In addition to his own music Y? is active as an Audio Engineer, Producer and Teaching Artist helping other musicians and youth collaborate through the arts. He has facilitated workshops nationally and Internationally in the UK and Japan working with companies such as TED and Spotify. To serve the community he has also collabortated with non-profit organizations such as Urban Art Beat, Urban Word, The Door, and The Re:Education Project. He currently serves as program director with Beat NYC www.beatnyc.org. Y? visions working together with artists of all mediums and ages would like to see the creation of a facility where students come in to learn a craft and graduate when they can teach it to the next generation.
WhyNotShowLove, When The Art Comes Straight From The Heart? A mantra of sorts, this is the type of vibration that resounds through the works of Y? Whether he’s producing, songwriting, freestyling, emceeing, or engineering tracks in The Spacestation (Y?’s carefully crafted studio), Y? is Love, Life, and Art—a futuristic adaptation of hip-hop fused with jazz, soul and funk—a Meditation for the Spirit, a Soundtrack to Life, Movement, and Transformation. At the core of Y?’s creative genius is experimentation and live instrumentation that cannot be duplicated. With project titles, including The Jack Kelsey Files and most recently, The Mixed Up Tape, Y? paints picturesque tales with his lyrics and music, depicting the evolution of time, space, and location with NYC as the backdrop. Whether he’s talking about having a good time, or addressing hard pressing issues such as depression or gentrification, Y?’s art sends its audience into a trance, leaving us in a psychedelic Virtual Reality. On The XYZ’s, an EP by Y? and his band, the magic continues on hits such as “Love Train” and “Sexual Reservoir,” reminding us of the kind of passion needed to create and sustain the human existence. Having shared space, both physically and metaphysically speaking, with music royalty and hip-hop legends, Y? has learned from some of the best in the industry. As an intern at the Electric Lady, the studio Jimi Hendrix built in 1968 and the only artist-owned recording studio in existence at the time, Y? channeled the electricity and vibrancy of the space, manifesting a similar frequency and energy in his own studio, The Spacestation. Y? also recorded for the NBA2K10 soundtrack with Afrika Bambaataa and Mickey Factz on the track, “We Don’t Stop Yawl,” and has graced myriad stages across the globe, including England, Spain, Japan, and in his hometown, NYC, in notable venues such as SOBs, The Blue Note Jazz, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Joe’s Pub, and the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival. Moreover, in 2011, Y? and the XYZs were finalists in the NYC Summer Stage Battle of the Bands.
Y?’s self-awareness, commitment to community, and drive to find purpose in everything he touches has led him to his activist role as a music educator, shaping students who are active players in life rather than passive consumers. As a teaching artist with various organizations, including B.E.A.T (Bridging Education & Art Together; www.beatnyc.org), Y? teaches music and art to youth in both traditional settings such as schools and afterschool programs, and in nontraditional settings such as NYC housing projects. Y?’s process at B.E.A.T has evolved into what he calls cypher-based pedagogy, where students develop artistic skills to the level where they can teach their peers what they have learned; Each One, Teach One! In this iteration of teaching, music in not a thing that is merely consumed, but rather, a process that helps, transforms, and activates people. Y?’s cypher-based pedagogy is aimed at developing young people who trust themselves, which is at the heart of his work as Program Director of the B.E.A.T Rhymers program for emcees, poets, and singers, and the B.E.A.T Band, which combines songwriting with live music composition and performance. These lessons also inform the core principles of Y?’s social enterprise, Creative Expressions, which creates a platform for artists to nurture the creative expressions of young people, and empowers young artists to develop a business mind while cultivating their craft. Creative Expressions is a movement – a response to the starving artist lifestyle– that it is possible to do what one loves and to make a living off the art!
Currently, Y? also studies music theory and composition while mastering multiple instruments, including the bass, drums, piano, and his voice. His dedication to growth and progress, and his propensity for learning are indicative of tenacity and discipline, two adjectives that can undoubtedly be attributed to this phenom. An amalgam of Guyanese cultural heritage and NYC rawness and grit, Y? believes that the journey itself, not the destination, is the reward!