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Check Out Michael Yi’s (Doctor Yizzle) Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael Yi (Doctor Yizzle).

Hi Doctor Yizzle, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Since I was born, I’ve always gravitated towards creative activities that require the concept of creating something from nothing. That drive always stimulated my mind and made me excited to go to school everyday. My elementary school in Inglewood pushed creativity among students. I would say that this period of time in my life was the time that shaped me the most as an artist. The teachers and friends that surrounded me were people who were always expressive in their belief towards me, giving me the utmost confidence in myself as an artist. Thus, I joined the school band playing the trombone as well as the school rock band playing drums. My first performance was at The House of Blues at Sunset competing in Battle of the Bands. I also performed in a musical filled with The Beatles songs where I played a big part in. Growing up in a household where artists such as The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Bee Gees, Michael Jackson, Elton John, and Classic Korean Music were heavily played in rotation and making me feel ethereal pleasure, the love for music seemed to always be in my blood. The way I strayed away from that type of music and led me to find new branches of music is through my older brother who was heavily invested into Rock.

That led me to find artists such as Nirvana, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Strokes, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, and other various artists in that genre. My brother had an iPod in which he stored a significant amount of music in. I would always try to sneak in trying to listen to music by stealing his iPod whenever I can and that is when I felt the most happy in my life. Then there was this one moment in my life around the age of 10 when I stumbled upon the track “Rock Bottom” by Eminem on my Brother’s iTunes library. That was the defining moment in my life when I truly fell in love with music for the first time. I had goosebumps and was exhilarated because I felt what Eminem was feeling recording that song without even understanding the lyrics. Therefore, every time that I do create, I use that formula every single time. To have the listeners experience what I am feeling, even if you don’t understand my lyrics or can’t sympathize or empathize with it. Then, I dove deeper into music by learning different instruments such as piano, guitar, etc. It was rare for me to practice any sort of music because growing up in a one bedroom apartment, I did not have any time alone or it was considered to be very disruptive to the neighbors. I was this angry kid who had this pent-up, suppressed rage inside of him waiting for it to be released.

Thus, I wrote poems/lyrics silently in journals whenever I had the chance, whether it’d be in class or on the bus or in the bathroom. But, most importantly, I wanted to be heard and feel as if I have a voice in this world because I’ve been silenced due to not only my physical appearance but also how I grew up. If truth be told, my musical story begins from when I broke my arm back in High School. The first dream I pursued strong on was to be in the NBA. I made the basketball team at the high school I attended in The Valley. However, I faced two injuries that prevented me from achieving this dream. I was in a time of disparity between my academics and my basketball dream. My parents were not in full support of my dreams and inevitably, I grew up in an environment where Academics was being held on a high pedestal promoted by my ethnic culture. However, I was always the type of kid that had the mindset to go tunnel vision and ignore any distractions to pursue a dream because Hip-hop and the Basketball culture taught me that. Although I was always looked at with doubt when speaking upon my dreams, it did not alter or defer me from the goal I wanted to accomplish. What I believe the three words that define my journey are “Against All Odds”. After breaking my arm, it shattered my NBA dream and my life turned completely upside down. From that, I went heavily into academics sacrificing my mental health where I had to wake up everyday to do something I dreaded doing.

Nevertheless, I’ve always inhabited the mindset to try my best in whatever I do in which I embraced through my mom’s teachings. Where was music in all this, you may ask. Music was a burning passion within me that I have let shine light to. I knew that I loved it intensely however at the time, I have yet to truly tap into it. months and months went by and I never thought about my end goal. Till I finally put myself first, then naturally music is what I started to pursue. I always wrote since the 6th grade, but senior year of high school is when I started to strive for music prominence in a serious manner. Multiple performances go by where I faced many bumps in the road and was also faced with many different opportunities. I have experienced choking on stage, getting offers from sketchy labels, losing a tremendous amount of work, to getting an interview from a prominent LA magazine to being recognized by labels to performing with complete joy to accumulating a loyal, devoted fanbase. With my mental health declining, the only thing that kept me sane and gave me feelings of euphoria was music. I altered my mind to tell myself to just push through school and soon you will be out. I knew that this is the only thing I want to do with my life and nothing else therefore, I kept myself in school and graduated with a business degree for the sake of my parents (I do not advise this, haha). I balanced school with music and I was constantly conflicted about the struggle of stabilizing my mental health.

As I previously stated before, I am the type of artist that puts his genuine energy into his music and if I don’t I feel as if I accomplished that, it betrays my values. The thoughts of self-doubt every time that I dropped my songs would be recurring and would scream at me saying, “This isn’t your best work. Don’t put this out unless it’s 100% of you.”. This was me thinking that school was interfering with the quality of my music. However, the amount of support and love I received from when I released these songs overcame the doubt in my head. Which is why I say that my fans are literally my everything and they always make me feel like I am the greatest artist in the world. So now I am here. On my way to the top of the music industry and representing Asian people promoting the message that they can do the same thing. I have recorded in bathtubs to a middle of a party to cars to closets making it possible no matter what. If you want something, you will make it happen no matter the circumstance. Thus, my message “real will always prosper”. The message that real will always prevail is something that I want to encompass my legacy. Therefore, I have no doubt my music will reach people globally.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The hardest struggle that has come with my journey is the fact that I am an Asian American who is pursuing a career in a heavily African-American culture. However, as I stated previously I wanted to be in the NBA which is also dominated by people who do not look like me. I view that first dream as a testament to myself in order to translate that into the rap game. Against all odds and being underestimated drove me. I believe that is one of my main sources of motivation and why I do this. I grew up angry and mad at the world due to this and at first, which is what enabled me to pursue these two dreams so headstrong. I was tired of feeling helpless and weak but now I do this to prove it only to myself and my mom. I accept the fact that I may have more downs than ups throughout my journey. But as bad as the downs may be, it will always reciprocate and give me the highest of highs. The important thing to keep consistent in my mind is to never stop. I cannot emphasize enough about how the “moments” of self-doubt really ate at me. No matter who you are or how talented you are, naturally, you will have self-doubt. Along with that, my parents did not believe in this dream which gave me serious thoughts of doubt because in the end, I do care what they think. I have also lost multiple friends over this but most importantly, my mental health has deteriorated. I would lie to you if I said I never wanted to quit. I had moments throughout my life where I faced rejection and immense feelings of self-doubt however I believe my mental fortitude deflected those moments.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am a Hip-Hop Artist, Producer, Engineer, and Writer that goes by the name of Doctor Yizzle. My love lies with Rap and I believe that is what I specialize in. Rap will always be my foundation and roots no matter how much my music strays away from it. I studied the game and it raised me where it will always be the initial reason I am pursuing this dream at all. That part of me will never die and nor do I plan for it to dissipate. I am the most proud and take the most pride in being able to rely on no one else but myself. I spent countless nights on learning how to produce, engineer, and write my own music without needing anyone’s help. Still, music is and should be a collaborative effort among people and I understand that is when you can truly reach your full potential. I am a very hands-on person when it comes to my art. I have the desire to contribute to every aspect that relates to my art from directing, editing, camera angles, instruments, etc. Once I meet more collaborators and of my peers, I get to learn more about the respective areas that I am curious about. I always wanted to do many things with my life such as creating my own clothing company but it will all start with music. What sets me apart from others is the mere fact that I rely heavily on my energy. The rawness of my energy cannot be emulated by anyone because it’s purely me. Also, I believe no one can make the type of songs that I make as I have different structures, rhyme patterns, tonality, etc. In addition, the genuine care I have towards the culture and my community is something I am most proud of as well as what sets me apart from the rest.

What would you say have been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
I believe that the most important lesson that I’ve learned along my journey is believing in yourself and wanting to evolve as a human being. This may sound cliche but believing in yourself is an essential element of “happiness”. Energy is contagious and will rub off on people subconsciously, inevitably. Therefore, you need to be your own biggest fan and with that energy emitting off of you, other people will feel the same as you do (definitely not as strongly, but around the same spectrum especially if it’s “real”). Being a true leader is helping to convert your energy and your beliefs onto people, almost feeding them your energy, who are within your community and help them with it. Furthermore, with my passion for music, I’ve discovered so much more about who I am as a person. My desire to evolve/grow as a person is parallel to my desire to make better music. Thus, this is why I believe my yearn to become better musically will be everlasting.

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Image Credits:

Tim Shin Joyce Rogero

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