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