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A story of the basketball team that I had the honor to have coached for over the last several years.

 

The image seen is the back of our junior team jerseys from the last two years, where the word on top says “Gifted” because every boy or girl that comes into our program are gifted individuals and when they join they become part of our family, the Helter Skelter Family.

A New Wave of Music

De Los Santos, striking a pose during the shooting of his newest music video.

As CEO of Yung Waves Records, 25-year-old Christian De Los Santos plays a different role than most people would expect.  

Instead of simply managing the company, De Los Santos, who goes by the name ChrsDoe when he performs and releases music, is one of the main artists of the new label.  

He’s been making music since he was 17 years old, and creating the brand was the biggest step he’s taken so far in his journey to turn his passion into his career.  

“To me music means everything,” said De Los Santos. “It’s the one thing that’s universal. Everyone can connect through music. When I get to record, I get so excited because I’ve grown to enjoy the process.”  

The number of young artists who are trying to break into the music business has grown exponentially over the last 20 years.  

They post their work on platforms like Spotify, Soundcloud, and more in hopes that a producer could stumble upon their work or get enough of a following before trying to pitch their work to labels. 

Several of raps current big names such as 21 Savage, Lil Uzi Vert, and Post Malone, all began with Soundcloud before signing with big record labels and achieving great success in the form of millions of dollars and awards.  

De Los Santos has hoped to follow this same path ever since he put out his first song called “My Connect,” on Soundcloud in 2015. But his moment of revelation didn’t come from having a song of his discovered. Instead it came when he took a break from music.  

 “During that break I felt like life wasn’t the same without me creating music, so I promised myself midway through 2018 that I would continue creating even if I didn’t become famous because I wanted to be happy,he said.  

Music has always come naturally for De Los Santos.  Some of his songs stemmed from poetry that he wrote at age 13. 

Last year he released two EPs, or extended play records, that contained multiple songs, “Forever” and “Forever 2,” as well as two separate singles titled “Grind” and “Lately”.  

All are available on iTunes and Spotify and have amassed thousands of plays and downloads, De Los Santos says.  

Even when he is helping his family out with their refrigeration business and juice bar, De Los Santos always has a notepad with him to write down lyrics that pop into his head. 

“For me, song writing has become the easiest part of the process for me because I don’t force anything,” De Los Santos says. “I just write what comes to mind, so long as I eventually find a beat to go along with it, I can come up with something.” 

This was exactly what happened with his newest single, “Grind,” as he wrote out the song in less than two days before calling up fellow CEO, 23-year-old Anfernee De La Rosa, to help him create the beats. 

Afterwards he immediately booked studio time and produced the song. 

He is currently working with Jooks Films, a well-known Youtube music video producer, on the music video for “Grind,” with the release date being sometime in late March.  

Live shooting of one of the scenes from De Los Santos most recent music video for his song “2018 Reflection.”

While he might have the title of being one of the CEOs for the upstart record label, De Los Santos still must work and help out with his family’s business in order for him to afford studio time.  

“I find myself in the studio once a week nowadays, but I try to write at least one song a day, I knock out as many songs I can in one session because I have to pay by the hour. said De Los Santos. 

Little by little investing in the studio time as paid off, as his newest EP, “Forever 2” has hit over 200 purchases and his newest single “Grind” also recently hit 100 purchases on iTunes. 

He has received the royalties for the purchases so far and has used that money to book future studio dates, as well as order new sound equipment.  

De Los Santos records with PLUG Studios NYC, a local studio that works with several artists, as well as sound engineers.  

PLUG Studios most recent big-name client that they’ve worked with was “A Boogie With Da Hoodie.  

One positive that has come out of his increased productivity has been the opportunity to work with several different producers for his songs.  

That list includes several popular online producers such as Infamy, Jooks Films, and UI, whose videos have done well viewing wise. 

Jooks Films was the most recent one that De Los Santos worked with, and they helped him produce and shoot his newest video for his song “2018 Reflection.”  

De Los Santos has said that working with several producers helps give each song its own unique feeling and as someone who has listened to some of music, this proves to be true. 

In his song “Changes” the beats, soundsand tone of his voice display a serious mood, as the song is about a young man reflecting on people that have turned their backs on him but still must push through and be himself. 

Whereas another one of his songs, entitled “Tropical,” his a more upbeat song that is all about having a good time. 

These two completely different songs both featured on the same EP, “Forever 2,” which really shows off De Los Santos’ range as an artist.  

The recent meetings with new producers have stemmed because he has presented himself as the lead on his record label, which he says has strengthened his brand and has spread his name to other producers.  

Starting up Yung Waves Records with his business partner, De La Rosa, was a big risk that has paid off for De Los Santos.  

It’s not abnormal for a young artist to have belief and put themselves out there in some way. 

But to go and start a record label is not something most would think to do, especially since De Los Santos has had to look into buying new equipment in order to produce higher quality beats, sounds, etc.  

“We’ve always believed in each other and we both had that mindset of setting ourselves up to be marketed in a way that represents who we are.” said De Los Santos. 

The two longtime friends, both born in Harlem, believed that creating the brand would place themselves in better positions to get their work noticed and give them a brand of their own to represent both individuals. 

So far several of their songs have done well in terms of buys on iTunes, and they’ve received multiple messages on their page from new listeners that have complimented and bought their work.  

The feedback has kept both men busy, as De Los Santos and De La Rosa have already set up dates in March and April to record more music and music videos.  

Neither man minds the increased work schedule of course, as their ultimate goal is to turn their label from just a “idea that two friends had” into a respectable brand that other artists would consider signing with.  

The only real thing that both men have going against them is the fact they have high hopes for how far they go. 

 The two of them believe they can bring up the prestige of both their brand and their own work into the mainstream.  

With high hopes can come disappointment, and De Los Santos would know as his aforementioned break from music happened because of his frustration of not “making it big” yet. 

 This time around, Santos has learned to curb his expectations. 

“The toughest thing has been patience, knowing that although we’re not where we want to be but that we’ll get better every day is exciting,” said De Los Santos. “So far we’ve gotten so much feedback from people that have heard us for the first time which has been great.” 

De La Rosa (left), and De Los Santos (right) with one of their photographers (middle) during a break of their photoshoot for their merchandise.

De Los Santos’ consistent output of content has brought more attention to the label and himself, as he has been featured on several online websites as a young rapper that people should be looking forward to hearing over the upcoming years.  

One of the social media mentions that De Los Santos has received, praising him for his recent music video.

De Los Santos has enjoyed the new attention he has received thus far, but he expects 2019 to be the year that both himself and the brand finally make some waves into being more well known.  

“I enjoy creating something that I know I’ll enjoy and that makes me feel good, it’s a high that can’t be matched,” said De Los Santos. “I’ve been the main social presence so far and I’ll continue to make sure that with whatever I do, I’m putting on for my team.”  

Amad Tariq is a senior at Queens College who plans to graduate in May                   

“My ultimate dream is to become a podiatrist. I think that to able to help a person walk again or walk better is a reward more satisfying than anything else. It’s been a long road but hasn’t ended yet. As a first-generation college student, I’m feeling pressure like never before. It seemed to me reaching the end of my undergraduate career would have me feeling much more ‘open’ or ‘free’. However, reaching the ending, I’m more suffocated than ever, with more weight on my shoulders than ever. Sometimes I doubt myself for days. I contemplate failure, and it scares me. My final classes seem harder and harder, knowing that my finishing line is right in front of me. I’m feeling pressure like never before. With the MCAT around the corner and podiatry school applications, I’ve left one marathon and am sprinting towards another. All around me eyes are watching, I feel suffocated, but I keep my faith in a higher power and hope that my plans of becoming a podiatrist come to fruition. The hours of shadowing different podiatrists, hours spent volunteering at blood drives and soon the time I’ll spend working in hospitals, I hope it all counts towards my dream. No matter how many times I’ll be knocked down on this hard path I’ll find the strength from my family and friends because I know they’ll never abandon me.” 

 

 

A taxi cab passes by some of the recent construction projects happening on 34th Street and 10th Avenue in New York City on Feb. 3.

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