Artist Spotlight: Interview with L.A. Activist and Rapper Good Day


How many rappers do you know who've earned a Master's degree? Of that subset, how many have earned their degree in Immunology? Well, this month's Artist Spotlight is on educated activist and rapper, Good Day (Andrew Kuhlman). Good Day has recently released a controversial music video titled, "Arizona Hustle," which was a reaction to the Arizona law that would require police to hold people they suspected were in the U.S. illegally. We caught up with Good Day and asked him about his beginnings, his future projects and the making of "Arizona Hustle." Get to know Good Day and his music.

Can you tell us how you got the name, "Good Day"?

Good Day is a name I gave to myself when I first started, because I wanted my music to be a positive influence on the people that listened to it, to spread a positive message, and generally help them have a "good day". Really, when I started writing lyrics and music I wasn't in a great place myself, so the first person I was trying to help and inspire was myself. You really have to help yourself before you can help others, and music has done that for me, so now I just want to spread that positive vibe to the world through my music, and Good Day sums that feeling up.

Rapper Good Day

Describe your style of music. What types of topics do you cover?

Well, I really don't feel like I have just one style. I've written a lot of songs now, in various stages of production, and they are all very different. I think it’s hard for an artist to have just ONE kind of style, because I'm in different moods on different days, going through different things, and feeling inspired by different events. I'm basically following what moves me at the moment, so I've written funny songs, political songs, serious songs, etc. When I first started writing music, I considered it like freshman year in college - you don't necessarily know what you're going to major in, so you take all different classes and see which fits best. I feel like I'm still trying different styles out, and I like having a diverse catalog of songs and topics right now. I might settle on one niche in the future, I don't know yet. But typically if I come up with an unique idea, and I think it’s cool and exciting, I'll make a song about it, no matter what the genre or category it would classically fit into.

Your video, "Arizona Hustle," received mixed feedback on YouTube. There were people leaving comments like, "Illegals should get out of this country," and "It wouldn't be America without immigrants." Were you surprised by the comments you received? Why or why not?

Yeah, well I knew going into this song it was going to be controversial, but I embraced that. I think the whole point of art is to be true to a feeling you have, and to share that feeling with the person watching or listening, and if you do it well, they'll feel it too. I felt some of the laws in Arizona towards immigrants were ridiculous and borderline racist, and I wanted to convey that sentiment through my music. I chose to do it with humor because I think a political statement is easier to swallow with humor, but it’s definitely something I believe in. Like I said, I started making music because I wanted to share the things that inspire me, to capture emotions with music, and to inspire others, so I'm not afraid to tackle controversial issues - as long as I'm being true to myself and what I believe in.

Do you always choose controversial topics?

I choose to write songs when I have an idea I like and something inspires me. I wouldn't classify myself as a political or controversial artist, but I'm not afraid of doing political and controversial songs. It just has to be something that moves me, excites me, and I can see the vision for how it will look as a finished product. The bottom line is I'm a perfectionist and I want to make good music, and I find the best music comes from the topics that inspire you and get you excited. If I don't think it's good, I won't release it.

How many days did it take to film, "Arizona Hustle?" Was it a difficult process and where did you shoot it?

Arizona Hustle was filmed in a day and a half. It was a long day and a half though! It was definitely a difficult process with a lot of prep work - I slept very little before the filming. We filmed most of the shoot at my friend's production studio in Glendale, and built the dance club the night before. It took about two weeks to get all the props and costumes, audition all the dancers and extras, get all the equipment and build the set. All of the ending street shots were taken of random people I met around Los Angeles. I literally just went out with a handheld camera and recruited people to dance with me. It was hilarious, and I got some really cool, open-minded people to participate.




Can you tell us about your latest project?

Sure, my next song is called "Quicksand", and the music video will be released very soon (maybe by the time this article is printed). It's definitely a more serious song than the "Arizona Hustle", but I like this song a lot and I'm very happy with how the video turned out. This was written as an inspirational song - I actually wrote it when I was pretty down, so the song refers back to the moment I'm writing it, and talks about how I turned those negative feelings into a positive (the song), and how others who are down can do the same. In fact, everyone featured in this music video has been through some truly horrible, traumatic event in their life, and they survived, and even thrived, because of it. The video tells the story of each of these individuals, and is meant to show that no matter what you're facing in life, there are others who have faced it before, and have overcome it.



Do you plan on collaborating with any artists? If so, which ones?

I'm always collaborating and looking for new people to collaborate with (if you make music, beats, etc- hit me up!). That's one of the things I love about music, because you can make a finished product with others that is truly better than anything you could make alone, and you really need to work with talented people to make good music. For example, on this last project "Quicksand," I worked with some truly amazing people. The beat was made by a good friend of mine named Jclass (Jared Newman) who is a phenomenally talented beatmaker and DJ. The hook was sung by Kim Grace, whose voice is incredible, and you can hear her skill in the song. Backup vocal work was done by Patty Mattson, who has an amazing voice and range you have to hear to believe. And the video was filmed with Connor Daly, who is truly gifted with a camera. All of this shows in the finished product, and I definitely plan to do more collaborations on future projects.

You not only dabble in music, but you're also a director. Can you tell us more about that?

I wrote, directed, edited and acted in the interactive online horror series The Human Pet. The series ran while I was still in graduate school, pursuing my masters degree in immunology, and many of the characters featured in it were actually doctors and scientists from my lab! It was an amazing and exhausting experience, and it ran for over two years. The entire series was filmed on a picture camera that also took short movies, but the low quality added to the realistic effect of the series, as the story was being told by a kidnapper who mixed videos of his kidnapped victim (me) with hidden camera footage that slowly revealed what sins I had committed to get kidnapped. In fact, the series was so realistic that we got shut down twice by YouTube, and investigated by the FBI because they thought it was a real kidnapping! After that we put disclaimers on each video. The series did well with over 2 million views and over 100,000 posts in the forums created to follow it, and it also got the attention of Showtime pictures. Unfortunately, I found myself having to put it on hold in order to write my thesis, graduate, and get a job, as I was nearly flat broke, well in debt, and couldn't afford the series budget any longer. I really enjoyed that project and would love to go back to it at some point in the future, although definitely under different circumstances and using the lessons I learned the first time I did it. But right now, I'm very happy making music and spreading my vision through my lyrics and songs.

Which do you find more challenging, directing or rapping?

They're very different art forms and use very different skill sets, but the common foundation they share is writing and putting together a story, which has always been my passion and, in my opinion, my best skill set. Since I was little, I've always wanted to be a writer and spread my ideas through my art, and directing and rapping give me unique opportunities to do that, either visually or lyrically, or in the case of music videos, both. Really, they're both a lot of fun, and whenever I'm writing a new song, I not only carefully construct the words and the sound, but I can also see visually how it would look as a video, and that helps me create the finished product.

Where can we see you next? Do you have any shows lined up?

Right now, I'm not doing any touring or performing, although I plan to soon. My focus now is on putting together a catalog of really great songs and videos, building an online following, and then taking these songs on the road and performing live. Like I said, I'm a perfectionist and I don't want to release anything that I'm not 100% satisfied with, so I'm taking my time to craft really good music I can be proud of and that my fans will enjoy.

Let our readers know where we can find out more information about you online.

I will be releasing new songs and videos on my YouTube channel, so please subscribe! http://www.youtube.com/user/gooddaymusic

I also regulary post updates and new material on Facebook, so please add me at http://www.facebook.com/gooddaymusic

You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/gooddayrapper

And my official music website is www.gooddaymusic.com

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thanks so much for the interview, and thanks to all the fans who listen to my music! I have a lot more coming, and I'm excited to share my vision with you, and give you some really great music!




About the Author

Formerly an editor and writer at Citysearch, The Examiner, LA Youth Newspaper and proofreader at The Los Angeles Daily News, Christy Buena decided to start Disarray Magazine because she missed writing what she wanted. From hiring writers, to contacting publicists and making assignments, Christy is responsible for the editorial strategy of Disarray Magazine.

Questions, comments or suggestions? Contact Christy@disarraymagazine.com
Twitter.com/ChristyBuena

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