This genre-bending, soul searching and in-it-for-the-love duo, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, have probably been the most encouraging factor in hip hop, for me (outside of the love that the Creator has created within me), right now – motivating me to create music, listen carefully to others’ music and to continue writing. Now, it would be simply an overstatement for me to credit the duo with what is truthfully a pulse that beats with life in multiple circles in the underground and even in a small pockets in the mainstream. The pulse here at Soul Anchor Collective is ramping up as we approach an exciting 2012, but to do so without looking back at the last year would be unwise, so let this article serve as an echocardiogram, a snapshot of our heartbeat over the last year.
Just over one year ago I heard that Ahmad (yeah, “Back in the Day” Ahmad) would be performing at a monthly event in the North County of San Diego called Lyrical Skoolyard. Little did I know that the inspiration that Kid Riz‘ event would hit me with would begin my movement toward pursuing what I have known I want to do since I was 9 years old – I remember telling my mom that I would like to rap or sing, sitting in her 80’s model Nissan Maxima. My first step toward such was taken as I began this blog, reviewing the event and, in turn, receiving excellent feedback on the article. The kindness of my then limited readership is what spurred me on to continue writing, and to take some other risks that I had previously been afraid to take.
With a newfound confidence, not in my skill or my image or myself, but in a gift that I have been given, I approached my brother-in-law, Antonio PAZ1 Appling (who is also the second half of thePiecemakers alongside myself) and asked him if he was ready to begin pursuing the music we had been hoping to make for the past seven years… he said yes. Now, at the time, Kanye West was just wrapping up G.O.O.D. Fridays and so we remixed some of those tracks for a project that we called G.O.O.D. December. We got good feedback and thought that the next step should be a mixtape – The Golden Era Mixtape was the result. We both fell in love with hip hop in the 80’s, a love that was solidified in the mid to late 90’s and so the project was our homage of sorts. We were blessed to be able to perform short sets from the project at live events and have seen the potential of our music. As the doors have opened we have continued to move forward and are in the studio currently, mapping out our first full-length LP.
As thePiecemakers have found their way, I have also grown into my own, making music under my birth name, NathanAnthony (I go by KnewBalance when working with PAZ1). I have been recording random tracks, including the three the link will bring you to, and have been working with a handful of other artists – vocally and as a producer/beatsmith. After working with these other artists, I began to realize that I also had a bigger vision – I want to help others find, pursue and grow their musical gifts, particularly those who also love soul music.
Working with others pushed me to stretch the confines of my already lofty hopes, especially as a man in his early 30’s with an amazing wife and our first child on the way, and I began drafting ideas for creating a label. Soul Anchor Collective was borne and so was my belief that it could actually materialize. As my artistry developed, I made sure not to neglect the gift that had started this process, the writing. Shortly after my first Lyrical Skoolyard, I began attending them religiously, as well as an event near downtown San Diego, called Urban Underground Weekly. I would spend my Wednesday and Thursday nights driving to the events, meticulously absorbing every detail of the shows and then writing reviews until 4 or 5 in the morning – I had to be at Farb Middle School at 8 am the next day ready to teach my 8th grade English students, mind you. My dedication and discipline once again was proven to be anything but vain; as I met others who loved the music and culture that has been instrumental in my life, I began to receive requests for me to review the music that they were currently making and releasing. Yet again, people enjoyed my voice on the page, and appreciated the honesty and integrity with which I wrote – not to mention the fact that I was working to promote music that may not get coverage otherwise (not that I in any way validate the music, but I do support it).
As the pieces continue to fall into place, I continue to try to see the big picture. Soul Anchor Collective is currently working with various artists and groups on a very grass roots level, is taking steps toward incorporation, learning more about licensing and publishing and is cautiously yet boldly moving forward. We will also be putting out a quarterly newsletter that will hopefully become an online magazine, continuing to provide reviews and interviews (Blame One interview will be released in the first newsletter) and will begin finding and developing new artists. There is so much more that I would love to share, but it will be made known at the appointed time. For now, I would like to thank God for continuing to challenge and grow me and for allowing me to do the things I love. Also, I thank every person who has ever believed in me, in what I do, shared a kind word, or even challenged my ability to get to this point – you have all been instrumental in this. Thank you.
On the Radar:
– Darren G
– Kid Cudi
…among many others… please stay tuned and use SAC as a resource.
Peace and Love,