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Phil Augusta Jackson Writes About Life In Redondo Beach In New EP

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Phil Augusta Jackson is a writer and a co-executive producer on the hit HBO show "Insecure," starring Issa Rae. Back in 2019, Jackson was living 30 miles from the writers room near the beach. Considering the famous traffic Los Angeles is known for, he did not enjoy the commute. So he decided to pack up and move, leaving his close circle of friends in the city, and he went to Redondo Beach to live alone.

PHIL AUGUSTA JACKSON: If I were to describe Redondo Beach, I'd say it's quiet. You know, just being by the beach - it's calming being by the water. And it's - yeah, it's just a little bit slower of a pace. Things close kind of early in Redondo.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That scene inspired him to create six songs in a project he called "The Redondo Tape." It's a reflection of Jackson's life at this point. And his first single, "Alone," took on a different meaning.

JACKSON: I was working slowly, wasn't rushing it at all. But then once the pandemic hit, I just basically bought equipment and built a home studio in my closet and then finished the EP.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALONE")

JACKSON: (Singing) 3 a.m. and I can't sleep. Feels like I'm swimming in the deep. Had a little too much to drink, making it kind of hard to think.

I think LA can be a very lonely city. So in that regard, I think if you're feeling like you're longing for interaction with folks, then it's - I guess it's not good to be alone 'cause you're sad, you know what I mean?

But I think for me personally, I need my alone time. I need time to kind of think about things. I need time to kind of just sort through my thoughts, and I tend to get that time to myself by just taking long walks. I'll walk, you know, five miles, seven miles, eight miles at a time. In that way, for me personally, being alone is good, and it kind of recharges me. And in the times that we're living in, I think it's helped me figure out a lot of folks that I want to keep close and, you know, have be a big part of my life moving forward, too, as far as friendships go, even.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALONE")

JACKSON: (Singing) I guess you'll just ride alone, but do you remember when I used to ride along? If I tell you how I feel, will you tell me how you feel now?

When it comes to the relationship aspect of it, everyone's kind of been in and out of relationships, and I feel like there's always a part of a person that wonders if, you know, the relationship ending was the right thing but also recognizing that things end for a reason.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GET IT")

JACKSON: (Rapping) Six months in Redondo, beach right by the condo. Oh, my gosh, Omakase. I'mma (ph) need my sushi pronto. Shooting star like a cosmo, make you move like a mambo.

You know, the project is meant to span a bunch of different emotions. So in a world where "Alone" is a more introspective tune, "Get It's" more of a motivational tune. But it's motivation mixed with a little bit of that - you know, I feel like a lot of rap has, like, a little bit of braggadocio to it, a little bit of swagger to it. And so this is my take on a song like that, you know? I wanted to see what I could do with a trap beat, and so "Get It" is just a declaration of the goals that I have in my head.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GET IT")

JACKSON: (Rapping) I bought it. I get it. I get it. I got it. I got it. I'm good. I'm good. I'm with it. I'm with it. I get it. I get it. I got it. I got it. I'm good, good. You dig it? You dig it?

I am originally from Philadelphia. You know, it takes confidence to pursue your dreams, and it takes a little bit of foolishness to pursue your dreams. And even with - on the writing sides - the television writing side of things, it's such a hard industry to break into. You can't see where you're going to end up as you're going there, and so I think - I mean foolishness insofar as just believing in yourself, which I think does take a little bit of foolishness. It takes a little bit of just belief and faith that you're - if you work hard, you're going to end up getting somewhere.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HEADSPACE")

JACKSON: (Singing) Third steps to the bottom of the year, heading east easy on a Sunday.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That was Phil Augusta Jackson. His new EP is called "The Redondo Tape."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HEADSPACE")

JACKSON: (Singing) All going to go my way. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.