Since I could remember, I have always wanted to become a writer of some sort. I read a lot at a young age thanks to my older brother who was an English major at the time. I fell in love with books and literature so by the time I hit high school, I had went through almost all the classics. I can say without hesitation that Kurt Vonnegut was and always will be one of my all time favorite authors– he played a huge role in influencing me to pursue writing.

Growing up, I was always very passionate about music. Luckily, my older siblings had complete opposite tastes in music which allowed me listen and appreciate many forms and genres of music. From The Cure and The Strokes to Tupac and Biggie Smalls, I was always open-minded and had a wide range/variety of artists to listen to.

 I built my whole future at the age of 5 around this one plan: to become a journalist. I dreamt of my articles being published in a magazine or newspaper one day.. So, music and writing were always a large part of my life. I eventually became head of the entertainment section for my high school newspaper.

My high school experience was not at all torturous or awful. I was never bullied, I wasn’t a part of the “cool kid” group, but I never had the urge or want to be. My group of friends had fun. We partied, ditched class occasionally, sometimes you’d find us smoking cigarettes in the bathroom stall. I remember before getting kicked out, all my teachers came to me telling me how much potential I had. They’d actually use my papers and essays as examples for other students and I passed the exit exam with the highest grade for English. My teachers asked me why I stopped showing up to class, and to be honest, I would go back in time and change that. When you’re 16 years old and think you know everything, it’s easy to make some dumb mistakes.

For several years I struggled with finding who I was again. My life was a mess. I made decisions without thinking twice, didn’t take opportunities or risks to further my future and grow. I became stuck in a toxic relationship for longer than I care to admit, which also didn’t help. I was hired as a server and worked constantly. I stopped writing, even in my personal blog. I stopped keeping up with music. I felt as if I hit a permanent writers’ block and wasn’t passionate about much, let alone music and writing. From having my future planned out since kindergarten and suddenly losing it all, I began to spiral. I was lost, confused and didn’t know how to deal with that. I stopped writing for a very long time.

Years went by before I posted the first thing I wrote without even thinking. I remember it vividly: I was fifteen minutes early to work sitting on the curb, eyes wet and hands trembling. My typical perfectionist self would’ve never showed it to anyone without going over and fixing it, but instead I said fuck it and posted it publicly.

Fast forwarding, I moved back to Orange County a few years ago. I wasn’t happy for a long time, I felt I wasn’t where I was supposed to be when I pictured myself 5 years ago. I started going to a lot of shows around the area, but the one I’ll never forget is what sparked my interest and passion in music again.

A friend of mine and I headed to The Troubadour in LA to see Raury perform. That’s where I discovered Spazzkid (who now goes by his name Mark Redito). I recall asking security and the bartender multiple times what the name of the dj was and received the same response: “special guest,” which was on the flyer. There was something unique and refreshing about his music that held my interest. I’ve seen great DJ’s and artists perform, but Mark Redito’s style as well as his stage presence definitely got me back into the music scene. Ever since that first show, I’ve followed his music and events while pushing myself to start doing exactly what I had planned on my whole life. Knowing I could easily fall on my face and fail, I began to put myself out there anyway. I went to events and attempted to network with new artists/DJ’s, etc.

Mark Redito opening for Raury
[Source: Instagram @jjennsmalls]

I wasted years being stagnant, so I started approaching whoever I wanted to write a piece on in order to build my portfolio. What did I have to lose? This is new territory for me and I’m definitely still learning, working hard and taking any opportunities to reach my goal. I’m genuinely happy that I took this risk, started writing again and rediscovered my passion in life. I owe a lot of my tiny victories and a huge thanks to Mark Redito for that one random show at The Troubadour.

I can honestly say if I affect at least one person with my writing, I’ll be satisfied. Spazzkid did exactly that if not more to get me back in the game.

Thank you.

Source: Instagram @jjennsmalls
When Mark Redito and I bumped into each other in LA before his set and he came up to say hey, hello happy birthday to me