These two prominent independent artists that grew up together in the 757 as best friends, on and off the diamond, and are now are making powerful creative and content musical tracks in the studio living on the West Coast (Arizona and California), have revealed that they have their own personal struggles that they have been battling throughout the years.
Growing up in Virginia (757), Tekeim Reynard, also known as TJ, more commonly know in the music world as King Reynard, and longtime close friend Michael Curry, known as Foolish Senpai, thought they would have a life which is all figured out, perks of being one of the best baseball and football players, respectively, to come out of Virginia.
But little did they know that, for as long as they could remember, they have been searching for peace and ways to outgrow dealing with life.
“I think it’s a tough topic to discuss when brought up in my community and in the world today. But I would challenge more athletes and more creative artists to speak on their mental battles,” King Reynard states. “Sometimes when you are looked up to by many as an inspiration and when sports have been the cornerstone of your life for so long, it’s easy to use a sport or our favorite creativity as a mask for our issues.”
Adding to this, Foolish Senpai said, “I found myself normalizing pain and suffering. Sometimes I would overthink and create problems that didn’t exist in my head and found myself drowning in emotion. As an artist, some of us hide the very real signs of mental illness that need treatment. When you get a call from someone randomly you never know if it’s good or bad.”
“Coming from where we are from, death is almost seen as normal so we never talk about that much,” King Reynard alluded. “Losing people early, growing up and watching some of the loved ones you know die, it makes you emotionless but that pain is buried deep to a dark place that you are too afraid to go sometimes that you just forget about it.”
Being the popular person that everyone goes to for love or advice sometimes can leave you in a bad place mentally. And both the players and artists, King Reynard and Foolish Senpai have shared deep rooting facts on the same. “After football ended, that’s where most of the bad thoughts came in. It was almost a shell shock of who you are as a person and when the lights shut off, I found myself miserable,” shared King Reynard.
Foolish Senpai added to this “For the longest time I was having night terrors and dealing with things from my past that I tried to force myself to forget. But, as I got older, those demons I was dealing with kept resurfacing and taking control over my life. My emotional and spiritual outlet has always been music. I made the Akusen Kutou album for myself to heal. I recorded my song “PTSD” on my sons 5th birthday, because when I was physically and mental abused at the age 5, all those emotions I buried came back like a flood. I’m here to unapologetically tell my story and help others that can relate through my music while also at the same time continue the healing process for myself.”
King Reynard and Foolish Senpai now believes that people should not keep their emotions hidden.
“I really used music as a way to cope with my emotions since 9th grade rapping with each other.”
King Reynard and Foolish Senpai show that in a popular track “Stay Alive”, which encourages people to keep living and spreading love no matter the reality of losing loved ones and people you love.
“Music has always been our therapy and I would challenge others to find a hobby or niche that you can escape from the world in a creative way because music saved our lives. Facing depression is not a bad thing and that’s what I had to learn. I thought I was viewed as weak or weird to my peers and family but they have seen the growth in me as a person after 1 year of therapy.”
King Reynard now attends therapy regularly to maintain good health mentally, physically and spiritually. Using music and leading in different ways other than the sports field, King Reynard and Foolish Senpai are now currently working as the advocates to educate and make more people aware of the importance of mental health and facing their demons instead of running away from them.
“Too many artists and athletes die from suicide and if we can be one of the groups and make music to shine light on this topic, we will do whatever it takes to keep people alive.” King Reynard made a special tribute by putting 13 songs on his Oceanz Debut Album that dropped in June 2020 to show love to one of the many fallen artists, Mac Miller to match Mac Miller’s Swimming album, as Mac opened up about dealing with depression as King Reynard hoped to make music with Mac one day.
“Music has always been my passion and if I can speak for the people who can’t anymore, I’ll do everything I have to do to change people’s mind about mental health. You aren’t alone, even I suffered but my message has always been to Keep Swimming.”