The week leading up to our family trip to Puerto Rico was like any other. I was sitting in my room, lounging on my bed, when I stumbled upon a movie that would change my life forever. As I hit the play button on “School of Rock,” I had no idea that it would awaken a long-dormant passion in me. The charismatic energy of Jack Black on the screen, accompanied by the raw power of rock music, set my soul alight. The desire to perform, to hear the deafening cheers of adoring fans, surged through my veins with a force I had never experienced before. I was determined to do things my way this time. My step-brother, who was always by my side, had some money saved up for our trip. I persuaded him to hold onto it so that we could invest in a miniature drum set. With him on bass, me on guitar and vocals, and my cousin Cheez on drums, we would go on to form the humble bedroom band, Cheap Products. Though our band was short-lived, it played a crucial role in shaping my musical journey. The drum kit we purchased was nothing fancy, standing knee-high with a makeshift cracker can as a snare drum. But that didn’t deter us. In our tiny practice space, we would jam out to our favorite covers, recording our performances on my mom’s old camcorder. It might not have seemed like much, but those moments instilled in me a newfound confidence as a frontman. It made me believe that one day, I would command the stage with the same fervor as my idols. My passion for music grew so intense that it became overwhelming to those around me. I vividly remember one incident following a tailbone surgery. Ignoring the pain, I would strap on my guitar, grip the microphone, and scream my lungs out at full volume. The intensity of my performance caused the stitches keeping my wound together to pop open, leaving me with a scar resembling an extended ass crack. Those moments in our makeshift band, crammed into a small bedroom, were instrumental in shaping my identity as a musician. Every strum of the guitar, every beat on the cracker can snare drum, and every note I sang helped fuel my drive to become an artist.

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