I may not have discussed all the gory details of how Visionary Quest Records came into being. The short story of me finding and channeling my creativity outside of law, dance, or choreography was indicative of my soul's and my entire being's cry for healing and help. The year 2016 and the first half of 2017 were some of my darkest chapters in my life. The legal profession was literally killing me mentally and physically. I became the antithesis of a man living a balanced life. Most importantly, I no longer had a creative outlet for positive escapism. I had been doing quite a bit of directing and choreographing for the Miami Gay Men's Chorus. Their goals and business needs needed to financially scale down and my attorney work became all too adversarial and soul crushing. Long story short, I had to take short term medical disability leave from my attorney position, which turned into long term disability due to stress induced seizure condition that was wreaking havoc with my life and those around me at home and at work. The journey to healing and light was a long arduous one. Little did I know that my creative soul and mental health were about to experience a new unexpected rebirth - this time in creating music.
Although many entertainment artists friend and colleagues have known me as a dancer or a choreographer, my roots actually started in kindergarten studying piano all the way up until my first two years of college at Butler University where I minored in Music (piano, voice), Theatre, and majored in Dance. It was the only school which embraced an artist that studies and trains in all three performing arts; whereas, so many other schools forbid it. I had a high school mentor, Mr. James Carr, who literally turned me, this introverted pianist into an all-round performing artist. He planted the seeds of dance and choreography in high school even though I technically lacked any good dancer training. The seeds made me hungry for more, so much that I knew in my heart, I was going to commit and do just this - live these passions as far as I can take them. Oddly enough I did things ‘backwards.’ I started to choreograph professionally for many years right out of college first. Then I decided to hang that hat up temporarily to attain my other dream of performing on Broadway. Life was good to me. From 1990-2000 the Great White Way was hit with one Asian show after another. Looking back I was fortunate, appreciative, and gracious for having had a nice long career performing on Broadway.
The last two years of my Broadway career were spent studying and planning for my exit from the arts. I first worked on this 3-year master’s degree in psychology online grad program while I was on tour For a variety of reasons in my quest for fulfillment I switched gears and became a lawyer. That is a book onto itself. Fast forward to having practiced as a state prosecutor for 7 years and staff in house counsel for private agency for 3 years, which had its share of health crises and hospitalizations, I had relinquished control of the driver's seat in my life and let life run me - literally into the ground.
In 2016 I had to hang up my attorney hat and take long medical leave., hence the darkness of those years. Plagued with self-doubt, I was at home alone with 4 pets (seeing all these docs). Time was passing so painstakingly slow. I still felt 'unhealed', lost, depressed, you name it. I used to love going out dancing in the clubs because it was my connection to my body's desire to connect with music - a very cathartic experience. But that aspect of myself had long disappeared, stepping aside for the new demands life had 'chosen' for me. I was living by default at a cost to myself. Well, that was rock bottom. Many around me were even talking to me about permanent disability - talk about feeling useless, but deep down I knew was not permanently disabled. I’ve just hit a real rough patch. At that very period of time, yes, it was dark. I did feel a sense of paralysis. I would often think to myself what is going to be my next act. I knew I didn't want to go back to what literally was killing me.
In July of 2017, I started to connect with my piano once again. Looking back, that was a monumental sign of healing because I literally had divorced myself from that part of my soul - to play the piano. I even let myself go to that mysterious zone of creative flow and improvise on the piano. This had not happened in a million years. I found this very healing for me. It was also a barometer of my healing progress. Then one thing at a time, I began to have these ideas like I would as a choreographer but this time musical ideas. I started putting these ideas down. Then like an explosion that I had not experiences in eons, a heated frenzy of creative flow just burst from within me. I gave birth to my first three songs in the first month: 1) Crime and Justice: to Dream or Not to Dream; 2) Irresistible Dreams: the Joy of Dreamweaving, and 3) Then All Began. In my search for life healing I found it in the arts once again, but not in dance or choreography as before but literally with music - my original roots. Because of my dance background and body's eternal desire to move, my creative energy naturally channeled into Dance/EDM genre type of music with me adding my own signature to it. Like a dam breaking, I had so much pent up creative energy flowing out that I had created and produced 11 songs - each very different - from July to November 2017: 1) Samurai Warriors; 2) Built Tough in the USA: Down Home Foot Stompin' House; 3) In the Valley of Broken Hearts; 4) One Step at a Time; 5) Ninja Tatakai: 6) Soaring with the Rising Phoenix; 7) Regalia; and 8) Tribalaganza. Since then I have released 3 more songs in 2018: 1) Cheveyo (Spirit Warrior); 2) Fièvre du Tambour; and 3) Gotta Have You just released on 2/28/18.
Now the business of art was calling my name as it needed to have its equal place at the table. Although I continue to create my music, I have learned that I need to be a good creative parent to each child birth of art that comes into the world. I have to raise this 'child' art which goes way beyond creative flow. But the gold nugget of this story was I never gave up despite what others said. I felt/feel like a Samurai Warrior fighting for my dreams, honor and love. This ol' dog can learn new tricks. I have found a new avenue where I can channel my creative soul. With dance, stage movement and stage direction, visualizing the final product was so organic for me. But I often would not let myself go to create music. I was trained as a classical musician and so I never allowed myself to explore creativity in the way I would as a dancer or choreographer. But when you are rock bottom, trying to heal from one of the darkest chapters in your life, creativity is such a source of healing and self-discovery. But at this stage of my life, my good ol’ faithful tools of dance or choreographic projects where not available to me. I was alone at home with my Yamaha P-250 electric piano and my M-Audio Hammer 88 keyboard. You’ll be amazed as to what you can discover of yourself and what you can tap into when alone at home weeks at a time and all you have is your piano, synthesizer, and a computer.
One’s creative soul will always find its way to express itself. There was much doubt from others and myself included about whether I would be able to get back up on that horse again. But as we say in law “res ipsa loquitor” – let the thing speak for itself. The very fact that my mind was rewiring itself to create music and the creativity was exploding and overflowing with such vehemence to express all that it had to express, I knew deep inside that I was no longer 'disabled', useless, or unfit to contribute to this world. Quite the contrary, I just experienced or undergone a gestation to the birth of my next act in life – my own rebirth akin to the Rebirth of the Rising Phoenix. This Samurai Warrior was not dead. This Samurai Warrior was reborn, alive, well, and ready to fight for his dreams and for a new path to this latter part of life. Others (known and unknown) heard my own brand of dance music and affirmed this new life path. It kept and keeps me going. To commit to this next chapter of my life, I built a home for my music - enter Visionary Quest Records. This Samurai Warrior is once back out and about attending to his life goals and in the driver's seat of his life journey. I end and leave you with this. Be your own Samurai Warrior. No one’s going to fight for or build your dreams. It’s up to you. It may seem impossible at times - and I mean truly impossible, but if you break it up into smaller parts, it suddenly becomes possible, manageable and believable for yourself., You can’t let the fire stop burning. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF Quitting is not an option. Dreams are yours and yours alone, and up to you to make it happen. Know, that you have all the power to reach your dream destination.