Saturday, October 11, 2008

in my life...

there are places i'll remember all my life, though some have changed... some forever not for better, some have gone and some remain.

"as long as you did your best"
-my dad, arturo rafael [rip], after i failed my 3rd attempt of getting a black belt from my red/black belt... lol...
ps i am a black belt now. =)

so i've been having problems lately, just inner problems i guess. its been a great struggle moving here, i'm sure some of you can relate. but i've been talking to some people lately just randomly and i've gotten some great words of advice and different quotes and what not. i just emailed kina grannis ( just telling her about boston and what not and how its been hard not being in california and she told me, "just remember that that is a great thing-- to have a home worth missing."

so uplifting. then my good friend ramiele malubay ( has been helpin me out too because she also moved away from home to move to california from florida. we're kinda helpin each other out i guess since we've changed coasts. "you gotta do what you gotta do."

chadwick (m. meow, asian persuasion show, titan radio-CSUF) helped me realize something last night. in one of his many IM's to me there was something that stood out.. he said something like "you have so many people out here who want to see you make it..." and seriously thinking about that, i am so BLESSED to have you all, my family, my friends, having my back. it honestly helps me so much. just KNOWING that you all believe in me is a HUGE amount of inspiration. thanks chad for helping me realize that. i am so lucky. seriously...

my friend lijie ( here from berklee was talking to me today in the mall after we jammed in the practice room... she asked me, "what do you wanna do after berklee?" i said "i wanna be famous." why sugarcoat what i really want right? "i want to share my music with as many people as i possibly can." she said asked me what my backup plan was. i told her i didnt have one. she said, "good, cuz someone with as much drive and confidence as you had a backup plan, you would fall back." i smiled.

me being honest:

now don't go telling ur parents "AJ RAFAEL said not to have a backup plan!!!" it's always good to have one, but for me, i am just so infused with this idea that MUSIC believes in me as much as i believe in MUSIC, i really have no choice. and im not saying that you're not allowed to NOT have a back up plan. ah i dont know im just going to write. anyway, my father died in the name of MUSIC. like seriously. his hands were so sweaty when he played piano, like extremely sweaty, he wanted to fix it. so he got surgery, and it turned out to have complications, and he died 3 weeks later in the hospital from pneumonia. this was when i was 10. i took his place in the church playing piano, and here i am. it's in my DNA.

i would not be the person i am today if my father did not leave me with the strength and the music to cope with his loss. i am eternally grateful to him for providing me with a musical backbone so thick that nothing could break it. i'm here at Berklee because i feel like it's a stepping stone to my success in the music industry. and who knows how long i'll last here, but all i know is that i am finally thankful to be here. it's a great experience. and to be in a place so far away from home-- it's not as bad as I think it is. my friend christy the other week told me that she feels like i'm at peace. and its so true. i can walk around Boston by myself for hours without having to call someone to come walk with me or anything because i dont mind it. it's peaceful walking around by yourself sometimes, you should try it. moreno valley might not be the best place to do it though... hahaha.

God i hope i make it. representing all the asian-americans too who have not broken into mainstream yet, and not only asian-americans, but all the great unsigned artists who the world has not yet heard. i will make it.

here's a song i wrote back in 2005. this song means a lot to me because a lot of people relate to it. and for them to tell me 'thank you for writing this song' is the greatest reward.



angel said...

continue to strive aj, i KNOW you will make it too =]

x3 angel

genesis gregorio said...


You can make it AJ. Fasho.


maybe years later, its going to be my turn to get my music out there. =]

Anonymous said...

I learned something from reading this. yep yep, that's true keep going at your dreams because when it's all done and your living your dreams you'll look back and realize that the little things (missing home & stuff) helped you to become strong.
your an inspiration, like seriously.

rheenabettes said...

dude that was really deep and insightful. do what you have to do to make it. because if its truly your dream, you shouldnt let anything hold you back. and anything that tries to stand in your way should just make you want to keep fighting harder.

i see it in you, this passion for everything you're doing. dont let yourself fall short of your passion, ok? i know you have a handful of close friends and family to turn to already, but i hope you know that i am here for you if you need me.

i believe in you AJ. and remember i truly love you. forreal. i hope we get to chill when you're back in cali sometime soon. i miss you.

<3 renabette

maria laura said...

wow, that was deep and inspiring... i know that writing it helped you, but i had a really bad day today, similar to some things you're going through, and this made it a lot better, made me realize some stuff too, so THANK YOU! love your music! keep it up! i believe that you're gonna grow big... should i say bigger? ^-^ lol

<3 lala

Anonymous said...

i think thats its amazing that you do not have a backup plan it just shows your passion and love for music. Artist like you with real talent need to be famous! youre so down to earth! and when u make u will change and help so many ppls lives! Question? Have u made a song for your father? Keep rocking!
Love Karla from Texas!

cheryl said...

"you have so many people out here who want to see you make it..." aj, you have no idea how true this is.

I can really see & hear the passion in you when you perform & that is what I love about your music. I know you can make it.

Oh, and you're a black belt?!?! cool :] I did not know that.
<3 Cheryl

janice. said...


Always have faith in God; He has a special path set especially for you, and you're following it. Don't ever doubt yourself or doubt that what you're doing is the wrong thing. This is meant for you. God put Berklee in your path for a reason.

You are going to become what you want to become. Never settle for less. This is what you were meant for--to share your music with each of us; this is your purpose.

You are truly an inspirational person; I may not know you personally, but I look up to you. And while following you through your journey, just by reading your blogs and even blogtv, I can see that you have grown and continue to grow; and I am immensely proud of you.

Thank you for sharing your journey with me. I really appreciate it.

Keep your head up. You're always in my prayers.

-- Janice ♥

Zamir said...

u AJ.. you in my prayers homie. Keep the chin up and the eyes on the prize.

That being both here on earth and in heaven. Btw, Dave Sormilian from FCFC says wassup and sends his regards to you.

Peace and blessings,

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

T.E. Lawrence said ;All men dream but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible.

& you aj, are a dangerous man.

xo wildcat.

Anonymous said...

i've been reading all your blogs, but never had time to comment them.

so here it is! haha.

you are really an inspiration AJ.
i don't know you personally, but i love your music and blogtv broadcasts.

alls i got to say is chase that passion. i see it in you! i believe in you. YOU WILL GET FAR!


Heather said...

Loved your post! When I read the part about not having a plan b, that is okay. It shows your faith.
You are a strong individual and it shows. I know that it has to be hard right now for you, but you do have your family and friends who will lift you up and support you. In the end, it will pay off.

In Ecclesiastes 3:11 and 12 it says, "Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can."
Enjoy this time and you will see God's blessings all around you when this season of change is over. I am through with the book! LOL You do bless me with your music and words.

marilu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
marilu said...

"If you can dream it, you can do it!" such a famous quote by a brilliant person... hahaha jk.
it's true though.
if ever you need anything, i'm always here for you.
give it a chance, sometimes you have to put somethings on hold (cali) and try something new. it's only been a month, give it more time :]] you're such a strong person, and your confidence is so refreshing.

you'll make it.


Anonymous said...

aj, remember:
even though you'll have some tough times. all of this will pay off in the long run. all that you achieve from being in boston will bring smiles to everyone you love. and when you go back to cali your time there will be more precious :D

& even though i dont know you "closely" i still believe in you and you can do it (:

-francesca (blogtv:ayxfrancesca)

Rafranz said...

Aj...You are so inspirational. I had a dream a long time ago of becoming a Math teacher, and even though people tried to discourage me from doing it...I did it and I am honestly living my dream every day....because in my classroom are a room full of AJ's with big dreams.

I felt my story in yours and I will pray that you get to where you truly desire to be in the music biz.

One of my friends in JabbaFam chatzy posted the link to your blogtv. I have never heard of you b4 today....I plan to never miss you again.....if possible =)

JOAN michel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JOAN michel said...

have confidence in what you love to do. its like that with me and drawing. i dont know hat my back up plan is but i still try to strive to reach wherever it will lead me. i think i rather have a future in something i love to do, than being practical. in life, be consitent never doubt.

October 12, 2008 10:37 PM

alys_ said...

AJ, no doubt you have so much to potential to become the absolute best &everyone who has ever heard your music will know that too. We all will be here supporting you, you deserve every little piece of attention and recognition you’re getting.

Lala.. anywho one day I would be able to see you live ;D and in Australia hehe..
you'll make it. im sure you will &thousands of others believe you will too!

Loris said...

aj, you definitely have a huge group of people who are excited to see you make it big. music has consumed your life (in the best way possible) and as a result, has impacted so many people & driven more people to the beauty of music. don't fall behind; try not to trip. but if you do, be reminded that there are many people who are willing to pick you up. keep it up (: 4 chord medley, ftw!

love, loris

bascooo said...

..always been my favorite song of yours. =)
i miss you aj and i'm always here for you regardless of if we talk a lot or not. you were my locker partner..that ish doesn't die out.
but i'm glad that you're getting more comfortable over there. I know that it's far from home and the people you love, but it's a once in a lifetime opportunity and you gotta seize it. don't take your time there for're in BOSTON at BERKLEE. i remember you were hoping SO bad to get in that school and now you're there. just remember how blessed you are and what you're striving for. the people you love and who love you will always be there for you to remind you of that.

kay. done being gay now. love you.

slapbox said...

hey man, i know you probably get a billion comments, but i just wanted to say that i hope you make it.
you're not only representing the great unsigned artists, but the little guy too. thanks for that.

Anonymous said...

dengg i never made it to my black belt in tae kwon do... i lost interest at red/black. "/ but i wanted to switch to music cuz thats what i knew i would excel in. and now i'm being used by God. i'm a worship leader at school and i'm learning a lot more. like im learm=ning the bass and keyboard a little.
you inspire me aj. keep up the work. :]

RaChel said...

you said: "God i hope i make it. representing all the asian-americans too who have not broken into mainstream yet, and not only asian-americans, but all the great unsigned artists who the world has not yet heard. i will make it."

make it for the people who never had anyone supporting them in their love of music, in their love of learning music. those that were putted down by their own families, as if wanting to play drums, piano or guitar was ridiculous... as if writing songs was worthless... as if singing wasn't human. that their dream was crushed.

people like me! i know you can. i believe in you.

jourdanjustine said...

AJ, I can relate to you about your dad. My dad was also my musical inspirationd...and when I lost him, I was devastated. After that, I was determined to live my life in his name and to be his musical legacy and to achieve what he never did. (We still need to talk about this!)

Anyways...this blog was especially inspiring with all the quotes and everything, that's just great. I went home for the first time this weekend and I cried so hard because everything came crashing down and I missed everyone so dearly. Now I sit here and realize I won't see them until Christmas, which is a long time away seeing it isn't even Halloween or there's snow on the ground yet =[

With being a performer, I have the same aspirations in life - but thinking about you and all you've done to get yourself out there, you're so much further!!! You are almost there, AJ! Have faith in yourself here at Berklee - everything happens for a reason - you're here for a reason. God has a plan for you!

As you know, I wish you the best of luck - just keep writing your songs and singing your heart out =]

-jourdan <3

goldy said...

so deep,
your dad must be so proud looking down from heaven seeing you in the position that you are in right now,
well, we have your back 100% no matter what, and hopefully our support will push you all the way till you reach your dreams,
i guess it is true that to have a back up plan is a good thing, but at the same time, since the we would probably think there is "back up plan", we did not strive ourselves to reach the main.
and oh yeah,
hopefully i will get to see you this weekend. :)

<3 xD Goldy.

Lorena said...

Keep doing what you're doing. Goodluck and God Bless. It is beautiful how you can write from the heart, truly inspirational. Loving your music :)