We asked some of the city’s leading artists and creatives to tell us about how they decided to pursue an artistic or creative career. We’ve shared some highlights below.

Chris Tracy | Singer/Songwriter, Reggae Musician

For me, there was never really another plan. I was introduced to music at a very young age & I chose to pursue it in my pre-teen years shortly there after. Other forms of creative and artistic expression such as painting and graphic design began in my high school years and blossomed into adulthood with my business in creating custom Tie-Dye apparel. Music is my biggest passion, the years following graduation were impeded by desk & warehouse work of which were unfulfilling, this led to a full embrace towards my ambitions in art and music as a career. I have an uncanny ability to write music, & I know it is what I was meant to be doing with my time on this earth. Read more>>

Cael Dadian | Singer, songwriter, and producer

I think it’s safe to say I didn’t choose a career in music but rather it chose me. Just about every aspect of the creative process consumes me and I find myself looking at the clock counting the minutes doing just about any other kind of task. Whether it’s songwriting, production, performing, video editing, brainstorming concepts, or reaching out to other creatives, I feel fulfilled and find fulfillment in the process. Read more>>

Ajane Wilson | Singer-songwriter, poet, artist

I often felt voiceless growing up, my thoughts and feelings going unheard and unconsidered, I found my voice through art. It was a safe place at first, findig the truth behind emotions I didn’t understand, a friend through all times, and a garden I felt safe to grow in. People noticed my art, they felt my poetry, they listened to me sing. I realized that a lot of what I went through and felt, I’m not alone in it. I want to continue create to connect in this world that seems as if we’re drifting apart. Read more>>

Marka & Jamesna Manning | Travel & Marriage Content Creators

We chose a creative career as travel, relationship, & lifestyle content creators because when we first started traveling we noticed that there were not many African American influencers who were being shown in the travel industry and we wanted to show that African-Americans travel as well engage in adventurous things. As we grew deeper into our travel niche, we noticed there were plenty of solo travelers, but not many couples who travel together or families so we branded those extra pillars togethers and became Memories With The Mannings. Read more>>

Hannah Reynolds | Photographer & Photo Editor

It was an easy decision to choose art full time because it is what I am passionate about, it is what brings me the most joy. Being behind the camera is where I feel most at home. Pursuing a creative career path meant spending my days in a profession that I loved and was comfortable with but yet could always learn something new everyday because art is ever changing. Read more>>

Emily Michiko Jensen | Soprano, Opera Singer

Growing up, music had been a part of my life either through piano lessons or singing with the San Diego Children’s Choir. My dad was a supernumerary for San Diego Opera for 20+ years, and in that time, he brought the whole family to casting calls for various operas. (I was 8 when I got to super in my first opera!) The following season, we went to see Carmen at San Diego Opera, and I vividly remember seeing a group of children rush to the center of the stage to sing. Read more>>

Joseni Romero | Nail Artist

I have been creating art for as long as I can remember. Implementing my passion for creating and designing into a form of income was nearly a dream come true. My whole life I heard people talking down on people that pursue creative careers of any kind. Many believe there is enough artist in the world and it is an overly saturated market. As someone who was near to giving up on my passion just to fit the narrative of what society wants people to do I decided to pursue this career out of love for what I do but also to prove those wrong. I worked hard for what I have now and will continue working hard to do what I love. Read more>>