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Daily Inspiration: Meet Raj Jain

Today we’d like to introduce you to Raj Jain.

Hi Raj, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I am so grateful for everything that made me into what I am today. When I was three years old, my father bought me a blue drumset — my first musical instrument. That blue drumset was the spark that started my love for art. At a young age, I would find anything to drum on. I would make beats by slapping my chest and belly. I would bang the balls and heel of my feet on the floor, making certain drum sounds with certain parts of my feet. Although I enjoyed it, my brother downstairs didn’t take to it as much. I had taken piano lessons on the side and learned basic chord and melody theory. When I hit the fifth grade, I was introduced to the guitar by my brother. He had taught me the intro melody to “Come As You Are” by Nirvana. He attended college near our home and would be gone throughout the week, only to come back on the weekends. One weekend, I wanted to impress my brother, so I picked up the acoustic guitar, barely knowing how to hold it, and went on YouTube to learn how to play “Under The Bridge” by The Red Hot Chili Peppers — his and my favorite band. I watched a dozen YouTube tutorials on how to finger the guitar and in under five days, I learned how to play the whole song on the guitar. When my brother came back, I showed him. He decided to film it and put it up on YouTube.

A couple of months later, I signed up for the fifth-grade talent show. I played the song in front of the whole school. After the show, my father had seen how driven I was to learn the guitar, he took me to Guitar Center and bought me a Fender Stratocaster — the same guitar the guitarist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers played. I loved that guitar. I played it day and night for years to come. When middle school came around, my teacher gave me her son’s drum set that he didn’t use and that became another tool I used to learn and play around with music. I soon joined the school’s marching and jazz band. We played for the LA Clippers, LA County Fair, and jazz clubs around Los Angeles. It was in the jazz band where I learned how to experiment with music and how to connect my emotions to my playing. I learned how to put my soul into the music I play. In high school, I also got a laptop and learned how to record music. In my free time, I would pack blankets and pillows in my small closet and try different recording techniques as well as spend time on YouTube learning how to mix and master. I also joined the school’s newspaper as a photographer and learned how to express my artistic side visually. In my senior year of high school, I started to post my music online. I found out about the channel “Majestic Casual”, which changed my perspective on how music could tell a story. I will never forget: the channel had an about section explaining the word “kopfkino”, which meant mental cinema. All of the music on Majestic Causal created a kopfkino.

During my college years, I created many artist names, had a couple of tracks go viral, and honed my musical skills more and more. During these years, my brother-in-law also introduced me to an entrepreneur called Gary Vaynerchuk. He inspired me to hustle hard and keep working toward my dream of becoming a creator of different types of art. I would post frequently on SoundCloud, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and now TikTok and learned how to brand myself. I created one of my first aliases, Rajstar. I would post covers as well as my own creations. Album after album. EP after EP. Track after track. Although many barely received views/plays, some took off and went viral. In college, Gary Vaynerchuk happened to come give a talk at my school. As soon as I found out, I signed up and ran to the auditorium. I stayed for the Q&A. I had no idea what to talk about since he was mainly talking about financial terms I had no knowledge about. My heart was beating so fast. When it was my turn, I walked up to the microphone and spilled my heart. I told him about how my father had polio and my mother had survived multiple brain aneurysms and how health to me is the most important thing in life. I had told him I want to spread as much positivity as possible. He told me to record videos and post. And thats what I did. I pulled out my phone and recorded that moment. He came up and gave me a kiss on the cheek. As soon as I left the auditorium that night, the video had gone viral. I had posted 123 days of positivity videos on my Instagram.

On Day 60, he reposted my video and it had again gone viral — but this time I had 8 thousand followers in less than an hour. Many of them reaching out, thanking me for posting positivity videos. For addressing a mental health concern. For carrying on the message of working hard, positive thinking, and spreading kindness and empathy to everyone you come into contact with. That became my life message. Fast forward a couple of months and my friend who owned a label had heard my music and signed me to his label. I finally was able to have a bigger audience to share my music with. I am still on my journey onto growing into myself. I am extremely grateful for everything and everyone who has supported me throughout the way. I couldn’t have done any of this without you. You give me the energy and validation to continue to create. I will never know how my art could truly impact someone since there are so many facets to that equation. But I can only imagine. I am grateful for living in this time, era, body, and in this family with friends to support me throughout the way. I am so lucky.

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?
I don’t believe in smooth roads. I think everything in life has its challenges, no matter how easy it may seem. I believe that the more struggles you have to endure, the more resilient you will become and the more able you are to navigate the storm you are in. Don’t run away from the storm, learn how to dance in it. Struggles for me included learning how to work through my deepest external and internal obstacles. I learned how to keep pushing, even when it seemed worthless. I learned that I create art for myself and not for others — and am so grateful when others can relate. I learned to keep open ears and eyes to the world around me, to take in as much as possible, to learn as much as possible. I learned how to face my fears and admit to my shortcomings so I can grow from them. The more failures I go through, the more learning opportunities there will be for me, and the more I can grow from them to hopefully impact and inspire others.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Although I love to create music, shoot photographs and films, and create different forms of art, I have an immense passion for clinical healthcare. Currently, I am an EMT, but my roots for healthcare go way back. When I was six years old, I almost lost my mother to brain aneurysms. I had grown up with a father who contracted polio since he was a child. Health has been a central part of my life since I was young. I learned how to have an emotional side towards those who suffer as well as an intellectual side to learning more and more about the world around us and the medicines we take to prevent the diseases we suffer from. In high school, I volunteered at the LA County Hospital in a post surgery ward as well as the Emergency Department.

When I went to college, I would travel to Tijuana once a month to volunteer in a mobile wound clinic with doctors and medical students. We would set up our clinic in abandoned garages, streets, and cemeteries. We would hand out naloxone (anti-opiate medication), food, and water while cleaning wounds from drug abuse. After college, I became an EMT and worked on a 911 ambulance throughout LA County at the beginning of 2020, when the pandemic hit. I worked with patients from all different backgrounds, with all different types of emergencies. When 2021 began, I began working at a COVID testing site, testing around 300 patients per day for the COVID-19 virus. I think my work in the healthcare field really opened my eyes to how others live their lives, how fragile life is, the importance to help those around you. You truly never can fully understand what someone else is going through. But we can start that journey. We can try.

Are there any books, apps, podcasts or blogs that help you do your best?
I love reading and learning things from Wikipedia. I am interested in everything — I am a nerd about everything. Wikipedia allows me to dive in as shallow or as deep as I want to for a certain topic. I love YouTube. YouTube transforms words into visual pictures. It allows me to get a human perspective and take on a topic. I love biographies. Biographies inspire me to work harder and reassure me that the things that I think are impossible really are possible and that people around the world are in the exact same shoes as I am in. My favorite biographies are from Elon Musk, Steve-O, Michael Balzary (Flea), Anthony Kiedis, and Michelle Obama.

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