It was noon, and the members of a small church situated along the coast of Guyana watched as a 5-year-old boy walked to the platform. He was nervous, and it showed in the way that he avoided the eyes of the members in the congregation. He took a breath, gripped the microphone with trembling hands, and looked up to the ceiling. Everyone waited. This would be his first performance. His 13-year-old sister, an accomplished pianist, had witnessed her brother’s gift and had honed it into the thing the congregation would now hear. He opened his mouth and the first sounds of his voice escaped his lips. The notes slowly drifted upward toward the rafters- simply and effortlessly. He took another breath and allowed himself to slip into a familiar trance-like state. This was his favorite place, his hideout when the world hurt him, or didn’t understand him- his safe place made up of notes, lyrics, melodies, and chords. In here, nothing else mattered- just his voice and the music. Minutes passed. A thunderous applause erupted. The boy looked up, a little disappointed. He wanted to stay a little longer, play a little more with the notes. But it was time to stop so the service could continue on.
He was sitting in a tiny New York apartment, deeply depressed about his life. He had not been happy for sometime now. He was lonely and bored with a shattered self-esteem. He had been a straight ‘A’ biology student at NYU for two years, but lately studying had become a chore and as a result his grades were slipping. He couldn’t concentrate and there was no one to reach out too… and then, there was that other matter. Life seemed hopeless. Was pleasing his friends and family worth all of this? He was tired of conforming, he didn’t want to pretend he liked studying biology, he didn’t want to pretend he was…The more he thought about it, the more depressed he became. He didn’t know what to do. He needed a break… a change.
A year passed.
He spent it re-acquainting himself with music. It had been a long time, but the passion he felt for notes and lyrics was still there and becoming increasingly more intense. Music had always carried him high above his limitations and fears, and now he was writing his melodies, his lyrics, his arrangements… his own music. But something prevented him from sharing it with anyone- all the things he wrote about seemed extremely personal. They contained his secret thoughts, his love life, his broken heart, his desires, his dreams, his fears, even childhood memories, even that matter. To allow anyone to hear them would be allowing someone to peer into his mind and his soul. That frightened him. Would individuals respond positively to some guy who was vulnerable and emotional?
4 years passed.
Then one night, after months of contemplation, self-examination and analysis, he realized the truth- in order to find peace… he would have to follow his heart and soul- where ever it lead him. Conforming to the norm wouldn’t do it, pretending to be straight wouldn’t do it. He would have to be true to himself- he would have to follow his dreams- live his life. With this realization weighing upon him, he sat at his desk and penned the title track to his debut CD- “I’ve Been Waiting for You”. Right then, his whole life came into perspective. Suddenly it didn’t matter that he composed ballads and recited poetry, it didn’t matter that he experimented with classical, acoustic, ambient, r&b, and soul music, it didn’t matter that his sound was different from other artists he knew, even his sexuality didn’t matter. All that mattered to him was that he was being true to his person- he was honoring the individual that he had become.
2 months passed.
Nhojj walked into his recording booth, he opened his mouth and the first sounds of his voice escaped his lips. The notes slowly drifted upward toward the ceiling simply and effortlessly. He took another breath and allowed himself to slip into the familiar trance-like state. This was his favorite place- a safe place made up of notes, lyrics, melodies, and chords. In here, nothing else matters- just his voice and the music.