I remember the day I picked up my purple Squire Fender Strat, feeling the weight of it in my hands, the smooth lacquered finish shimmering under the dim bedroom light. It was a piece of art to me, an extension of my being. I would cradle it gently as I played Bush’s “Glycerine,” my fingers dancing over the fretboard, forming chords that were as familiar to me as breathing. In those moments, I was a rock star, a god of my own creation. My makeshift recording studio was a far cry from the professional setups I would later become acquainted with. The cheap wire-based microphone, a constant reminder of my humble beginnings, was plugged directly into the front of my old Pentium 2 tower. That computer had seen better days, but it had served me well, a vessel for my musical dreams. I had already spent time performing amateur covers of Incubus, Audioslave, and Disturbed with Path To Orion, an incredible experience that left me craving more. I loved the freedom and camaraderie we shared, the energy that pulsed through us as we played. But back in my cramped bedroom, with its peeling wallpaper and mismatched furniture, I couldn’t fully unleash the power of my electric guitar. The 5-inch tube amp that sat in the corner, collecting dust, seemed like a cruel joke. I needed something more, something that could fill the void. That’s when I discovered the acoustic guitar. It was a slow transition at first, my fingers fumbling over the unfamiliar strings. I spent hours upon hours playing covers, my voice cracking as I sang along, desperately trying to find my own sound. Many of those early recordings have been lost to the sands of time, but “Bushwick High,” a collection of songs I recorded between 2000 and 2002, remains a testament to my journey as a musician and a songwriter. By that point, my computer builds were equipped with primitive audio editing software. Cool Edit Pro, a Windows classic, was my go-to for laying down ideas. It was far from ideal; any audiophile could easily identify the glaring issues with my setup. But in those moments, hunched over my keyboard, mouse clicking furiously as I spliced tracks together, I was blind to the flaws. I was chasing the “pop,” the addictive high of creating something that would resonate with others.