Man must explore, and this is exploration at its greatest

From Midland Texas to Soeul Korea

Written by Myke B.

Good Vibes

April 20, 2015

Peace can make you cry…think about it...the ability to part ways with tension, and sit in a place of calm and harmony without disruption or imminent worry. I have found myself in this place many times while here in Korea. I’m not saying I’ve been crying all the time lol. To be honest I’ve only cried once at the temple I visited, and that was due to the high spiritual energy and yes, the peace I felt.

I found another spot that has allowed me to feel that way. A restaurant called, Dalpub. Dal is Korean for moon, and the intro page to their menu talks about the moon being similar to us as humans. Constantly unsure, changing, and cratered with imperfection. A humbling thought before eating a meal. I appreciate this place because the decor is somewhat celestial with lights reminiscent of stars and illuminated globes suspended from the ceiling. The balance of soft dim light against the wood and metal create a vibe that is relaxing and thought provoking.

I sit and enjoy the music that is John Mayer, Corinne Bailey Rae, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, but the lighter side of them all. Some songs I have heard and some that I haven’t, but wish I knew them! Today is specifically nice because as I walked to the restaurant it was about to rain, and I was contemplating going to another place further away. I allowed my internal compass to lead me into Dalpub, which I had visited once before but late at night. The menu was limited at that time to appetizers. As soon as I sat down a light rainfall started. That to me symbolized peace. Being nestled and comfortable due to listening to your small inner voice, and nature seemingly respecting that.

I had started writing in this little book I have about the thought that in America, which is considered a melting pot, people with vast differences are expected to get along; however here in Korea everyone looks the same and is very similar thinking because of cultural values, and they seem on the up and up as far as interaction with one another goes. Are we asking too much in America? Just a thought, but I left it alone because it felt heavy for my off day lol.

The meal I had was somewhat of hamburger, but it was in a tortilla with Korean barbecue sauce and ground beef. It was absolutely delicious! I also had a beer called a Heffe for short. Austin, TX got taught me beer, and a Heffe is less bitter. One I actually enjoy! Today has been absolutely peaceful and I thank God for it! I said I was going to try to avoid a food experience and do something more cultural, but It’s MY off day I’ll do what I want lol!!

Mychael Ball.

What’s Next?

April 15, 2015

Now that I’ve macro recapped the trip over the past view blog posts. I can get into the micro of things. Each day presents a new opportunity to do what I love, and the days have honestly flown by. I really am thankful for this time here in Korea because it has allowed me to think about my future, read books, and gain knowledge about a whole new world. I am a huge believer that God gave me a ship, and i’m the captain. It’s my duty to steer my life in the direction I want it to go. I’ve been thinking about my next feat after leaving Korea, and have several options. Grad school, work, music, Austin, Atlanta…Huhhh. The thought is somewhat stressful, but all roads lead to a better Myke B. I just want to make the right move.

I’ve read three books since I’ve been here. Shout out to Bandi N Lunis (Korean Barnes and Noble) for their foreign book section…Yes, over here I am considered foreign. It throws me off sometimes lol. “Sing to Me” a book my grandmother bought me, tells the story of entertainment mogul LA Reid. I had the pleasure to be in the room with him as he was honored for an ASACP achievement award about two years ago. The book inspired me because it talked about his journey, which was a tough one, but he stayed the course, and always worked out his next deal while working in his present situation. The book also makes a lot of references to Atlanta and pioneers in the industry like Shanti Das, who I have the pleasure of working with. I was like damn I’m not that displaced from the dream. I’m actually on the right track!

I read “The Alchemist” which was a mythic tale of a boy for whom the Universe conspired to help him fulfill his destiny. It took him going across the world and through hell and high water to be shown that his treasure was back where he began. I loved the story because it talked about omens, or signs in our everyday lives that indicate a wrong or right idea. I pay attention to things like that in my own life, and usually have premonition that is spot on. with bravery and tenacity the boy challenged the universe to aid him in his plight, and for its name sake it performed a miracle in the boys life. Not going to preach, but just think about that, and read the book if you haven’t.

The third book I read is called, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” written by a shrewd businessman who as a child wanted to make money, and fortunately had a father at home who was poorly educated on acquiring wealth and a friend’s dad who was an expert on acquiring wealth. He juxtaposes the lesson they both taught him throughout the book. He taught me as a reader the importance of identifying assets and liabilities, challenging myself to create wealth from risks, and utilize financial intelligence to generate wealth as opposed to the cliche uneducated approach. Some may think his lessons were a little harsh, but considering how in America it’s a dog eat dog world his lessons are purely smart, and demonstrate the actions that wealthy people use to make money and keep it without the government taking it all. I actually was able to identify some assets that exist within my own family and plan on creating a plan to enhance them.

Sorry for the book reports lol, but I’ve had a lot of time to consume information, and am thankful to be able to share. I just cracked another book called “ The Power of Habit” and hopefully will gain some new and useful information from this one. I hope that I will read something that will spark the match for my next path after Korea. I literally have 30 more days, and then it back to the US where I will be actively steering my ship toward greater success!

Mychael Ball.

Adventures in Seoul

April 10, 2015

I’ve had more than a few memorable moments here in Seoul. The city is beautiful. The people are fashion gods. Literally all of them from the rich to the few homeless I’ve seen. What construction worker wears army fatigue pants and a cardigan, and makes its go. I feel right at home when it comes to style because these people have it! My shopping excursions have been few because I think to myself, “How am I going to get all this shit home,” but I still give in every now and then. It also doesn’t help that I work in the largest mall in Seoul. I still haven’t been through the whole thing.

Let me focus…back to the memorable moments. One that sticks out very clearly is when my friend Kristina came to visit me. She is by definition a traveling fool, and I was glad she could come hang out all the way in Seoul! I work six nights a week, so she already understood I would be unavailable. This girl had a dual agenda though. She is a hair stylist and make up extraordinaire, and had been researching beauty products like she was studying for the bar. When she arrived she showed me her plans which included temples, a visit to North Korea, and shopping for beauty products.

If it wasn’t for her I probably would not have seen and explored so much by now. We went to an amazing Buddhist temple that is situated in the midst of skyscrapers and the busy city, where after a trying week prior I felt peace and spiritual comforting. It was much needed. We visited the famous Seoul Tower, which is the tallest edifice in Seoul other than the Lotte tower that neighbors the building I work in. It was beautiful, and we had time it just perfectly where we able to witness the sunset into the pink and orange horizon. Throughout these signature moments I was dragged in and out of skin care stores where I tried astringents, moisturizers, sheep placenta with gold in it!! I was on my way to tight and right skin whether I wanted it or not! Kristina left with a whole suitcase full of products and free samples for having bought so much stuff, and she had inspired me to buy some masks for facial, which I’ll admit had my face glowing lol!

The other memorable moment was bringing in my 25th birthday here! It was awesome because I kind of got two birthdays considering the huge time difference of 15 hours in the states. I also brought it in at work with an amazing Hard Rock audience, staff, and bandmates that showed so much love and surprised me with cake and Ice cream. The show was of course on fire that night because the Aries energy was flowing, and I felt more than blessed by God to be alive and that moment. After the show we had planned to hit club!!! I was ready, and had started drinking as soon as I got of stage…that wasn’t the bad idea….there really weren’t any bad ideas that. We got to the club, which was lit! I was feeling good and great, and was dancing with everyone and of course telling them it was my birthday…still no bad ideas…Well I got to one table, and met a hip-hop dancer from Atlanta. The music was right from what I remember, and we were in the zone. She handed me a bottle of Hennessy, which apparently in Korea is expensive and rare. Now maybe taking that bottle was the bad idea, but you can’t tell anybody a free bottle for their birthday is bad in any way, so I poured up drank like I was Kendrick Lamar…the story pretty much ends here because that’s where my memory ends, but apparently I caught a cab home made it safely expect my final thought when exiting the cab was, “I don’t have my cell phone, and there is nothing I can do about it. Good Night!”

So I have been phoneless since March 25th, and honestly miss it because I can’t snapchat or repost fans Instagram videos, but other than that my mac has sufficed, and I can now blog to compensate for the lack of text messages I get to send. Hey you got to think about the positives. There have been other grand memories especially involving all the amazing foods I have had. I actually made Korean television on a food show trying black bean noodles, one of the best dishes I have had here. In the video they ask how I like them, and I respond “Bashisoyo!” which is delicious in Korean. I gave a thumbs up and a smile because I was trying to sell it lol!! All those America’s Next Top Model episodes really helped that day! I like to wander into places, and just try things because i really don’t have any other choice unless I want to eat at the Hard Rock everyday. They are great and all, but nah I gotta live a little! More adventures to come, but I hope y’all enjoys these few recaps!

Mychael Ball.

Hitting the Stage

April 7, 2015

The first few performances, actually a lot of them are a blur…Our setlist included “Human Nature” by MJ “Change the World” by Eric Clapton, “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder, and a few more famous classics. Of course there was some John Legend in there, and honestly more Pharrell than I thought I knew. We were making waves on stage!! With not much practice time to be had there were nights where Jesus himself was guiding the sound waves because I know they weren’t right, but as we played, and learned the groove it got better. Korean musicians are very good and technically trained, and I was raised feeling the songs and just sangin, so we had to find the balance where structure met soul. I have been singing what I would consider professionally(meaning getting paid) for about 6 years now, but had been developing my craft for well over 10 years…Talking like this makes me feel old smh. Tyler, the guitarist and I had to teach the band to feel a little more, and in turn I couldn’t be so care free with the form and structure of the songs, a great lesson learned.

One thing I did notice and appreciate is that no one wanted to look or sound bad especially in a packed house, so many of the best shows we had were on weekends when the energy was spilling from the crowd. Our shows now are solid, and the song repertoire is steadily increasing!!

One of my main concerns before signing my contract was my ability to sing what was prescribed as three 45 minutes set with a 15 minute break in between. I called about 3 or 4 of my friends who sing professionally and only 1 said that sounded realistic. I wasn’t convinced, so I negotiated some stipulations cause I was not about to working my chords like hebrew slaves with no pyramid gold, feel me?

To remedy this we were blessed with a Korean goddess named Suin. She was magical to behold, and when she sang the heavens parted. No but really she is fascinating because she does not speak a word of english, nor does she understand it, but sings “Through the Fire” and “I’m Every Woman” by Chaka Khan hitting all the damn notes!! “Emotions” by Mariah Carey, and she likes the soul and RnB music. I’ll have to find a video to show y’all. When she first came to sing we did “If I aint got you” by Alicia Keys, as a duet and Suin and I got married and lived happily ever after…at least for that song, but it’s a fan favorite in our set!

That’s how performances have been going!! Pretty great and improving everyday, and on the weekends we get Suin to break up the lengthy shows. We’ve thrown in some new tunes, “Roxanne” by the Police is my favorite, and I’m actually learning to love “Hotel California.” I think its fun making these songs fit my vocal style. I now see why people on American Idol and the Voice have to be careful about song choice, its important. I’m thankful to be growing and stretching my voice in this way…More to come tho…Remind me to tell y’all about Kristina and my birthday in the next blog!! Later...

Mychael Ball.

Arrival Recap

April 6, 2015

It was exciting when the deal was finally worked out in late January. As soon as I got word that it was a go I walked into to work and informally put in my two weeks notice. My boss was sad but extremely happy. I loved my job and was making fat stacks, but my dream or my job. I’ll choose the dream everyday. My company Legalzoom had actually just given me and a few of my coworkers an opportunity to perform at the job for a Friday wind down type of event. I really appreciate them, and will be forever grateful!

I thought I’d be leaving at the end of January this date turned into almost the middle of February due to visa applications and international documents needing to be sent and all that bureaucracy. So in the meantime I shopped, visited my family, took a trip to Mexico, you know regular things people do before leaving the country. When I say Mexico I mean deep in smh. I traveled to Monterrey and Torrion, two beautiful cities that are literary only about a 7 hour drive from Austin, TX. Who would’ve thought. (sidetone) I was detained at the federal border, but that's another story!... Anyway finally I received my visa and was able to get my flight info for Korea. I think I sent everything off on Tuesday and they said ok we’ll see you Saturday. Talk about time to prepare!! I guess that is what I was doing the whole time.

The plane ride was longgggg, but I have this gift called "go to sleep now,” and I literally slept the the whole first eight hours. I hate walking around, using the bathroom, bothering the flight attendants, and I have a strong dislike for people who do these things so I choose to sleep as long as I can to avoid the anxiousness and annoyance of it all. The remaining hours I ordered internet, and watched movies. I was even face timing people from the plane lol. it was extremely loud, but It worked from 30,000 feet.

When I finally landed I wasn’t that tired but, I was excited and nervous. I had some experience in international airports so I went through customs, and found my bags pretty easily. My agent met me at the entrance, and we headed to the Hard Rock Cafe in Seoul, which would be my office for the next three months! I had researched and found pictures and videos prior to coming(Tip: when embarking on an adventure, especially for business do research it is vital). The venue was everything I had imagined and more. There was a band performing when we arrived, so I saw the stage lights and sound in action. I couldn’t wait to do my thing!!

This all sounds like a happy happy tale, but I want to keep it very real, and point out that things were in place because of my contract; however there are some details that had to be worked out throughout this experience. Case in point, my living situation. When I first arrived i had a temporary living space in the same building where I would be for the duration, but where was the damn bed? I slept on a one inch cushion for all of two days, and demanded a real bed. I was “upgraded” to a 41/2 inch cushion giving me a total of 51/2 inches of bedding(not a happy camper), and was still asking “Where in the hell is my bed?” It honestly took about 3 weeks but my bed arrived and I was satisfied. My point in this story is be persistent regarding things you deserve. Do not settle for something subpar that will ultimately affect your performance.

During the initial days in Seoul I had time to acclimate to my surroundings, learn how to work the electronics with Korean instructions, and adjust to the extremely freezing cold weather. The day after I arrived we had a scheduled band practice where I met my band!! It was all surreal, and I was a little intimidated because I didn’t know if they would like me or my voice. We started practicing, and the songs were coming together quite nicely! Oong the drummer, Rio the bass player, and Moon and Lee played keys! We were still waiting on Tyler the guitarist to arrive from LA. He would be the only other American musician here.

Mychael Ball.

Half Way Thru

April 5, 2015

Alright. I decided to take my friend, Natalie’s virtual kick in the butt, and write a blog post. I’m currently in South Korea, and half way thru my 3 month residency at the Hard Rock Cafe!!! Just saying that is such a blessing because singing on a stage like this has been my dream pretty much my whole life. Since I arrived here in late February the experience has been magical and medieval all at the same time. Being on stage and singing for the crowd is the magical part! Some of the favorites have been “Uptown Funk,” “Isn’t She Lovely,” and “I Feel Good!” I experienced being tired and singing, being hungover and singing, but Thank God I have not been sick and had to sing…But when I hit the stage nothing else matters, and as cliche as that sounds it’s the truth!! That’s how I can tell its a passion because an automatic switch turns on and everything is alright in the whole world, or at least my world at the Hard Rock.

When I said the experience has been medieval I’m referring to everything that goes along with the business side of something, stress, coordination, communication, coins all that. I have definitely felt like a knight at a joust on many occasions, but I do believe I was prepared for this thanks to past experiences and the help of certain peers in the industry and my go to attorney Amy in Atlanta!!! She is the real MVP!! Honestly there have been dragons and moats the whole nine on this quest for the Grail, but I have been thriving. I hope you all like mythological references because I do, and I haven’t really “blogged” before but I think I will keep using them.

Anyway South Korea has proven to be an amazing place and I feel totally blessed to be here. It’s amazing how things happen in my life because as random as they seem I see God working through it all. I am a spiritual person, and definitely feel the hand of God in the midst of everything that has occurred. I’ll just take a moment here to say that I am so favored and thankful to serve and know an incredible God that will manifest my hearts desires, and use me to inspire others…Whew got a little teary, but man anything is possible, and that thought is something to be ecstatic about.

I will do a recap of the first half of this trip in the next couple of posts, which will include my friend Kristina coming to visit and our adventures and me being held hostage on her skin care and make up excursion, as well as my turnt 25th birthday that has left me phoneless in a foreign country smh!! Also I’ll introduce y’all to some of the Hard Rock staff, my band mates and people who have made this trip all the more interesting. I think I’m done writing for now, but I think I have developed a mild insomnia or just a completely F’d up sleeping schedule, so you may hear from me sooner than later…Keep shining and talk with you soon!!

SN: feel free to ask questions and make comments. It may trigger my memory and lead to some interesting stories in future posts. PEACE!

Mychael Ball.