The Birth of Dogwood A / by Christian Ortiz

In 2015, through the inspiration of Brandon Stanton's  Humans of New York , I created  Our City of Fountains . A page dedicated in building and telling a chronological tale of the growth of Columbus, Georgia, a place I've called home for twenty years. Because the response of this movement has become so profound, I believe positive messages should never stop being delivered. I also believe that everyone has an amazing story about life that we can all learn from. In 2017, the birth of my new photojournalism project "Dogwood A" will go into full swing. "The city in a forest" or "City of Dogwoods" were nicknames given to Atlanta due to an abundance of trees that is rare among major cities. The city's main street is named after a tree, and beyond the Downtown, Midtown, and Buckhead business districts, the skyline gives way to a dense canopy of woods that spreads into the suburbs. I am now working two cities, in hopes to build a bridge of talent, culture and everything in between through the largest and second largest cities in Georgia. My goal is to build relationships, inspire and create awareness. Welcome to "Dogwood A"...welcome to Atlanta.

In 2015, through the inspiration of Brandon Stanton's Humans of New York, I created Our City of Fountains. A page dedicated in building and telling a chronological tale of the growth of Columbus, Georgia, a place I've called home for twenty years. Because the response of this movement has become so profound, I believe positive messages should never stop being delivered. I also believe that everyone has an amazing story about life that we can all learn from. In 2017, the birth of my new photojournalism project "Dogwood A" will go into full swing. "The city in a forest" or "City of Dogwoods" were nicknames given to Atlanta due to an abundance of trees that is rare among major cities. The city's main street is named after a tree, and beyond the Downtown, Midtown, and Buckhead business districts, the skyline gives way to a dense canopy of woods that spreads into the suburbs. I am now working two cities, in hopes to build a bridge of talent, culture and everything in between through the largest and second largest cities in Georgia. My goal is to build relationships, inspire and create awareness. Welcome to "Dogwood A"...welcome to Atlanta.

An introduction from your editor:  Atlanta, Georgia is a cultural powerhouse here in the south; big city living with a quaint southern charm. I am happy to call this city my second home. Over the course of this year I will use my photojournalism to shine light on the growth of an already towering city, and its people who make it the inspirational force that it is. Living in Columbus, Georgia I decided it was time to build a bridge between our two cities as well as the world, in an effort to spread messages of peace while delivering every day stories. Times are changing, and what must remain is our message of unity. With this, I am proud to introduce January's issue. This month's issue will feature Atlanta's Grammy Nominated Producer  James A Worthy , a young innovator in the music industry. I had the pleasure of speaking with him as we took a trip down L5P, Atlanta's east side district. This, is his story.   Interview conducted by:  Christian Ortiz  Photography:  Modtography by Christian Ortiz   - C: It’s a pleasure having you here James. Please tell everyone who you are.  “I am a Grammy Nominated producer and songwriter by the name of James Worthy. I’m also an actor and author, pretty much a jack of all trades. Originally I’m from Queens New York. I’ve always been a music head. I’ve always been an artistic kind of guy form a very young age. I just love the arts. I love entertainment. I love expressing myself through different channels, whatever it might be. From music to songwriting…even collecting vinyls and LPs, I love all of those things. I was originally introduced to music by my dad. My dad used to play drums back in the day and I just kinda took a liking to it. I started researching producers and songwriters as well as all genres of music. If you’re from New York, you’re going to hear all genres of music. What really set me apart and changed a lot of things was when I had the chance to meet Michael Jackson. I was very young. I had to be at least ten or eleven years old.”  - C: This was in New York?  “Yeah this was in New York. This was at Webster Hall. It was amazing. It was an awesome experience. My dad is a celebrity bodyguard. He’s around a lot of different people. Michael was accepting an award that night and I got the chance to meet him backstage. It was such a humbling experience. After that it was smooth sailing. I knew what I wanted to do. I knew that I would be great in the industry. Even more interesting enough, I was a huge fan of A Tribe Called Quest. That was my all time favorite rap group. Even at that age. Q-Tip man, that was my favorite producer…I have a ton of favorite producers but he was the first one that I really liked. After that man, I just kept it going. I got deeper in the industry more professionally. I just started getting into more endeavors. I not only found out that I liked expressing myself through music, but I actually like to play other characters too. That’s how I got into acting. My parent’s always told me, ‘If you have it, use it.’

An introduction from your editor:

Atlanta, Georgia is a cultural powerhouse here in the south; big city living with a quaint southern charm. I am happy to call this city my second home. Over the course of this year I will use my photojournalism to shine light on the growth of an already towering city, and its people who make it the inspirational force that it is. Living in Columbus, Georgia I decided it was time to build a bridge between our two cities as well as the world, in an effort to spread messages of peace while delivering every day stories. Times are changing, and what must remain is our message of unity.
With this, I am proud to introduce January's issue. This month's issue will feature Atlanta's Grammy Nominated Producer James A Worthy, a young innovator in the music industry. I had the pleasure of speaking with him as we took a trip down L5P, Atlanta's east side district. This, is his story.

Interview conducted by: Christian Ortiz
Photography: Modtography by Christian Ortiz

- C: It’s a pleasure having you here James. Please tell everyone who you are.

“I am a Grammy Nominated producer and songwriter by the name of James Worthy. I’m also an actor and author, pretty much a jack of all trades. Originally I’m from Queens New York. I’ve always been a music head. I’ve always been an artistic kind of guy form a very young age. I just love the arts. I love entertainment. I love expressing myself through different channels, whatever it might be. From music to songwriting…even collecting vinyls and LPs, I love all of those things. I was originally introduced to music by my dad. My dad used to play drums back in the day and I just kinda took a liking to it. I started researching producers and songwriters as well as all genres of music. If you’re from New York, you’re going to hear all genres of music. What really set me apart and changed a lot of things was when I had the chance to meet Michael Jackson. I was very young. I had to be at least ten or eleven years old.”

- C: This was in New York?

“Yeah this was in New York. This was at Webster Hall. It was amazing. It was an awesome experience. My dad is a celebrity bodyguard. He’s around a lot of different people. Michael was accepting an award that night and I got the chance to meet him backstage. It was such a humbling experience. After that it was smooth sailing. I knew what I wanted to do. I knew that I would be great in the industry. Even more interesting enough, I was a huge fan of A Tribe Called Quest. That was my all time favorite rap group. Even at that age. Q-Tip man, that was my favorite producer…I have a ton of favorite producers but he was the first one that I really liked. After that man, I just kept it going. I got deeper in the industry more professionally. I just started getting into more endeavors. I not only found out that I liked expressing myself through music, but I actually like to play other characters too. That’s how I got into acting. My parent’s always told me, ‘If you have it, use it.’

- C: So what got you wanting to produce to begin with? Was there a time where you felt the moment was right?  "Well, before I even started producing I was working on songwriting at first. I was more into just writing and arranging records to kinda' get my writing out there with indie artists. And then, I was like 'Let me try to make my own music...' because like anybody else in the industry, you think you're an artist first whether you're a singer or a rapper or whatever. I thought I wanted to be a singer and an artist first, and that's where I got the inspiration to do my own beats. I wanted get my own record."

- C: So what got you wanting to produce to begin with? Was there a time where you felt the moment was right?

"Well, before I even started producing I was working on songwriting at first. I was more into just writing and arranging records to kinda' get my writing out there with indie artists. And then, I was like 'Let me try to make my own music...' because like anybody else in the industry, you think you're an artist first whether you're a singer or a rapper or whatever. I thought I wanted to be a singer and an artist first, and that's where I got the inspiration to do my own beats. I wanted get my own record."

Editor: In an industry that resembles the wild west, it's hard to find people who understand the importance of confidence and humility. James is truly one of the most humble individuals I've encountered, yet you can feel his confidence resonate as he speaks about his accomplishments. It's very important to have these strengths.  -  James A Worthy :  "My first software was  Reason (software) , I still use it today, I love it. I taught myself with help through YouTube ...'dot com' (humbly chuckles). It just kind of started from there. For first timers it can be very intimidating. Once you find your technique it eventually comes together. I had a lot of friends who used Reason as well so they would kind of give me tips on how to use it. I just started perfecting it. One of the first artists that I started working with professionally was Yung Berg and another guy by the name of Kesan Moore who is a rapper and actor. I started working with closely with them and just kept it going from there."  - C: This was all here in Atlanta or did you start off in New York? "I can't really pin point where it all came from because I've moved around so much. Much of my early stuff...more so New York than Atlanta."  -C: That's great, anybody who has studied music from coast to coast brings so much more to the table.  "Yep. The thing is...I've never been one to follow trends and follow blueprints. I wanted to be my own person and have people follow my blueprints in order to inspire them to do what they wanted to do in life. I've always had that in my mind since a young age. I always ask myself how can I brand myself in a way that I am not downing anyone else, but at the same time I have people embrace my style. The support I've received is a blessing. It means I'm innovating. My music has been sampled before. It's just insane. I'm on it."

Editor: In an industry that resembles the wild west, it's hard to find people who understand the importance of confidence and humility. James is truly one of the most humble individuals I've encountered, yet you can feel his confidence resonate as he speaks about his accomplishments. It's very important to have these strengths.

- James A Worthy:
"My first software was Reason (software), I still use it today, I love it. I taught myself with help throughYouTube...'dot com' (humbly chuckles). It just kind of started from there. For first timers it can be very intimidating. Once you find your technique it eventually comes together. I had a lot of friends who used Reason as well so they would kind of give me tips on how to use it. I just started perfecting it. One of the first artists that I started working with professionally was Yung Berg and another guy by the name of Kesan Moore who is a rapper and actor. I started working with closely with them and just kept it going from there."

- C: This was all here in Atlanta or did you start off in New York?
"I can't really pin point where it all came from because I've moved around so much. Much of my early stuff...more so New York than Atlanta."

-C: That's great, anybody who has studied music from coast to coast brings so much more to the table.

"Yep. The thing is...I've never been one to follow trends and follow blueprints. I wanted to be my own person and have people follow my blueprints in order to inspire them to do what they wanted to do in life. I've always had that in my mind since a young age. I always ask myself how can I brand myself in a way that I am not downing anyone else, but at the same time I have people embrace my style. The support I've received is a blessing. It means I'm innovating. My music has been sampled before. It's just insane. I'm on it."

- C: Who do you enjoy listening to? Who are some of your influences?  “I’m a huge Frank Ocean fan. I’m a Sia fan. Erika Badu. I love Chris Brown, I think he’s phenomenal. I’m a huge Kanye West fan. I love Big Sean. To me, I think he’s one of the best lyricists out there.”  - C: That’s a great wide variety in itself. Do you sometimes listen to songs and get ideas from them in an inspirational sense?  “Yeah, I try not to listen too much to music on the radio and what’s ‘hot’ right now…I try to stay in my lane, my kind of bubble. I branch out to see what’s popular to be in the loop, but other than that I try to stay in my lane and figure out what’s going to innovate my sound. I will incorporate what’s popular too but it’s not going to be too much. It’s always going to be me.”

- C: Who do you enjoy listening to? Who are some of your influences?

“I’m a huge Frank Ocean fan. I’m a Sia fan. Erika Badu. I love Chris Brown, I think he’s phenomenal. I’m a huge Kanye West fan. I love Big Sean. To me, I think he’s one of the best lyricists out there.”

- C: That’s a great wide variety in itself. Do you sometimes listen to songs and get ideas from them in an inspirational sense?

“Yeah, I try not to listen too much to music on the radio and what’s ‘hot’ right now…I try to stay in my lane, my kind of bubble. I branch out to see what’s popular to be in the loop, but other than that I try to stay in my lane and figure out what’s going to innovate my sound. I will incorporate what’s popular too but it’s not going to be too much. It’s always going to be me.”