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Life & Work with Willie (Willie Of Wilshire) Arevalo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Willie (Willie Of Wilshire) Arevalo.

Hi Willie, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I always knew I wanted to be a Rapper. I remember as a kid hearing my neighbors, who were part of the 18th Street Gang, playing Hip Hop Music out loud and my mom telling me not to listen to that type of music as that is what gangsters listened too. Of course, that made me want to listen to it more. Growing up in poverty, I first started writing poetry as a way to vent my emotions and put all my frustration somewhere. That slowly evolved into songwriting. I would write rhymes on the school bus and after a while, I had notebooks filled with rhymes all across the page scribbled into every margin. I also had a rhyming dictionary where I would write down words and every word I could think of that rhymed with it. In middle school, I would perform rap songs on the bus. Whenever certain songs would play on the radio, I would stand up on my seat and rap along to them and perform them for everyone.

When I got to High School, I started a DJ Hip Hop Club and we would host Freestyle battles during lunch. I would freestyle as well and DJ the basketball games, along with Flyer Parties on the weekends to make money with my DJ Crew called Turntable Mechanics. Moving on to college, I used some of the grant money to buy myself a laptop, a mic and an MPC and started making beats and recording myself. I printed my own CD’s and went out to hustle them on the streets to get my name out. I even had some CD’s on consignment at Amoeba Music Store. I eventually met my current producer Eddie Ruxspin who really taught me how to write songs, with 16 bars and a hook. From there, I continued to grow as an artist, started doing shows in LA and up and down California, shot music videos, and started my own clothing brand called I Awoke. I released my first Mixtape called Practice and just kept it moving from there.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has definitely not been a smooth road. I have had a lot of ups and downs. Being an independent music artist, the main struggle I had was financial. I knew that music is what I wanted to do but I also had bills to pay. And I always felt that to be great in anything, you have to devote yourself 100%. I have had to juggle different odd end jobs to pay for my bills and to have money to invest in my music, whether it be studio recording time, shooting music videos, or buying new equipment the costs are always ongoing. And a lot of times, I felt like giving up when I didn’t see anything happening with my music career and I was down to my last cents. Like should I just quit and get a good-paying job or continue to pursue my dream. It was a constant struggle internally. I had to struggle with a lot of self-doubt. Took a long time but eventually, I learned to Believe in myself and in my dream and so I am still here standing to this day making music.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a Hip Hop artist by the name of Willie Of Wilshire AKA WoW. Most of my music is inspired from personal experiences, love, breakups, financial struggles, dreams, politics, spirituality, travel, anything that captures my attention and inspires me to write. I love composing a song and listening to it at the end. Like wow, I just created that out of thin air and now it’s out in the world for everyone to hear. I love the idea of pulling music from the ether and manifesting it into our physical reality so we can hear it with our ears. Something really cool about that, I am most proud of never having given up and for always evolving my craft to be the best music artist I can be. What sets me apart from others is that there is only one of me that ever has existed and ever will. Therefore I am the only one that can tell my story through my point of view.

Before we let you go, we’ve got to ask if you have any advice for those who are just starting out?
Mindset and self-concept. That is the key. What you think, feel and believe about yourself shapes your life experiences. Sometimes we get too caught up on the how. How will I make my dream come true? It seems too impossible and I have no idea how to make it. But the how will always unveil itself as long as your mindset and self-concept stay unshakable. The road will get rough but as long as you have a strong mindset and self-concept, where you truly believe in yourself and in what you are doing then any obstacles you will face will not deter you, but in turn will make you wiser and stronger in the long run. I wish I knew this when I was starting out. Things will always happen to you but you always have the power in choosing how to act to a certain circumstance. That is very empowering and as long as you have absolute certainty of what you want your end goal to be, and you keep your eyes on the prize, you will always find a way to get there. And the cool thing is the more you believe in yourself and work hard, the luckier and more successful you will become. Opportunities will come towards you, you will meet the right people that will help you on your journey, and you will look back one day having accomplished your goal and see the divine guidance that has led you here.

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Image Credits
Photo Cred for main photo @ Gilbert Ortiz

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