Was it worth it? This is the question I've been asking myself for almost 2 years. I always wonder what it would be like if I went the "normal path" and I know that's crazy to think. I just shot for Beyonce last month and I live in Hollywood. I'm fucking crazy for even complaining right? Sometimes I don't know. I'm super grateful for where I'm at in life, Especially at 21. I'm always texting my manager or parents asking them "why do I feel like this?" and they tell me the same thing. You gotta pay to play. It's the price of the ticket, it's the thing no one wants to talk about. Everyone thinks this shit is easy but they don't know I'm working 15-18 hours, 7 days a week. I've missed family events to hop on a flight to shoot for tidal and Beyonce. Those are memories that you can't take back with your family but what about the cost of all this? Is worth it?
I look at everything so critically and it's been weird looking back at things I used to think were impossible. 2 years ago I never thought I would SHOOT on a RED camera, I've owned 3 in the last 6 months. 1 year ago I thought doing $1,000 videos was the pinnacle, I did a $18K video last month. 8 months ago I wanted to move to LA, now I live in hollywood. It's important to look back sometimes. You gotta be stoked for what you've done but what I keep thinking about are the sacrifices. The staying in and not going out. Breaking up with my girlfriend because she wasn't "important" compared to my work. Not seeing my family because I'm selfish about work and wanna be the fucking best. This is what happens when you wanna follow your dreams, this is the side no one talks about. And it makes and breaks every creative person who enter the game.
So you are cool with giving all that up, you don't need it. You just want to be the best and leave a legacy. That's awesome. This is the positive side of the rise to being something. It's crazy how once you learn to cope with giving up those "costs" is when you start to thrive. Some people can't give up those things and that's when they start to fail. They turn back to the things they miss and put those in front of a dream. This is why only the 1% makes it. The normal human can't say "sorry I gotta miss your birthday, I have to be in NYC for a shoot. Hope you understand". Just in the last few months I've been able to cope with these costs and focus on ME and not worry how others felt. It wasn't easy and I know everyone whose been in a position of growing at a fast rate and not knowing what is right or wrong has been through this. There is no one to look up at and say "Hey, am I doing this right?". It's all inside you.
In 2014 I started my freshman year at film school in Chicago. I loved the city and I loved creating with everyone there. Everyone was down to earth and did things because they loved it. Fast forward 1 year and I stopped going to class and dropped out of school and moved into a loft downtown. This was the highlight of my life. I had my first spot and it was in downtown Chicago. So many crazy things from face timing Lil Durk to creating VSZN happened in that one place. It was my happy place and it was something I felt comfortable in. Comfort scares me because at the time you are comfortable with life your progress begins to flatline and you stop climbing, you start walking. At this time I was in a healthy and happy relationship with a girl I had a crush on since college and I was running VSZN full time. So, I had the dream girl and was doing what I love for a living while doing it in one of the most expensive areas in Chicago. Fast forward to last November and this guy Jeremy Cohen calls me and says he wants to manage me. He's based in LA and is one of the rising music managers in the industry. I always knew I wanted to move to LA but I was so happy in Chicago. After spending the month talking to him and having him tell me what I could be doing in LA I was sold. But what about my girl,my apartment and my happiness? I threw it all away to get too that next level. I was on a flatline in Chicago and not progressing to my ultimate potential. 4 months later I left it all and moved to a studio apartment in Hollywood with no friends and no comfort. I was far away from everyone but it felt right. I remember I used to hike up to the hills and just sit there and think "Is this shit worth it?". The pain I caused loved ones because I wanna run the greatest production company? It's hard having to battle that sometimes because of course you wanna be happy but you also don't want to be letting everyone down because of your selfishness. It's the cost of the game and you gotta buy a ticket to play, and I had to learn it.
YOU WILL BE OKAY
I know that may turn some of you away from wanting to pursue your dreams but it should only encourage you to take it head on. This life isn't easy and I tell everyone that. There is no way to have everything you want in a personal life and exceed in your work and creative life. It's why a lot of people take the normal route. They want the girlfriend, the weekends, the comfort, the stability but fuck that. I want to be the best and I want to inspire everyone to follow their dreams, It's so worth it and I wouldn't change anything in the last 2 years. I'm so happy for every blood,sweat and tear that has put me to where I'm at and I can't believe it's only the beginning. The surface hasn't even been scratched yet and I can't wait to see what times are like this time next year. I have the best team and the best support system, my parents. Even though I put work before anything they understand and I understand that it's for the best. It's not easy, but I love it. Are you up for it?