This time last year (when I was still writing 12), I was working full-time as a barback at Darling Coffee in Inwood and becoming acquainted with the head baker, codename Meeko. She would help me with my various musical projects and watch MTV's Washington Heights with me. We had met in early December and by March we were dating. I hadn't dated for about five years, so this was a big deal. Over the course of the year, I would have to reevaluate many aspects of my life(style), including musical career, job, budget, and future.
In February I started the Uptown Freegans meetup group. There were a few meetings at the beginning that were well attended, but almost nobody has joined me since. So I'm not sure whether or how I will continue with the group much longer. I actually have to pay to keep the Uptown Freegans meetup page online, so it's really not worth it if nobody shows.
Speaking of unsustainability (or lack thereof), I decided in May to quit my job at Darling. In short, I needed more pay and the coffee shop couldn't afford it. Capitalism wasn't working for me, so I stopped working for capitalism. Instead, I doubled down on my art projects and began teaching music lessons again. By June I released The Pulvinar Movements - a complimentary album to my debut full-length Heliotropism - on bandcamp and produced physical copies of Heliotropism & The Pulvinar Movements to be released in September.
Over the summer I raised money via indiegogo and produced the #SingUpward music video for Sing At The Top Of Your Lungs. It was premiered on September 15th - the anniversary of the Heliotropism release in 2012 - along with the release of the HatPM CD packages, at the newly opened Word Up Bookshop in Washington Heights. I performed Heliotropism that night, with a full band backing me for the first time ever.
Which brings me to today!
I have a handful of students, but I'm always looking for more. I should be able to subsist on the income from lessons, at least for the time being, but I'm also looking for part-time work and/or gigs to supplement.
Of course, none of this means that I've given up on GioSafari or other artistic pursuits. On the contrary, I have several projects in mind for the coming year, including another EP of protest songs (RIP Pete Seeger) and another volume of the At Your Request covers project (it is an election year, after all). And when the cold lets up, I'll probably do some busking again and play more shows in NYC and nearby cities and towns. Plus I'm always adding thoughts to my blog sites, which you can check out under the Writing tab above. Most recently, I've written a bit on hip-hop and White privilege at the Grammy's. Lots more to come on privilege, freeganism, revolution/community, and who knows what other other topics and current events this year!
But probably the most significant changes in my life this year will happen on the relational front. Meeko and I are quickly approaching the one-year mark in our dating relationship, which might mean that I'll have an important question to ask her pretty soon...