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Conversations with Trippy George

Today we’d like to introduce you to Trippy George.

Hi Trippy, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for sharing your story with us – to start, maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers.
I think that it’s safe to say that 2020 was a rough year for every single one of us. I was grieving the loss of 2 of my grandparents, who had passed away in November and December 2019. The loss of my grandparents and its effect on my family was a lot to deal with and were the source of a lot of depression for me. Nobody wants to see 2 of their loved ones in an open casket a month apart from each other. COVID-19 became a major issue in March 2020, causing workplaces and schools to shut down. I was a senior in high school and very excited to graduate. Unfortunately, graduation was canceled, we never had prom, and I felt my class had missed out on what was considered normal for most people. At the same time, our state government shut down the insides of all restaurants, and I lost my job waiting tables.

I was left trapped in my mind with nothing to do. Around June, my parents helped me buy a computer as a graduation gift, and I used the money I had saved from working to buy myself a fully paid car. I bought Logic Pro X and started producing beats with preset loops. I had no idea what I was doing, but it was fun, and I wanted to learn more. I stopped using loops and quickly realized that producing required skill. In the meantime, I collaborated with Alex Olmstead Music (aka Justify). We would record Tik Toks and talk about how we would “make it big” one day. We wanted to fully control how we spend our time daily and create relatable stories through our art. Alex and I slowly drifted, and we went in our separate directions. I was inspired by his acoustic guitar and started teaching myself how to play acoustic guitar whenever I had time. I spent a long time playing guitar every day. I knew that I had to suck at it to get good at it. It was highly discouraging knowing that I sucked at it. I channeled those negative thoughts into action and just kept going with it. Every time I picked up my guitar, I learned something new. In 10 months, I recorded over 20 hours of myself playing guitar. I did this to track my progress and keep me motivated, but I was always left unfulfilled. I felt like a complete loser. On the other side, I discovered ZAYOF2MRW and THEAGEOF2MRW Collective, based out of Frederick, Maryland. Although I needed to be more confident in my guitar skills, I wanted to contribute to the overall vision in any way possible. In April 2021, I showed up at one of Zay’s house shows with a Green Teletubbies costume. I came out near the show’s end fully suited up and starting moshing as a Teletubbie. After securing a job, I worked 40-hour weeks and invested the rest of my free time into music and self-education. I often worked 6 am-2 pm and hung out at shows until midnight. I was grinding for my dream and didn’t care to make money with it at all. I was happy to leave my job as a gas station cashier and feel like a rockstar for the night.

Around September 2021, I got sick with tonsillitis and couldn’t work. The corporation I worked for was ready to fire me, and I was scared of losing my job. They didn’t believe I was sick and weren’t accepting the doctor’s note as proof that I was sick. I contacted their corporate office multiple times, and nobody could help me get back to work. They had placed me on sick leave and told me that I couldn’t work until I provided proof that I was sick, and they would not accept the doctor’s note as proof. I was trying to get back to work, and then I sprained my ankle and couldn’t walk for 3-4 days. The same week I was also diagnosed with COVID-19. I stayed in my room all day because I was sick with COVID and couldn’t physically walk due to my sprained ankle. I took 15 credits of online college courses and was plunged into prescription stimulant withdrawal for 2 weeks when my doctor “forgot” to send my new script to the pharmacy. I didn’t do any college homework during this period of physiological drug withdrawal. I was so used to being wired on medication all day, and my body could not function without it. I slept for multiple days and was probably awake for about 5 hours in 3 days. Everything in my life was falling apart, and I felt powerless. After realizing it had been two weeks and my script was not waiting at the pharmacy, I called my doc, and he sent it in immediately. Since I had detoxed for 2 weeks, my tolerance was gone, and my normal dose of meds sent me into a psychotic breakdown. I had no idea what was happening and started hallucinating. My parents noticed me acting weird and brought me to the emergency room. I was then transferred to the psych unit and forced to stay there for an entire week.

You know you screwed up when you wind up in the psych ward. Everything you do is monitored and written down by medical professionals. You’re forced to take pills; if you don’t, you can be held down on the floor as the doctors inject long-acting sedatives into your buttcheeks. I wasn’t comfortable there and was freaking out most of the time. They had taken me off my old prescription and put me on different drugs. I hated how the new meds made me feel, but I was required to take them. I was constantly doped up off the sedatives they gave me and couldn’t work because of how much this medication impaired me. If I didn’t take the meds, I would hallucinate. After a week of hell, I was back home and had to rebuild my life from scratch. I had to drop out of college, and there was no way I would be able to work anytime soon. Zay and I started a band, and I went to live practices every week as part of my mental health recovery. When summer rolled around, I started working for an outdoor adventure company and did a lot of whitewater rafting and kayaking. It’s been a year since my hospitalization, and I have mostly recovered. However, it has taken me quite a bit to be comfortable enough to discuss this tragedy openly. I want my story to let people know they can go for what they want. I have chosen to be open because I know mental health is highly stigmatized, and I want people to see that they are not alone. I am grateful to be unmedicated and have my sanity back. Soon I hope I can share my art with the world.

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 road has been very bumpy. Coping with the loss of my grandparents, being depressed, feeling misunderstood, and losing my sanity for months has impacted me in many negative ways. The positive thing about it is that making mistakes leads to a huge potential for growth and understanding oneself. I had to re-evaluate who I was as a person entirely. My mental illness had destroyed me, but the music community was always there for me because I put in the work and was passionate about what I did. Medical expenses, inflation, and periods when I could not work a traditional job have destroyed my finances. I was really on a roll with what I was doing, and it felt like all of that had been taken from me; I managed to get back into college, and I’m currently re-taking all the courses I was previously enrolled in. Once my degree, I will have animation and graphic design skills and coding knowledge to build websites from scratch. The hardest part is knowing that ADHD negatively affects my ability to learn and process information and that I have to figure out how to be successful financially without using medication. Besides my hospitalization, stimulants helped me do what I needed to do to live a happy life. It isn’t easy to achieve the same results without that tool in my toolbox, but I am up for the challenge. In addition to all of my misfortune, it has been difficult watching my friends and coworkers deal with the deaths of loved ones. It feels like we all know someone who passed away during the pandemic.

Please tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others.
Zay was pleased to hear I had a Teletubbie costume and offered to be a hypeman for his shows. My original appearance as the green Teletubbies is most likely one of the most interesting historical events in history. The biggest thing that sets me apart from others is my spontaneity. I can speak producer dialect, I can play guitar, and I’m good at recording and mixing vocals for other people. I enjoy messing around with photo editing and videos. I have the vision to connect people. No matter how bad things get, I have the drive to get back up and running.

What changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
In the music industry, we will see many independent musicians rejecting offers from major record labels, favoring their independence instead. If you play your cards right, you could build a fully functional home studio in your bedroom for less than $1,000. Knowledge has become highly accessible to anyone with a reliable internet connection, and it only takes time and discipline to figure it out for yourself. Distribution services make it extremely easy to bypass a record deal, and you can literally produce and publish an entire musical work of art independently from the comfort of your house. CD sales are at an all-time low but making them allows you to hand them out or sell them at live shows and create value for people. You can also design your website and sell t-shirts for extra cash and brand recognition. Many creatives will realize they can do so much by themselves these days, and knowing that makes a record deal look like a joke.

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