How was 2017 for you?
Starita: The year brought many blessings and transformations. I realized my dream as a recording artist by debuting three songs from my first EP, Starita For The Record. I am officially able to proudly add the title of recording artist to my existing experience as producer! As a result of this release, I was able to collaborate with an amazing community of talented artists and idols: Jarobi White of A Tribe Called Quest, Trevor Hall, DJ Rasta Root, J Bowman of Michael Franti and Spearhead, Madame Gandhi, Terra Lopez of Rituals of Mine, Mamel of Los Amigos Invisibles, Christian Pepin of La Cuneta Son Machin, Trent Park, Michael Shiono, Charles Stella, and so many more. Above all, this year has been transformative in that I learned to let go; believing in myself as an artist and in the process. It was humbling (yet phenomenal) to witness the outpouring of support; not only from the artists I collaborated with, but also from fans from all around the world, and many of the music partnerships I’ve worked with over the years.
Career-wise, the highlight was working with my childhood idol, Jarobi White of A Tribe Called Quest, on the filming of my music video, “Rules.” Many fans know that a lot of my musical inspiration and influence come sfrom growing up with A Tribe Called Quest. After Phife Dawg’s passing, this project allowed me to keep him (and Tribe’s music) close. Jarobi and me were able to travel to New York and did the quintessential ‘walk’ through Queens — the same path that Phife, Q-Tip and Jarobi took growing up. Seeing where they cut their teeth lyrically and the neighborhood that spawned a musical movement was unbelievably inspiring. This was a momentous point for me as an artist; bridging that gap of admiring these idols from a distance to forming my own personal memories and relationships with them as a fellow artist.
On a more personal level, as a Mississippi boy, family is what keeps me grounded. I was finally able to spend some quality time with my wife, mother, and kids when my mom came to San Francisco for a visit last month. These opportunities always serve as a reminder of what is important in my life.
Working too much and not making more time for meditation and family!
Song of the year?
Silence! As in the silence of nature. That is where I reset and get my inspiration. If I had to select an actual ‘song’ of the year, it remains to be “Black Spasmodic” by A Tribe Called Quest. Although not officially released this year, this song still has relevance and resonance in our current time. That is what I use as a barometer for music I love. To get down to it, this song is just downright crazy stylistically and just fun!
What’s your New Year’s resolution?
I don’t have the practice of setting New Year’s resolutions as I work daily to realize what is important to me — personally and professionally. But an area that I’d like to work harder to focus on is to make more time for meditation, yoga, and family.