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It’s 1:23 a.m. on June 8, 2011, where I am now, which means it’s 4:23 a.m. on Long Island, New York. Exactly six years ago, in a quiet parking lot, you may or may not have found me asleep inside the van in which I was living. I was a waiter - often working late and usually going out for a couple of beers after my shift. Some nights, I could catch a shower at the 24-hour gym near work. On others, I would settle for a wipe-down with wet napkins and brushing my teeth with a cup of water. The best places to sleep were the ones where I could back the van up to a wall and crack the back doors to catch a breeze. I would usually break out my guitar and expand on song concepts that I had begun to formulate that summer. Life was pulling me down in such a heavy way that I started to question where I was headed and what I was doing. Confusion and despondency are words that enter my mind as I reflect back on laboring through one of the strangest, loneliest periods of my life.

During my junior year of high school, my zealously-religious parents gave me an ultimatum: abandon my budding love for music, the few friends I had, and the mundane pursuits of an average teenager, or embrace the misled plannings of their confused, militant design. Despite being overwhelmed by the gravity of the situation, I made the best decision I have ever made: I packed my proverbial bags with my meager belongings, and struck on out on my own path. I legally emancipated myself to gain full control of my life, and dedicated my energies to survival, advancement, and the pursuit of a better existence. Writing and consuming music became a cornerstone of stability in those times of transience and uncertainty.


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