End Of The Year - 2019 Wus Good?

As I am writing this I am packing my bags for my trip back to Germany for a month. Although I come back to LA in January, I feel kind of nostalgic and reflect about my time here in LA - also because the year comes to an end, of course. We all reflect and think about the past year and ask ourselves: Was it a good year? Have we achieved enough? Are we in peace with the life we have? Is there anything we have to work on? …

My palm tree in front of my house, captured in the sun set light. LA in the sunset is magical, this orange light, the palm trees, the mountains, the light pink sky - pure magic. And especially today the view opon the city and the sunset gave me a feeling that when coming back there is a new beginning. There will be something new out there which gives me joy and which let me come a bit closer to my dream. I have faith.

My palm tree in front of my house, captured in the sun set light. LA in the sunset is magical, this orange light, the palm trees, the mountains, the light pink sky - pure magic. And especially today the view opon the city and the sunset gave me a feeling that when coming back there is a new beginning. There will be something new out there which gives me joy and which let me come a bit closer to my dream. I have faith.

Looking back at 2017, 2018 was definitely a better year. I called 2017 ‘The Year of Patience’ because I worked my ass off to save money for LA and did not really enjoy myself as I focused on coming here and put family, friends and fun on second place.

Since my dream came true of coming to the US, to LA - 2018 was a year of coming my goal a bit nearer.

So 2018 was not it - I realized that ‘my dream’ did not really come true. Being here is not the end of my journey. My dream will be fulfilled when I am finally somebody in the music scene, when I work with talented artists and have a team around me who I respect and can be successful with, and most of all when I can finally live my passion which is music in any way possible.

So 2019 - it goes on. I have to put much more sweat, hard work and less sleep into fulfilling my dream - I have to go out there, meet people, educate myself, and stay focused. 2018 was not all that I wanted it to be. I turned out it is much harder to make it here in LA - because everyone is here for chasing a dream - and I love that. There is this creative, ambitious and competitive atmosphere out here, that is somehow magical. And if something is harder to reach it is more unique and fulfilling in the end.

So 2019 WHAT’S GOOD? The work does not stop - It just has started.

I wish everyone a happy new year. Let’s get this money.

-A.

Hip Hop And Its Development

Since I am devoted to Hip Hop, its culture, history and music - I thought I’d share an extract of my Bachelor Thesis that I wrote last year before completing my Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Business successfully. The title of my thesis was:

The Black Lives Matter Movement and its Connection to Black Protest History in the U.S. and Hip Hop/R&B music

– How America’s “new Civil Rights Movement” is changing popular Hip Hop and R&B and how urban artists of our time contribute to the movement –

The extract I am sharing is from a chapter that highlights Hip-Hop and its development as a conscious platform. It is a chapter that was of a greater importance to me, as it highlights the history of Hip Hop and how it all began. The whole development of Hip Hop fascinates me, but what fascinates me the most is the people who created it out of hopelessness and neglection. That is why Hip Hop and its music is so important for me - It tells stories of hope, anger, violence, and so much more African-Americans had to go through…. But read for yourself and educate yourself. It is a fascinating and interesting story that many people do not even know or they forgot how Hip Hop developed.

____________________

Hip-Hop and its Development as a Conscious Platform

The development of hip-hop can be placed in a larger social and political context of deep racism, corporate influences and long-term effects of economic, social and political disempowerment. The South Bronx, hip-hop’s birth place, is an outcome of urban racial, spatial and class discrimination in areas as housing, education, employment, social services and has been defined by the Great Black Migration to American cities since the first half of the 20th century. The Bronx is one of the five boroughs of New York besides Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. During the 1960s and 1970s this place proved fertile grounds for the birth of the revolutionary cultural movement called hip-hop.  

The South Bronx’s Demise as a Catalyst of Hip-Hop

After the Civil Rights Movement, the Bronx was affected by specific projects and processes. The shift from rural to urban living caused the migration of working and middle–class Black, Latino and Caribbean families into the Bronx and led to a massive flight of White people out of the area. Besides this shift of demographic groups, environmental and housing projects had major effects on the transition of the South Bronx. The construction of the Cross Bronx Expressway, a highway that connected the Bronx to Manhattan and northern suburbs intensified the mass exodus of working-class and middle-class families.

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Although it was supposed to cater to suburban commuters, it interrupted up to 113 streets, avenues, boulevards, businesses, parkways and other areas in the South Bronx and displayed thousands of residents from their homes. Additionally, it represented an environmental stress factor as it increased the noise level, kept the neighborhoods poor and separated stable communities. The Urban Renewal Project, which included the construction of high-rise apartment buildings with the intent of office lofts and better living in the Bronx, failed as the demographic of the inhabitants changed. The mass departure of economically stable families with the influx of poor Black and Latino families transformed the project into public housing of a working-class and poor population. Previous property owners quickly sold these houses and they fell into the hands of slumlords. With the opening of Co-op City, 15.000 apartments in the Northern Bronx, more White people left the South Bronx. This made the Southern part predominantly African-American and Hispanic. Slumlords figured that they could get more money out of destroying their property for the insurance claim, than by collecting rent from the poor residents or maintaining vacant apartments. So they hired local gang members to set blaze to the buildings. From 1973 to 1977 the South Bronx experienced 30,000 fires. Each fire expressed abandonment and protest as the federal government was neglecting the population, leaving Blacks and Latinos stuck in a rotting inner-city, without jobs, steady income, proper housing, good education and a friendly environment to live in. When New York’s blackout on July 13, 1977 blew the streetlights and buildings out, hours of civil unrest, vandalism, looting and destruction followed and was further proof of the South Bronx’s demise. But with the sound and music equipment the young people of the South Bronx were able to get ahold of, block parties blew up overnight. They became the flagship of early hip-hop and led to the birth of a new culture.

 

Hip-Hop as a Substitute for Hopelessness

Out of these above mentioned circumstances, a culture was growing that would take over the world. Culture is “a way of life that combines intellectual, spiritual, and aesthetic pursuits, thereby grounding the daily decisions and activities of its participants”. Hip-hop evolved during the 1970s as a diverse culture, only because it got sparked by ostracized, marginalized and oppressed inner-city youth in the South Bronx.

Hip-hop pioneer DJ Kool Herc, who revolutionized the use of sound equipment and turntables, and other DJ’s like Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash became stars of the Bronx. Their parties in parks, on campuses, in community halls, in clubs or in whatever place possible were filled with young Black people who found a substitute for violence, poverty and hopelessness in DJ’ing, breakdancing, graffiti art and MC’ing. So by the late mid-1970s, the tide was beginning to turn as the sounds, dances, looks and the feels of the burgeoning hip-hop culture revealed a new reality for the disenfranchised, ostracized, marginalized and oppressed youth, from which the most were living the gang life. Through hip-hop, “gangs” turned into “crews”, as Afrika Bambaataa’s Zulu Nation. DJ’s, breakdancers, graffiti writers, MC’s and rap enthusiasts came together to expressing themselves through the four elements of hip hop and ultimately for finding a way to put down guns and drugs. Breakdancing and rhyme battles replaced fights with guns and violence and the volume of the sound system was now the indicator for strength and power. This new art, dance, music and lifestyle soon got noticed outside of the Bronx, in Harlem, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Long Island, in the states around New York, in the entire country and ultimately in the world.

____________________

Thanks for reading. I hope I could give you interesting insights into Hip Hop’s beginnings.

-A.

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Some Personal Tips: Job Search and Interview Prep in the Music Business

In the last couple of weeks I was in the process of searching for open job and internship positions in the music industry. It is always a struggle to find a suitable opening for oneself in all kinds of industries, especially if you look on job websites like indeed.com were thousand of other people view and apply for the same job. In the music business it is all about connections and knowing the “right” people who can open doors for you. That is why I used my personal connections and some tricks to land interviews for open positions.

I want to share some little tricks I used to get in touch with the right person after finding an open job position online, to prepare for an interview and to search for jobs in the music industry (keyword yep - connections).

  1. Rather than applying through the job website where you can easily get kicked out of the algorithm and get overlooked by other applicants, search for the company online and try to find a personal email. Even if it is the info@-email - chances are higher that you get a reply and that your application is read by a real person and sooner as well. What my little trick was when I was a Public Relation assistant and had to look for email addresses to connect with online magazines, is that I used Facebook and searched for the company’s profile there. When you go to the “about” section you will always find a more personal email than the info@-email. Companies are required to put an email address down on their Facebook profile/website, otherwise they have to pay a fine. So sometimes it is the info@-email, but more often I found a personal email address I could send my application to. And here you go-now you have a contact info that is really valuable!

  2. Besides using Facebook to get contact information, I use LinkedIn and searched for the company. More specifically, I looked for the people connected to the company, who work there, who interned there, who is the founder. When finding them, I DO NOT add them to my contact list - because that would seem kind of random, since they don’t know me and I myself do not accept invitations of people I don’t know. Rather then adding them there, I search for them on Instagram and add them there - Instagram is less professional, you can connect more easily withouth seeming random. I follow a lot of managers, DJs, producers, artists and all kinds of creative people there - and they usually accept your request if it is a private profile, just because people love to connect on Instagram in general. And if they see that you are in the same industry (through your profile description and photos), they like it even more! I recently connected with someone on Instagram before I’ve had an interview with that particular person - why? Because I wanted to see how the person looks, who they are, what music they like and what they are doing on a daily basis. The Instagram stories helped me seeing what the person did BEFORE we met and it helped me connecting with the person in the interview. It gave me a chante to refer to the interviewer’s experiences without sounding like a stalker - I said something like: “You are managing a female rapper right now who just released a new song and did a promo tour in New York - How exciting is that! I like managing artists myself and did that in the past …” (I saw that the artist released a song and that the manager was in NY with that artist). It immediately connected us on a personal level and ultimately, let me seem like I am really knowing what the company and the particular person is doing right now.

    Even though I don’t connect with the interviewer and his or her company through LinkedIn, I share my LinkedIn profile and other social media profiles on my resume - this is a total must in our digital age!

  3. Prepare your interview questions ahead of time to be confindent in the interview. I found this life coach on YouTube, who I really like and who really helped me prepare the most frequently asked questions in a job interview. I took her advice and examples and used it to create my answers and practiced them. I have to say I got asked the questions she discusses on her channel and I was so glad I prepared with her help. Her name is Linda Raynier and she is a career strategist, speaker and coach. She makes a lot of videos regarding how to land jobs, how to prepare, what to say in an interview etc. - Here is her profile on YouTube:

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXUyg1vYSupswhi0zNeD-5w

  4. Prepare these questions: 1) Tell me about yourself, 2) What are your weaknesses (definitely use Linda Raynier’s video on that!!! It is telling about situations, not your actual personal weakness!!), 3) Where do you see yourself in 5 years? - Use Linda’s videos to prepare these questions - I tell you it helped me a lot to understand HOW to answer correctly in order to connect with the interviewer and with the company’s expectations and values as well as land the job! Even though these are only 3 questions I experienced that I only get asked these questions in an interview, everything else is conversation. And sometimes, it even helped me answer other questions as well.

  5. Use every personal connection you have in the business! I was invited to a job interview, simply because I contacted a guest speaker of my class who I found really fascinating - I asked for available openings and boom-the company was actually looking for somebody! So rather than using only online methods: ask around, get recommended and connect to many people as possible even if you just talk to them for one second or two randomly. Going out and meeting people definitely is the best thing to do in the music business… No sleep guaranteed haha

That’s it for my little tips on how to find, prepare and land a job in the music business!

Good luck. And check out the video below and more of Linda Raynier’s videos.

-A.

Presenting J.I.D

While talking about music industry related topics that are important for me and sharing my experiences here in the LA music scene, I also want to use this blog to share my favorite music and introduce artists that I respect and think high of.

Last week I presented talented South African artist “Petite Noir” who creates unique alternative rock music fused with eletronic and indie tunes - which he calls ‘Noirwave’ - a new genre he invented.

This week I want to introduce Atlanta rapper J.I.D. A lot of people complain that nowadays “real Hip Hop” is not created anymore, and that genres as Trap with nonsense lyrics, no meaning and no passion is all over the charts. I think too that this type of Hip Hop is more commercially successful these days, but there are talented artists out there creating meaningful, passionate and deep Hip Hop that captures the old Hip Hop era and combine great lyricism, awesome Hip Hop beats, creativity and talent - you just have to search for it and dig into the underground and look for music that’s not in the Top 40 right now. Artists as Saba, Mick Jenkins, or J.I.D definitely do their part to deliver great Hip Hop music.

J.I.D is an American rapper and songwriter from Atlanta, Georgia. He is part of the musical collective Spillage Village, founded by Earth Gang in 2010, with Hollywood JB, JordxnBryant, and 6lack, among others. He is also signed to J.Cole’s Dreamville Records, where he began gaining recognition after releasing several independent projects such as ‘Route of Evil’ (2012) and ‘Para Tu’ (2013).

His debut album, ‘The Never Story’, was released on March 10, 2017 to critical acclaim and was nominated for ‘Best Hip Hop Album’ by Hip Hop online magazine HipHopDX. He released his second album ‘DiCaprio2’ on November 26, 2018 to positive reviews and critical acclaim.

His new album make people really believe in Hip Hop again. One fan even posted on Instagram: ‘Everybody complains that rap isn’t the same anymore, then a dude like J.I.D comes through and it’s awesome.’

J.I.D recently made his TV debut on the Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show, performing ‘Skrawberries’ of his new album, which was produced by Mac Miller who passed away in September. He paid homage to Mac Miller by performing this song and ending his performance by saying “We love you, Mac.”

Watch his captivating performance below which shows his Rap abilities and Hip Hop talent.

Enjoy!

-A.

New Music Monday

As I had two interviews for music industry jobs on Friday (which was super exciting for me), I was not able to post my favorite new music that got released. Thought I just turn New Music Friday to New Music Monday to share new good tunes with you today!

These are my Top 3 new released projects:

  1. Jay Rock ft. Tee Grizzley - Shit Real (Song)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q89lhcDWmR8

  2. Nicki Minaj ft. Lil Wayne - Good Form (Remix)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8GX0cZ-xtw

  3. Earl Sweatshirt - Some Rap Songs (Album)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czEvm4tItv4

Enjoy!

-A.

The Top 10 Streaming Services

Streaming is the new form of experiencing music, watching videos, listening to songs, podcasts and more, creating playlist and sharing favorite tracks. Since I created an inforgraphic about streaming services for one of my online classes at UCLA, I thought I share this article about the Top 10 Streaming Services By Numbers of Users, which I found super interesting. Some of the streaming services as Gaana, Aghami and NetEase I did not know of, but they have a huge number of subscribers and are popular on other continents of the world. Enjoy the info shared below!

The Top 10 Streaming Music Services By Number Of Users

by Hugh McIntyre, May 2018, www.forbes.com

Streaming owns the music industry, and now that the format has established itself as the current savior and future of the business, many competitors in the space are focused on signing up as many users as possible. Profitability is tough to come by, but the more paying customers (or at least the more people willing to listen to ads), the better, and these companies have been able to collect more listeners than all the other options out there.

Here are the 10 most popular streaming music services in the world, based on the number of users they all have. This post will be updated as frequently as is possible when new figures are confirmed.

YouTube - 1.5 billion

YouTube is far and away the most popular option in the world when it comes to streaming music. The Google-owned company itself claims that over 1.5 billion people now use the site every month, and many of them click on at least one musical option. Some would argue that YouTube is a video hosting platform and not a streaming music service, and while that’s technically correct, the site has become a powerful force in music and the top online destination for millions (if not a billion or more) people to access the tunes they love, and streams of official clips do count toward official chart numbers, so it does deserve to be included here. YouTube Red, which allows people to watch and listen free of ads on the service, has only managed to convince about 1.5 million people to become paying customers so far, and the YouTube Music app doesn't yet have public figures available.

NetEase - 400 million

Just because NetEase Music hasn’t made its way to America, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be included on this list. The Chinese streaming and download platform now has over 400 million users, according to a late 2017 release from the company itself, and it is surging forward at incredible speed. It will soon become the second streaming outlet to reach half a billion users.

SoundCloud - 175 million

The Berlin-based streaming giant is ahead of other options in the growing field in some ways, though it always seems to be on the brink of real trouble. With at least 175 million registered users to its credit, SoundCloud has millions more listeners than the next music-only option. Of those 175 million, very few have signed up for SoundCloud Go, the company’s premium streaming offering.

Spotify - 170 million

Perhaps the best-known player in the streaming game, Spotify changed the music industry when it finally picked up steam years ago, and it hasn’t slowed down since. In fact, the company’s user numbers continue to climb at a rate that is also increasing. According to the company, it now has 170 million users, and half of those are paying for premium access, which is a great success already, though those at the top of the company would like more.

iHeartRadio - 100 million

Radio conglomerate iHeartRadio isn’t just a powerhouse on the traditional dial, it’s also become a streaming favorite for many who love their local DJs. The entertainment titan’s streaming app and web presence attract millions of users a month, and while the company won’t disclose actual active monthly users, last year, it did confirm it had passed 100 million registered users. How many of those are listening in regularly isn’t clear, but 100 million sign-ups is still impressive.

Pandora - 74 million

While it may have been one of the first names to make it big in streaming music, Pandora’s user numbers have been dipping lately, and it’s unclear if they will bounce back or not. In late 2017, the U.S.-based firm claimed just under 74 million global users. That figure is just about half of what Spotify has collected, but it’s noteworthy considering that due to laws and regulations, Pandora currently only operates in a handful of countries. If it was truly global, that sum would likely be much, much higher.

Gaana - 50 million

The Indian streaming platform which was created by media conglomerate Times Internet of the same country isn't well-known outside of the Asian nation's borders, but India is massive, and there are plenty of people willing to pay for the music they love. Back in November of 2017, Gaana quietly passed 50 million users, an important milestone that many streaming companies will never reach.

Apple Music - 50 million

Apple’s streaming offering has been making waves in the industry since before it launched, and while it hasn’t caught up to some competitors in terms of user numbers (at last count had it at 50 million), it’s growing steadily, and it is already one of the biggest players in the space. The lack of a free tier has kept it from overtaking Spotify, though when it comes to paid users, that achievement might not be too far away.

Anghami - 33 million

Anghami has made its name as the most successful region-specific streaming music platform in Northern Africa and the Middle East, where many other companies hadn’t spent time developing until only recently, if they have at all. For years now, the service has been collecting users through smart marketing and partnerships with mobile firms, and those efforts has helped the expanding platform collect 33 million users.

Deezer - 14 million

A recent count put the France-based streaming service at 14 million users (according to a representative for the company), and interestingly, while there are ways to listen for free, the majority of those millions are willing to pay for the privilege. 9 million people pay for the better option, and while those numbers aren’t climbing nearly as quickly as other brands on this list, Deezer can still be called a successful business.

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Artist Petite Noir

Although I am more devoted to Hip Hop, I am still listening to music of other genres. In my opinion, good music is good music - no matter what genre it is. While I was younger, I was a drummer in a Rock band and until today I enjoy Indie, Alternative Rock music and not forgetting my roots in those genres.

I want to use this post to present an artist that I found on The Fader online magazine while I was looking for interesting articles to read - and I am so happy that I did.

Petite Noir is a South African singer/songwriter/producer. His real name is Yannick Ilunga and his music is a combination of African musical traditions and post-punk, what he calls ‘Noirwave’, the style and cultural movement created by himself and his creative partner, RhaRha Nembhard. Ilunga refined Noirwave's celebration of Africa's past and future with each of his projects.

His most recent project is called ‘La Noir Maison/The Black House’ and is in my opinion a total masterpiece. La Maison Noir is Ilunga’s first piece of solo music since his 2016 debut album ‘La Vie Est Belle’. The same post-punk, guitar-driven spirit that made up his previous material is evident here as well.

He also created La Maison Noir/The Black House as a visual album that opens with an aerial shot of an arid desert. Petite Noir’s solitary frame ambles from the distance, decked in all red. After wandering and stumbling for some distance, the artist meets up with his younger self and recites a letter to him: Young traveller, wanderer, migrant...your story, our story will become a map for all of those who rise.

Feel free to watch the whole visual album here - you won’t regret it!

Also if you would like to read more about the talented Petite Noir, his music and visual album, check out The Fader Magazine’s exclusive article and review: https://www.thefader.com/2018/10/05/petite-noir-la-maison-noir-review.

-A.

New Music Friday Y'all on a Saturday

Hey all who come across my blog! I hope you are doing great!

Unfortunately, I could not post my new favorite music that has been released yesterday, because my laptop was in repair… I just got it back today and so even though I am one day late I am continuing my “New Music Friday Y’all” series:

  1. Pivot Gang (Saba, Joseph Chilliams, MfnMelo, Frsh Waters) - Blood (Song):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNSqprX0k4Y

  2. A$Ap Rocky - Sundress (Song)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ec3LoKpGJxY

  3. Vic Mensa - Dark Things (Song)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56-drfTY8Yw

Enjoy!

- A.

I would like to introduce you to my new blog series ‘New Music Friday, Y’all!'.

So as new music gets released on Fridays (to give artists a better chance and more time to promote their music), I would like to share my personal list of new Urban music I recommend you to listen to. To be exact: This is not a general list of sharing new music that came out. I will share music I consider as good - and music of artists I like. I will use YouTube links, so that everybody can immediately listen to the songs I picked. It will also be narrowed down to my TOP 3 of new music dropped.

So you know what it is! It’s New Music Friday, Y’all! So here are my top 3 of new released music of today:

  1. Big K.R.I.T. - THRICE X (EP):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JXrjYq6hWo

  2. Andersoon .Paak - Oxnard (Album):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u749Hi0gDVM&list=PL3-sRm8xAzY8wD_MzRw_ejN_gc2dhTYCS

  3. Saba - Beautiful Smile ft. IDK (Song):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbA5noYxuKc

It could be worse - 'Look What I Got'

While I am writing this, I am listening to Big K.R.I.T.’s new EP ‘THRICE X’ and I get lifted up again. Maya Angelou once said:

‘Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.’

She was an American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist. And right now, she speaks my truth. But the notes she meant is BIG K.R.I.T’s unique voice speaking to me.

The last two weeks were very pretty rough. While I am dealing with a loss within my family, I am sick and my body hurts. Not a good combinaton. But maybe it has to be this way. Sometimes I think the body and the mind are so connected, that they have to suffer together and heal together.

I expected this article to be pretty dark. I wanted to vent my feelings about feeling lost. I wanted to write about my desperate and probably impossible search for a paid music internship for Spring 2019, something that would mean so much to me - a new opportunity to grow, learn and find a place in the music industry here in L.A. I wanted to share my thoughts about that I realized I have not achieved as much as I wanted in music in 2019. And I wanted to write about seeing others succeeding, while I feel lost in the LA music scene. But… Big K.R.I.T’s ‘Look What I Got’ came on, and now I am listening to the song for the 5th time. So while his loud voice repeats ‘Look What I Got, Look What I Got, Look What I Got’, it seems to me like this is a sign. It seems like I had to listen to this. It seems like every step I did before writing this was meant to me finding out about his new EP and listen to it NOW.

People who know and love me say that I am a positive thinker and that I’ve always had a positive spirit. And I always cherished that thought others had about me. My father usually says after something bad happens: ‘You know what you always say, Angelika? ‘It could be worse.’, so.. it could be worse. We have to think that way.’ And it’s true. It is my favorite thing to say, and my favorite thing to think: It could be worse. It immediately tells you, that you are fine, that you are blessed, that it is what it is, that it’s not okay, but - well, it could be worse and you have to think positive.

While writing this entry, I am reminding myself how blessed I am and that even if I didn’t achieve the things I wanted to in music and even if I don’t get a music business internship, it is not the end of the world. I am just feeling lost, but this will go away. All I can do is work harder and realize what I have done wrong. So just right before ending this, I feel a lot better. Even though I know as soon as I am finishing this, the fearful thoughts will come back again. But at least there was this little moment of peace.

Let’s see how it is next week. Until then….

-A.

Let me introduce myself...

Hi. My name is Angelika, I am 27 years old and since March I am living in crazy, beautiful, dirty, wild, loud, amazing Los Angeles. With this, a dream came true, and sometimes I am still not realizing that I am here. Sometimes, someone on a stage as Lauryn Hill at Camp Flog Gnaw Festival has to scream: “LA!!”, for me to realize I am here. Sometimes, the Uber driver has to ask me: “How are you enjoying LA so far?”, for me to realize I did this. And sometimes, I have to facetime my family and friends to realize, that I am this far away.

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I came here to fulfill my dream of living in the U.S. and working in the music industry, because music and everything around it is my passion. Why the United States? Why I always wanted to come here? I do not know. Since I was young, America was always so far away, so magical, so bright - a country I thought I could never visit, but always wanted to. And when I realized I want to work in music, there was only one way to pursue this goal - to live and work in the U.S. Working in the music industry in Germany (where I am from) was never an option for me. While I was studying my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Business, I always knew that the only way to fulfill my passion in music is to come here, to the U.S. It’s the country where Hip-Hop was born, it’s the country of so many stars that I look up to, it’s the country of so many passionate music people. Germany, the German artists, the German music scene?…. Too small, too untalented, too boring for me. Bye.

Everything comes with a price though, you probably know it. I sacrificed a lot to be here. While I neglected friendships, family and other relationships, I worked my ass, my brain and my feet off to come here (literally - I am suffering from heel spur - something only 60 or 70 year old people get after working 40 years in retail). Ouch.

Yet and still, the question that arises to the mind: Was it worth it? Will I make it? Did I win? Will I survive? (Imagine T.I. is saying this as on ‘Apple Pie' by Travis Scott)…

We’ll see.

-A.