California Dreamin’


While preparing for a phone interview with Bay Area singer Estelle California, I was worried about us being able to communicate.

With her French and my thick Tennessee accent I thought we might need a translator.

But we understood each other. In so many ways.

Growing up in a racist environment as a child, she knew from an early age the things she was hearing were wrong.

She developed a fondness for the Africans that lived in France and was heartbroken by their plight.

She explained to me when she was growing up, females were to be ‘seen not heard’. But she often voiced her concerns about racism.

She also discovered her gift of music at an early age. Her talent led her to training as a classical pianist.

She later discovered the saxophone. Perhaps it’s soulful cry echoed the pain she feels inside for those suffering from the hate and racism in the world.

It wasn’t until she was in her mid-twenties someone commented that she speaks with ‘a singing voice’.

She wants her music to bring light to the dark world. For people to come together and listen. And not care about the race of the person listening next to them. To let their hearts sing along. And for a brief moment, everyone feels Love.

I asked her to send me some pictures that bring her joy.

After speaking with this fellow ‘old soul’ I can understand what she sees in these three.

Freedom. Pride. Joy. Beauty.

Much like her idol, Nina Simone, Estelle Speaks out for those who have lost their voice to oppression. She uses her voice in many ways.

She’s unapologetically determined fight racism. Bigotry and hatred are learned behaviors. No one is born believing they are above anyone else.

Her young daughter sings her songs, and loves everyone, because that’s the behavior SHE was taught.

Fresh from her hit single ‘Star’ from her EP ‘My Name is Freedom’ the artist is working on more projects. It’s not about the money and fame for her, it’s about spreading the light.

“If you don’t work hard to keep your essence, then you will lose it all.”

Estelle took the last name ‘California’ after the state where she finally found herself.

She was ‘Reborn’ there. She belongs to No Man. She belongs to California. And will keep her dream of equality alive.

Lootswaay Fest 2019


Collaboration over competition. These are three words I live by. And I only surround myself with like minded people.

Robert ‘Reasons’ Brown is one of those people. We were actually introduced by another such person, Rapper IV Montana.

The three of us are constantly hustling to make a name for ourselves. But none of us want to make it to the top alone.

This is the premise for Lootswaay Fest 2019.

Named after his clothing line, Lootswaay, Robert practiced what he preaches.

He put together an event for fellow musicians to showcase their talents. And he asked me to come along.

I got to speak to a few of them before they went on stage. I asked about their journey. I asked about their ups and downs. And their favorite moments in their careers so far.

One young man name Kiiba told me he is the best rapper around.

I was intrigued. Trying to see the fine line between confidence and arrogance.

As he left the stage I shook his hand. “You most certainly proved yourself” I told him.

His range. His ability to freestyle. And to change gears so quickly. His confidence was validated.

Another young man, Leo, didn’t exude confidence. He was quitter than most musicians I’ve talked to before. And I pretty much had to pull details of his quite impressive career out of him.

He hit the stage and immediately transported me back in time to the old school R&B I grew up hearing.

The body of a young man held the soul and voice of an old soul.

When Jeronica picked up the mic I turned to IV Montana and said “Her voice needs to meet your voice and I need to hear it!”

He was thinking the same thing. I’m excited for the upcoming collab between these two.

Collaboration over competition. That’s what it’s all about.

IV Montana showed up, not to perform. Not to be seen. But to support his friend.

I’ve written about these guys and I’ll link those blogs below so you can see how amazing they both are.

Instead of stepping over people and forgetting those that helped to rise to the top, these two pull the rest of us along with them.

Collaboration…it’s the only way. It’s Lootswaay.