Making Progress #1: Why sing, Why rap?

Making Progress #1: Why sing, Why rap?

It was 2010 and my girlfriend had just broken up with me to eventually start going out with another guy a month later(they’re married now).  Plot twist!  I was actually super happy to be free and single in my last year of college.  I began to discover hidden talents in music and hip hop production with my newly found free time.  It was a new season and a new skill that I began to develop slowly.  Very slowly.

Fast forward 4 years later, and I’m standing outside a Starbucks talking to my friends about my dreams and goals like most good millennials do.  I said, “I want to make an EP this year and release it.”  As my passion began to grow I found an insatiable desire to make new and interesting songs.  I began to write incessantly and most of my lyrics came to me in my car on the way to and from work.  Oh yeah, work.  More on that in a future post about how all of my students know I’m a hip hop artist.

As that year went by I began to create my own beats and write my own lyrics in Spanish and English.  Through my mom’s friend I got connected to a reputable and respectable studio producer near East Atlanta.  We met up that January and February and did a free recording session to see if we could work well together.  I showed him some songs that I had on my playlist and some songs that I had created in my home studio a.k.a. my closet and my friend’s garage.  Fast forward to today, and we are still working together as teammates and co-producers to mix and master my first studio EP coming in 2017.  More on that here: Album Update

As the months went by I tried to balance everything.  I stepped out of seminary after two years (pursuing a M.A. in Missions) for a variety of reasons but one of them was the huge burden on my heart to create more music.  I would read textbook assignments for 2-4 hours every Saturday and immediately jump onto my laptop and start making beats on Ableton Live.  I couldn’t resist the call to create and block out the rest of the world in the studio.  I began to ask myself, “What kind of missionary am I?   Am I some world traveling, fundraising, Sunday School teaching, volunteering guy or am I going to make songs that will last far longer and impact much farther than a week long Vacation Bible School in Central America?”  It turns out that I am still both of those people, but I told myself “This season is music season.  The summer of sound, the time in my life to create something beautiful because every song is a sermon that can be played over and over again.”  I realized that churches probably wouldn’t let me preach very often, and I also realized that my songs would preach far better anyways.  That was the deepest “Why?” I could find to keep writing and recording.  The less noble “Why?” honestly involved the coolness factor of getting to spend every moment hanging out with creative artists and gaining popularity in my social circle.  Truth be told it was always nice to make new friends and to express my artistic abilities.  It was always a dopamine/adrenaline rush to get on stage and flow on the mic in front of tons of fans.  Even today I still love getting on stage.  We had the best concert ever back in October for a youth group lock-in.  I finally had a chance to become who I was meant to be in this season of my 20’s.  I became a passionate artist with entrepreneurial aspirations in the music business.

It’s hard for me to explain it all in one post, so this is part 1 of the Making Progress blog post series.  I have a few more posts with more details and funny stories as we go along.  Until then check out my music at the links below, share them and follow me on all social media if you aren’t already to get more updates and personal insights.

My official artist website: http://www.onepilgrimmusic.com

Snapchat: onepilgrim

Instagram: onepilgrim

Facebook: One Pilgrim

Free music at Soundcloud Music: One Pilgrim and Noisetrade: One Pilgrim

Check out my first music video at Pilgrim – El Peregrino (Official Music Video)

Songs:

El Peregrino – Single by Pilgrim
iTunes:
http://apple.co/24voIte
Amazon MP3:
http://amzn.to/1WV4ozL
Google Play:
http://bit.ly/23iWTmh

Mr. Pretender feat. Zackery Robinson & Sofia Hartley – Single by Pilgrim
iTunes:
http://apple.co/25mct1R
Amazon MP3:
http://amzn.to/1X09pY8
Google Play:
http://bit.ly/1sC7NGt

Stream the new singles here:
Spotify:
https://open.spotify.com/artist/2X6dTyZTfoyLXKeCqXpePI
Apple Music:
http://apple.co/1ORpCGx

Thank you for reading.  You’re the best!

Your friend,

Pilgrim

 

 

 

 

 

9-12-2008 /// A Testimony

Hey!  It’s your friend Pilgrim.  Every year I write a post about my testimony and how I became a Christian, but this year I decided to put a couple of fun rhymes on a laid back hip hop beat and share it with you.  I hope you enjoy it for what it is…simply put…a testimony.

Listen to it here:

9-12-2008 /// A Testimony

 

Sincerely,

Pilgrim

 

Album Update

Boom!  Dynamite.  It’s been over a year since I released my most popular song, “Dynamite” at Soundcloud.com/onepilgrim : Dynamite.  Who knew that I’d be preparing something even better this year.  Actually, just kidding.  I knew.  I’ve been planning since 2014 to release a major project to CD and all digital outlets.   I remember discussing New Year’s resolutions at a local coffee shop with my best friend and his fiancee when I told them boldly “this year I want to release an actual album”.  It’s been a long time since that day, and they have since moved away to pursue their own amazing dreams, but for me that time is almost here.  Our tentative timeline is this Fall, but until then I decided to release some more music to keep my followers and friends on their toes.  Lastly, my indie music website is about 90% complete, and it will merge with this blog as I continue building my music group known as the One Pilgrim Music Group (OPMG).  Thank you for being a part of this in listening, paying attention and encouraging me every step of the way.  That’s why in my songs often times you will hear me say, “One pilgrim amongst many in my city.”

Check out my new music video at Pilgrim – El Peregrino (Official Music Video)

And my two newest singles on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and Apple Music!!!

El Peregrino – Single by Pilgrim
iTunes:
http://apple.co/24voIte
Amazon MP3:
http://amzn.to/1WV4ozL
Google Play:
http://bit.ly/23iWTmh

Mr. Pretender feat. Zackery Robinson & Sofia Hartley – Single by Pilgrim
iTunes:
http://apple.co/25mct1R
Amazon MP3:
http://amzn.to/1X09pY8
Google Play:
http://bit.ly/1sC7NGt

Stream the new singles here:
Spotify:
https://open.spotify.com/artist/2X6dTyZTfoyLXKeCqXpePI
Apple Music:
http://apple.co/1ORpCGxOFFICIALMr. Pretender

It was for real …

it.was.by.faith

“I just want to make sure this is what God is calling you to do and not an emotional decision,” my dad exclaimed these concerns to me shortly after I returned from my first trip, and rightfully so. I was known for acting on emotions. He then proceeded to say, “but if this is what God is calling you to do, I will support you.”

Let me just say, the support of my parents meant everything to me. I truly don’t know if I could have said yes without their OK.  So I took my dads concerns very seriously.  Was it Whitney’s emotions or was it Jesus’ calling?  I prayed and I prayed and I prayed some more. Honestly, I am still praying this prayer. “Not my will but yours be done.” And God has revealed to me over and over that He is calling me to the DR.

It was for…

View original post 565 more words

Freedom Year

Freedom Year
On September 12, 2008 something happened to me.  My whole life changed.  Not only my physical health, but my worldview as well.  Not only my goals in life, but my desires as well.  I became a Christian in a very interesting way.
I was in a dorm room with my college girlfriend.  It was in the evening and we had been fighting all week with each other.  She had slapped me in the face, and I had broken her heart.  The pain was real.  My sin became real.  I realized that I was addicted to a hedonistic lifestyle, and I was beginning to go cold turkey from tobacco and alcohol products.  I prayed for salvation that night after crying and shaking for an hour.  I couldn’t go on living my normal life.  I realized for the first time that I was a sinner with a huge need that no earthly pleasure could satisfy.
When I woke up the next day and each day thereafter that week I felt alive.  I could see colors more vividly, and all of a sudden I was surprised with the amount of love and kindness that I felt towards strangers and people close to me.
My life started to be rearranged around new routines like church and worship times at the local college ministries.  I began to devour the Bible.  I seriously read the Bible every day everywhere I went.  Lunch break, in the car, on my bed, in the cyber café at school.  I wanted to learn everything.  I began to be conformed to a new image.  There were some downsides to being a new Christian if I can be honest.  I was naturally defensive and judgmental towards my former friends and colleagues/teammates.  I was naturally withdrawing from social situations because of my fear of temptations.  I began to have nightmares of my past sins, and dwelling on those daily perpetuated the problem.
I began to battle in prayer, and those habits slowly faded as I matured and rebuilt friendships and relationships around the new me.
Years passed.  Now it’s been 7 years.  I want to call it my year of Freedom. I’m celebrating my freedom now.  I’m resting this year by pursuing my heart’s desires in music and relationships.  I’ve had plenty of struggles since then, and I’ve never been perfect, but this year I have learned so much about forgiving myself and forgiving others.
Here are some amazing events that happened these past few years as a Christ follower:
1. Ministered to thousands of people in Spanish and English all over the globe
2. Ministered to my own family whenever I saw a chance and saw my friends become Christians
3. Studied for 2.5 years in seminary
4. Led a men’s ministry and multiple bible studies
5. Began to build a music based ministry
Http://www.soundcloud.com/onepilgrim
6. Served as an FCA sponsor for 4+ years
7. Learned that God’s grace is sufficient for all of my needs
8. Became the head swim coach for a state ranked high school team for 3 years
9. Competed nationally in military armed drill against West Point and Texas A&M
10. Opened the stage for the Christian rap legend R-Swift.
Honestly,  there are so many stories I could share about miraculous events that have happened in my life.  I think that every day that I wake up sober and happy is a miracle.
I praise God for these past 7 years.  My little blog post doesn’t do Him justice.  My life is not even enough to give him the fullness of his glory, but he lets me follow him anyways.
Just know it’s all grace upon grace upon grace from your friend, Pilgrim.

This photo is from when I was an Army ROTC cadet on a National Collegiate Drill Team called the “Blue Ridge Rifles”.  This photo was taken a month after I became a Christian.

new08

27 Confessions pt. 1

IMG_2731
At first I began to think of my confessions as negative things in my life that I wanted to confess.  Honestly, that’s the way it is for most people. I mean…I confessed something last night to a really close friend and it was a negative thing.  But as I began to write I started to desire to confess some positive things.  To think on the bright side is to uplift your own soul.  To think on the blessings of the Spirit is to keep your mind on life and peace.  So I wrote down 27 confessions for my 27th year on Earth and my 7th year as a Christian.  It’s funny how I wrote on all of the lines except the bottom and it turned out to be 27 even when I wasn’t counting.

Here we go,

I love Star Wars – I know a lot more than people realize.
I love reading.
I love camping.
I love video games – but I pay all my bills, and I only do it in moderation. Haha!
I love skateboarding – 15 years still going strong.
I love making music – all types.
I love editing videos to music.
I love getting my car washed.
I love getting my haircut.
I love new clothes.
I love random companies on my hats or shirts.
I love laughing – need more of that.
I love hugs – giving and receiving.
I love giving – but I need to do it more.
I love reading the Bible – can’t live without it.
I love good worship music – has to be deep though.
I love Jesus Christ – but he loved me first.
I love God – by his sovereign grace.
I love speaking Spanish – all day everyday.
I love speaking English – all day everyday.
I love writing rhymes – all the time.
I love encouraging others – it’s hard though.
I love my mom and my brother – the Tripod.
I love my dad – but I don’t right now.
I love my family – aunts/uncles/cousins/grandparents.
I love my self – but not my sinful nature.
I love my life – the highest highs, the lowest lows.
Pilgrim

Sometimes

Sometimes I just need to write.  More than 140 characters would be nice.  Right now I’m remembering how I used to write for therapy.  I deleted all of those posts when I deleted my MySpace account about 7 years ago haha!  But  it’s time to do it again, ya know?

So what I do is put on music and write.  Just write.  Just bleed on this pixelated paper.  Okay that was deep right?  Well anyways I’m just flowing right now and whatever comes out comes out.

I mean…I’m still being careful to choose uplifting words.  I never want to be the downer, and I know myself with Jesus makes me full of happiness and peace.  With Jesus…

Lately he’s been showing me not to strive anymore.  Stop fighting so hard to gain the world.  It’s so easy to lose your soul.

Well…I’m clocking out.  Be back soon homies.  I love you.

At Summer’s End II (The Summer of Sound)

At Summer’s End II (The Summer of Sound)
Photo Shoot(Progress)

Time to write again.  Time to think again.  To process this summer like I did a while back.  My how things have changed since I wrote At Summer’s End two years ago.  Let me throw it back a little bit.  I was living alone having just returned from Honduras on a week long mission trip.  I was about to start my second year of teaching high school Spanish which so far has been my best year ever.  I was about to embark on a journey of musical discovery as I balanced studying Greek and Preaching for my master’s degree at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary alongside of writing songs for my first EP.  Oh yeah, and I was the head coach of a state level varsity swim team.    Needless to say I was consumed with work.  Needless to say I was pushing myself to new levels of work and efficiency. It might help to say that I was very single and extremely aware of it because my social group was small haha!    But maybe I should say I was dying.  I was thriving in the growth that I found in a new place to live with a solid Christian roommate, but I was dying inside because my life was burdened with too many passions and an acute loneliness.  Too many passions.  Ha, that’s me though.  Some people don’t even have one, but I ended up with three or four haha.  Well, that was two years ago.  With that being said let’s bring that to the here and now.

Two years later I completed those courses, but I left seminary with much pain and frustration.  Two years later I have made tons of new friends and have been on enough dates to know what I don’t want.  Two years later I’ve left the swim team behind to pursue music as a passion and ministry.  And that’s what this summer has been about.  I called it the Summer of Sound.  You see every summer since ’08 when I began to follow Jesus has been defined with the letter S in a certain mnemonic alliteration.  Here they are in case you’re intrigued by that.

Summer of __________
08- Salvation
09- Solitude
10-Sojourning
11- Sending
12-Service
13-Soltero
14-Searching
15-Sound

Who knows what the next summer will bring?  This summer tried me and revealed to me a lot of weaknesses I have in dating, in finances, and in my spiritual life.  But also I learned about my strengths in relationships, in motivation to serve the Lord, and in creative pursuits and faith.  I began to feel like I am one pilgrim amongst many in my city.  I began to see my status as an exile on Earth and a citizen of heaven.  The Lord spoke to me a few times this summer.  Not necessarily audibly, but through moments of deep repentance and tears where I cried out, “I don’t trust You.  Help me to trust You.”  Kind of like the man in the book of Mark who says to Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief!”  Well that was me this summer.  Preparing for the future.  Reconciling and forgiving myself of the past.  Anyways, this is where I sign off.  I’ll let you know when my big album drops.  I’m excited to see what the next two years have to offer!

Love you guys,
Pilgrim

stEPone

Yo, it’s your friend Pilgrim and we need to talk.  It’s been a while.  Almost a year actually.  You know what I mean though.  That feeling you get in your stomach after you hear that phrase.  It means that this is serious business.  Family talk even.  🙂  But more importantly I just want to express some things with you who are watching, reading, listening, and above all learning from all that I say, post, or do.
I just finished the last song of my personal indie EP called the Step One EP.  It has been a long long journey, but I know that I can look back and praise God for all that I experienced during this time of my life.

Confession of an overly ambitious and passionate person:
I went through some massive changes in my life path, and I saw some friends come and go in the process.  I made a lot of mistakes, and I battled sin which sometimes defeated me before I could flee.  I was also victorious many more days than I was defeated thanks be to God.  I became a pretender around people for a while and then became myself again.  All the while I was just trying to be like Jesus, but I went about it the wrong way at times.  I also wanted to be real because I value authenticity and honesty, but I usually just wanted to be selfish.  I felt like it was a season of tug of war.  I would press in so hard to get to know God and love people, but then I would fade away from it at times simply out of weakness.  It’s something I’m learning to work on now as I mature.  Well, now that I’ve confessed let me take you back just a second and recap.

Recap:
Jan. ‘13 – set out to make my own Christian rap album
Jul. ‘13 – wrote the first song “Song for My Mom” and recorded some demo songs in my friend’s garage (people loved it)
Aug. ‘13 – found a new roommate and tons of encouragement and motivation
Sep. ‘13 – Dec. ‘14 – took a bunch of masters degree courses in seminary while always feeling conflicted between finding time to write songs, study textbooks(Greek), and do my regular 45+hr work week
Jan. ‘15 – picked up some skills with audio engineering so I begin to mix and record my own songs, met and began working with a professional producer(not on this EP though)
Feb. ‘15 – The EP was in full production mode as I released 5 songs up until June
Jun. 7, ‘15 – The last song All of This was released on
soundcloud.com/onepilgrim
reverbnation.com/onepilgrim
theonepilgrim.bandcamp.com
and youtube.com

You see…2 years and 6 months until I really decided to aim at this mission in life.  2.5 years until I said…do this or you will not be happy with yourself.  2.5 years to develop all of the skills necessary to make this happen besides the actual skill of writing lyrics and rapping verses.  But really it was a lifetime.  It took 20 something years for me to find out that I am an artist…and it may take 20 something more to make an impact.  All I know is that the first step was the hardest, and I had to step out on the water with the fear of drowning all around me.  But now I’m trying to keep my eyes on Jesus and float with him on the surface.  May he open our eyes that we may not fall…may he lift us up…to steal a few lines from Jars of Clay.  What a blessing.  Thanks for reading this far.  You make me feel like I am one pilgrim amongst many in my city and all the cities around me.

All my love
-Pilgrim
Follow my progress in music on
Twitter: @one_pilgrim
Facebook:  Pilgrim
Instagram: One Pilgrim

P.S. A new project is already a quarter of the way finished.  Let’s just say I’m making a lot of #progress.