I was born on International Literacy Day, 1995 in Los Angeles, California. In my early youth, Math was my bread and butter, and English was my bane and burden. The preschool lesson on months baffled me to no end. How was I supposed to determine the order or day-count of the months? The memorization without utility was just waste of brain space. In Math lessons, I learned a rule and could apply it immediately after, and I could always justify the rule if I forgot it. My elementary school music classes made me realize music had similar universal rules.
My father, the biggest Chicago fan I know and a high school trumpet player, had Blood Sweat and Tears, Tower of Power, Chase and of course Chicago playing in the house frequently. And as the fan he is, he brought me to so many Chicago concerts that I can recite “Poem 58” backwards. When my cousin started to learn the piano, my house had a piano in the house and I wanted to learn the instrument as well. My two brothers also played trumpet and trombone respectively, and when they were home they’d show me a few things on the piano. I remember the time my brothers explained that melodies usually didn’t consist of only chord tones (a six-nine chord anybody). That was somewhat baffling, but it forced me to want to take lessons. My first piano teacher trained me classically, though he would always say I should be playing jazz instead, in fact he said I should also be a drummer. Unable to stand classical music any longer, I met the person who most influenced my music and life in general. A folk guitarist made me rekindle my love of music. I started learning more modern pieces and starting writing, and in that same week I met a good friend who would give me two Radiohead albums, Ok Computer and Hail To The Thief. On first listen, I didn’t care too much for the two albums, but they came to be two of my favorites. Radiohead’s lead singer, Thom Yorke sings like a non-vocalist by deemphasizing the words and instead putting emphasis on other elements of voice. The two albums really brought me into the world of alternative rock.