Special announcement: New Acoustic sessions featuring some of my own songs and covers coming weekly to my youtube in 2018!
What I’m Wearing: Cardigan - Banana Republic, Shirt- Good Fellow, Pants- Good Fellow, Shoes - Apt 9, Socks - Happy Socks
"I Will Find You"
You sit back and realize how fast 10 years has past. You look back at your former self and ask who was I then? I'm trying to step back into that mindset at this moment. This week on December 7,2017 marks 10 years since I started dipping my feet in the music industry. I was 12 when I started, I'm now 22. My life has gone through many ups and downs. I have won and I have lost. People can say I have failed at my goals, aspirations, and dreams, but I look at this in a completely different perspective than they do. 10 years is a milestone for anyone and anything. I have done a lot for someone my age. Not as much as some, but definitely more than others. As I look forward to next year and beyond, I reflect on what has happened in my life these past 10 years.
I never thought I would open a fashion blog/ personal diary and share it with the world. This year has been filled with various collaborations with many brands, including one special happy brand, Happy Socks. Teaming up with Happy Socks has expanded my mind as a writer. People look at their socks as a happy piece of clothing to give their outfit an added flare. I never saw them as just socks with a design. I saw Happy Socks as someones dream coming to life. All these socks started somewhere and it reminds me of how we all started somewhere and how we grow and bring our dreams to see the light of day.
I was at a crossroad when I was 12 years old. I knew I loved music. I was the top Alto Sax player in my middle school Concert, Marching, and Jazz Band. I enjoyed it very much. Getting all the top solos and performing was something the fire in my soul fed off of. Something about it wasn't enough for me though. I have been singing since I was 3 years old, I knew I wanted to sing for a living, I just didn't know when. In 2007 Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus was my world... along with High School Musical. Judge me all you want, but the more I watched the tv shows, and listened to all the music... the more I learned. Miley inspired me so much. Hearing her songs and realizing that she wrote it made my mind desire the same things. I grew up on Michael Jackson, Elvis, Whitney, and all the greats. Miley was added to that list and because of her I tried songwriting. I thought I was going to be horrible at songwriting, but it turns out I found it very easy to write music at 12 years old. It's like all these stories from my childhood were inside of me waiting to come out and be told. When your in middle school, you have teenage drama... at least I did. I was the most popular kid. You know how kids are, they have pyramids at school, I was at the top of the circle of life. All the young ones looked up to me, all the older ones looked to me. I knew once I made my choice I would be walking on a thin line. I knew it would be easy for me to get knocked off of the pyramid. I did't care. My last year and a half of middle school would involve me being devoted to the band, my squad, and building a pyramid of my own inside my soul. Anyone that tried to screw me over, any crush I had, any frustrating teenage problem I was going through, I wrote about it. I loved writing these songs and singing them in my bedroom to myself. I knew I needed an outlet to perform. I turned to youtube. I got a flip camera (do you remember those, lol) and recorded videos and uploaded them to youtube. My first upload was December 7th, 2007. From there I kept growing. I started singing in Church with my mom. I remember the first time I really sang in public was a song called "Fill My Cup". I still remember it like the back of my hand. "Fill my cup lord, I lift up lord". I loved seeing the audience just connect for a moment in time. As my middle school era winded down, I joined the school talent show. I joined as singer... not as the alto sax player. A few of my former buddies backed me up on instruments and I sang "Don't Forget" by Demi Lovato. In that moment, things changed. I owned that crowd, I owned that moment, I felt the birth of Dom Baza finally see the light of day. I caught the bug and there was no going back. As high school started I quit band and made up my mind to do music full time. My parents were very hesitant at the start. They didn't want me to loose the opportunities I could have gained if I stayed at high school. I had to convince them that I could do this. I worked for it. For the first few years from 14-16 years old, I would travel Northern California and perform at various nursing homes and rehabs. My parents always raised me to use my voice for good. I went to perform for people who desperately needed to feel something for an hour of their life. I joined a singing competition called Nor Call Sings in-between that time period. I was 15 and despite the standing ovations, I couldn't please the judges. I performed the hell out of that live audition. I threw my hat out into the audience, and got down on my knees to show these people, i'm not just here to sing a song for you... I'm here to give you a show. Those judges ended up picking an opera singer and I moved onto the next.
Courtney Johnson came into my life. She became my little sister and my best friend. She looked up to me when I was in middle school. I was a myth of some sorts to the younger kids. Everyone wanted to get to know Dom Baza. My sister Courtney dm'd me on twitter one day and asked if I would like to collab with her. I looked her up and saw she had thousands of youtube views, so I said yes. I went into an in home studio at my aunts house and recorded a cover of the song "Send It On". Courtney and my family all took part in the video and we released it on youtube to praise and backlash. The backlash did not stop me or Courtney. I went on to audition for a tv show called the X Factor. I left for LA for a bit and made top 200. After I didn't make the final cut my mom put me in vocal lessons with a woman named Mary Brennan. Mary became my vocal savior. She helped craft what my voice is today. During this time Courtney and I started writing music together. I started going into the studio with a local and respected producer Doug Chancellor, and I was secretly seeing someone at the time. That didn't last so I wrote a song about it called, September. Courtney got in and helped on the track and help me write what I couldn't. A month later I recorded it and it became the lead single off my first album "Time Is All I Have". I was 17 by the time my album dropped. I was home schooled and in my final year of high school. I strived to graduate early so I can focus full time on my music. In August of that year I got my first apartment. After searching high and low I found a place where I belong, LA. Time is all I have helped me to make enough money so I can live on my own. My record helped me make a living. As I got used to life in LA, I didn't think my story would be cut so short there.
In 2013 I performed at my god mothers funeral services. I was approached by a talent scout in the audience. He loved my rendition of "I Will Always Love You" and asked to set up a meeting. Although I was living on my own, I was still a minor. My mom or dad had to attend all legal meetings with me. We met a producer who heard a song I wrote called "Let The Music Be Your Guide". He loved what he heard and asked if we could record a 5 song EP. There was catch.... I would not be recording these songs in LA, I would be recording them in Berkeley California. Once again at a crossroad, I had to leave LA, not for me, but for my dreams. Leaving LA was an emotional experience for me. I knew I had to leave to record this ep, but I knew my story there was nowhere near complete. Putting a pause to my life there, I moved back to my parents home in the Bay Area. I went to work on my EP and wrapped it up within 5 months. My team and producer along with his team was so impressed that the EP turned into a complete album. "Let The Music Be Your Guide" will always be the first real taste I had in the music industry. On my first day of work on the complete album, I recorded "I Will Find You". I sang that song over 20 times. I wrote it when I was 15 years old. I'm a hopeless romantic and a sucker for a powerful love song. That song was so hard to sing. I think it's one of the most difficult songs I have written in the last 10 years. The hard work and tears I shed on that day prepped me for what was to come. In 2014 I got sick. As you know I woke up and could not see. All of that led to my diagnoses of Glaucoma. "Let The Music Be Your Guide" kept getting pushed back because of my illness. I had just started radio promo and was supposed to tour the record in the states and overseas. That never happened when no one would answer my phone calls anymore.
I went into a deep state of depression in the later half of 2014. I was a mess. I spent 2014-2016 in the hospital every week. My disease kept getting worst and I keep going further down the rabbit hole. Something happened in 2015 that I broke down and broke a lot of my personal items. I received 2 awards for my records "Time Is All I Have" and "Let The Music Be Your Guide". When I went on my rampage I got to that side of my wall where they are hanging. As I was about to break the awards and crack them, I stopped. I could not hurt my children. My songs are my kids and to break my records, would be the end of it. I woke up the next day and I felt so uplifted. No matter how much pain I was going through, I felt like I can start turning the pages. I ended up writing a song called "2nd Chance To Do It All Right". You guys haven't heard it yet, but I hope you will one day. From there I just tried my best to keep living.
Here we are in 2017. It's been another somber year. A lot of low moments this year for myself and my family. I truly believe those low moments will be retconned once 2018 comes. As I spent the last few weeks evaluating my career and endeavors, I made some decisions for my future. I said earlier that people can look at me and say I have failed. I have not failed. I am 22 years old. I have done hundreds of shows, written thousands of songs, released 2 albums, worked with some of the best in the industry, moved to LA on my own at 17 years old, got diagnosed with a disease at 18 and accepted it, and touched peoples hearts by living my life and telling my story. In 2013 when "Let The Music Be Your Guide" came out as a single, a kid told me - Dom Baza is going to be the next big thing in music. One girl tweeted me, thanking me for the music I was releasing. Another tweeted saying Dom Baza is going to change the world. I have all these tweets screen shotted and saved in my phone to remind me of what i'm here for. God gave me a voice to use. I'm here to go on this journey and share my story with the world. I am here to lift people up and make them feel something in their darkest hours from the experience of my darkest hours. I don't know how i'm going to do it, but i'm going to redeem myself and prove to the world what I can do, what I was born to do. If you asked me 6 months ago where do you see yourself in 2018, I would have said Paris France. I have made up my mind and decided I will go home to LA in 2018. I haven't been home in 4 years. I haven't been able to travel because of my illness. As my treatment gets spaced out, and as I get used to living a life on medication, I'm ready for a new challenge. The challenge of getting my career back on track.
I have written a new album. I have been writing this album since I got sick. I have so much to tell you all. I know its special. I'm not just saying that cause it's my work, but I know when I have something special in my hands. My goal is to find someone in LA to help me bring these stories to life. Someone found me when I was 17 years old. It's not too late to find me again. It's not too late to start again.
10 years have passed and so many people have come and gone. If you are here and if you have left, thank you, thank you all of you. You made me who I am. I am becoming a better version of myself every year. I promise you, I will not let you down. I refuse to let myself down. It may be "Beginning To Look a lot like Christmas" outside my window, but come next year I will find my way to rise from the ashes. My story is not yet done. I will not let my story end because of an illness and all the wrong done in my life. I've been searching high and low for something I have lost, I will find it. I'm going home, and I can't wait for you and me to see where the story goes from there, the next 10 years and beyond.
I will make you proud.
END OF: Chapter 3
Photographer: Joanna Wheeler
Here is the studio version of "I Will Find You" from my 2nd album "Let The Music Be Your Guide"
Available now on iTunes
Stories From My Life - Chapter 3
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Stories From My Life
(APRIL 17- PRESENT)