The Year 2015

So, fair warning, this blog entry is one I admittedly am making in order to boost confidence or reassure my low self-esteemed self. This year has been hard and trying, but it has also been really bright and dream-fulfilling in many ways. With the year-end just around the corner, and me wondering whether or not I'll find time or motivation to write this before 2016 comes strolling in ("Realize in hindsight, inspiration is finite" - Topr) I figured I'd just post it now. So here it is, 2015... let's see - what happened?
I graduated! University of Pennsylvania class of 2015 Department of Psychology. A long time ago, fueled by love and a really good friend, I applied to UPenn, not expecting at all to actually get accepted. As a freshmen, I once walked down Locust feeling like the next 4 years would be long, hard, and a little excruciating - and then a senior said to me "It goes by fast!" I rolled my eyes to words that couldn't be at all truer. I have so many to thank when it comes to the initial idea, forward implementation, and eventual finish - super grateful for the memories made, growth encumbered, and friends received/lost/continued. To top it, I received the Association of Native Alumni Leadership Award with the James Brister Society - wasn't expecting that. Crap, I better not waste more space in this blog! Next thing.
I released some albums! "Sake" (51 tracks, March), "Shirobon EP" (16 tracks, May), "Tanka" (18 tracks, July), "Contradiction" (18 tracks, November), "Rabbit & Coyote" (14 tracks, December). I also did some beat-work for my brother Rafi on his project "IntraStellar" which can be found at https://305rafi.bandcamp.com/album/intrastellar and was also honored to have a track featured on the "Last Stand Mixtape" which can be found at https://laststandmixtape.bandcamp.com/releases
Some new ventures/projects came around that I got to have fun with! With my brothers Jesus and Rafi, we made a few episodes towards this series called "BehindTheScreen" just being us (stupid) and playing cheap/free emulators on my laptop. Aside from that, one of the things that had to unfortunately be paused for time's sake was my radio show back in the Fall semester of senior year. Me and Rafi had some serious fun doing it, but we each just had obligations and academia to tend to. Luckily, during the summer of this year I was able to put in a few episodes for an easier-to-do podcast called "The SlapCast" - just doing what I always loved and getting to again interview very talented artists!
I got to perform in so many different places that I've always dreamed of performing! A Philly Jazz club for a verse or two (always wanted to say that), one more Open Mic with the GIC at Penn, various high schools that I grew up around and for my family in places like Crow Creek (seriously, a dream come true), colleges like Minn. Institute of Art and Northern State University. I even got to do a TEDxTalk in Boston!
Another opportunity that meant so much was in being the keynote speaker for UPenn's annual Martin Luther King Day of Service Breakfast. I even got to get my name mispronounced by the president of the university! :)
Had some more videos come out for songs like "Splash Water Bomb" and "Tell America I'm Sorry" - another one coming soon too!
I got love on some articles and radio shows. Shows like Native Trailblazers and A Tribe Called Geek seriously made me feel so cool and happy - I even got voted JuneJamz' "#1 Fan Favorite" for Native Trailblazers! I got to be featured in sources like The Pennsylvania Gazette, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Indian Country Today - all sources I never thought I'd ever be on in my life for anything, let alone my music!
I got to bring out people I consider serious influences in this music game to perform at Penn and the Penn Museum - Frank Waln, Def-I, Tall Paul, Wake Self - the sis Cinnamon Spear even came out to gift us amazing beadwork and performed a poem! I got to do this in 2013, and was so happy to do it again, even if it meant not studying for an exam directly after with little to no sleep lol. It was definitely worth the CPN sender email.
I got to go to MAGFest!!! Music and Gaming festival - filled with everything I've ever stood for in my life - video games and their musics. It was all the atmosphere I could've wanted - cool people, great experiences, and front row experiences of performances from Grimecraft and so many other musicians I REALLY look up to - artists who have made music that have gotten me through so much these past years.
I got another tattoo! An audio cord that both comes out of my skin and plugs into it. I make sound and it also soothes me like an ivy needle.
I made this website! It was an inner battle to do so - I've never wanted to come off as super egotistical or anything like that.
I moved home - in what has been both the most challenging and also fulfilling decisions. I realized my next steps that I want to make - and I got to be a presence for my little brother - the only other person who finds his way into my decisions. I care a lot about him and want to do what I can to help him succeed and live a life that he's happy in. Also - to perform back here and get such reception from youth and others seriously makes me so happy. I've had students come up to me and either share so much in either words or simple gestures - and I'm so grateful for it and touched by it each time. My biggest fear is being that corny "Motivational Hip Hop" guy that's out of touch and isn't speaking with his/her heart.
Overall, I'm really happy to just be alive I guess. I'll be honest in saying that this all hasn't been easy - mentally, psychologically, and emotionally it's been a big battle. Mainly with myself - I'm complicated, and sometimes maybe my biggest enemy is my own thought and inner-arguments. I'm just glad that I've been blessed with so many people here to help me and hear me out when I need to be. Nothing is ever done alone, and I'm grateful for those that have had my back for so long and in so many major ways.
I hope I can continue to do whatever it is that I do next year. I hope that I better myself, in more ways than one, and start loving myself a bit more. With so much done this year, I should be more happy with myself, but nobody is perfect and I'm honestly trying trying trying. Writing this helps - and continuing to make/perform music helps a lot too.
Anyways, all love people! Thank you for reading this, commenting, messaging privately, etc. It means more than I can say. :) And as always thank you for any support on anything I have done before.
Happy super-early-omg-this-is-way-early-isnt-it New Year!
Talon Bazille Ducheneaux