Lightning Striking

I wasn’t born a musician and never thought that was going to be my path – until Lightning struck.

The majority of my most formative years growing up were spent getting high on grass. Um, Let me rephrase that. Getting sports “highs” on a soccer field 😉 I lived for the sport and through it, got to have some amazing experiences as well as some of the hardest times of my life.

I just felt most ALIVE when I was on the field. I was able to tap into a deep place of personal resourcefulness, creativity, and dedication there that I just didn’t have access to anywhere else.

Being on highly competitive teams allowed me to travel around the country and having some peak experiences like going from playing for my local small town to making the Olympic Development Team for northern New Jersey overnight, and eventually playing at the collegiate level for 4 years at Plymouth State in New Hampshire.

I remember my last game as a senior in college. It was freezing – literally. It was November in the White Mountains and the snow plows had to plow like 6 inches of snow off our field before the game and the ground itself was rock solid.

I vividly remember playing my heart out that game. I was like a possessed maniac until I was crippled by muscle fatigue in overtime and had to come out of the game. We ended up losing to our rivals on our home field. This was way less of a storybook ending to my career than I had hoped for, but something very interesting happened when I walked away from the game that day. I was done. Completely done with the sport and had zero regrets about needing to do or prove anything else through the game. It was an extremely bittersweet moment. I remember walking off the field and hugging my Dad who had been my biggest supporter and fan throughout my many years – it’s was emotional to say the least.

It was a strange feeling but the number one thing that I lived for, the thing that I was completely dedicated to for the last 10 years, and the number one thing that drove my Spirit was – complete. Done. And I felt quite alright about it. I knew new horizons were there for me and I left knowing I gave it everything I had.

My next chapters of life led me to living at a ski resort and teaching snowboarding as my job. It was incredible and it was also during this time that I began freestyle rapping all the time. There was something so connected between the fluidity of gliding effortlessly over snow and riding a stream of consciousness over a beat that just locked in the joy and feeling of a flow state. I realized that it was the same kind of feeling when I was fully zoned in on the soccer field. I lived for and still live for this feeling, this state of being.

Alright, let’s fast forward about 6 solid years of freestyling as a hobby, beginning to write a few raps and spoken word pieces, having a number of live performances of freestyling with other friend’s live sets.

There was definitely something to this thing. I felt so on edge, in a good way, right before spitting a freestyle rap live on stage. I didn’t know what I was going to say, I just wanted to stay in the vibe of the music, stay on topic of the song, match the energy of the crowd, and had to implement a huge trust in just surrendering to the music to guide me. It was a rush every time and I was always my biggest critic whether it went well or not. There were lots of great moments and plenty of far from great moments – haha.

Throughout this time, I was definitely creating a presence as an MC with my regular freestyle appearances with a number of different artists at festivals all over California. However, my relationship with it always felt like a fun hobby rather than something that I was really pursuing.

Right around 2015 I had a significant encounter freestyling and hooked up with a live EDM crew called TROPO at a festival in Santa Barbara called Lucidity.

By the phrase – “hooked up with”, I mean I walked all around that festival with a mic and XLR cord and was ready to plug in with anyone who’d let me join their set. I had the two physical things I needed, lyrics to go, and an ambitious spirit. I connected with a DJ in the daytime and spit a bunch of rhymes over his tracks and we had so much fun with a good 300 people dancing their asses of to our spontaneous collaboration. It was a seamless and straight up magical set. After the set, he introduce me to TROPO who had the headlining set that night and they welcomed me based on my new friends high recommendation.

They said to come join them for a song and it went so well that I stayed on with them for 45 minutes! Our chemistry was off the charts and people freaked out with what we were pulling off knowing that we just met and that it was all improvisation. That set blew my mind and was THE pinnacle live performance experience of my life up to that point.

That set solidified a solid 2 year touring relationship with TROPO and some lifelong friendships.

Ok- time for the lightning.

Tropo got booked at a pretty big festival called Lightning in a Bottle. Maybe you’ve heard of it?! The headliners that year were my musical heroes and I was going to get to play a main stage set with my crew.

We rocked it in front of 3000 people and I basically had an out of body experience that was equal parts surreal and also revealing about what kind of exchange and energy was possible during a live performance. The best parts of me were drawn out through the music, through the crowd, through the booming sound system, through the vibe, through the cool night air, and it felt like Home. I was fuckin’ LIT UP from the show.

The experience changed me inside and out.

Later that night around 4 am, I found myself walking around the art infused psychedelic playground of a landscape that comes with being at a big festival.

I wanted to get away from all the noise and found myself away from the crowds at a quiet set up space that was made for people to come in and write about their intentions, prayers, or whatever was most real for them. It was the perfect solace I needed at that time. I sat down and chilled out hard.

With my eyes closed, I really sat with what had happened earlier that night with the crowd of 3000 people and my musically inspired journey thus far. And it was in that quiet time that I felt the lightning strike of – THS IS IT. This is what I’m going to dedicate my time, creative energy, and real deal efforts to in a way that I never had. In that moment I committed to the path of being a professional lyricist.

Previously, I just didn’t really see doing this as a viable potential. But, after a bunch of life changing experiences all I could feel was the pure potential to take everything that I was doing further and infuse it with more depth and meaning. Yadda, yadda, yadda – here I am!!

At the core of who I am, I really just want to spread positivity, love, peace, and a message that brings people closer together and closer to the truth of who they are. I whole-heartedly believe in our collective power when we work together. It actually overwhelms me when I really tune in with the undeniable power of what’s possible through music, especially when people care about people and the earth.

It’s now been several years since that moment and I’ve never been so challenged, confronted, and wanted to give up so many times with something I love which is exactly how I know I’m right where I should be.

I know all too well that our greatest expression does not come easily at all – in fact – it should most likely be the opposite because it means we have to grow like we have never done before to become the person capable of carrying out our deepest desires and visions of what’s possible for ourselves. I’m into, really into it. (Can you relate?!)

Music has been my greatest catalyst for growth, served as a serious mirror for where my overall artistry stands, and has been the most rewarding way to give back to so many.

Alongside putting out all of my personal projects, I’ve created a music and video based project that supports getting clean water to those in need through non-profit partnerships called Tap the Flow. There’s been over 45 people involved so far and we’ve done some amazing things together – and – we’re just getting started! More to share on this at a later time 😉

I’ve locked into this role of musician much later than a lot of my allies that have been professional musicians for years or even decades and at the end of the day, I really don’t care.

I’m walking my path. This is what it looks like now. And, I wouldn’t trade one part of it for the world.

For me, music with a message is one of the greatest gifts we can give and it’s also allows for bigger conversations of personal, social, and global importance to happen. I’m committed to leaving this world better than I found it and I’m so incredibly grateful to have you as an ally on the path.

Every ounce of your support is felt and deeply appreciated. It only inspires me to go harder, further, and to create at a higher level.

Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to read this and walk with me in any form that we get to connect whether through a digital medium, at a show, or by far my favorite – in person.

It wouldn’t be any fun without you and that’s the TRUTH!!

I’m excited for what’s here now, and for all that there is to come. And most importantly, to share this journey with you.

Highest Regard and Big Love
RA-BE 333