By Alyssa Shapiro, she/her
“Creativity in any form is a big part of YTTP. It’s at the core of the energy of the brand, and whatever your art form is, music, writing, cooking, taking time for yourself, making anything, just putting anything out into the world is one of the biggest opportunities we have as people—to make something that is real to yourself and be able to share that with others,” says Greg Gonzalez, co-founder of Youth To The People and—did you know this?—music producer.
“That's why every campaign and everything that we do has so much tied to it beyond the product,” he continues. “And for me, music has always been a big part of my life.”
Gonzalez, who played piano, guitar, saxophone, and even oboe beginning at age five, has continued his lifelong study of music, though now he works in the studio.
“I got into producing music and started with hip hop, moved to nu disco, and have been making house and electronic the past five years. It’s been a journey. Lol,” says Gonzalez. Along with working on his own music through the label, Earth School, he’s also taken the time to pull together the music inspiring him right now.
“There's so much cool music out there right now,” he says, “I wanted to showcase some of the electronic stuff that I'm listening to—music that you can listen to during the day, you can listen to at work, you can listen to in your car. It's not necessarily all dance music, but it's stuff you can vibe to.”
Gonzalez’s first Founder Playlist, out today, also happens to feature one song of his own: “Country of the Mind,” which features a spoken word sample that dives into the concept of developing freedom through self-exploration—the idea that the mind is something that you can work on and build, and the more you exercise it, the more expansive it becomes.
Of his music, Gonzalez says, “The songs that I'm making are a combination of analog synths, drum machines, and then real organic percussion, whether that's shakers, the high hats, or samples from hikes. You know, walking and brushing against leaves and dropping rocks into the water, and then incorporating that and layering that over the drum machine. You get a mixture of this analog drum machine with this organic sound from the earth.”
Hit play and listen in while checking out his answers to the Youth Questionnaire.
Question 01: How do you help others?
The way that I'm helping others most is through YTTP, through the community and team that we have internally, and the work that we're able to do as an organization, but there's honestly so much more I could do. I’d like to spend more time getting involved with local creative organizations that support inner-city youth.
Question 02: What will your greatest impact be on this earth?
Being able to inspire others to reach their greatest potential. You know, one of my biggest dreams as an individual is to live up to my potential. I'm someone that really gets obsessive when I love something; I just want to do it all the time, whether that's skincare, music, baseball, anything that I've done in my life that I love doing.
I think when there are specific things that you love, and you want to put those out to the world, the idea of not living up to my potential is something that keeps me up at night. Helping others see their potential and realize whatever their dreams are—that would be my biggest impact. It's way bigger than myself. They'll probably do something way bigger and cooler than I could ever do.
Question 03: Where are you most free?
In the studio by myself when I'm working on my synths, writing stuff, thinking of spoken word lyrics, and little things in my mind. And I'm locked away in my own space, I feel super free and I get excited, and that's when I get that moment, that feeling of, “this thing is speaking to me, and I want to share this with the world!”
Question 05: What do you dream of?
New skincare products.
Question 06: What does pride mean to you?
Living freely, celebrating yourself.
Question 08: What is your coolest trick?
I can spin a baseball in my fingers and make it land on my arm and pause and then flip it back up. In my past life, I played professional baseball and I was with the New York Mets organization. I played baseball my whole life, high school, college, and then professionally. So you learn a lot of tricks along the way, and spinning a baseball and making it pause on your elbow is one of those random things.
Question 09: What is your favorite memory in nature?
Yosemite is dear to my heart. My cousin Joe, our family, and I would go every year. That's where I fell in love with nature and felt the power of it. Our great grandmother, Mimi (who also worked for the family skincare company—she worked in the warehouse until she was like 80), would go with us. It was something I looked forward to every year, and it was how I realized that simply spending time in a meadow, hiking, or any time spent in nature at all can be so powerful. It’s a special place for me.
Question 10: Describe your relationship with your ego.
A long, deep relationship where I'm constantly trying to move on and it's constantly pulling me back to hang out more. The ego likes to hang out. It's a work in progress, for sure.
Question 13: What is your most useful affirmation?
“Look to the inner and take flight.”