What I'm Wearing: Jacket and Pants: Good Chins: Good Fellow, Polo: H&M, Shoes: Apt 9, Socks: Dead Soxy
“I Was Young When I Left Home ” (feat. Dead Soxy)
5 years have come and gone. I stepped away from the other side of town to a city where dreams are made or broken. As I reflect on the path I chose to travel on at 17, i’m lead to my current stop at 22. Who would have thought I would move to LA, live there 9 months, travel back and forth from Northern California the last 3 months, move back to the Bay Area and work on an EP for 6 months, which turned into a full 10 song album, which turned into a year of work, that led to plans of the future, that lead to a disease that came out of nowhere, that led to me being on my own again, which led to me being stuck in the Bay Area, which led to darker days, which led to some sort of uplifting spirit, which led to falling in love, and took me to the moment i’m living in right now. For my final Dead Soxy collab, I felt it would be appropriate to talk about my move to LA on the month of my 5 year anniversary. Something about Dead Soxy feels nostalgic to me and the past 2 outfits I’ve created around their socks have helped me end summer and begin fall. As my life leads to new uncharted territories, i’m happy that a company that creates classic socks can inspire me to enter the headspace of a 17 year old Dom Baza that would have loved to wear these socks on his young LA Adventures.
Let’s go back to September 24, 2012. I got the apartment. It was a hot day in Pasadena, California. Pasadena is in LA County and it was the perfect fit for a young 17 year old me. Pasadena embodied everything I loved about the place I grew up in the Bay Area, on the other side of town, Fairfield. It was just like Fairfield but more kind, loving, and accepting. Plus the air I was sharing was with people like me, artists. In Fairfield people laugh at the idea of big dreams, in Pasadena they really have no choice but to support the dream, when the Hollywood sign is on the hill watching over us. I moved in about a month later on October 16, 2012. It was weird to go back home to Fairfield and pack up the remainder of my things. I started packing in August 2012 and rented a storage in downtown LA for 2 months until I finally moved in on my move in date of October 16th. I remember day one. My mom, dad, and me were dead tired from the extra heat Los Angeles has. This was the first town I had been in that had no Walmart so I was stuck visiting the most expensive household stores to look for items for my new apartment. The budget didn’t really fit for a 17 year old me, so I learned how to thrift. My mom and I became experts at thrifting. Through thrifting in LA, I up’d my style by 100%. I went from streetwear performance casual to classy and causal classy. I would find all these name brand blazers and pieces and collect them and mix and match my daily outfits to showcase my artistry. These socks from Dead Soxy remind me of a shop in the Pasadena shopping center that I would see on my way back from the Goodwill and not be able to afford with the budget I had. The Goodwill became my best friend and we were inseparable. As my apartment filled up with used refurbished pieces, I started to feel more at home. My parents stayed with me the whole first week and fell in love with Pasadena. The town made my dad more comfortable leaving me behind. It was quiet compared to LA, but it was still very much so LA. Pasadena was the right amount of town and city, right in between and perfect for me. When my parents left I felt for the first time I was truly on my own. No one to guide me but myself.
I would wake up at 5am thanks to my mom’s lovely wake up calls, “get your ass up, and get out there and make use of that talent”. So, I would get up, take the metro and head to Hollywood. It took me awhile to get adjusted to walking around with my guitar hoping that I would get picked up. The funny thing is I did’t get picked up until I headed back to the Bay Area for Thanksgiving. That’s another page for later on. Anyways, my very first day in Hollywood was a weird nightmare/blessing. I got off the train and had 20 dollars stolen from me, had no clue what to do or how to handle myself in that moment. I called my mom and balled. She told me to get off the phone and keep moving forward with my plans. I owe it to myself to find a way to live a life. Life works in mysterious ways and we have to move forward when something like that happens. I listened to my mom and walked around Hollywood feeling so empty. I felt so empty for so long after the hell of a life, l I just fled from in Fairfield. I thought I left my troubles behind but those troubles started to turn into adult troubles and I had a lot of learning to do. I walked around and passed by the Capitol Records tower. I stood there and said, what a dream it would be to record in that studio one day. I still say that now. I was 3 when we first started traveling back and forth from SoCal to NorCal. I remember so clearly seeing that tower at such a young age. I always felt connected to it for some reason. I still do and always will feel connected to it. I feel like it’s a North Star in my life guiding me to my destination, even when i’m not in town. As I looked at the tower and walked away, I found a little dog park in Beverly Hills. They were having a doggy yoga night. It was a Friday and everyone was going out. I sat there and watched all the people around me. I observed and learned from their actions and movements. I saw this group of friends, straight and gay all walk around happy as hell. I was so intrigued by them. I was so mesmerized that this was a normal thing here, to be happy. As I saw one of the lgbt couples, clearly engaged, they touched my heart forever. I watched them like a stalker, lol. I ended up going home as the sun went down and wrote a song about them before the clock turned to 12am. The song is called “Fall in Love Here Tonight”. It ended up on my 2nd record. The first lesson I learned in LA, was that good can come from bad. My first time alone in Hollywood was a hot mess, but look, I ended up with a beautiful song, and a memory of inspiration I will never forget.
There is a lot of stories I could tell you about my life in LA, but the early days by myself remain the most special to me. Especially this day I talked about. Those couples inspired me to live a true authentic life. They inspired me to be happy, no matter what. I feel like I have pieces of that happiness, I just have to figure out how to put them all together to make a complete puzzle. Part of the pieces of my life, will always be LA. I may have chosen to not move back there at this moment, when earlier this year, I honestly believed that would be my destination again. But like the couples who inspired me, i’m going to follow my heart and try to live in my own happiness, and as much as I would love that to be in LA, it’s somewhere else. That doesn’t mean my LA story is done yet. In fact I think it will have a more than a few pages coming up sooner than we think. Who know’s maybe the “Yellow Submarine” like the one in the Beatles movie will take me back, even if it’s for a second. To be home in LA for a moment in time would mean everything to me, especially after all i’ve gone through. I know it will all be fine in the end, cause like I said, good can come from bad, and it can become something beautiful.
Photographer: Joanna Wheeler
Every post I will include the song that inspired me to build a post around it's title
Book 2: Chapter 3
What I'm Wearing: Jacket,Sweater & Chinos: Good Fellow, Shoes: GUESS, Armada Duffle: Mahi Leather
“The Other Side Of Town” (feat. Mahi Leather)
5 years ago on October 16, 2012, I moved to LA. A few weeks ago I was approached by Mahi Leather to collaborate and make one of their classic bags apart of my story. As soon as I saw the Armada Duffle, which is spacious and top quality, I knew what story I wanted to tell. 5 years ago I packed up my bags from a Northern California town called Fairfield, to move to a city where I felt more loved and respected than I had felt in the last few years being in Fairfield. I made this vow to myself to never really bring up the town I grew up in. I don’t like to talk about. When Mahi asked what the engraving I wanted on my bag to be, I said DB for Dom Baza. That name means a lot to me, and having the engraving say DB, makes this bag more special to me. I left Fairfield in 2012 to become the Dom Baza that I know now. I created this version of myself that I wanted to be in Fairfield, but no one ever really appreciated that. Here I am 5 years later back in the town I grew up in, the town that broke my former self to pieces. I left 5 years ago with bags in my hand, ready to start a new journey, and now i’m back 5 years later to unpack my unspoken story about my life on the other side of town.
Fairfield & Suisun, California - They are basically the same town. They are right next to each other and share the same city laws, etc. My family moved here in 1997. I grew up loving the town I lived in. When I was kid I saw it as a safe haven. I loved the local library, movie theater, mall, local people. Then as I got older my mind started shifting more towards my career. I knew since I was a kid, music, music was what I wanted to do when I got older. When I turned 12 I started taking larger strides towards my dreams. The people in town did not agree with what I wanted to do. In school I had supporters, but a lot people put me down. When I got to high school it became all too much for me. I was focusing hard on music and school, I could not juggle the 2. I’d go home after school and music would be there for me. I’d go to school and i’d be constantly bombarded by my fellow classmates and teachers telling me to do something better with my life. One of my teachers suggested I should get more involved with school activities, rather than focusing on a hobby that will never get me anywhere. As every thing started to reach it’s boiling point, I left 6 months into the school year. I became home schooled and surpassed my personal goals and graduated early at 17 years old.
Once I graduated I was ready to leave this place behind. I had a leather bag similar to the one Mahi gave me. It wasn’t engraved, but it was old school from the 90’s. It fit a lot of my stuff and I used the bag growing up as a kid to travel back and forth from SoCal to NorCal. We lived in Fairfield, but my parents would take us to LA, San Diego, San Fran, and then all the way back to Fairfield all the time. I was a lucky kid to have parents who knew the state so well. Fairfield is 40 mins away from the city (SF), and people consider it an outskirt town. I… consider it the other side of town. I never speak of this town that I once loved and how I experienced a different kind of broken heart. I was mocked, I was dragged, people were out to get me. I remember receiving death threats at 14 years old from students at my old high school. They would throw stuff at me, spit on me, harass me. I was so broken. I’ve been so broken so many times in my life and i’m only 22. I used to feel so safe in this town, and even now as an adult years later, I still look around to make sure i’m not the target I once was. Receiving this bag from Mahi made me want to go back to Fairfield and open up about a young Dom Baza’s journey.
I packed so much of those emotions and memories away and to come back here floods my soul with the bittersweet moments. As I walked around town waiting for my train back into San Fran, I thought about my childhood in a town that I really once cared for. I used to have so many friends as a kid. Over the summer I gave a glimpse into middle school Dom Baza’s life. I thought all the people in my life then would still be here, now. Once I became the Dom Baza I am today, no one wanted apart of this journey that i’m on. I used to come to the waterfront that you see in these pictures and have fun times with my former friends. Talking about the days when we would be older, attending each others weddings and being the god parents to each others kids… now if I were to hear about them, I honestly can say, I don’t know them anymore. Although none of these people are in my life anymore, Fairfield still has to hold an important place in my heart. No matter how much I try to run from my past, it’s still apart of me, and always will be.
The engraving of DB on the Mahi Armada Duffle means a lot to me. I created who I am in Fairfield. They didn’t appreciate or understand that, they didn’t want Dom Baza. To have DB engraved on something forever is like getting a tattoo. The name Dom Baza is more than just a name for me. It’s my story and it’s ever evolving and changing with each page I write. Holding this bag engraved with my initials, with my new and improved self in Fairfield, makes me proud of this very difficult journey that started on the other side of town. "I was young when I left home", but i’m happy I could come back for a moment and unpack some of the former memories that haunt me. One day I hope to have the same feelings I did as a kid, about the town I grew up in. I’ll always cherish all the great days I had when I was young, but for now I gotta keep moving forward from the other side of town.
Photographer: Joanna Wheeler
Every post I will include the song that inspired me to build a post around it's title
Book 2: Chapter 3
What I'm Wearing: Coat: Towncraft, Sweater: J Crew, Button Undershirt: Calvin Klein, Pants: H&M, Shoes: Apt 9, Socks: DeadSoxy
START OF MRDOMBAZA BOOK 2: Chapter 3
“Leaves That Are Green" (feat. Dead Soxy)
The heat is gone and the chilliness has returned. Gone are the waves that cleanse our souls and here are the leaves transitioning into beautiful colors before our eyes. What I love about fall is that warm comfort feeling you get in your heart. For starters we set our clocks back an hour, all the kids go back to school, the holiday seasons begin, and all the good tv shows come back on the air. Fall is a time for reflection, it’s a time to reach in our souls and share the love we have within. As you already know, Dead Soxy and I have teamed up for a few collab outfits. As soon as I saw this pair of socks, I knew it was the perfect time for reflection. There’s just something about a touch of blue with the mixture of Autumn colors. The socks remind me of the leaves falling into the water. You know what i’m talking about, right? I once went to a park in a small town up in Northern California, and I saw the leaves from the trees fall into this lake. I looked down at the water and saw my reflection along with the leaves. As the green leaves change, the blue socks from Dead Soxy are my reflection on life, love, and hope for the future, for the next 3 months of fall.
San Fransisco, California. It’s my 3rd year being present for a San Fran Autumn. This past Summer was not the Summer I had planned. The story of my life took another direction, So I couldn’t be more happier that Fall is here. It’s another chance for me to fall, not in a bad way, but in a way that gives my life more depth and meaning. I walk around the city and it’s dead for a Sunday morning. The streets are clear and it’s like everyone fled the city, but it turns out people were just trying to stay warm from the cold. It’s the perfect time for coats, so I pulled out my coat from town craft. I love wearing long coats in the fall and winter. Something about this time of year, that has me feeling like the truest version of myself. I stroll the city and and observe everything with my one good eye. I examine the buildings, the street corners and think to myself, each of these were built up from the bottom and they can easily fall back down in the blink of an eye. Fall is the perfect opportunity for starting over after being knocked down. I feel like the colors of the outfit i’m wearing is a cross between purity and the socks is the reflection of myself as I fall for fall. The fine lines on the socks remind me of the fine lines in life. For me, each line represents the various pages, chapters, and eras of my life. I see the leaves desperately try to hold on to the green colors they became over spring and summer. The leaves don’t want to turn to brown and fall. They want to stay above ground and keep things as they are, but they know deep down inside that they have to fall because if they don’t, they won’t evolve. The leaves have to float in the wind and land in the water and swim. The leaves have to fall in order to rise again. It’s the circle of life and there’s nothing more beautiful than the fall scenery being the backdrop to a complex, but beautiful story. Socks and clothing are pieces that some people just wear because they look nice, I mean we all wear clothes that make us feel good and keep us on trend. But behind each piece that is designed and put together, there is a designer, that designer has a story and a reason why they created the pieces in the first place. Sometimes we may never know why they created those pieces, so it’s up to us to take something as simple as a pair of socks from Dead Soxy and give it a backstory through our story, the story of lives so far, in this moment.
I honestly had a lovely fall last year. I met so many people who went on to become my best friends from afar, made memories I hold closely, created holiday moments from food that I can still taste and smell, and I fell in love last fall, I’m still in love, I’m so in love. My greatest hope for this fall and beyond is to share that love I have in my heart with all of you. I hope that I can evolve as my love evolves. I hope that I can share my music and stories to a greater audience these next few months. I hope to make more memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I hope to finally see the light of day where I will be able to leave this place I have been stuck in, since I got sick. I hope that my relationship will be accepted and taken in by my family and loved ones, as things get more serious. My goal for this next chapter is to tell you about parts of my life you may not know about. I am ready to open up about so much more. From my past, to my present, to my family, loved ones, people who broke my heart on “the other side of town”, more insight into my illness, goals and fears of my careers, and finally, I do plan on opening up more about my personal life. As the lyrics in the song "Leaves That Are Green" state, I'm 22 now but I won't be for long. I could'nt think of a better way to state the obvious thoughts about change and growth. When I got sick god pushed me off the cliff because I got too comfy with the life I was starting to live. I’m ready for him to push me again, I’m ready to fall and rise within the leaves that fall off the trees. I am ready to let go and let god.
Photographer: Joanna Wheeler
Every post I will include the song that inspired me to build a post around it's title.
Book 2: Chapter 3