What are you up to right now? What projects and new ideas are exciting you personally, academically?
Currently I am working on my music tech startup, Wavlength. At Wavlength, we legitimize independent artists one by one by allowing them to interactively tell their story and monetize their intellectual property by giving artists a platform to sell their music (digitally and physically), merchandise, and receive donations.
This has been exciting both personally and academically because I am now understanding the music industry from an in-depth perspective. I always had an understanding for how it worked, but now I am getting very technical in understanding record contracts, royalty payments, publishing, and how it is very hard for people (average music consumers and artists) to understand how the industry is very exploitative. With the rise of music tech there has been a lot of innovation, but this has brought additional problems that Wavlength aims to solve.
Have you been keeping in touch with your Bezos Scholar alumni, and if so — how?
For sure! I try my best to check out the scholar spotlight and I really connected with Chris Sabbagh when I read how he proposed using blockchain for the new age music. I had a general understanding about blockchain, but Chris sent me a paper he wrote and how blockchain can decentralize the cash flow in the music industry. In terms of my 2014 class, I stay connected with them here and there, but I will make an effort to connect more when I have time this summer. I love meeting new people so I would love to connect with additional scholars from other years as well!
Which influential books, albums, podcasts, or films would you personally recommend to the BSP community of curious minds?
I was inspired to start Wavlength last summer when I read three books; A Lawyer's Life by Jonnie Cochran, Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, and Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance.
Albums - Personally, I know that Afrobeats is going to blow up in the US. My friend runs a playlist that you can follow here: (https://linktr.ee/afrochillvibes)
Films: The Inventor: Out For Blood In Silicon Valley on HBO. Even though Theranos was a sham, it shows you that to sell an idea or vision, you have to tell a story eloquently.
Who or what are you finding inspiration in right now?
I am finding inspiration in a couple of people, but the person that stands out is Idris Sandu who got an internship with Google when he was 13 years old and he has coded for the likes of Snapchat, Uber, and Instagram (now only 22 years old, a couple months older than me). He allowed me to realize you can do whatever you want at any age if you have the capability, the skill, the discipline, and the perseverance to push through. Now, I am inspiring myself (bringing my dreams to fruition) because I know that I serve as an inspiration to the many people who are looking at me now.
Anything else you want to share with the BSP community?
Wavlength is growing, but we definitely need all the help that we can get as well. I am still in the search of a CTO and a CFO so if you are passionate about music (or know anyone) and have the skills to deliver, please reach out. If you are tied up but still want to help, we are in the process of forming focus groups if that interests you. Outside of that, I would like to connect with other entrepreneurs because hanging/talking to like-minded people keeps me sharp.