"Cheers" came into being for two reasons: a final project for a college recording class, and DIAB collaborator Xkeban Jones' confusion as to why we had no new music released in five years.
My final semester at NYU I studied digital recording technology under Professor Paul Geluso, from whom I learned a timeless axiom: "It's a miracle any of this shit works at all!" For our final project, he tasked us with recording and mixing a piece of music. I decided to step outside of my comfort zone into bold new musical territory: hip hop.
I built a simple Tupac-inspired beat then called up some of my good friends and fellow artists including the Last Ray, Savvy Jaye, and Ben Chin to record vocals and instruments. Benjamin first introduced me to his classmate, Dylan Cannon when he invited him to our recording session.
After spending countless hours trying in vain to record a microphone through a mixing console, I finally finished the song in May 2017. But after showing it in class, I put it in the closet for over a year, not trusting it merited a public release. In March 2018 I spent a weekend with Xkeban Jones at a drug activism conference in Baltimore, MD. Jones challenged me to upload new music to our relatively quiet SoundCloud: "When will it ever be perfect, Alex?" she asked me.
Throughout the spring and summer of 2018, I re-recorded the song's guitars and invited a fellow collaborator, New York hip hop artist DARE to record a verse. But the song's evolution was not complete until my good friend, and fellow train-and-bus-hopper Habit urged me to add another female vocal. And the perfect woman for the job was none other than Allyson Mariah.
The single was released in September 2013 just ahead of our live album: "Cheers to the good days!"
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