*** Who Am I? ***
I'm Zenlarge, a forty-something year old rapper out of Cary North Carolina. I enjoy listening to all kinds of music, but the music that I most like to make is jazz-hop: blending hip hop vocals with jazz and funk music.
One thing that makes me unique is I'm the only rapper in the world who plays the Linnstrument. The Linnstrument is an expressive midi controller developed by the legendary Roger Linn. If you don't understand that last sentence just know that the linnstrument is a bad ass electronic instrument. :)
I use the linnstrument to make beats and to take solos. While musical instrument solos are very common in jazz music, they are almost non-existent in hip-hop music. Even in the sub-genre of jazz-hop you rarely hear solos! And when there is a solo in a rap song, 99% of the time it's not the rapper taking the solo, and 100% of the time the solo is done with an instrument other than the linnstrument! No one else is doing what I'm doing.
In addition, I'm very passionate about personal development and living the "Zen Life": being able to stay calm, cool, and collected, even while walking through a firestorm.
This passion for zen living and "peace of mind" is a common theme in my lyrics. I have a life filled with peace, harmony, and happiness. I want to help others to achieve this too.
*** My Story as a musician ***
I started playing music as early as first grade, when my mom signed me up for piano lessons. I hated those lessons, and bitched and moaned the whole time until my mom let me quit. Yet a foundation was laid that I would build upon in the coming years.
As a teenager I started playing bass guitar. I played in a handful of bands, but none of them made it out of the garage. Then in college I discovered jazz. I joined the University of Toledo Jazz Band, where for the first time in my life I learned music theory and began playing with serious and highly skilled musicians.
After graduating college, I formed a funk fusian band, bringing with me the best musicians I knew from the University Jazz Band. We had a lot of fun and made some great music as we played the bar scene in Toledo Ohio.
The band fell apart, and I moved to North Carolina. Years passed, and I got married and had a kid. At this point I was just a solo artist: a singer and accoustic guitar player. I played mainly for myself and my daughter. I had a lot of fun going into my daughter's pre-school and elementary and playing sing-alongs for her class.
Summer 2018 I bought a linnstrument. From almost the first moment I played it I was better on it than I was on guitar and bass guitar. Note that I had been playing guitar for 12 year at that time and the bass for decades! It was very easy to play and very intuitive.
I instantly fell in love with the linnstrument and have never looked back. Now I don't even touch my guitar or bass. Why would I? I'm waaaaay better on the linnstrument! Nearly anything I can do on guitar or bass I can do on the linnstrument 10 times better. Plus, there are a ton of things I can do on the linnstrument that simply are not possible on the guitar or bass.
In early 2019 I began rapping. I started off doing karaoke, but I was having so much fun I quickly realized I wanted to make my own hip-hop music. I combined my rap vocals with beats and solos I made using the linnstrument, and Zenlarge was born!
*** My Story of growth and healing ***
Through the first thirty plus years of my life I was your average guy. I lived for sports and beer, and was going through life on cruise control. There was no introspection. I was so into fantasy football that not only was I the commissioner of the league, but over a 7 year span I went to the super bowl 6 times! I was that guy. It’s embarrassing when I think of how much time I poured into something as meaningless as fantasy football.
Then the “Great Recession” hit. I watched my retirement accounts get cut in half, and for the first time in my life I started to question what was going on. It was like waking up out of a haze. Researching the crash in the economy led me to researching politics. Next thing I knew I was questioning everything, things that in the past I wouldn’t have given a second thought. The scales fell from my eyes, as I learned the mainstream narrative was a lie. Yet the biggest discovery of all came when I realized I wasn’t happy. I had all of the things that I was “supposed” to have: a job, a car, a house, wife and kid, but I wasn’t happy.
I began consuming self-help books, podcasts and videos. I changed my diet and lost 30 pounds practically overnight. I started using productivity life hacks and was able to get much more done at my day job in just a fraction of the time. I healed my marriage and became the father I always wanted to be. Last but not least, I was happy. And I had found peace.
*** My Vlog and podcast ***
I host a vlog and podcast called the "Zenlarge Show". In each episode I share tips and tricks that have helped me to live the "Zen Life".
My purpose in life is to grow and to help others grow. The Zenlarge Show is my primary vehicle for filling my life's purpose.
The vlog can be found on facebook and youtube. The podcast can be found most anywhere you find podcasts. Just search for "Zenlarge Show" and you will find me.
*** Follow me here ***
Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/c/Zenlarge
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/THEzenlarge
Twitter - https://twitter.com/THEzenlarge
Bandcamp - https://zenlarge.bandcamp.com
Podcast - http://show.zenlarge.co