Monday, March 30, 2009

crazy long weekend/adventures in FL & NY

so thursday morning my band and i were off to florida. we took northwest airlines and it was hella early in the morning. 6am was our flight, so we had to be there by 5. noah, andrew, and i were at andrew's and shiori (shorty) met us there. the plane ride there was not too bad, we stopped in memphis, and once we got in florida, it was raining cats and dogs. first thing shorty said was, "the weather sucks". we were like damn. we got to the hotel cuz ian and nikki (asian american student union board members) picked us up. again, shorty had the first words when we got to the hotel room. seeing two queen-size beds, she quickly said "so hows this gonna work?" we briefly explained that we (as guys) talked about the bed placement and of course decided she was gonna have her own bed, so thats how it was. jr aquino arrived around the same time so we all went together from the airport to the hotel where we all stayed.

the show was later canceled and rescheduled till friday, the next day, which turned out to be the better choice because we hadn't had gotten a drumset yet. later this night, thursday, we all attended an open mic night called "black on black poetry". it was a mostly african-american based poetry night, but me, noah, and jr had enough guts to get up on stage and sing some tunes. instead of clapping, they gave out shakers and it was the most supportive audience ever. noah played for the first time in front of people, and me and andrew played "little piece of home", while jr aquino sang "oh mama" by justin nozuka. when we got home, me noah andrew and jr played bananagrams, while shorty was deep asleep after a long-ass day. me and jr took the floor, and noah and andrew had the bed for the night.

friday was awesome, we rented drums, and shorty chose the best set available (pearl exports) and it was 100 dollars to rent.. for the whole month! so our new friend Vu rented it for his apartment. the show was after a cooking workshop, and it included an awesome poet/spoken word artist by the name of Asia. he was on def jam poetry hosted by mos def on TV and has had many appearances everywhere. he was really inspiring. after him, my band and i played our first show. and it was freakin dope! everyone loved it, and of course i was feelin it. i could play with this band forever. the vibe is just there. after what, FOUR rehearsals altogether?! mannn i couldnt believe how powerful the connection felt that night.

me and jr played the 4 chord tribute at comedy zone later that night, and jr departed from us after that night so he could get some rest. shouts to jon cardona real fast! so jr played a show the net day at FSU while the band and i were OFF to NEW YORK in the AM!

this day was nuts. long story short- got on the plane to atlanta, a mechanic didn't come through till an hour later, so we had to get off the plane. this meant we missed our connecting flight to NY, so we had to reschedule. it changed airports on us, so our baggage wasn't at the new airport even tho it was supposed to be "re-checked". we waited an hour to see if it would come on the next flight from atlanta, but the baggage office guy (he was filipino) told us it was at JFK airport not Laguardia where we were at. we took a taxi to JFK ($35). got dropped off in the wrong place. had to walk up a long ass hill to the right terminal to get our baggage. took another taxi to the venue ($55) and didn't get to sound check because we arrived right at 6PM. which was when the meet&greet started for the show.


the fans and the show made up for all that though. i didn't expect to see more than 10 people who knew who i was, but there we were overwhelmed by the love and support. i felt like i was at home. the show was unbelievable. all this talent. check out Stone Forest Ensemble & Magnetic North & Jay Legaspi by the way!!! shorty was feeling sick so she went back to boston on the Chinatown bus right after we played. me andrew and noah were sad, but we made the most of our time in new york, with angel and kris, and ryan bandong & crew. met a lot of new friends and fans, and now im just glad to be back in Boston.

"I Just Want You" - AJ Rafael Band

ps watch in High Quality (HQ) and listen to that MEAN hi-hat that shiori's playin. DAYUMM.

love yall so much. so tired now. gnite.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


it's too late.

sorry i haven't been on this blogspot. after my birthday things got crazy a little bit. celebrated it 3 times. twice here in Boston, and once in California. Larry & Jesse from My American Heart came to my house so everyone felt "cool" and we made the most of the night on saturday. they stayed over and we all chilled on Sunday. the start of spring break was awesome. MUSIC.

it was so nice being home, almost too nice. no cold-ax wind, no below freezing weather, no walking around the whole dang town, and no school. i wanted to stay forever. andrew rhim (my guitarist) came down on wednesday, and we played a show at Diamond Bar HS which went better than i expected. we played a show the next day at my old middle school Vista Heights. Friday was the big show in San Diego at "It's Yogurt Time" and everyone loved andrew which was dope becuz i've never really had another guitarist play with me at a show, besides Steven Cole whom some of you probably remember.

me, dusty, and rb spent a lot of time in Chino (dustynaka and rbizzzle on twitter) during spring break. it was awesome. i chilled with a lot of old friends back home, but not everyone, which was kinda sad because i had a whole week opposed to just the weekend and i still didn't have time for everyone. next time for sure.

tomorrow i'm practicing with my band one last time before the shows this weekend. thursday at Florida State University @ the Union Green at 6PM and friday at Comedian Zone at FSU as well. JR Aquino is also performing. saturday is a show in NEW YORK at the American Red Cross Headquarters in New York on 49th St. show starts at 6 and Magnetic North is playing. can't wait.

this weekend is gonna be awesome with my band. we've named ourselves (after weeks and weeks of hard pondering) the AJ Rafael Band. short and sweet. we did have a couple of names in line. AJ Rafael and the: Loveless, Hi-Tops, Infinite Playlist, Nine Lives, just to name a few. glad we came to this decision tho. more profiles on them later. they are the dopest people.

school's getting better, but Boston's not. i realized how much of my heart i left in Cali this time around. Boston got nothin on the west coast. no offense.

to see videos from last weeks shows search "aj rafael yogurt time" "aj rafael diamond bar" on YOUTUBE.COM and you will find them.

love you all and sorry for the lag.

my newest video. don't forget to follow me on ya'll should all get one!!! aj rafael's twitter profile


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

the big 2-0

sorry guys its been so long. a week and a day. its my birthday tomorrow. well in about 2 hours it will be. i am watching Hercules right now for the 5th time cuz i just got it on my computer. "go the distance" is one of my favorite songs. so i've been really busy lately, rehearsing with my band, getting ready for midterms, and this weekend i played scrabble till the middle of the morning with angel, kris collins, andrew rhim, and ryan bandong (visited from new york). im gonna have dinner with a couple of friends tomorrow and friday to celebrate my birthday =] tomorrow theres a concert in the Berklee Performance Center and my drummer, Shiori, is gonna play in it so im gonna watch that. also... PAUL SIMON will be at Berklee teaching a clinic tomorrow!!! i'm going!!!!! =]

if ya'll are wondering how my schooling is doing, its going well. i didnt really choose hard classes this semester, mostly labs. so our assignment every week is pretty much just to learn a song. i have 11 classes. hahaha.

4-6: adv. Vocal Techniques (with an awesome teacher; Donna McElroy)
10-12: Great American Songbook Lab
2-4: Stage Performance with Livingston Taylor (James Taylor's brother!) 
9-11: Hip Hop Production & Writing
2-3: Vocal Skills for the Self-Accompanying Singer
3:30-4: Private Lesson
4-6: Flo-ology
6-8: Contemporary Christian Ensemble
2-4: Lyric Writing
4-5: Vocal Styles Lab-Jazz/Blues

it is midterm week this week, and so far all my classes are worth going to.  as you see i'm not taking Harmony and Ear Training (which is required to graduate) but for now im just trying to make the most of what i can while im here at Berklee. im trying to learn as much as possible, so with Harmony and Ear Training, i'm just pretty much reading the books and hoping to take those finals and get credit for the classes if i choose to continue here at Berklee.

turning 20 means i am no longer a teenager. which means i must start thinking about where my life is headed. as of right now-- i am going to be a professional musician. and i am going to spread my music to as many people possible. and i'm going to make it. i know i say that every time, but i mustn't give up, right?

love you all, and i just recently hit 5MILLION plays on myspace, thats just ridiculous. thanks to all of YOU.

please view my interview on YOUTRAX.TV, a nice guy by the name of michael boyce interviewed me for his show and did some awesome editing. thanks for checking it out if you have already!

upcoming shows: March 20th, in Chula Vista-San Diego at a yogurt place called "It's Yogurt Time". 6PM.

March 26th & 27th at Florida State University (more details TBA)

March 28th in New York at American Red Cross in Greater New York.

find all the addresses on my myspace! at

thanks for everything. heres my favorite song by the man himself, Gabe Bondoc. "Gentlemen Don't"

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

raise the roof!

so i'm on the plane right now and have no internet (obviously-- even though some flights have wi-fi now) therefore im going to copy and paste this blog.

so my trip back home this weekend was awesome once again. i flew in on friday and justin and dez (committee for the event Raise the Roof II) picked me up in an SUV with 2 guys by the name of Jeremy (aka passion) and Gabe Bondoc. haha. i was excited to have another show with them, and i was mostly looking forward to meeting the L to their GLP, Leejay . we got to the college (CalState Long Beach) and went into the green room, put our stuff down only to pick it back up when Justin announced we had dressing rooms. the dressing room that we had was pretty big and had mirrors and lights and a pretty big space to just chill. we chilled for a little, then we went to a mall close by to eat, and met up with Scott Yoshimoto there.

all my friends came through and we got them in with VIP passes, and we all chilled backstage till the show started. it was pretty crazy before the show, lots of kids running around since they were part of dance crews and things, and people interviewing people and it was pretty much chaos. right before the show started i was practicing on jeremy's keyboard and decided i wanted to do a Disney Medley for the show for fun. leejay helped me pick some songs and i created a quick medley to perform as the opener for my set.

i went on and i played the 'prologue' to Beauty and the Beast' and had Leejay come on stage to be that mysterious voice in the beginning of the movie, "Once upon a time, there was a beast.." etc etc. i also dedicated "Showstopper" to my friend Ramiele Malubay who i recognized as someone who has successfully represented us Filipino-Americans on national TV =] i played MidKnight during my set explaining the campaign i was starting to get it on the third Batman movie. i got an overwhelming positive response to that song, with guys from the fraternity that was hosting the event backstage telling me they respected my songwriting. i was humbled.

you can search for my set on youtube! just search raise the roof aj rafael etc keywords like that. GLP was up and i sat in the audience with a few of my friends. gabe leejay and passion did their own songs, and then a medley of old school 90's and some new stuff too. it was pretty dope and inspiring as always.

after the show was super crazy, almost as crazy as Feel The Beat last weekend. we were a little late coming down and i heard half the crowd had left, but it was chaos nonetheless. me gabe and passion were behind the counter that my boys set up for all of us to sell and sign cd's and shirts, or whatever else they were handing us to sign. i sold out of all my regular t-shirts-- i didn't expect that to happen. im glad you guys like the shirts, even if ya'll didn't end up getting the size you wanted. i can't thank you enough for the support and the love. you don't know how much it means to me. if God told me that this was the end of my career for some odd reason, i would be totally happy with what i have achieved presently. i can't really ask for more, inspiring people to keep music in their lives is enough to back up my meaning of "success", although i would love to share my music with as many people possible through however i can reach them-- TV, radio, iTunes, music videos, record deal... =]

it's currently 11:19 PM EST on this place and my heart and mind is still in California, as it always is. it's been hard living in 2 cities at once. i have only written 2 songs out in Boston, and have written 3 back home ever since i moved out here. i need inspiration. lately my weekends back home have been girl drama, shows, friends, lack of sleep, playing ps3, monster energy shooters, and playing at church. i need to start getting back into the songwriting mindset.

sorry for this long blog, just felt like passing the time on this 4 hour and 45 minute plane ride. i'm watching HSM3, AGAIN, (vanessa is just ridiculously attractive), and am gaining ideas for duets that i would like to start writing. i'll be collaborating with other musicians a lot more, and i can't wait for you all to hear what comes out of it.

my band, AJ Rafael and the ... (yet to be named) is currently practicing for 3 shows we have in a couple of weeks. march 26th and 27th at Florida State University and the 28th in New York at Martin Luther King HS. we are doing great, and everybody is just really excited to be in the band. it's really awesome to have musician friends who are on the same page as you musically, and are just looking to play and have a good time.