Zavier Thompson / Albuquerque

My name is Zavier Thompson, I’m 15 years old. I go to Highland High school. I grew up in Albuquerque. What else is there to say? I mean I record music. My first EP, my first project is called the Woke EP that just dropped August 27th and is available now on iTunes and other electronic outlets. I’m very interested in music. I play drums and piano. I write poetry and dance and act. I do a lot [laughing]. I advocate for the community, I love my community and I love the people here. Especially love my school Highland High School. And Yeah I’m just ready to make my dreams a reality. Just do a lot.

This is a very hard question to answer because I feel music’s always been, I don’t really remember a time where music wasn’t a part of my life, at that a huge part of my life. I play the drums, it’s my first instrument. And I’ve been playing for as long as I can remember. I started reading music when I was 5 and remember getting my first drum set around 1 or 2 and you know I’ve been playing ever since. I picked up on the piano about a year or two ago. You know, it’s always been a huge part of my life. As far as hip-hop it’s a huge part of my culture and where I’m from… Hip hop has a huge influence on me as far as my actions and my decisions. Really, it’s always be a part of my life and it’s  a really hard questions to answer because it’s very very important to me as far as anything music related and hip hop related. I love music and I feel if I didn’t have I wouldn’t have anything almost. It’s like the root. The basis of everything I do. Because how everything sounds and how people talk and different connotations. It’s all language you know what I mean, music is a language. And it unites everyone, it’s a universal language. You know I can go anywhere in the country, anywhere in the world and music can unite us in so many way and its beautiful and it’s been like that for thousands of thousands upon thousands of years. I can’t really describe it any other way. It’s just a beautiful way of expression. Through poetry and motion and rhythm and rap and the coming up of rap music. It’s always been a huge huge huge huge factor in my music and how I make my music and how I roll and pretty much the decision in my life.

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My community is very strong. I always say that I can’t do any of this by myself. And I feel strongly about that. And I think that’s very true that I can’t make these videos, and I can’t record this music. There’s always somebody behind the scenes, there’s always somebody behind the camera. And I like to put the spotlight on them. Cuz they’re very very important to me. My community is very very important to me. The smallest things count, especially in this time. When there’s a lot of hate and there’s a lot of dehumanization, it’s important that our communities come together and bring one another up. And so you know that’s why, when I made the music video “15YOA” I featured Highland High school and I got some of my best friend and some of the students on campus to be a part of it. And I think that’s very very awesome and very very important for us to be able to come together like that and show that our school is one unit and we’re moving together and that you know we’re here to stay. And you know my community is very very strong and I love everyone and every part of it. It’s very important to me as far as, you know, how I make my music and how I act and the way that I walk and talk is all you know, through my community. And I try to spread that through my community also. Yeah, it’s very awesome. It’s just so cool that my school came through and really came through and showed support and love. And that’s why I love my community so much is because we support one another very very much. And like I said my community is very strong.

People try to put labels on a lot of things. And not even just as far as where I live or where I stay. Districts and stuff like that man. Everything’s so factored and categorized and you know like put into these different factions I feel like labels and titles don’t define a people or define a place. And I’ve always felt like that doesn’t make any sense to me. Like if you call it a “War Zone” because people do what? Because it’s a high crime rate? And you know, it’s just very sad that people label things so abruptly and they label things so fast. They’re quick to put, they’re quick to judge. And even if there’s a lot going on, especially in this part of Albuquerque, in this part of New Mexico, in the International District or like you said they call it the “War Zone” and even if there’s a lot going on, we’re getting better. It’s slowly but gradually improving. Just like how Highland High School is slowly improving. Because you know, everybody always comes from a dark place. We don’t always shine in the brightest places. Just the fact that we’re making progress as fast as we are and the fact that even through all of this turmoil and all of this crime and all of this hatred in this part of the city, how we stay strong, and I feel like probably one of the strongest parts of my city, and I respect every person in here and I love every person like they are my family, and the fact that we can stay strong through all of this turmoil is the best part. And it shows that we don’t deserve the name “War Zone”. And even if we did add the name “War Zone”, I don’t think that it’s a bad thing. Or we should treat it as a bad thing. I think we should treat it as part of our history. We should treat it as something, you know, we came out of, rather than something we have to deal with. It’s something we’re gonna get through. And I think we’re gonna get through it together.

African American definitely. Yeah I mean I love all cultures and I respect everyone. Especially being in New Mexico where I’m so exposed to all of these different cultures. It’s very diverse. Especially Highland High School. Highland High School is the most diverse school in New Mexico right now I believe. We have, we speak tons tons, hundreds of languages just here in this school. And then imagine that multiplied and spread out, disseminated, across the entire city, it’s very diverse. And I’m glad that I’m immersed into it and like I’ve gotten used to it over the years and you know now I can hang out a Native American, an Indigenous person, a Hispanic person. And actually I’m blessed because I know the difference between a Spanish and a Hispanic person and a Latin person. So it’s like it opens your eyes a lot more, you know. It shows me history, a lot of history and it makes me go deep, it forces me to go deeper into culture. And you know the stories behind our history. And really get in tuned with everybody’s history and not, you know, like I said earlier categorizing everyone. And putting everybody in these certain factions, even though you know everybody is different, everybody’s special in their own way. And you shouldn’t try and put them in, you know, these different orders and classes, social classes, and race classes, that’s the wrong thing to do. So I’m glad that I grew up in a place as diverse as Albuquerque. And I’m glad I’m in a school as diverse as highland because it really opens my eyes and I feel like it should open everyone’s eyes and I feel like what I have experience as far as culture goes deep, and I feel like everybody should be exposed to that. But my culture is very African-American. I come from Africa and I really study that a lot. And I’m in tuned with all my history from Africa to the diaspora through slavery, you know the Atlantic slave trade, through slavery, the emancipation, through the civil rights movement, to police brutality, to today that we have so much history behind and you know it’d be disrespectful almost to forget all of it. So I’m very deep rooted as far as culture, not just mine but other people’s culture.

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Yeah this is the project that I’ve ever recorded, and this is like the first rap project I’ve ever recorded. It’s called the “Woke EP”. It dropped August 27th. I originally met my producer Colin Diles two years ago at an event that we had done and I got a chance to meet back up with him back in January or February of this year. And I recorded something at Warehouse 508, shout out to Warehouse 508 where after that we kind of just hit it off. We started catching up. We went to his own personal studio, we started recording music, and then it just gradually became a project. We picked the top 8 songs that we decided to put out. And it became the Woke EP. And where I got “woke” from, there’s a song on there called “Woke”. And the term “woke” that I use it in, it’s really just like advocating and standing up for things you believe and being passionate…Because I feel like especially in this generation and people my age or a little older or a little bit younger, teenagers…lost passion in a lot of stuff. I don’t want to say that they’re lazy but you know they…they tend to not find something that they can really get into, you know what I mean? I feel like we need to find something that we really enjoy and look deep in ourselves and find something that we love and I’m glad that I found music cuz that’s my thing. You know music’s always been my thing. I got that at a young age, now I really excel at it, but I feel like a lot of people, it takes them a lot to find their passion, their purpose, so being woke is just, you know, taking a look at what’s around you. Taking a look at your culture and your history and finding your passion and finding your purpose. You know really really attacking that and taking that and never losing that. Your dreams, your aspirations, never lose those. That’s what being woke is, standing up for things in your community whether you love music or sports or writing or academics, or you know anything you enjoy. Anything you’re passionate about. T.V., movies, editing, computer graphics, anything, you know there’s so many different things and so many different fields in 2016. Technology is a huge aspect of this year and like this generation. So it’s very easy to find something. All you have to do is look deep into yourself and find something you enjoy, something you love, and stick to that, and be woke about it, you know what I mean. Be passionate about it. Being woke is being passionate. Being woke is standing up. Being woke is being vocal. Being woke is gospel. Being woke is, you know, loving what you do and doing what you love. and that’s what I am, I’m woke, because I do what I love and I love what I do. I make music. And I connect with so many people that way. So being woke is just being woke. I’m woked up. I’m lit. You know what I mean. I’m hyped. I’m going off. I’m woke. I’m standing up for things in my community.

Like I said earlier, I like to put everybody in the spot light so excuse me if I’m leaving people out but… you know starting from the beginning, of course my parents, my mother my father. You know they’re like two different people, so you know I’m glad I have both of them in my life and I’m glad I get both ides of my childhood, you know what I mean. Cuz I know a lot of my friends, they don’t get that same thing. Everybody grows up in a different household, everybody grows up with a different family. So I’m glad I got the chance to be with my family because I feel like my family is very important to me. And they’re awesome, they’re great people. So just starting off, yeah my family, my mother, my father, my sisters, my brother. And you know my friends, the people I grew up with… people at my school, people I grew up with, and now I feel like I’m leaving people out. Shout out to everybody at Highland, everybody that attends Highland. My teachers. The principle. Everybody. All the staff, all the faculty that have helped me out and aided me. The senate teacher…the activity director…..and even before Highland, even before high school. I’ve had a lot of different mentors. Like my instructors, my music instructors, you know up until this point, have aided me and guided me to do more with music, and to listen to jazz, and to listen to rock, and to listen to country, and to listen to other things other than hip-hop. Because before then I was imbedded in hip-hop and felt like that was the only genre music in the world. until I got mentors that got me into, you know, listening to Jazz, listening to Art Blakey, listening to Jon Coltraine, Maynard Ferguson, Chick Corea. You know the greats like Count Basey, Duke Elington, Fast Waller, you know the great people in Jazz that have done great things for music. Louie Armstrong, Miles Davis, and then you know even further than that. Listening to Beethoven, and Johan Sebastian Bach, Phillipp Emanuel Bach, and all these great people that have done so many things for classical music and mind blowing things that have been relevant for hundreds of years. You know what I mean, that’s what I want to do with my music. But yeah my mentors, there’s so many of them. I feel like, my mentors are just my family, like I call them my family. You know Hakim Bellamy, he’s one of the past Poet Laureates of New Mexico, of Albuquerque. He’s one of my mentor’s also. He got me into writing a couple of years ago. And he’s one of the huge reasons that I write poetry now. Collin Diles he’s my producer, he’s a huge mentor of mine, and Fray Wall is my manager. There’s so many people who have helped me out over the years, I can’t name all of them.  I mean we would be here for hours, days maybe. Yeah and I shine a light on everyone, shout outs out to everyone, and you know who you are. And you know show love to everyone because they’re the reason I’m here. And like I said earlier, I can’t do it without them. I appreciate them very much.

5 Years from now I want to travel. I want to have a Grammy [laughing]. I know how cliché that sounds but it’s very realistic to me. Music is a huge part of my life, so the same aspirations I had when I was 7 are the same aspirations that I have now. I of course, I plan to still be in the music world and have a name in the music world  and impact so many people like I am right now. And I hope I can inspire a lot more people internationally. Right now locally I’m making a huge buzz and I hope to keep progressing, keep putting out music, keep recording music. I put out the “Woke EP” August 27th but I already have music in the works for the next project that I want to put out. So look out for that and look out for new music that’s gonna be comin at you guys. My Soundcloud account is zbeats808 so is my Instagram and Facebook. So follow me and we’ll be putting out mad stuff. It’s not gonna stop, the grind doesn’t stop. Shout out to Fray Wall and everybody on the team that’s going to be doing great things. We’re going to be working really hard and we’re going to be putting out crazy stuff. I’m like so excited just thinking about it man. There’s nowhere else to go but up, you now. We’re just gonna keep hammering everything, progressing like we have, putting out some music and inspiring so many people, I’m gonna keep writing  of course, I’m never gonna stop writing music and poetry and words. We’re just gonna keep goin forward and moving forward cuz that’s the thing to do. Be on the lookout for more things coming at you guys fast, quick, and in a hurry. “Woke EP” Zavier Thomson Z Awesome.

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