Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Beauty of the Chase

Posted by Angie Luvara, RALEIGH, NC -- If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the music industry through my endeavors as a photographer, it would be this: it’s NEVER as glamorous as outsiders think it is (well, maybe until you reach true superstar status). Many performers we idolize have less-than-ideal “day jobs”, struggle to make ends meet, sleep in packed hotel rooms on tour (or in vans), often have to choose between losing their less-than-ideal day job or missing a performance, hardly sleep, and hardly eat—to name just a few of my observations (and experiences!)
Recently, I had the pleasure of watching Jabee finish up recording his latest album at producer Commissioner Gordon’s studio. I arrived at the address I was given, a house in the Boylan Heights neighborhood near downtown Raleigh, and walk into Gordon’s bedroom/studio. Sitting on Gordon’s bed were Jabee, another artist, and another photographer. Gordon sat at his desk, which was piled with laptops, keyboards, headphones, and other musical equipment. The recording booth, tucked in the corner of Gordon’s room behind the door, was surrounded by heavy cloths hanging from the ceiling to block outside noise— lime green cloths that looked as though they were found in Gordon’s mother’s attic, where they had been sitting in a box since the 70’s.  Stapled on the wall that Gordon and one of his roommates shared was a large piece of foam, in hopes of blocking some of the sound from traveling through the entire house.
Out of this bedroom/studio I witnessed firsthand amazing music being made. I’m pretty sure that, when people listen to Jabee’s Lucky Me, they would never believe that this Hip Hop album was recorded in a Boylan Heights bedroom .  The music industry, like other creative endeavors, is full of people chasing their dreams. With following your dreams comes financial strain, the stress of balancing “day jobs” to pay bills while still dedicating time to the goals that consume your heart, and pumping much of the hard-earned money from your “day job” into a craft that may or may not ever pay you back. Out of those conditions are born studios with ‘70s décor, makeshift “soundproofing” that likely irritates all the neighbors and, thankfully, amazing music for us to enjoy. There most certainly is beauty in the chase, but it definitely is not glamorous.

The printed cloths surrounding Commissioner Gordon's recording booth extend from the ceiling to the floor.

Jabee leans over a stool in the bedroom-studio to make last minute edits to his lyrics.

Jabee transfers lyrics from his notebook to his phone so they will be legible while recording in the booth.

Jabee writes new lyrics on Commissioner Gordon's bed, as Gordon looks on in the background.

Jabee recording in the booth, which sits beside Gordon's collection of vinyl records.
Angie Luvara is a photographer and Managing Editor of Social Shutter. You can view more of her photography at To see more photos of Jabee recording in Commissioner Gordon’s studio, visit the Social Shutter Facebook Page. To learn more about Jabee visit


  1. dope, Jabee is the homie & 1 of the best hip hop artist I know. This article was short but very well written with great photos.

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