A true product of the flatlands of Oakland since birth, I’m intimate with its underbelly. I grew up with many of the shackles that bind the entire community, falling victim even to the notion that I’d never leave ‘the hood’ without the help of pallbearers. Music became my outlet. I’d wondered sometimes how I’d survived the vortex that swallows whole family structures, multiple generations deep. I came to realize later on that it was nothing other than the unbelievable Grace of our God that extended His mercy, and kept me safe and sane for this moment in time. I received the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior. By His Grace I was championed at both my Junior High and High School by Staff mentors, and with their help received a music scholarship to UC Berkeley, studying jazz/flamenco guitar under classical acoustic legend Michael Lorimer, composition, jazz theory and ensemble under jazz great Bill Bell, with choral application and pedagogy under the famed Phil Reeder, later touring Europe extensively as a musician and singer. Upon returning, I became a resident music producer, artist, and later the ensemble director of the Voices of Reason at the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, a multicultural institute in Richmond California. Being in that diverse setting afforded me quite a different cultural perspective: I began to discover how rich the bay area was in latent potential and inherent beauty – something I’d never seen before then. I met and married my beautiful wife Tracy here in the Bay, whom God has so artfully used as a balm to soothe my wounds. Now having come full circle, the Oakland that I thought I’d leave behind is the very focus and heart of the ministry that God has called me to. My life, which I thought to be an inevitable wreck was actually divinely crafted to do ministry in this beautiful city, and I give Him all of the glory!
We are people who don’t belong together gathered around Jesus for the sake of those who don’t belong.