I’m feeling good, man, and I hope you are, too. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about happiness, and what’s the best road to it, or what’s the best way to sustain it – so figured I’d share those thoughts with you!

I think we can get tricked on our road to achieving happiness. We can import how good we feel about ourselves from external things. ‘Look at my job’, we might say, or ‘look at these friends’, ‘look at how helpful I’ve been’, or look at this and that (or ‘look at these streams!’ haha). Ultimately, though, your job may be lost, your friends may go, and your ability to help others may diminish with time. So – the question would be, if I strip away all the external things that prove to me my worth, do I still feel good about myself? Or am I entirely dependent on the external world to deliver to me my value?

Nelson Mandela was in jail for 27 years. Everything was taken from him. The external structures that would have delivered to him his confidence, his peace, and so on, were all stripped away – and yet, when he got out of prison, he was greater than the man who went in. I think about that often.

I think about my own life; I think about the joy that I get from achieving some kinda success in music – and then I imagine, too, well, is this where I’m getting all of my joy from? If so, when I’m an old man, and maybe my ability to create is no longer, and the attention I’d achieved in this life has faded, will I be laying there feeling valueless? That sounds like failure to me.

The most powerful human being is one whose confidence doesn’t seek proof in the external world, and whose joy isn’t at all a gift from anyone or anything. It can be sustained anywhere from a prison cell to a coliseum, because it is imported from nothing but the thought, “Life is a gift, and the texture of every moment, regardless of circumstance, is a treasure.” Like that, I think real happiness comes from relentless childlike gratitude. For the breaths I’m taking. For the colors around me. And on the most fundamental level, for the fact that I’ve had the privilege of living at all. The further I get from that, the more fragile my happiness becomes. 💀☀️

Alright, so, my new song drops this Friday (tomorrow!), and I wanted to drop some random thoughts about the song, where my head was at – all that.

It’s called ‘Once Upon a Time in the Suburbs’ and it’s probably the most experimental track I’ve released since going at music full time. I’m not expecting everyone to love it, but for a few of you, it may be really special. It’s about my time living in Fairfield, CA, right before I moved to San Francisco. I partied a lot. I was insecure. I sought validation from everyone but me. My memories of that time are bittersweet. I love the friends I had, but my state of mind was so screwed up. I was such an open nerve.

Fast forward to now – for the past few months or so, I’ve had a pretty difficult time due to issues in my personal life. Though I still made music through it, I was just struggling. That can happen, and will happen again, because that’s life. I was going through it when I wrote ‘Bleeding Out in the 415’, and ‘Show Them Who It Made You’, and this one. And I felt the most torn up while writing this one.

That’s probably why it’s the most scatter-brained of the three. It leaps from genre to genre, influence to influence. It’s fractured. It’s soothing. It’s explosive. It’s ugly-beautiful. It’s a love-hate letter to a period in my life where I had to grow or die, essentially. And now I see that I wrote it because that’s what these past few months were for me. It’s like I was expressing my current struggles and using my past as a prism.

Every time I feel deeply challenged, when I feel lost and out of control, I see it like I’m being given an opportunity to grow tools within myself that weren’t there before. If I was never as lost as I was in Fairfield, or had I not struggled these past three months, I would be lesser for it. So if you, right now, are going through it. If you’re in the dark. If you’re lost. Know that on the other side of all you’re going through is a clearer, more resilient version of yourself. Don’t give up. Every struggle is a cocoon.

See you Friday. 💀 🐛 🦋

I do my best to share my struggles as well as my successes. Right now, for example, I’m like – man, did I go too far with this upcoming single? Is it too experimental? I think, ah, why haven’t I made music videos? I think, I need to post on social media more. Whatever growth I achieve isn’t enough. Whatever song I made could’ve been better. And on it goes.

I often think about Anthony Bourdain. He was the host of the show ‘Parts Unknown’. He got to travel the world and taste food from all different cultures. He chipped away at his first book while working his 9-5 and ultimately achieved the improbable. And yet, in the end, he hanged himself. The successful author, Ernest Hemmingway, shot himself. Kurt Cobain, same. And I could go on. There is no level of success, or number of external achievements, that protect us from ourselves. We’re always tucked behind our own armor, so we can’t be protected by it. Behind the walls we put up, there we are, already inside, always. And if all of our work to ‘build ourselves’ is external – our jobs, our homes, the stuff we buy – then, I think, at one point or another, gone unaddressed, the internal world that we’ve ignored will eat us from the inside.

I think about that when I’m confronted with the intensity of my own perfectionism, say, or the not-good-enough-ness of any achievement. Or even here, writing this, posting a picture of myself; the amount of internal friction I feel when posting on social media is ridiculous. I’m a far cry from wandering my hometown, Fairfield, drunk at 3AM, but what caused me to do that is probably still within me, in a lesser form, expressing itself in subtler ways. If I ignore it, who knows how it’d ending up expressing itself in five years, ten years, twenty years. I’ve got to put in the work. I need to watch for weeds growing in my internal garden.

I say all that to say, to all those with a laundry list of external goals, write down some internal goals as well. I’m suggesting that to you, and to myself. Our struggles gain a greater hold on us in the dark. Shine a light on ‘em. It’s cool. We all struggle. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something. 💀 ☀️