Stay Prepared For The Action

Stay prepared for the action, never know when it’s time to go back in!

As promised, I’m maintaining that consistency and coming back with new music. This new release, “Back In”, is about bouncing back, learning from the temporary setbacks and rising higher than before.

You can listen to it here.

What happens when you squeeze an orange?

What happens when you squeeze an orange? It’s contents come out. Regardless of how you squeeze it, the content remains the same. The amount may change depending on the pressure, but the content does not change. For me, personal development is about improving the content or the ‘juice’ that can be found inside. It has often been said that money, power and fame reveal more of who a person is, so it’s not about waiting for more money or being in a higher position of power to make a change, it’s about starting now and developing your character.
 
This is not to say that our best efforts will be the same each day. There will be some days where we are tired or going through a difficult patch, there will be times when we make misjudgements, none of us are perfect. However, with each moment and challenge, there is an opportunity that provides us with an equivalent benefit. 

We all have a response ability. Many times our responses are habitual and so it is our responsibility to improve the contents and choose better habits. If the content remains the same, little will change.  

The Marathon Continues

After returning from my 6 year hiatus to release the Hidden EP, the marathon continues with Run Down, my first single of 2021 and a return to my grime roots.

Last year, Hidden exceeded my expectations and led to BBC Introducing in Beds, Herts and Bucks recognising me as a Future Name! I’m really excited to share more music with you this year and vow to not disappear for 6 years in the near future!

You can hear Run Down here. If you’re feeling it, feel free to run it up! 🙂

The I Am Christopha Podcast Returns!

Happy New Year and a warm welcome to 2021! 

I am very excited to bring to you the second season of the I Am Christopha podcast! A series of short bi-weekly podcasts for Relentless Dreamers.

These podcast episodes are audio versions of my blog posts and provide an easy way for you to access the content on multiple platforms. 

It has been nearly a year since the last episode, so I am really looking forward to creating these again. I hope they provide you with some ideas and food for thought while you embark on your journey.

You can listen to the first episode of season 2 entitled ‘Empty Your Cup’ here.  It is also available on all of the major podcast platforms.

My Top 20 Reads and Album of 2020

The ‘unprecedented’ year of 2020 will soon come to a close. As we approach the end of this crazy year, I would like to share with you some of the books that have had the biggest impact on me. This list is not written in any specific order and if you have any questions about the books or have any recommendations for me, please give me a shout. You can also check out my book recommendation list here. 

Before we get to the books, my favourite album of this year was by the talented Ego Ella May. I have been a big fan of Ego Ella May’s music for a while now and was so happy to hear that she was releasing her debut album this year. The album entitled, Honey For Wounds, did not disappoint at all. It delivered in every way that I expected and provided so much more. Ego Ella May is such a fantastic writer that pushes beyond the norm, both musically and conceptually. She recently won the Best Jazz Album at the MOBO Awards and in my eyes the album is an absolute treasure. If you haven’t heard it, I would definitely recommend. 

Now, without further ado, my top 20 reads for 2020 are…..

  • JAY-Z: Made in America – Michael Eric Dyson
  • Becoming – Michelle Obama
  • Shoe Dog – Phil Knight
  • Winners Dream – Bill McDermott
  • Range – David Epstein
  • How Europe Underdeveloped Africa – Walter Rodney
  • The Destruction of Black Civilisation – Chancellor Williams
  • Black and British – David Olusoga
  • The New Jim Crow – Michelle Alexander
  • Stamped From The Beginning – Ibram X. Kendi
  • Elon Musk – Ashlee Vance
  • No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference – Greta Thunberg
  • Alibaba – Duncan Clark
  • How Google Works – Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg
  • AI Superpowers – Kai-Fu Lee
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X  – Alex Hayley
  • Caste – Isabel Wilkerson
  • My Life in Red and White – Arsene Wenger
  • Sister Outsider – Audre Lorde
  • Black Against Empire – Joshua Bloom

Honourable Mentions

There are so many other books that I would like to include and if I went through the list with a fine tooth-comb, it is possible that I would replace some of them with the following.  

  • Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus – John Gray
  • How To Be An Anti-Racist – Ibram X. Kendi
  • Culture and Imperialism – Edward W.Said
  • The Establishment – Owen Jones
  • Me and White Supremacy – Layla F Saad
  • The Color of Money – Mehrsa Baradaran
  • Superior: The return of race science – Angela Saini
  • Year of Yes – Shonda Rhimes
  • The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – Bonnie Ware
  • Be Obsessed or Be Average – Grant Cardone

I wish you a very Happy New Year and whether you had a good year in 2020 or not, I hope 2021 is an even better year for you.

My first EP in 6 years has arrived!

The Hidden EP is finally here! It has been a long time coming, 6 years in fact, and I am so grateful for all of your support.

It feels really vulnerable releasing this project. One, because it has been such a long time and two, because I had to fight a lot of doubt. Comparing can kill action, I was listening to other people’s songs and began feeling like some of mine weren’t polished enough. In the end, I just decided to put it all out.

As I said in a recent Instagram post, we are all works in progress. Rather than giving up before trying, it’s important to start where you are and build from there. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Every professional started as an amateur. So here I am practicing in public and sharing my heART.

I’m also excited to say that I did an interview with BBC Music Introducing in Beds, Herts and Bucks yesterday. We talked about the EP, where I’ve been all this time and much more. If you want to hear it, listen in from 18 minutes 🙂

Happy Hidden EP day! I hope you enjoy it!

Misfit Out Now, Upcoming EP & BBC Music Introducing

The second single from my upcoming EP is here! This one is called Misfit and you can listen to it here. I hope you enjoy it and if you do, please share the love!

For one reason or another, I have always felt like an outcast. Whether that is because of being an introvert, the nerd, the untypical rapper, the vegan, the only black person in the room etc etc the list really does goes on and on.

This song captured my feelings perfectly and I hope those who feel like a misfit in any way, can resonate and learn to embrace and celebrate their difference. If we were all the same, the world would be a boring place!

On a separate, but related note, I wanted to let you know that the EP will be coming super duper soon! If you peek around the corner you might just see it 😉

Furthermore, I am happy to say that a song from the EP called ‘Needs’, has been played twice on BBC Music Introducing in Beds, Herts and Bucks!! The first play was a couple of weeks ago. If you want a sneak peek, you can listen to it from 49.10. The second play was yesterday as part of a special Black History Month show. Listen in from 56.10 to hear it.

I can’t wait to share all the new music with you, but for now, don’t forget to check out the second single! 🙂

Day by Day, I Keep Getting Older

So today is a momentous day, today is the day that I am a day older!! Woohoo! In all seriousness, today is the release of my first single from the upcoming EP!

The song is entitled Day by Day and it’s actually the first single that I have ever officially released. You can listen to it here.

Day by Day is a statement to say that I may be getting older, but I am getting better with time. Furthermore, I will not let my age get in the way of doing what I love and sharing it with the world.

I’m constantly learning to celebrate the journey and embrace the ups and downs. Time clearly waits for no one. It’s never too late to be the best version of yourself and be a force for positive change.

I hope you enjoy the song and if you do, please share it and let me know what you think.

Announcement: I’ve got an EP on the way!!

I am very excited to announce that I have an EP on the way!! This will be my first official release as Christopha Gordon (my real name) and my first official release since ‘The Graduate EP‘, which came out 6 years ago! I know, time flies right.

The EP is entitled ‘Hidden’ and there are various reasons for giving it that name.  For those of you that have been supporting for a while, you will know that I made a decision to put my music career on the side a few years ago. I was at a crossroads and was trying to figure out what I wanted to achieve as a musician.

Furthermore, other priorities took over. I had a newborn on the way and I had also started a new job. My focus was on ensuring that I was providing for my family and preparing for this transition in the best way that I could.

With a need to provide, music never appeared to be the answer to my immediate financial goals and I didn’t want to put that much pressure on my art. Therefore, I took a step back and continued to write, while occasionally putting music out.

A few years have passed since then, the ship has been steadied and I feel it is the right time to start releasing music again.

I hope you are looking forward to it as much as I am and a big thank you for sticking with me this far.

The #HiddenEP is coming soon! Let’s join together and make some noise for the people at the back 🙂

 

Working through the pain: COVID-19, George Floyd and Racial Inequalities

I have not written anything on my blog for quite a while. Firstly, this was due to COVID-19. My blog is primarily based on self-development and with everyone going through their own unique challenges and pain in this time, I did not feel fit to speak on the topic. My last blog post was about using the time wisely, I believe that we should always aspire to doing that, but I had seen too many people using motivational mantra such as “this is just temporary”, when people had lost close friends and family. It felt extremely insensitive for me to look past that while writing.

Furthermore, we lost a legendary UK rapper, Ty, to COVID-19 recently. Ty was a great rapper that I have a lot of respect for. He previously showed love to me and my cousin Dwain for one of our songs on homelessness when he didn’t have to pay any attention to it at all. He is one of the UK foundations to the art form that I love so much and someone that has inspired many. His passing really brought the seriousness of this situation home to me and it saddens me so much that he is no longer here.

Secondly, I have been reading more deeply into black history and the subject of race. This is not a topic that I have shied away from in the past, but with the target that I set last year to read 200 books annually, it has allowed me to read more broadly than I previously could have.

One thing that really struck me was the idea that self-development in itself was not enough. It can be seen as a triumph when one person makes it out of difficult circumstances and at times it is viewed as proof that there are no inequalities. For example, I remember starting out as a graduate at IBM. Part of the induction included a section about the importance of diversity at the company and it’s proud history of hiring Richard MacGregor in 1899, it’s first black employee. Following this, one of my white colleagues said to me “I don’t see any issues with diversity and inequality. You got into IBM”. There was more said than this and I am paraphrasing here, but this narrow thinking follows the concept that ‘if you can do it, anyone else can do it’. Despite popular belief, ‘colour blindness’ allows biased stereotypes to remain prevalent. The choices that we make as individuals are important, there is no doubt about that however, certain circumstances have a huge impact on the choices that we make and the life that we are able to lead.

To not acknowledge this, plays down the uneven circumstances that people have to overcome. It focuses only on the individual rather than society and the structures that produce inequality. The more I have been thinking about this, the more it has made me want to look more deeply into the broader issues rather than just zoning in on individual self-development.

To add to this, we witnessed the recent death of George Floyd and it has hit me hard. Unfortunately, this type of atrocity by those who are supposed to ‘protect and serve’ is not irregular. There are many names that can be listed that have died unjustly by the police in the US and the UK in recent times.

I believe that this happening during the time of COVID-19 has had a multiplier effect. There are less distractions. Our emotions were already unsettled and this has added to that in a big way. I am encouraged by the awakening that it has sparked across the world. However, I can’t help but have some skepticism. I have seen brands and people treat this like a bandwagon to jump on. Undoing prejudice takes hard work. We all have to look in the mirror at how we contribute to the situation. Hitler is perceived as pure evil, it was seen as unthinkable that someone could have ideologies that led to such horrible violence against Jewish people. Did those same people look in the mirror when the huge injustices against black people were taking place? Did they rethink their views on racial purity and second class citizens? What does it mean to make America great again? What does it mean to be truly American or British? These are deeply entrenched racial views that have played themselves out in various ways over centuries. I do however, have hope that this recent atrocity helps to create change and ignites the right conversations beyond this particular moment in time.

In my own day to day, I have found it challenging to manage this ‘double life’. I am trying to cope with my deep hurt and pain while working in a professional corporate environment. I am glad to see however that the company I work for is starting to have some hard conversations. I feel that I should be doing more to move the needle and to fight against racial injustice and I also feel like I need to do more at work to grow my career and use that platform to help others. Other than being the best version of myself, one thing that drives me is the idea of getting far enough to help more people. The Jay-Z line “I can’t help the poor if I’m one of them, so I got rich and gave back, to me that’s the win-win”, is something that I have referred to before in my blog. It is a line that plays out in my mind over and over again ‘I need to be more, I need to do more, I need to give more’. It is one reason that I am so obsessed about educating and improving myself. However, I have really questioned in recent times whether capitalism is the path. Money does talk, there is no doubt about that, but I don’t have all of the answers. Therefore, I am digging deep to educate myself more broadly on the areas that contribute to these injustices.

This digging deep is something that I was doing before the horrible deaths of George Floyd and others such as Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Belly Mujinga, but I feel that it is even more relevant now. Here are some of the books that I have been reading below:

One book that seems relevant in this moment is ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’. It is a book about a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp during World War 2, called Viktor Frankl. Viktor was close to death each day, he saw those imprisoned with him get killed and had to deal with the likelihood that his family had been murdered. Somehow Viktor managed to find purpose to fight and stay alive. We are all going through this period differently. There is no one right way to feel or act. Do what you need to do for you, your loved ones and those you care about and remember, we all have our own lane and way of making a difference.