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Check Out Cole Pham’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cole Pham.

Hi Cole, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I was born & raised in Lafayette, LA to two educators; my dad is a PE teacher, and my mom runs a pre-elementary school that my parents own together. Growing up, I loved music, friends, and school. At the beginning of middle school, I started listening to Hip-Hop. I fell in love with the poetic lyrics, thought-provoking subject matter, and infectious rhythm of the music. I wrote my own rap to recite over the intercom while running for student body president. Whether I won or not is not that important to the story; it was at that moment I realized I loved expressing myself through music. I kept writing music and even started producing music through high school. By the time I graduated, I released countless youtube videos, two mixtapes, and a self-produced album. I began my journey in Los Angeles as a wide-eyed college student attending USC.

Every other college I applied to was an engineering school. USC was the only school I applied to where I would be studying something different: the Music Industry. I showed up with nothing but my clothing, my microphone, and my dreams of being great on a world scale. I look back on my university years as a beautiful growth period. I soaked up the beautiful chaos of Los Angeles like a sponge, realizing I was always supposed to live in a large city. My surroundings were everything but monochromatic compared to the backward institutions and staunchly segregated communities of Louisiana. I fell in love with everyone I met – every street from Alameda to Ocean Ave – every taco vendor that didn’t have a license to serve food. School was cool too – I learned about the mechanisms and underlying rules of the music business. I collaborated with incredible artists but also took pride in having a diverse friend group of people who studied subjects vastly different than my own. I fell in love a couple of times and had a couple of heartbreaks. Near the end of college, I released what I feel was my first cohesive project as an artist: LA 2 LA. It encompassed all the feelings I just described in my journey from a small city in Louisiana to the legendary City of Angels. I also started working at a young music business management firm based in the Arts District called Parr3 LLC. I was really into royalties when I first started interning.

The CEO/owner of the company, Mike Merriman, gave me the autonomy to build out the royalties department from the ground up. Basically, with the help of the whole team, I’ve built out a system of processes to make sure our clients (artists, producers, songwriters, and the like) get paid for all the work they’ve gifted to the world. Speaking of artists, producers, and songwriters, I’ve continued to make music since I graduated in 2018. I have around three albums worth of content I’ve stockpiled to prepare for release, the first titled “Lovetape 2,” which I hope to release on my birthday this year (February 19). I currently am living back in Lafayette & working remotely due to Covid – it’s sad to not be in the city, but as everyone reading this probably knows, there isn’t much to do in Los Angeles right now. I also love being able to see my parents more often.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
A few struggles I’ve had came mostly from a lack of time. I love LA, but the cost of living is so expensive. Any artist knows that to have time to create your own art at the pace you’d like to while also working to pay rent is virtually impossible. I also ran into speed bumps as a naive 18-year old would naturally during their first time living in a city (excessive parking tickets, time management, and budgeting), but I see those as necessary stepping stones rather than obstacles. All in all, there were hard moments along the way, but they were few and far between.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I’m a pop/hip-hop, singer/songwriter/producer/rapper/creative director. I think music is an incredible medium for emotional intelligence, and I feel like I’m fairly strong in that domain, but also have always been a student of the game. My strong suit is building off of an idea, energy, or another person. I love collaborating, building people up, and sharing communion (food, time & space, experiences) with others. To me, that’s what music is: a shared experience – the knowledge that we aren’t alone in the human condition. With my lyrics, I hope to bring people together under that idea. I’d also label myself an entrepreneur, dreamer, and problem solver. I’ve recently been brainstorming a lot about sustainability in society. I love buying used clothing, I’ve decreased my meat intake over the past couple of years, and I cringe every time I throw something in the trash can. In my time alone during Covid, I’ve observed the everchanging world with those things in mind; how can I slow the textile industry down as one of the biggest perpetrators of pollution and slave labor? How can I entice society to move towards a more plant-based diet to move away from the practices that brought us into a pandemic? How can I convince western society to live a modest life of necessity versus one of over-consumption and selfishness? These are the questions I pine over every day.

How do you think about luck?
Luck has played a pretty big role – the luckiest aspects of my life are in the people I’m surrounded by. My incredible family who are always so supportive, my friends who always listen to me and keep it real, and all the people I’ve met who’ve allowed me the opportunities/blessings I’ve received. I place all my value in those people – without them, I am nothing.

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