Q#1: Are you a Bay Area Native? and if not, how long have you lived in the Bay? David: Born in San Francisco. Dad was in the military so we moved every 3-4 years throughout my youth to Southern Cal, the east coast, the southwest, and overseas, but my lola’s house in the outer Mission (she is now 93 and has lived there since the year I was born) was always home-home for summers and holidays. Residing in the East Bay now for 18 years.
Q#2: When did you start on the creative path you are currently on? David: I consider my creative arts to be DJing, teaching and writing. I would say I’ve been on these paths since childhood, and these forces have constantly intersected and informed each other.
I’ve been collecting music, studying beats, memorizing lyrics, etc. since like 3rd or 4th grade even though it was all dubbed tapes. Started collecting vinyl and learning to DJ when I started college at Cal in ’93 (til infinity).
Soon after, while I was a student I began mentoring and teaching through the East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC) in Oakland. This was the foundation that ultimately led me to become a public school teacher.
At the same time I’ve been writing poems and stories since I was in middle school. Did some spoken word-type stuff in the late 90s, fell out of love with it and took a long hiatus, but in recent years have really focused on writing with incredible mentorship from some of my poet heroines and heroes. For real, they have been my greatest teachers in life. Most people don’t know this about me but of the three artforms writing is closest to my heart and my purest form of artistic expression.
Q#3: Where do you find your inspiration? David: In times when I’ve been most observant, breathing, and taking time to be fully aware I’ve found inspiration in the smallest details and sensations. That said, in my life I have been most inspired by fearless art, loved ones, and experiences while traveling. Right now it’s easy though, my biggest inspiration is my 4 month-old daughter!
Q#4: What was the first piece of vinyl you ever purchased? David: My sister and I bought my dad Thriller for Christmas the year it came out but it was really for us! Other than that all my music was on cassette tapes until I discovered Leopold’s Records my first day on campus in college and bought the Souls of Mischief “That’s When Ya Lost” 12″ on blue vinyl.
Q#5: Anything else you’d like to share? a joke/quote? David: One of my favorites to share with my students: “The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.” -Chinese Proverb