News: Yuma Marine hits all the right notes in recording project
Story by Lance Cpl. Sean Dennison
YUMA, Ariz. -- "I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music."
An Installation Personnel Administrative Center travel claims clerk aboard the station has much in common with Einstein in regards to the above quote. When the Marine's not assisting others in their travel reimbursements, he's in the studio spitting verses.
Lance Cpl. Brian Powell, Jr., a 24-year-old native of New Brunswick, N.J., uses his free time to contribute to the musical world under the recording name of Mi$Match.
"It's just my upbringing," said Powell, who grew up watching programs such as MTV Jams, MTV Raps and BET. "My family, we're all recording artists. So being around my cousins, seeing my cousins rap, that inspired me." Powell also cited his friends and everyday events as influences, which he and his friends would rap about later as a way to vent or find humor in otherwise dreary situations.
His name, Mi$Match, is testament to Powell's confidence in his lyrical abilities.
"The level of thinking or mental capacity, they (other rappers) don't have that, it's not fair for everyone else," he said.
Along with Mi$Match, other monikers Powell uses are Pile of Money and NJP.
"For New Jersey Powell," he said with a smile. "I got that name from a staff sergeant in Japan."
Powell's recording endeavors predate his military enlistment by almost three years. He began recording in 2005 and has pursued his music in earnest since then.
"I'm open to anything, any good music," Powell said, listing artists such as Too $hort and Bun-B as emulative sources, as well as newer stars like Wiz Khalifa and Rick Ross. "I try to touch all the bases, the whole United States, from East Coast, West Coast, down South, Midwest. I'm broadening my horizons for rock, such as pop and techno."
An average session for Powell can take several hours, with laying down the hook and verses for one track taking at least two. Once completed, Powell finds himself either performing live or working on new lyrics.
Currently signed to Southwest Records, an independent hip-hop label based in Yuma, Ariz., Powell and his musically-inclined peers aim to turn Yuma into a hot spot that puts the magnifying glass over rising talent.
"It's like a big brother, little brother relationship," said Otis Howard, Powell's producer, as well as a fire desk operator with the station's range operations center. "When it comes to music, you have to forego a lot of things. When we got together, his work ethic and drive stood out to me."
"People don't see Yuma as a place of music," added Powell. "It's a small, quiet town. Everybody thinks it's just desert. But it can gain exposure. Tourists come down here, so I don't see why not."
For Powell, the networking, long hours and valiant search for new expressions in his lyrics, many which thematically deal with military, provide an interesting contrast with his primary occupation as an administrative clerk. While the emotional and physical investment could be seen as distracting, Powell understands where his commitment lies.
"I have the military as my first priority, so music has to take the back end right now," said Powell.
However, Powell says the traits he's developed in the Corps helps him stay focused on what he wishes to be his career path.
"(The Corps) made me grow as a man and mature. I learned if I want something done, I've got to do it myself or find a way to get it done."
And like any true artist, Powell is finding a way to get it done , to use his voice and beats as a medium of self-expression for whoever needs it. And the world provides no shortage of topics to break down.
"I can't speak for everyone," he said, "but I can possibly speak on everything."