Written on an airplane April 15, 2022
I suppose this is kind of a weird part of my story to launch my blogging forum from, but lives weird, and we all know we like it better that way(;
Years ago I used to find myself recording vlogs from my iMac Photo Booth (an echo of Katy Perrys infamous documentary: Part Of Me, which was my sole inspiration from 18-20, ) with a “this is the beginning” theme, thinking later in life Id have the budget and team to create this dope piece of content that would let the viewer feel like they had a really good understanding of my past, into my present, and could see the vision of what I was creating- a true cinematic drama queen, living out her rags to riches narrative I suppose. Well surprise 18 year old Kassie, your 27, teams still small, budget ain't too fat yet, but hey honey- don’t worry, the rest of the story is still being written. (no pun intended haha)
In fact, you just played the Banc Of California with Armin Van Burren this weekend, in front of thousands of people- and by the generosity of alchemy, you're about to wrap your dream record. Congrats kid, you fucking did it.
So for lack of time and attention on both my end, and you, the reader- ill try to keep the back story short;
For anyone new here, Im Kazi Jay, an independent artist, 27 years of age, and I have been pursuing music since I left my tiny isle of Kauai in 2013.
There are so many details, and while I'm tempted to go into them, as context can be incredibly painful for me to go without, Im just gonna drop in with where I'm at right now. Well, not physically drop in, I'm on a plane and I'm not sure the passengers heading back to Kauai on their dream vakay would be stoked on that. But drop in, as in that kind of new agey phrase that honestly feels like the clearest way to say “heres where I’m at.”
April 9th 2022, was such an unexplainable moment for me. While on the outside it would appear Im just starting, nearly a decade of my life has built up to this opportunity. After the journey thus far, I have allowed myself to grow comfortable with being very honest with myself and my happiness in music, and permitting myself the freedom to decide If it indeed is still the road I want to keep going on- or if I perhaps want to start a new journey. Wow- where did that come from? Am I really about to let people know what really goes on in this head? I know what anyone who's reading this might think, “what?! your recording an album?! You've dedicated your entire life to this?! your just starting to finally break through?! You cant waste all you've put into this?!”
All valid responses from anyone looking at my life, and while I can honor and respect that the human design values and idolizes commitment, and the so called “under dog” finally making it to the "winners circle," I honor my own human experience more.
Within the last 10 years of actively working towards my dream, I have hustled over 30 jobs of every sort, lived in 3 states split up between dozens of homes, fully supporting myself, my dream, and somehow thinking it was my job to carry the weight of my mothers addiction before her passing. When 2020 hit, it had felt Like the end of the world In the grief of suppressed processing, attempting to still do dozens of gigs a month in California ( As if the distraction of performing gave me a sense of feeling like I was still on course.) And then boom, March 13, 2020, the real end of the world. No where to hide, no where to run, no more distractions.
I went home. Back to Kauai. A symbol in my eyes, I gripped as tight as gospel, of the the ultimate failure.
I was rummaging through a 24x`16 box of all the things the shelter had sent me of my mothers labeled "final posession's.” Her whole life, there in a box. Enclosed was an old pink wallet, and pages and pages and pages of lyrics and writing. I sat on the bedroom in my fathers guest room looking through the writing, as if I could feel her hand by the fragments of DNA sunk into the pages I held. I swear I can still smell her in those pages today. My heart and body began to feel hope as I found parables and hidden meaning in everything. And in my hour of feeling like the bottom was the only thing I had left to stand on, of all the words my mother wrote across the cheap lined paper, there it was; “Giving up, isn't going home.” There wasn't much on that page- but I could only imagine what this meant to her. A singer in her own right- a power house vocalist with a magic I only feel tapped into now that I know her spirit lives and breaths through mine. The Keys were all in front of me. Going Home wasn't giving up. It was a returning to self. A part of myself that I had run so far from- afraid for so long that she wasn't someone this world needed to hear from.
As I began the journey of resettling in, finding the quiet in my mind to hear the sound of my heart, and resisting the urge to have all the answers in order to create something - my album very quickly began to write itself.
-I have to stop for a moment and recognize that I definitely am giving context- just bare with me here- Im on the plane and my writing playlist has got me in deep nostalgia.-
Fast forward to the Armin Van Burren surprise of 2021- The whole thing was a total accident. I had a friend, Nicholas Gunn, reach out to help pitch his song to the label he works with. I was soooo hard for it at the time just scrounging up as much $$ as I could to keep working on my own record with my producers- and I took it
knowing that I could come up on some fast cash.
While I hadn't been a trance fan prior- the song was so easy to connect with. I took all that emotion of losing my mom and poured it into the story of For All Time. I sent it off, got my payment, and hoped the best for my friend and his song. 2 days later I heard back and the reaction to my vocal demo of the song put me on Armins radar. It was about a week later I got the call I'd gotten the confirmed yes I would be the vocalist for the track. It was nuts.
I never imagined my road would take such a gear shift of a direction. Fan base went from less than 200 to over 200,000 listeners in a day.
Fast forward to last Saturday April 9th. So returning to my opening question im sure has some of you asking, why would I question what Im doing after all this time? After all the years, and work, why would I find myself in a place of permitting myself the wondering thoughts of “Is this what I still want”or “Am I Happy with the road I'm on?”
Well frankly, after the 10 years of sacrifice, and life altering losses Ive endured along side them, I wanted my inner self to feel honored and like she has a choice in all of this. I wanted her to know that just because we’ve done something for x amount of time, it does not mean she has to keeping doing that same something because its been the road so far.
I am free, and I want every part of me to know that in every move and decision I make for myself, and all the different parts of me.
That evening, onstage, I found my answers in the light.
The moment I stepped up on that stage, not one butterfly in my stomach, over looking an ocean of bodies before me, I felt every bit of freedom in knowing exactly what I wanted was right in front of me. Connection. Its always been the reason, but ive never in my life felt the vibration of connection at that level. The love of music was the highest frequency- and it drew me in to a single moment For All Time.
So, Kazi, what's next?
After a week in LA, Im headed home to wrap 2 more music videos, finish the masters for the album, and plan out an insanely wild European adventure/ tour this summer...
I realize I've just dropped a weight of information on you as a reader- and Ive just gotta say if you've made it this far into my first blog post, your a real one. Hopefully you like it because this journal/updating/tell-all is likely going to be the way I am going to be using this space to share my musical journey, my travels, and likely the candid and intimate moments of process that I'll have through it all.
I have no idea what's coming, but I'm extremely grateful for the unmarked path ahead of me. And to you, whoever you are reading this, please follow your heart. Chase the dreams you cannot live without.
All my love,