May is creative beginnings month so I recently caught up with aspiring musician B. Able to break down his creative process.
I defined my creative process and became growingly interested in what the creative process looks like for other people. Singer, rapper, and saxophone player B. Able was more than willing to share his creative process.
B. Able was diagnosed with autism at two years old. His parents were informed he would never be independent or go to college. However, B. has defied expectations by getting his masters in accounting. Now he lives independently and works for a large accounting firm. Despite these accomplishments, B. has bigger dreams of becoming a musician.
B. has always been entranced by music. His parents would play the Muppets version of "Kokomo" to calm him down as a child. Around six years old, he began to listen to hip-hop and rap. Influenced by people like Bow Wow, Will Smith, and Nas, he liked "the flow of the words, the rhythm, and the melodies." Later he became drawn to the passion behind R&B music. Singing along with Usher, Jagged Edge, and B2K helped develop his voice. When learning how to play the saxophone at 14, he listened to artists like John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and Miles Davis, which allowed him to experiment with his craft and learn how to improvise.
B. first became interested in pursuing music as a career in 2018 after entering a talent competition. Seeing others work toward their dreams and receiving praise for his talent inspired B. to create original music and share his story.
B.'s creativity starts with his stage name.
"I wanted a name that incorporates a piece of my identity and what I stand for." B. is his first initial, and Able aims to exemplify his life story and brand. "Even though I'm disabled, I'm able to do anything my mind sets it to."
B. describes his creative process as therapeutic and emotional.
"Whenever I'm feeling a strong emotion or a major idea comes to mind, I try to get it in on paper." Once written, he puts his words to a beat and rephrases his writing to fit rhythmically. Sometimes the exact opposite happens. A beat inspires him so much he can't help but write lyrics to match. He lyrically describes his challenges regardless of how painful they are because it helps his mental health.
Despite being able to focus on his craft and constant brainstorming, like everyone else, B. occasionally experiences creative blocks. He combats these by distracting himself with video games and anime. If it's too prolonged of a block, B. finds solace in speaking with his cousins, Samad Savage and Anwaar, his friends Tynelle, Ethan Ross, Tinkaa G, and the people at Sloppy Vinyl record label. They motivate him and remind him never to give up.
Spreading a message of inclusivity, especially in a way that inspires and motivates people with a disability, is extremely important to B. "I write music for encouragement, understanding, and for the [listener] to practice self-love, self-care, and perseverance." B. wants to remind his listeners they shouldn't let anyone else define who they are or what they can do.
It's easy to think that an autism diagnosis is B.'s biggest obstacle preventing him from achieving his dreams. However, his most significant obstacles are much more mundane and align with the struggling artist archetype – time and money. Working as an accountant during the day to make money to fund his music career takes away time from actually working on his music career. Another challenge was finding a team who believed in him and knew how to market and promote him well.
"Managing myself and my business was hard, and I was not heading in the right direction. I'm grateful that I have my manager, Louis Elton, who guides me on what I need to do so I can achieve my dreams."
When asked what his goals for his music career are, B. said he wants to sell merch, go on tour and speak at schools.
"My plan is to have 30% of the [merch] proceeds go to autism organizations such as the Autism Advocacy Network who specialize in autism awareness." He wants to perform around the world because "I enjoy performing, and I want to share my energy, my art, and my message with everyone." He wants to speak at schools to "help address bullying, social skills, and diversity and inclusion."
Despite having some goals he still wants to work towards, B. believes he has already made it as a musician.
"I'm creating and releasing original music, I'm performing, I'm making connections, and people are listening to my art. I'm proud of the success I've had thus far, and I can't wait to see what the future holds for me."
Now that we know who B. Able is, what inspires him, his creative process, and the message he wants to spread awareness for, the only thing left to know is what is he currently working on?
In late May, B. Able plans to release a song titled See Me, Hear Me, about "seeing things from an autistic person's perspective: how one sees the world, the challenges one goes through, and the struggle they face with change." This song highlights B.'s saxophone playing abilities which he believes will be "enticing to the listener."
Overall, the name B. Able fits him perfectly as he has proven time and time again that he can do anything.
"Don't sleep on me. I'm constantly improving and dedicating more and more of my time to music. The best is yet to come."