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by Khari Mateen

BRAVING is a term that embodies my philosophy on life, which is why I chose it as the title of my album.

I created this record to reflect the peaks and valleys that accompany the day to day. It’s not just the highs, but the lows of disappointment and defeat that let me know I’m alive. No matter how uncomfortable turmoil can make me feel, it’s only with this turbulence that I seek to shift the tide of my emotions and rethink my perspective.

Although difficult, more and more, I find myself inviting challenges into my life, as I continue to take risks and refuse to let life pass me by. It is not easy for me, and I can only assume it’s just as hard for you – to go beyond what’s comfortable, confront your demons, break away from situations not serving you, and live your truth.

It’s always been hard for me to stand still and pretend I’m satisfied with the status quo. I consistently want to do more, push my limits, and explore the potential of the life I’ve been given. More music, traveling, exercise, activism, connecting -- whatever it may be, the desire is there. In between making these ambitions a reality lies a maze of uncertainty. As we navigate that maze alongside others clutching their own pursuits, we dissect the artifacts of the dreamers before us – learning from those with broken dreams and inspired by those who brought the world to their feet.

While standing in a crowd of strangers, I was inspired by the thought that everyone’s life is full of complexities – layers upon layers of experiences, feelings, decisions, and outcomes that determine one’s outlook. I needed this music to address my thoughts on this life journey. Marrying sound, word, and imagery to construct a lighthouse for others was my ultimate goal. A reminder that there’s beauty in the unknown, in the darkness, and in BRAVING it all.