How does the chain of connections start? Well, Connections.Media picks someone we feel drawn to hold space for. Like anything, it is a feeling in your gut, something you just have to reach out and begin. Then we follow the journey from there, as one person picks the next, based on the conversation that took place on that day, in that moment. After 5 conversations a theme reveals itself, and a chain is complete.
Follow this theme of "FREEDOM"
Town of Birth: Florence, SC
“Nina Simone said that freedom is NO fear. I relate to that a lot. As much as I'd like to be a fearless person and be able to bear it all and be open, I’m not. But there’s also the fact that I CAN still get up on a stage, or TALK in front of a bunch of people or put my music and ideas out there. I don't feel the fear in that moment, and I wish I could feel like that all the time.”
Caitlin has interviewed some of my friends before and we've always been cool. I'm glad she thought of me. I feel like through school, shows and other musicians we saw how connected you can be in a place like Charleston.
“I was in this music class and I thought I was going to hate it, but I ended up loving it. We went all the way back to classical music and Beethoven and Bach, and I don't like that kind of music, but the THEORIES they came up with... and what they saw music as...
It's not that you're pulling it from anything, more than it has ALWAYS been there; you're just discovering it. That’s just something that always resonates with me through music: its freedom.”
Cody Dixon... a musician, hip hop producer, sound technician, and nonprofit founder/executive director in the lowcountry area. From a young age, Cody was secure in his goal of being a musician, and proactively immersed himself in the scene. He interned at venues, sat in on recording sessions, learned how to set up stages, and mix and run sound, and is now known around the scene by his performing name, Slim S.O.U.L.
He follows his passion for helping people through his nonprofit, Soul Power Productions. Soul Power gives underserved communities the opportunity to engage in the arts. The organization has already made huge strides in uniting the music community to pool resources and break down barriers, and also serves as a production company and educational resource with subsidized pricing. In 2017, he travelled to Dakar, Senegal, where he taught music and production and assisted the IQRA Bilingual Muslim Academy build a studio space for the kids.
Even outside of his nonprofit, Cody’s giving nature shines. He advocates for his friends’ creative projects, spreads the word about their events, cheers their accomplishments, and offers his help freely.
“I’ve always been really FORTUNATE to have what I need to succeed, from where I grew up to my family. They pushed me to get an education, and also to help others.
A lot of people touched my life through music and it really helped me. I just want to pass that on and influence as many people as I can in return - not just through my music, but also by HELPING others to find their own voice and be able to express themselves like I have.
I have the resources and I want to spread those opportunities.”
What musician has inspired you the most?
It's so hard to pick just one because I draw influence from so many places. Erykah Badu has a lot of inspirational energy.
If your childhood had a smell, what would it be?
It would be my grandparents’ house and the outdoors out in the country. I loved visiting in the summer. Some of my fondest memories were there.
An epic feast is held in your honor, what’s on the table?
Everything Carribean and Southern. Curry goat, oxtail rice, greens, mac-oh and deviled eggs.
What did you believe for way too long as a child?
That being grown was all fun and doing what you want.
What events in your life made you what you are?
Leaving home, finding a voice in music, discovering and learning how to deal with depression, going to Africa. All those events kind of forced me to look at myself and understand the person I wanted to be.
“I was free when I was in Africa, just because I wasn't around my ‘normal’ group of people. Anything I did was going to be kind of WEIRD to them, so I could just be how I am by myself and nobody would know the difference. You don't get that with people here because you're always around somebody you do know, and I feel like everybody acts a certain WAY with different groups.
I do the same thing, I acclimate to situations and the people I'm around. I talk one way with Julian and other black people, and another when I’m in a school setting. I don't necessarily put on a FRONT, but I don't let it all out. But I could do that there.”
Oleg Terentiev. Oleg has been my roommate and good friend for years as well as a fellow musician. He’s that homie you lose track of time with talking for hours on the porch. He provides such a different perspective and, even though we are similar in mindset, he always challenges me musically, creatively, and intellectually.
“I see myself in the future as somebody who is just extremely focused on bettering themselves and others, and I hope to be around people who are down for that same mission. I want to be somewhere where it's easier to be alone. I would STUDY theory, I would sit alone with a piano all day or I’d sit and listen to records and samples all day. I just want to be ENGULFED in what I love to do and I want to be around like-minded people who feel the same way and can see through all the distractions of everyday life.
We'd be helping people; we'd be doing workshops; we'd be making music; we'd be recording other people's music; we'd be bettering ourselves, and our CRAFT every day.”
Editor in Chief: Becca Finley
Article: Caralie Byrnes
Photos: Caralie Byrnes
Stay tuned for the ‘Connections’ book coming out January 22, complete with all 55 Connections, and how they fit into the Charleston community. Brand new pics + quotes.