"You've Got A Friend" & "You Gotta Be "
New York our time has to come to an end for now. I swear this last week has went by so fast. As we all know, I was so conflicted when I first stepped foot here. I felt kind of lost. This last weekend really showed me something that I didn't see til now. New York is one of the loneliest places in the world. Well, it is lonely if you don't have people to share it with. I felt really uplifted this weekend. My heart started to begin to feel full. I went and performed my first gig at this place called "West Park". It was like a church or something, it used to be a church. I was nervous as fuck. I'm Dom Baza and as we know Dom Baza does not get nervous. I only got nervous because this was the first moment I truly felt I was out in the world again, not just out, but alone. I had to test myself. I showed up and had no idea what I was doing. I didn't even understand how to enter this building. Luckily for me, I figured it out. I went in and sat in the back by myself. I obviously didn't know anyone so I searched the room for someone I might be able to connect with. I saw this dude, he looked somewhere around my age and went up to him and introduced myself. It turns out it was his first time at West Park as well. His name is Jesus. Talking to Jesus really made me feel comfortable. It is so weird going to a venue where you don't know anyone. It kind of took me back to school, in a way. Having to go up to a random stranger and talk to him, is not something I am used to. I'm glad I did though. We talked about our music, our lives, our upbringing. He was born and raised in New York. It was so good to get to know someone new and make a new bro out of it. I mean, we all know i'm kinda limited on guy friends. Get to that more in a bit. Anyways, Jesus... what an artist. Usually when I go to events like this, I see wannabe rappers rap about the most unnecessary things. Jesus on the other hand, my god. What a real, honest, badass, who was born to tell stories through music. I have nothing but praise for him. In fact, I was a little shook. In SF, I don't see artists as good as Jesus, that make me want to push myself harder. Jesus and his song was something special. There are rappers and there are artists, Jesus is an artist. I'm glad I was there to witness him perform his song. We text now and I swear to god I want to work with him, perform with him, anything to have this guy in my life and career in some shape or form. I want Jesus on one of my fucking songs, because he's so real and in a world of fake people, guys like him need to be heard, so all the fakes can learn a thing or two. He's just too damn good to not be heard. I can't speak anything less because he is so special. He made me regret leaving this place. Because if I had my choice, I would be working with him right now instead of writing this in my Brooklyn bed. But, since i'm writing this, let's continue... After my new bro, Jesus, it was my turn. I'm so fortunate that my sissy Dash and my vegan roomie Morgan, were able to come and support me. I really thought no one I invited would be able to make it, but they pulled through and I was so happy to see them standing there. I performed my songs "2nd Chance to do it all right" & "Behind Those Closed Doors". Both of which are written for my next album. I started so bad, but I couldn't stop, because as a performer, you don't stop. The show must go on. It wasn't so bad, but on my high standards, I wasn't proud of it. I couldn't see my guitar on that stage. I played 4 wrong chords, chords that I always ace. I was livid about it, but thank god for my vocals making up for that horrid piece of shit. Thanks Glaucoma, you really came through during my first gig, with clear glasses, in a freaking other state AND 1 year after taking off from performing. It's nice to know you're still around.... NOT. I don't need reminders of my illness, but that was a reminder for me. All of that put aside, I pulled through and got it done. I'm proud of my vocals and thankful that my soul was able to shine through. These songs mean the world to me. Everything that i've written for my next album, that is my story. I have lived all these words. The songs are the feelings that I can't express in this diary. I think when people say that I just love how you sing from your soul, that is because i am. I have felt all these emotions and I mean every word I say. It turned out to be a good night. Jesus had left and the girls made a friend with this comedian, Deborah. So therefore I made a new friend in her. We chatted for a bit and i'll make sure I grab a matcha latte with her when I return. I also got to talk to this incredible musician Craig Donovan. He's originally from New York but lives in DC now. He came to perform some of his songs. I couldn't leave without introducing myself. I wish I got a photo with him, we will next time. I really wanted to connect with him because his music spoke to me as well. He sang a song about friendship and I just really loved the pureness of what he stood for. I know when I like something a lot, and his song was something I loved. After we exchanged contact info, I promised myself I would stay in touch with him, because he is someone I really want to work with as well. I'm so glad I did this gig, because I don't see a lot of real musicians with real messages around SF. Friday night proved that New York has that option for me. It also for the first time, felt like I can get into this more and be here and thrive as an artist and as a person.
Saturday came along and I could not contain my excitement. Today was the day that I finally got to see my friends Victor and Jon. Remember how I said i'm limited on guy friends, well now I have 2 that I can talk about. Being with these 2 guys really meant a lot to me. My best bro, Dan, lives in Germany. So to be able to have friends in a place where I'm at and talk to these guys that I look up to and have so much respect for, that really meant the world to me. I've known Vic for a few years. 2, I believe. We met through instagram. I remember just being mesmerized by his fashion choices, world travels and the way he is just so confident in all that he does. He always stood out to me. Like you see him and you just know that guy is a special person. We would talk through dm and instagram support groups. It wasn't until I dm'd him on New Years Eve and was like hey, here's my number! text me! Since then we kept in contact. He's known about my intentions to move over to his side of the country along with some other things that I don't really publicly address. I met Jon through instagram as well. I remember the moment he dm'd me asking for advice on this whole fucked up instagram world. It was last May and I was on bart going to shoot at the beach. The "I Am A Chamorro" entry, look it up if you want to read it, it's a few chapters back. Anyways, it was dark and the complete opposite of what California should be. Talking with Jon made my boring as hell train ride more entertaining and ever since then we have kept in touch. He had asked if I knew of anyone in the social world over in New York. I sent him Vic's ig and now the 2 of them are hella tight. Which makes me happy, because they are both good people. Jon just started this influencer life about a year ago. But this dude is blowing up now. I mean him and Vic put together, they are 2 of instagrams most popular male influencers. From their style, to their genuine attitude, they make you want to support them because they just stand out as 2 guys who have something good to offer. We met up at this Vegan restaurant. Thanks to Vic, I now have a place where I crave their chickUN and waffles before leaving on this dreaded 8 hour flight, lol. Seeing both of them in person and in front of me, really was something. I honestly felt a little star struck, they would probably laugh hearing that, but come on, they are killing it. I'm so grateful that they made time for me. Cause all the other guy friends, minus Dan, Sam, Xav, Pete, and a few others, they never made time for me. Little things like this, I cherish. I love my sisters with all my heart, but sometimes you need to be surrounded by dudes that get you. I hope what I'm writing doesn't scare them off. I really want to hang out with them again. I called Pietro and was like babe, they are so amazing. He was like, you really have no friends, LOL. All jokes aside, I really hope I can see them again soon. I would love to continue having them be apart of my story and my life. Cause I mean it when I say, they are so special and one of these days they will be the new IAmGalla and forget that former influencer who ditched that social life for music, lol. They aren't those kind of guys, but they will be something bigger than they could ever imagine. Me writing this down is manifesting that into the world. They deserve it. And when it does happen, i'll be supporting them all the way, as I do now.
Finally Sunday. My last night in New York and I choose to perform. I mean what else would I do? Performing is what I love to do and I wanted another chance to share my soul with this city that needs a little more of me. You'll understand what i'm saying in a few. Anyways, Dash somehow woke up early this morning. Talk about a miracle. She's been sleeping in and taking hours to get ready. She freaked me out coming into my room to talk about our shared, but very much so, separate trips. I'm glad she got to go and have so much fun, while I went around figuring out if I can have a life here. Living with her and Morgan has been so fun. I'm so glad Morgan was brought into my life. She is forever my vegan roomie. It was nice to have her here, to share meals and conversations about our lives. Dash and I both admitted it was bittersweet saying goodbye to this place. It felt a little more bittersweet for me, because I know next time, she won't be with me. It will just be me against the world and at first I wasn't okay with that. It wasn't until after I did the open mic last night, that I felt okay being here on my own. I knew that no one would be able to make it to watch me perform last night. So I went by myself. I was so lucky I got to talk to Dan after Dash went back to her room. He said it will be good for me to do this on my own. I need to, that way I can see who I am without anyone else. I went and aced this subway ride. I made it to my stop and didn't get lost. I literally walked to my gig from the subway. I showed up at this bar called "Session 73". It was very loud and more out there than WestPark. I sat at a table by myself and waited for my turn. These 2 comedians went up before me and I literally could not hear a word that came out of their mouth. The place was so loud and people were just kinda rude to everyone that performed up there. I knew I wouldn't catch their attention unless something drastic happened. After the comedians these 2 very very very good artists, Lorenzo and Madi took the stage. These damn people were so fucking loud that they almost drowned out Lorenzo and Madi's soulful original songs and covers. I was very impressed. For god sake, Madi put her own spin on Britney Spears and when you sing Britney and strip away all the Britney and make it your own, YOU GOT MY ATTENTION. I was impressed, especially with her vocals. Lorenzo went on after and damn man, that dude is so cool. I wish I got to talk with them more, because they seem like the kinda people I wanna hang out with and collab. I'm happy and lucky I was able to get a hold of them, because I would be slapping myself if I didn't... Back to Lorenzo.. he reminds so much of this singer that I love. His name is Billy Raffoul. They look like twins, google Billy and check Lorenzo's ig, you'll get what I'm talking about. Anyways, Lorenzo took me back with his vocals and the words within his songs. I love when I can feel an artists heart and soul meet in the middle. I felt that within his music. I went on after those 2 and once again sang "2nd Chance" and "BTCD". I knew the audience would be loud as fuck, but i'm glad I went up there and showed the people who paid attention, who the fuck I am. I don't stand for rudeness at gigs, especially when artists are giving it their all, but i'm not from New York and I have learned how they roll. It is just in their nature. I would love to come back to Session 73 though. I think if it was another night, the audience may be a little more considerate towards the people performing. I loved the vibe though and i'm glad the host and bartender were complete sweethearts. After I left the bar I went to a cafe and sat for a bit. I started outlining the thoughts I wanted to write about in these entries. I took one last sip of my matcha latte and headed back to the subway. As I walked, I felt a breeze that felt like a breeze from home. By home I mean, both LA & SF. It wasn't cold, it wasn't hot, it was just right. I saw a family get off the subway. They were looking for a restaurant and they didn't know where they were going. But they seemed to be okay getting lost, because that meant they get to see things they never saw. I saw couples holding hands as they headed out for their nightly walk. You could tell they do this daily/weekly. I already knew it was their way of unwinding from a long week. There was something so beautiful about all of this unfolding around me. I loved how the sun was setting though the buildings and the way New York finally felt a little more positive, especially after the rude crowd. There was something different about the air. Something in me felt so good about this place. Seeing what was unfolding around me, made me start to really see a life could unfold here. I guess it was the fact that I just replayed every moment from this last week. Every moment led to this moment of me holding my guitar walking to the subway, feeling a California breeze in New York, seeing the quiet hustle and bustle of a Sunday night. I can't describe it the way I want to, but I hope you understand what i'm trying to say. "You Gotta Be" by 90's icon Des'ree came on my shuffle. It was the soundtrack in my ears as this all unfolded. It was a reminder that, yes I can do this. Yes, I can see myself living here. Yes, I can see myself thriving here. It will be difficult sometimes, but i've gotta be strong, i've gotta be tough and I gotta be wiser. 3 things that i'm pretty good at, considering my history. I feel like I can do something good. I also feel New York needs me as much as I need New York. There is no one like me here. No one has my history, my back story, there is only one me. I believe that this version of me can grow and expand all while giving New York something it has never had. As I close this up and step back to SF, I just want to say that New York, you got me. You somehow managed to cast your spell on me before I leave to the airport. I can see myself falling in love with this city and I can see this city getting to love me a little more. I'm so grateful for anyone who has been kind to me these last few days. From Deborah to Craig, to a brand new bro in Jesus, to new friendships I hope can expand in Lorenzo and Madi, to my friends Vic and Jon who I adore so much, to Morgan for being the kindest roommate and friend, to Lieb and Cynthia for welcoming me into your family and making it feel like home, to Dash, coming on behalf of my loved ones, in a way, to give me away to a city that I think is willing to work and grow with me. This is my first of many more weeks to come in New York. I've learned so much more about myself, just from going around by myself and learning how this place works. It is so similar to the places I call home, but it is so different and different is good. Because that means i'll have new things to learn and experience as I grow. I leave here with more hope than I came with. We all know I have a lot of hope, but now I have even more. I still hope you come so I can experience this with you. This right here is not directed at my diary, but to you. Seeing everything made me want to experience this all with you by my side. For us to grow together as we go. Really, one of the biggest takeaways is seeing a life here is possible. I hope you'll be able to pull through and see that as well. I just spent some of my last hours in Brooklyn writing down literally every thought I've had over this last weekend. I know I will read this back and feel so fulfilled with this trip and my small time in New York. I gotta sign off now, but New York, we started rough and I know not every day will be the best day. But, I want you to know, you did something to me and now I feel a whole new set of blank pages await for me when I return, because our new story...
is not yet done.
END OF CHAPTER 12
Photographer: Dashia Robinson & Dom Baza
What i'm wearing in "You've Got A Friend" - Jacket - Good Fellow, Shirt - Forever 21, Jeans - H&M, Shoes - Apt 9
What i'm wearing in "You Gotta Be" - Jacket - Forever 21, Sweater and Jeans - H&M, Shoes -New Balance
Every post I will include the song that inspired me to build a post around it's title
Page 118 - Page 119
Stories From My Life - Chapter 12
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Stories From My Life
(APRIL 17- PRESENT)