and think about why you gave up on making it happen in the first place.
- Get over it. Asap like pocky.
- I literally asked you to think of something you currently have given up on; there are clearly 1,042,039 logical reasons to not try and make this chosen dream happen. If there was this many “smart” or “safe” reasons to live this dream, you’d likely been on the path to doing it already. Luckily, what I am asking you to do isn’t logical at all.
- As weird as it sounds, the goal here isn’t actually to make whatever you chose happen-- it’s to get yourself to understand the process of following a dream that makes no logical sense.
- You will find that even if none of this works out, the act of trying to do something you once thought was impossible will turn your life around because it will require that you commit yourself to goals that lead to the desired outcome.
Now I could explain this to you in terms of starting a brand (s/o Spiff P.), but for this blog post I want to mix things up. This concept would probably be better explained if I talk to you about the song “T.K.O.” that I dropped and made a music video alongside Burr, Arvz, and Iiinfinite.
WHERE IT ALL STARTED:
When I was in high school, I started to get close with Arvie thanks to this TV/Film class we took where we were partners that made videos together. Things between us got pretty serious and he told me over a Skype session that he wanted to take things to the next level and go from a creative team to best friends (Lmao jk. Unless…). During these videochat seshes, Arvie would occasionally have a beat playing and force me to write some bars to it. He knew I loved literature and was decent at writing, so he wanted to motivate me to get out of my comfort zone and convert my knowledge of words into rap.
He would put the beat on for around 15-20 minutes, and we’d each try to come up with something. I’d be there reluctant as hell with a pen and paper in hand, anxiously awaiting the dreaded “Show & Tell” portion of the video call. However, there was never much for me to show. 15 minutes would go by and I would literally have nothing written down. Fear left me paralyzed and unable to create even though this task was meant to be done for fun. I was too embarrassed to take an L and write something that was likely to be shitty, preventing me from getting any better.
After I had finally graduated from college, got my teaching credentials, and established Spiff P. to a certain degree, I figured it was time for a new hobby to challenge me to grow. Since I was sharing a creative space where I was surrounded by the right people and equipment to create music, I figured it would be my loss not to utilize my resources; I decided I was going to do what I once felt was impossible and make a song. (Remember the life advice I mentioned earlier?)
I knew that I needed to train before I got to the point where I was ready to record at our home studio, and I couldn’t think of anything better to do to prepare than freestyle. For an entire summer, I’d hit up Thomas around 3-4 times a week and ask him to rap with me in an effort to improve. There are literally hours of footage of Thomas and I freestyling that I vow will never see the light of day, but I can promise you that this time spent was essential in achieving my goal. If I wanted to make a legit song I was proud of, I needed to take the baby steps by getting as many shitty raps out of my system as possible.
And for a few months, that’s exactly what I did. I rapped. It was trash. I showed Burr what I wrote. I sweated. Rapped some more. Convinced Arvie to rap. Rapped together. Made more trash. Until finally…
We dropped “Namaste.” We had more songs in the vault but felt like that one was good enough to release. A few weeks later, we dropped a song where I felt I properly showcased who I was and could be titled “T.K.O.” Thanks to the help of Burr and Arvz, I was now on 2 singles. I was pretty damn satisfied, but they wanted to level things up a bit and do something we thought was previously impossible.
“Let’s make a music video.”
After deciding that making a music video to “T.K.O.” would be a dope project for us to work on, we picked a day for us to link up, set it in stone through a Google Calendar invite (s/o Priscilla), and borrowed a stabilizer from the homie Andrew. It was honestly nothing fancy. We invested in a black backdrop which is literally just a sheet of cloth, used this pro light we borrowed from Arvie’s older brother, and recorded it using the camera Arvie saved up for. We made sure to dress in Spiff gear (Burr is even rocking an unreleased hoodie that is probably the most creative piece I’ve designed) because y’all already know we had to represent, and suddenly we were good to go. We filmed the entire video in essentially one night in the comfort of our own creative space using the equipment we cultivated throughout the past two years.
In the process of attempting to make one song, I ended up stepping out of my comfort zone multiple times, anxious sweating more than I ever wanted to, and surpassing what I had expected I was capable of. I went from being the kid who was too embarrassed to freestyle in front of his friend through a video chat to the former wannabe that’s going to make it if you trust. All I had to do was try.
Did the song pop off and become a number one hit? Nope. (not yet lol)
Does anyone even care about the shit I went through to get this all done? Maybe. (love you if you do <3)
Did I learn how to not give a fuck about what anyone says, set attainable goals that built habits that translated into other parts of my life, accomplish things that I personally feel are important, and up my sense of fulfillment and happiness? Yup.
If chasing after an “impossible” dream did all that for me, then what is stopping you from doing the same?