Today, I dropped the first single from No Pain No Gain, the aptly-titled “One of My Angels.” The road from TSL2 (and some of the more-boisterous songs from that album) to dealing with death and traumas on NPNG is actually one that makes a lot more sense than how it may look on the surface. Essentially, I’ve always been an artist who was open about his past. I’ve made entire albums surrounding a few traumatic experiences (2015’s Unhinged, centering around my mother’s death, being one of them). However, there were things that even I didn’t talk about. Some of those things are discussed on No Pain No Gain. How “One of My Angels” plays into this bearing of my soul is that I discuss some parts of my history that I didn’t really discuss before.
For example, this is the first time I really discussed my stepdad’s side of my family. Specifically, this is the first time I talked about my Aunt Delores and how she played an important part in my upbringing. When she died, there was a bit of a hole in my life. I only knew her for about three years. However, in that time, she treated me like family during a time I wasn’t as close with any parts of my family, be them on my mother’s side or elsewhere.
Additionally, on “OOMA,” I speak about how the loss of Maranda, one of my high school friends, shook me and hurt more than I let on at the time. As I mentioned on “Miss Music,” Maranda was one of the first people who believed I could make change with music. She was one of the first people who told me I should pursue it further, after my voice cracked and I wasn’t much of a singer anymore. When she passed, I was heartbroken because I started to make strides as SOTB and I wanted to tell her thank you for believing in me. I never got the chance on this physical plane. When members of my graduating class got together for a memorial service, it was the day the car I drove at the time died on me. Not being able to say goodbye to Maranda with the rest of my class hurt. Add that to the fact that 2011 wasn’t that great of a good year for me mentally (aside for Jovanni being born) and I went into a deep funk, one that led me to feel isolated and alone.
In the years since losing my aunt, my friend and my mother, I’ve gone to therapy more frequently. Sure, the pain of losing people close to me still stings a bit. However, it stings a bit less–especially when I get the chance to talk about how awesome these people were. I hope you give your flowers to people while they’re still here and I hope you enjoy listening to “One of My Angels.”
No Pain No Gain drops on March 28, 2022.