Today we’d like to introduce you to Jehlad Akin.
Jehlad, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Ever since I was a baby in the crib, I followed the beat to my own drum, literally. My mother and my father said that I was born with big hands so I would hit the kitchen table, the chairs in the living room, and my bed, literally making a pattern of sounds that would stay within in me for a while. This was because I lived in a pretty big house, with over 10 family members under one roof at one point. So, when I would whistle or start singing (my family would tell you that I would scream, which would make sense because I was a child), I would be silenced and told to stop. This stayed in my head for a while, and because I was not into sports until middle school, I did not really have an outlet, until I lived with my uncle and my aunt in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
While living with them for a couple of years, my aunt would bring me to her church choir, and I finally had a place to let my gift of singing roam free. I sang two to three times a week at Trinity Church in the heart of downtown Boston and had covered several local Boston magazines that published articles about me. When I went to St. Columbkille Catholic school in Brighton, Boston, I would literally ask the nuns who were teachers of the class if I could get up in front of everybody, and sing a song that I wrote right then and there. I was only nine years old. The first song I ever wrote was titled “Cash and Money.” I was 10. After I moved back to live with my mother while I was in sixth grade (this would be my eighth or ninth time moving, and moving to San Diego in 2018 would be move number 18), I got caught up in being bullied for that whole year. I hated going to school. Yet, I always had music to escape.
At the age of 13, my mother, my brother and I were homeless for half a year. I always knew we would not be in that same position because my mom was very resilient. We moved into a nice condominium resort in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, (I was born in Manchester, NH) and we stayed there for my entire high school career, which would be a pretty solid and set time in my life. For the first time, I was involved in everything from sports to health clubs, and most importantly, my love for music and theater. I went to Stonehill College, which would be a pretty rough patch in my life. I knew music was going to be the only thing that would set me straight so I started getting serious after I graduated in 2017. I started going to every music opportunity once I moved to San Diego, and since, everything has been going great.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My mother was a single parent taking care of my brother and me since I was four.
I am kind of glad I went through these obstacles because they taught me that life, in general, will not be as smooth as people make it seem. Life is a trip of ups and downs, it just depends on how you get back up if you fall. I lost friends and family along the way, and I realize that the more you understand and prepare yourself for this life to be more than a musical journey, the better your look on everything that surrounds you will be.
Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I am a singer-songwriter who plays soul, hip-hop, blues, r&b, and jazz music among so many other genres that I grew fond of. I am a huge believer in music being therapy for every walk of life. I got my BA degree in Psychology and Criminology with minors in Sociology and Healthcare. Currently, I attend Strayer University, where I will be graduating in 2020 with an MBA in Digital Entrepreneurship. I am currently using my education, experience, and connections to build a music therapy office in the heart of San Diego. This will be no easy feat, yet I know with patience I can do it. I am also a vocal coach. You can request my services at GreatAt.com/Jehlad or on the GreatAt app, and search “Jehlad Hickson.” I help anyone in the greater San Diego, CA area.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My biggest mentors range from my mother to my friends I met in college who graduated years ahead of me, to my counselors in high school.
- $40 per hour for vocal coaching
- Website: www.jehlad.com
- Email: email@example.com
Tom Holman, Jordan Armstrong, Colin Jones, Carson Roberts