We had the good fortune of connecting with Cooly Music and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cooly, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
The unknown. We as humans want to be in control of every situation or direction that live takes us. As a musician/ artist, it is harder once you define what you success is and how life sometimes has another set of rules that you have to play by and eventually you get there.
I am a firm believer that when you follow the things you love, its like playing your favorite video game will the complexity at 100% and no guides to show you how to get to the end, yet we continue because we could not live a happier version of life if we didn’t go as far as we can.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I believe that everybody has their own unique drive and thus are driven in different ways, which makes each and every person special in their own right. What makes me unique is that I mix many different styles into my playing. I studied jazz, but I’m not an exclusively jazz artist; I love R&B, but I am not an exclusively R&B artist. I like to mix all these genres, styles, and techniques together to make my own sound, so I’m not constrained by one genre or sound.
The things I have accomplished today weren’t easy and didn’t just “fall into my lap.” After spending 4 years serving my country, I felt like I had to play catch up with learning the guitar. I enrolled into college before my 4 years were even up, so I could start learning my instrument as soon as possible. I studied Jazz at first and later enrolled into Berklee College of Music’s Guitar degree program. There were and still are a lot of hard days, and I overcame these challenges by trusting in God and leaning on my family. I also learned how to give myself that extra push when needed. Some days I would feel “stuck,” so I would go back to the basics and run over scales and arpeggios, and running over these over and over would help get my creative juices flowing again. Some days you might not feel like giving it your all or even feel stuck, but every step you take gets you closer and closer to your goal, even if some days all you can muster is a baby step.
My latest project (Fumbling Confidence) shows a lot of my versatile styles and concepts. Fumbling Confidence was influenced heavily by my love of space. When I was writing songs for this project, I tried to imagine putting myself on different satellites and planets and describe how each one made me feel. This project is very much all about my feelings, things I’ve struggled with, and my astonishment of space all tied up into a 5 song EP.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The first place I would take them would be through Gaslamp Quarter and maybe do a bar hop. They have lots of great bars and clubs that play great music and have amazing food.
A few of my favorite places to eat in Escondido are Mi Rancho and Lourdes for good tacos, sopes, and just Mexican food in general. I also like frequenting Fruit Fresh, which has incredible açaí bowls, sandwiches, and fruit juices!
Double Peak in San Elijo and Sunset Cliffs in La Jolla have some of the best views to catch the sunset! Every time I have a friend or family member come in town, I always take them to one of these places to see some incredible views.
Rancho Bernardo winery is an amazing little spot in the middle of a neighborhood, if you’re in the mood for wine tasting. They do an awesome job with the tastings and pair each wine with chocolate, its all so good! They also have a bunch of little shops that you can visit while you’re there. They play live music in the evenings, which adds the perfect touch to relax and enjoy your night with friends and family.
For all my musician friends, I recommend checking out Wildcat Guitars for some amazing top of the line Fender, PRS, or Gibson guitars. They are located in San Marcos and also have a guitar repair shop right next door.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate this shout out to my wife, Ivon. We’ve been together for 6 years, married for 4, and through all those years, she’s supported me through every step of my journey. When we met, I was still in the Marine Corps and all I would talk about was getting out to follow my dream of playing music full-time, and she supported me from the very beginning. When I got out, she gave me a “graduation gift” of some guitar picks with my initials on them. She has always been an incredible force that inspires me to want to keep pursuing this dream, especially when things get hard. She always tells me that I’m not “going to make it someday” because I’m already there. It’s definitely hard some days to think about where I want to be, but she always reminds me about how far I’ve come. There are days where I talk her ear off about the newest guitar that I want and she makes it happen; she bought me my all white Fender Telecaster for Christmas 4 years ago and my Fender Jazzmaster was a gift for being a new dad. I love that she challenges me with new songs to learn, she always tells me “Bubs I think you could do a cool solo to this song.” Thank you my love, my angel, my heart for always being all in!
Photos by @seagravephotorgraphy @timeless_capture_photography and @iss._.lino