Along Came Life
This might just be the most personally revealing interview we’ve ever had through sleepingbagstudios. Going about our interviews and doing the research we feel is essential and necessary has certainly yielded some very emotional and captivating interviews in our past written work and on our show SBS Live This Week – but this one stands out to me for several reasons.
First of all – this was an act I knew of – well sort of. Along Came Life, aka Tourie from America’s Got Talent finalists past “Nuttin But Stringz” was an act that completely made my jaw drop. So as far as the material goes – I was on top of that and knew it well….
Secondly, while doing the research and talking to Along Came Life through the original set up – I felt like I really understood why he felt it necessary to break his silence and tell his story now.
The main and final reason? Read these answers from Tourie. Absolutely incredible and insightful yes – but I didn’t anticipate that we would share so much in terms of our view on this matrix-style world we have built upon planet Earth. While many of us can dwell in the negative aspect of this valley-of-malls society we have – the advantage of truly seeing the matrix is that knowing it is there allows you to also see right through it. Along Came Life is a perfect example of an act that can see right through to that next level; the one beyond the matrix.
I had an amazing time talking to ACL and I can assure you the conversation won’t stop here at this interview. Read it to the end and you’ll see what I mean! But for now, we’ll start at the true beginning – I’m leaving the original correspondence I had sent to Tourie along with this interview to help you see through the matrix a little bit more and understand that what we DO and what we LOVE about music, and HOW MUCH we love it at SBS are 100% authentic and real. Have a look!
I just want to say thank you once more for doing this with us. After watching everything that I have and hearing from you – man – I’m right where you’re at myself (Though I’ve yet to experience the standard definition of success – but that’s far different from my own!) – this is make or break time my friend. Let’s do this.
You’ve been silent for a year. You’ve had the beats and curveballs of life thrown your way and it’s YOUR time to stand up and say enough is enough and continue to lead that life you know you were meant to live. I know and can tell you first hand from other people that have watched – it’s not only me you were inspiring through those performances – you have captivated many with your talent. Be silent no more my friend – it’s time to set the record straight.
Thank you again, it really means the world to not only be talking to you – but to be talking to you at this particular point in your life. You have had a positive impact on my journey in life and I’ll never be able to say thank you enough for what you’ve already done for me personally and my attitude towards the violin in music well before this interview ever took place.
Jer @ SBS
Interview with Along Came Life
SBS: I guess we should start at the end of your first chapter in professional entertainment. The end of your former act – Nuttin But Stringz (3rd place finalist on America’s Got Talent) and the separation from your brother left you being silent for a year you’ve mentioned…what was it about the situation and circumstances that led you to that silent time? What was it that left you without words?
Along Came Life: I was silent because I was getting my life together.
I couldn’t believe the situation I was in; you only see these types of situations in movies and on TV. My own brother crossed me in every way possible and I had to get away from it – so I did. The only way to get away and heal my self from him/it was to get away and figure out WHO I was because I was lost in that situation. I was confused with nowhere to turn. I was raised and brought up that family was everything – loyalty to your family was everything. So when my brother crossed me by stealing from me, turning my own mother against me, sabotaging my marriage, conspiring with a Billie Jean type to keep a child away from me. I didn’t know if the child was or is mine yet. I was fighting a drinking addiction, which he used to his advantage as the alcohol had me blinded, giving him the ability to make up stories so that people would pre-judge me.
SBS: From everything I’ve ever read or seen about you – you’ve got that like, gleam in your eye – a relentless positive outlook on life and a refusal to give up it seems – or at the very least certainly at this time that I’m meeting you in now. But I can understand the hurt that would be involved with the dissolving of a family and business relationship. The way I see it – a soul has two ways it can go here. It can be forever tainted and soured by the event or it can adapt, learn to accept and move on. I would also bet there are touch and go moments where it probably felt like it could go either way. Though this distance exists between you now my friend – is there anything that can be done to correct what went wrong between you and rebuild that trust or is that door truly closed forever?
Along Came Life: On this long road of recovery I was taught by a wonderful women to let it go and forgive ‘Mama Dove’ – so that is what I did. I adapted. The stealing, the mind fucking my entire family, conspiring with Billie Jean because he (my then brother) was jealous of my relationship with my wife – ll of this I can forgive, but is the door truly closed forever on the relationship. I have to say that because when he involved children (that are the closest beings to God) that was taking treachery to another level. I can never speak to him on the phone or look him in the face again, he involved innocent children. Enough said.
SBS: Tell us why you chose now to break the silence on all of this Tourie. You could have kept on with your silence on these issues but you have clearly chosen to set the record straight and move forward with it all, including your new music in Along Came Life. What gave you that strength and how did it come to you?
Along Came Life: My wife and my son gave me the strength to overcome this. My wife for being the strongest women that I know and handling the situation like this, and my son – not knowing he gave me life. I feel liberated. I feel free. After kicking the drinking I felt like I could do anything. Nobody could tell me anything. After I saw his face when his biological mother walked out on him I couldn’t touch a bottle again. I have been sober for 7 months and I feel good. If I can do that, then I felt it is time to clean out the closet and get ready for new life. I can’t carry this baggage anymore. This is why I have decided to speak up about these events that took place in my life.
SBS: Has the situation with your brother impacted your overall definition of “family?” Define what family meant to you then before the split. Have you come to know it to mean something else now?
Along Came Life: Family, to me…was everything. The way I saw family, it was greater than money or gold anything, until I was “fucked” by my own family. Then because you are biologically attached to one another you think there is love attached to that – I learned the hard way that it’s not. If family can fuck a stranger over then they can fuck me over. Life is about who people are… you are either good or bad. Biological doesn’t mean anything you will find your true family, your soul will find its true mate. I feel that I found that in my wife, my son’s soul came to me. It made me stronger, it made me a better person where I can teach my family about family. I have learned now so I can keep him safe and teach him, so he himself will never have to go through that. He will see and learn from it without experiencing it first hand because his Pops has been through it and survived it and is a better man for it.
SBS: I promise we’ll start talking about your music soon here – there’s just so much I’ve read and seen and want to talk about with you….just don’t know if one interview could ever cover it all!
You’ve got a little man of your own now that we can actually see on your You Tube Channel! Awesome! And you’re one proud looking dad if we can say so! What’s the best thing you’ve learned about your son’s growing personality and what have you learned about yourself since becoming a father?
Along Came Life: I have learned about immortality; everybody wants to live forever not knowing that procreating is immortality. Seeing my personality my face in him at such a young age…it just takes me back. Once we get older we lose our inner child; we are never suppose to lose sight of this for this is what keeps us happy keeps us young. With him I am able to let everything go and not worry about being the man around town – now I have this little being to live for…to have fun with. His personality is so vibrant – he is already a musician in his own right.
I have learned selflessness.
You cannot have children and have an ounce of selfishness in you – if you do then you are not a good parent. They come first.
SBS: What’s your little man gonna be when he grows up? Any predictions? Would you want him to follow a similar path as the one you had been on growing up?
Along Came Life: I think every father wants their son to follow a similar path; it’s funny that some fathers don’t know that your son is you. So if you enjoy playing basketball, your son is going to enjoy playing basketball. He is however going to want to do other things as well until he finds something that he likes. My son’s tiny hands are so intricate in picking up any piece of fluff or grass that he sees – so maybe a surgeon. It is funny that I didn’t have my father in my life, who is a musician, and I myself ended up being a musician.
SBS: Tell us about the pressure to be great at what you do. It takes a tremendous amount of self-discipline to be able to keep your skills as sharp as they are on the violin or even posting all the time like you do now with your unscripted work as Along Came Life. I mean – it can’t come easily right? Even now?
Along Came Life: There is no pressure to be great. I feel that when you put labels on things you mess up your thought process and when you mess up your thoughts; you mess up your heart and when you mess up your heart, you mess up everything. I just create to create when I hear a track or something that I like I just go into my bathroom fire up Garage-band and perform whatever is inside of me. I just feel it I know that it is Divine. Music is creating and I just create. I have to create to feel like I did something in the world today, isn’t that what life really is about…creation? So yeah it comes easily. As for the violin – no school, teacher or person can tell me how it should be…I just create. The pioneers of classical music who used violins…they just created and everyone else follows.
SBS: I want to talk about the name choice directly. As I’ve mentioned to you before – I could see a negative person seeing this name in a much different light than a positive person…suppose that’s standard…but here’s an example:
Along Came Life and it crushed my nutz. (In the negative)
Along Came Life. (In the positive)
I think in a negative light it would always point to an event or a moment of defeat. In the positive light I think it’s completely wide open. Along Came Life. I suppose it’s all about interpretation and perception just like anything else but It certainly does invite the question – “and then what?”
Along Came Life: Along Came Life – I always say “I did it twice” referring to my return from flat lining at age 8 – my business card slogan is: “Let’s live it right.”
SBS: Undoubtedly your continual postings on your YouTube channel reflect an insatiable need to connect to people – I can’t imagine it’s born out of vanity; you just don’t seem like that kind of person! Why the need to reach out as much and as often as you do? What do you gain from that interaction on a personal level?
Along Came Life: You only live once and I have been so reserved throughout my career. I would never have thought in a million years that I would be talking to you without my brother but shit happens… so it just made me realize that we only have one life to live so I am going to live it … the righteous way.
Posting is an artistic expression – a gateway to express myself to the world. What I perceive might be different from what another may perceive so why put mental bars around my thoughts and expression?
In the words of a great author Paulo Coehlo: “Don’t wait until you get older to become eccentric.” Just live life, it’s not about connecting it’s just about doing; if I want to make a video I just make it and put it up. I have my family now so if twitter or facebook followers don’t like it that’s on them – this is my swag. I feel that we were all put on this earth to leave our mark some of us leave love bites and some of us leave scars…
SBS: Tell us about the new direction of your music. No bullshit Tourie – you know that I’m a rabid fan of your violin work, and your unbelievable talents have been confirmed by Emmy Awards and US Presidential performances…I know you haven’t completely put down the violin – but you’re focusing on your voice now. Do you feel your musical gift translates just as well through your voice as it did through the violin?
Along Came Life: Absolutely that is why I have posted untitled pieces that I have sung and the download feedback is amazing one of my songs posted this month already has 31K downloads with no promotion. Music is endless – I can do whatever I want to do. I could pick up a harp and play it; this is what I mean about mental blocks or bars around your mind…music is infinity. I could make music with a plastic bottle. The music comes from within, there is no such thing as a bad note to me. Reality is an illusion. It’s all on how you make it. My reality – I am the Music God.
SBS: What are the positives from your experience in Nuttin But Stringz that you’re taking with you into this next phase of your career? Despite a sour ending – there had to have been a ton of great experiences through that time that could still help guide you towards your current goals right?
Along Came Life: I traveled around the world and became cultured knowing that there was more than just America. As an inner city kid sometimes you don’t even see America. With NBS I was able to travel to places like Japan, Dubai, Sri Lanka, Uruguay and experience G4 private jet, drinking Perrier Jouet in my PJ’s… at age 20. I never thought anything of it because in my mind I belonged on the Lears… These experiences influenced my music, my understanding of different cultures and this is reflected in my music. Bitter sweet (finally over) (free) I started as boy and left the group a man. I was dying in the group there was so much money coming in but our relationship had internal problems that my brother had no interest in fixing.
SBS: Alright – here’s two things you might not know about ME, Tourie. First – I live in BC Canada (A province that has taken home the Cannabis Cup on more than one occasion) and Secondly – I notice everything! Always watching! So I’m seeing what I think are two things here – one I see for certain, is that you sir are a fellow toker. Awesome! Like I said, I live in BC…
Secondly I see that there’s a couple of medicinal mary jane bottles (I think?) in the background of a couple of your videos – so…we got a prescription did we? NICE. Tell us your opinion on the US laws regarding marijuana – cause from an outsider’s perspective homie – they’re ridiculous! I can’t imagine living in a place where the state itself can say it’s okay but on a federal level you can still be arrested! C’mon brother – let me know your thoughts on that cause I think that’s nuts.
Along Came Life: No stranger to Canada my wife is a Canadian from BC. Two years ago I took a trip to Amsterdam, my wife gave me a hall pass and I wanted to experience everything. I thought as drinking is legal it was the only way. I do not use prescription drugs under any circumstances. I was living in Atlanta GA a state that gives min 1 year and up to 10 years for cannabis use. I was in a car accident two years ago and my doctor tried to get me on prescription drugs. Not me not I. You have people like Whitney Houston, God rest her soul, that had been on crack for years and was taken out by prescription drugs… That’s a red flag to me. I can’t be the only one that sees something wrong with that. I moved to California and am a licensed medicinal user. Pain free is how I want to be.
SBS: You’ve also mentioned God in the correspondence between us. I’ve always been very interested in people that are able to get past the traditional view of the church surrounding drugs in general – but I also know that sometimes that’s not easy to do, or easy to explain to some people of a religious mindset. Is there a relationship that exists between drugs, men/women & God? If there isn’t – what makes them stay separate from each other?
Along Came Life: God made cannabis it came from the earth like the great Bob Marley, Jah – rest his soul, he promoted love and peace his logo was a cannabis leaf. It doesn’t matter what your religion is you can take all of that in and be mind shagged or you can believe in doing good and being righteous. Your reality is your reality, which is merely an illusion.
SBS: I’ve talked a ton about “That Moment” on my show SBS Live This Week. “That Moment” where time just stops and it becomes YOUR TIME. Go time. Nut-up or shut-up as they say. On America’s Got Talent – which I also have mentioned being my main source of “That Moment” – you got to go through this very thing I describe. Now – you were in the first season I believe – and the show became more and more successful due to the great start put forth by acts just like yours…but “That Moment” remains the same for all I think. I’m pretty sure you at least had an idea of what being on this show could do for your careers.
So I want to know ALL about “That Moment” my friend. Tell me about the moments before you played those performances on America’s Got Talent. I know that’s super-old news for you, but as a fan – I just need to know!
Along Came Life: Good question as I take a toke from my truth pipe… It’s funny when you are at a certain age like this – it was make or break – NBS was losing its buzz. I was back on the trains trying to pay my bills we had done Jay Leno, Ellen and our last resort was AGT. They had reached out two years before and I was like no I am not going on the Gong Show. The second year they reached out again and now they were less of a novelty – we still didn’t do it. The 3rd time they reached out we were like ok lets do it. We put a lot of preparation into AGT – we knew we were going to hit. We revamped our website and took our career into our own hands. I had one main goal and that was to win AGT. I knew I was the best act and I knew what I had written was original and good. When I lost that’s when I realized “that moment” exists and politics are real.
SBS: Here’s the one thing that I’ve read that worried me – and I believe in honesty through this music thing we do & you’re here to set all records straight – so let’s talk about this in the open. People know my struggle with my relationship with money & art. I have an unbearably hard time putting a price tag on anything we do – it can get me to a point where I can barely breathe I can get so worked up about it…
Now – the dissolving of the relationship between you and your brother was largely due to the stealing and licensing of your music that you had made together, and presumably some if not a substantial amount of money had been made. This is one of those moments where I have to hope for the best in an answer – but I think I’m safe here once again and talking to the right type of personality – so set the record straight my friend – you’re not only in this for the money right? Clearly with all the free postings and social interaction you’re providing you’re getting something out of all of this much more valuable that dollars correct?
Along Came Life: Of course – like I said earlier creating is what means the most to me. It’s not about the money because when shit gets real what can dollars do for you, you can’t eat dollars, you can’t wear dollars (this is not a challenge for Lady Gaga). I am a creator and I feel so powerful; it’s worth everything to me. I have so many songs up and my wife is telling me to save some to sell. But I have to create as much as I can; I see where Tupac, God rest his soul, was coming from when he basically lived in the studio. I started a trend of young violinists coming up behind me not scared to break the boundaries of the instrument by not confining themselves to classical or jazz music. I feel very proud to have all these Katz come up. I made the Violin cool and hopefully I continue to innovate and inspire not only the youth but the Bastets in us all…
SBS: Back to the music! You’ve worked with pretty much every genre under the musical sun. What makes a beat or a song stand out to you and make you want to add, cover or work with?
Along Came Life: I have no idea to be honest. It is scary when I go into my bathroom/studio, it’s not about the beat or song – when I want to create I check billboard see what’s popular and then I grab the instrumental. I never listen to the record so that their melodies don’t interfere with my creations. The rush I get before the beat comes on is exhilarating; something takes over me. I allow this Godly presence to take over me and become the music. So it is not really about a particular song or artist for me it is all about the melodies and I just let them flow from me. As the Music God I have infinite melodies.
SBS: Actually – I really SHOULD be asking you – you must know of a few other people that were rocking the violin, or met a few along the way? Classical I’ve been there done and covered – I’m looking for the modern use of the instrument and the innovation that you yourself bring to the instrument. Are there any others out there that you can point to making incredible sounds come out of the violin? We’re really digging a local act from BC named KyTami – fully recommend checking her music out! Your turn!
Along Came Life: Noel Pointer (God rest his soul) and Jean-Luc Ponty. I did a lot of work with Noel Pointer’s wife with her music programs. Noel made the violin sing; he was so soulful like the Barry White of the violin. Jean Luc would take it there just because he just plays what comes from his soul. Whatever he felt that day would come out on his songs. I listened to them both when I was playing on the trains before I started Nuttin But Stringz, they truly inspired me.
SBS: You had also mentioned to me that having a positive impact on others is something you always wonder about – in response to me telling you that you had a positive impact on my own life personally. We’ve heard the “if a tree falls in the forest” thing a million times but let’s give it a twist here…
If there was no validation, no way to share this with others – would you still exist? Again – your need to connect to others seems driven – as much as you might have the strength to do it even only for yourself, would you want to or would it ever be enough?
Along Came Life: I was born under the sign of Bastet, therefore festivity runs through my veins. Before the social networks, I was playing on the trains; we didn’t have the social platform we have today. If no one was there to hear I would still continue to create. I do want to have a positive impact on society but perception is reality, which again is an illusion – so in this matrix it’s everyone for themselves. I can’t make music impact their lives but if it does I always hope it has a positive impact.
SBS: You’re on a mountaintop (Ok, we know, you’re not really…) – stress reliever extraordinaire – you can shout anything you want to the valley’s below – what would be the one thing you would yell out as you’re letting go of the past and moving forward?
Along Came Life: I’M FREE BITCH!
SBS: Tell us about self-doubt. You’ve experienced success – do you put pressure upon yourself to achieve that level of recognition and popularity again? Do you ever worry that you’ve had your “moment” already and that the most has been made of it? You seem more optimistic than that – and again in a much stronger place now than you have been in at least a year…so tell us – do you doubt yourself or your abilities ever? How do you manage to get past it if you do?
Along Came Life: I had it all and I have it all again because I say so. I make my own reality there is a reason why I am talking to you now – I wanted to speak to someone who understands music, but you also understand me and I asked for that. I believe therefore I am. No belief = stress. Who wants to have stress? Not me. Things are definitely different, as now that I am free, I understand myself.
SBS: Going forward – what would you say the overall message of Along Came Life is or is going to be? I think I see a pattern here – I also think I see a lot of leadership in your internet posts. You and I share one very valuable insight into today’s world my friend Tourie – we both know the people want something REAL. No more fakers and haters…whatever those are anyway…but we want REAL people talking about REAL things with REAL and genuine passion right? You roll unscripted – your posts show you’re not afraid for people to see you in any light. What are you saying to the world by being this open as a person? What do you want to come back to you as a response?
Along Came Life: It’s OK to be yourself. At the end of the day when all else fails all you have is yourself. The person that you are running from…yourself…you are going to have to meet that person one day. I’d like to quote a man from my neighborhood that lived that life… “I hate a liar more than I hate a thief, a thief is only after my salary a liar is after my reality.” 50 cent
SBS: There’s one last thing I’d like to ask you my friend in Along Came Life – but I’m gonna let you have the traditional “open floor” or “open mic” here at SBS. I’m far from perfect – and there are so many things I’d like to ask you that I’ve no doubt forgotten one or a hundred things! So here you are my friend – the floor is yours to address or promote anything we missed or anything else you’d like to say to your loved ones or fans…
Along Came Life: Help me out with the movement. I started a record label called Pyramid Gang Records which is for real people making real music. Subscribe to http://www.youtube.com/user/FLIGHTCREWGLOBAL. Like my www.facebook.com/alongcamelife page. You can purchase my EP at your own price on http://alongcamelife.bandcamp.com/ I’m trying to raise money to release my full length LP ‘Cosmic Matter.’ All my Nuttin But Stringz fans out there you can continue to follow me https://twitter.com/ALONGCAMELIFE1 – I have not put the violin down and continue to make music… To ∆ll my fans and to people who just love just because – thank you and enjoy life – GOD BLESS. And last but certainly not least THANK YOU JER for your continual support. You asked great questions and are a natural when it comes to interviewing – rock on brother, rock on!!!
SBS: Alright. Final question. Kind of a request really. I’ve mentioned & you’ve read it – I’m a huge fan. I am literally as I write this still in a kind of disbelief that my own path has led me to talk to such fantastic creative minds along the way – and now YOU, a musician I have personally followed and have mad respect for… I mentioned that the details of your life in our initial talk were nothing short of astounding, and after checking into them found all pieces of the puzzle to fit with none leftover, no lingering questions… Still – and I’m hoping you can appreciate this from a fan’s perspective like mine who’s head is kinda spinning, trying to grasp this as being truly the real event that it assuredly IS…
I guess what I’m asking is – Along Came Life – will you commit to doing one of the video interviews with sleepingbagstudios? I’d love to be able to continue this conversation on screen – and that’s a large part of your medium these days – I know you’d create something incredible to watch on screen. But besides all that – it’ll make this whole thing realer than real for me. Please consider! Standing offer – open to you anytime.
Tourie my friend – thank you once again for your time and your answers, for finding us and for bearing with my excitement. We are here to help and assist you in any way we can – we believe in you, your abilities and know the vast potential of what you’re capable of. Hopefully we can do the video interview and talk to you again sooner rather than later, but for now we simply wish you ALL the best. You will get there my friend – be silent no more.
Along Came Life: Absolutely, let me know what you want and I will work on the video response once I have received your response J. The pleasure is all mine. Thank you Jer for being you!