As a student in the Music Industry Management program at Ferris State University, outstanding musical talent surrounds me on a daily basis. However, it took finding myself at a grungy dive bar in the twilight of night to truly appreciate the raw talent that my program produces.
After an evening business class, Christian Hoffer, also known as DJ CHOFF, insisted I hitch a ride with him to Mac’s Bar in Lansing to photograph him perform alongside Oseia, another student in my program. Twenty minutes later, I found myself adorned with heavy makeup and the classic all-black concert attire, bounding down the highway toward Mac’s on a school night.
I walked in through the heavy wooden door greeted by dirty walls covered with years of local band stickers, a grimy jukebox opened to the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks, and Johnny Cash giving me the middle finger. Just one deep breath of that cigarette and beer stained air and I felt right at home. How a hip-hop artist landed a gig at this punk palace was beyond me.
The bar started to fill up as the Wednesday night progressed, and DJ CHOFF took the signal to head for the stage and do what he does best. Amidst adjusting the settings on my camera and harmlessly people watching, I glanced over at Oseia. He seemed to be walking strategically around the bar area, studying the stage and observing it from all angles. Moments later, Christian invited him to the mic. He lightly set down his half-finished Blue Moon on the sticky bar, recited a verse under his breath, and transformed into OSHEA – his stage persona.
Oseia made my task of the night easy. As a photographer, finding a picture that portrays a clear reflection of who the artist is on the inside is as crucial as finding one to depict the outside. Oseia wears his soul on his face, and he wears it well. His energy, his love, and his passion commanded the audience’s attention. The captivating ferocity he has for music easily manipulated the grungy atmosphere to flow with him on the same wavelength. Oseia ended his performance with 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, reiterating his belief in the power of love.
After humbly accepting and appreciating praise for his performance, we decided to grab a late night breakfast at a 24/7 diner across the street. Christian, Oseia, and myself found ourselves tucked in a booth absorbed in one of those quintessential, intense discussions that only happens after 2 a.m.: living on mars, naughty Craigslist postings, the comparison of tea to coffee and sushi to fried chicken . . . Classic.
The conversation eventually shifted to music, which is to be expected considering we’re a table full of music majors. After casual discussion of favorite artists and new music, I eagerly shifted the conversation to OSHEA to get a glimpse at the inner-workings of this musician I share a major with.
I learned three things about Oseia over a breakfast burrito and bitter coffee:
1. He is devoted to his passion.
The passion he has for his music and his message is unmatched. Oseia fell in love with hip-hop at a young age and has been writing songs to interpret his feelings and thoughts since. Each show Oseia strives to leave the audience with the desire to spread love.
2. He is relentlessly empathetic.
He has the ability to put himself in others’ shoes to see from their perspective. This allows him to create music that relates to everyone. Oseia feels out loud; there is no censor.
3. He understands love.
Oseia says it best: “I read scripture about love at the end of all of my performances because I feel like it is my purpose is to spread that message. People underestimate the power of love. I truly believe that love can heal the world. Love can rid all things of the negative.”
This is the kind of raw talent my program produces, and this is the kind of artist I support wholeheartedly. Spread the love and continue the support by connecting with OSHEA on Facebook and SoundCloud.
Chandler Owen is pursuing Public Relations, Music Industry Management, and English Literature at Ferris State University. Her limited spare time is spent crying over David Bowie concerts from 1972 and living vicariously through Agent Scully of the X-Files. She works as a freelance content writer and runs her own culture blog at chandlerohxo.wix.com/culturequeen