East meets West. Listen as singer, writer and performer China Marie, a Portland Oregon native chops it up with Squirrel Rosenberg at SQR Pro Studio in Paterson NJ. The product of inter-racial parents who divorced at an early age, China was raised by her mother and influenced by her grandmother, as her dad battle with a severe cocaine habit. She recalls the honesty of her mother, who admitted her sexuality, and the effect it had on her and her brother. Her journey through elementary and middle school was plagued with bullying, being the only biracial child in a predominantly black school district. However, this all changed once puberty hit in high school- when girls envied what she had and guys appreciated it. A lack of focus on her grades led China to accumulate a 1.8 GPA and a visit to school by her mom. A stern warning and determination to step up her game resulted in a remarkable 4.1 GPA upon graduation.
"I just want to be a star," the catalyst for China's move from her safe and secure life in Portland to the unknown territory and possibilities that awaited her in Los Angeles, California. Enjoy China Marie's vivid recap of her journey to Compton (corner of Watts and Alameda) to the perfect room for rent in a stash house. It was not long before her instincts led her to Manhattan Beach, where she lived in her Mercury Sable for three weeks in a middle school parking lot. An experience she kept from her mom, as she was unwilling to return to Portland and follow the status quo. Eventually, China found a place and a steady flow of income. Listen as she shares her introduction into the music industry via a video shoot for rapper Too Short, whom she met and impressed. Contrary to the conventional route, China created her own path to get her music and talent out there. Her fly on the wall moment shooting the video for her single ‘Policy' featuring Ray Jay confirms she was on the right path. A trip to New York City came about once China realized the music scene in L.A. was more conducive to established artists. China fell in love with the city that never sleeps and was embraced by all.
Born and raised in Clermont St. Ann, Jamaica to a mother who gave him away at 2 years old, Don Reid had no immediate family members. A poor, malnourished little boy, he found himself being mothered by Miss Louise (Miss Lu), a complete stranger.
Don reflects on his past, including going to Clermont All-Age School; which was approximately 4 miles from his house. He walked it bare-footed as he had no shoes. In his small community, he was known as the little boy that was given away. However, he was extremely bright and well read. A spelling bee champion and involved in the schools' Drama Club, Don Reid did not allow his circumstances to dictate his future. Don shares of his 1st unconditional love and support system, which came from Rev. Tuller, the local pastor from his church. "I'm proud of you", words that stuck with Don as he reflects on the impact of that relationship; Rev Teller treated him like a son. High school was a complete 180 degree turn for Don. The onslaught of puberty & the assumed freedom to attend or not to attend high school had him on a path to failure. Don recalls a high school friend who embraced him unfortunately was a certified loser. Due to his influence on Don, they would ‘go to school and do everything; except go to school'. Certified the class dunce, he was still able to finish 19th out 40 students.
After a stern and sincere discussion with the principal, coupled with the threat of Miss Lu's belt, Don straightened up and became a straight-A student. Don shares his journey into the medical field via a threat, and his transition into the banking profession. The undeserved care and advice from the people God has placed so strategically throughout his life allowed Don to confidently walk through all doors that were opening.
"Throughout all these experiences, I have learned to laugh at myself", among the many jewels dropped by this ‘little boy that was given away', now known as Don Reid. Enjoy this riveting, honest and hilarious SQR Podcast production.