“Music is from deep within. Sometimes you gotta yell to reach down and scoop out the feels. It’s my job as a musician to honestly communicate those feelings to you in order to create a connection. That’s it. Song is how all of our “deep withins” can connect.” -Cullah
My copy of “Soul Challenger” plays on the speakers in my room that doubles as my studio, and a sly smirk tugs on the corners of my mouth as I read the growing list of backers for the 2019 album being produced by the distinguished Milwaukee musician on my Instagram feed. Tucked gently among the list of associate producers is my name, “Michele (with 1 ‘L, not 2) Rosado”. My smile grows wider, “It’s even spelled right!” I boast as my mom gives me a teary-eyed kiss on the head and tells me she’s proud of my accomplishment.
Despite having my name appear in the credits for a highly anticipated release, and being given the honor of having my work featured on the artist’s social media feed a number of times, the accomplishment isn’t really mine in the slightest. It belongs to the man who’s been shedding blood, sweat, and tears into his work and pouring every ounce of his heart and soul into his music since 2006.
His name is Cullah and he is on a quest to release an album every year for the rest of his life. A truly noble goal, one not even the most seasoned of vets in the industry have dared or attempted. One that will certainly earn a place among the most memorable feats in history, if and once accomplished. Which begs the inevitable question: “Does quality become sacrificed with this impressive quantity of music?”
“There’s something very special about Cullah that draws people to his music and makes his supporters stick around for the long haul.” -Michele Rosado — Smoky Water Studio
The answer is simply put, no. Perhaps for others who find a format that has huge success then chose to never break away from that sound. (We’re all eyeballing you hard, mainstream music.) However, Cullah refuses to let his creativity go stagnant, or allow the norm to dictate and shape his creative process.
His musical approach is unique, to say the least, blending normally discordant genres into the same song. He dares to rap over accordion and harmonica. He slides funky bass lines and record scratches into blues remixes. He plays violin and Saxophone over electronic keyboards and synthesizers.
There is no combination of styles Cullah will not take on and he doesn’t let his music sound like carbon copies of itself. The result is a flavorful balance of harmony, fundamentals and experimental sound that tantalizes the ear and stimulates the mind with each release. This is refreshing in a time where nearly every major label is producing music that sounds so similar to their old hits, that it’s difficult to distinguish the past from the present.
Cullah posses an uncommon knack for musical performance. From guitar to bass, violin and saxophone, he is both formerly disciplined and self-taught in a myriad of instruments whose difficulty levels range from rudimentary to advanced. He’s seemingly able to learn any new instrument that comes his way with practice, dedication, and a determination that many confuse as a naturally occurring effortless talent.
He recently added banjo to his repertoire, complimenting his array of stringed instruments skills. He also possesses an extensive knowledge in sound engineering allowing him to record and master his own tracks in his studio or at a remote location with his essentials.
“Cullah seems well prepared to take on his quest to produce a high-quality album a year for the rest of his life, while fighting the war against the cookie-cutter standards of the modern music industry.” — Michele Rosado — Smoky Water Studio
If his credentials in music were not enough to impress the passerby; then certainly maintaining his own website with his degree in engineering, whilst managing his music career, would turn the most stubborn of heads.
Some might ask, how could any one person manage such a feat. The answers lie in a history dedicated to the lifestyle of creating music.
Cullah began his musical quest as a teenager after spending his childhood surrounded by a family engulfed in music, which no doubt planted the seeds of creativity at a young age. A trip into his archives, reveals that his talents and level of ingenuity have only grown exponentially over the years and will continue to reach new heights as he challenges himself in new ways with each album.
The topics of his songs cover a broad spectrum, from building space ships and surviving gas station robberies, to coming together in unity and promoting a never quit mentality. With a heavy focus on love harmony and self-reflection, Cullah’s music inspires the listener to find their hidden powers within themselves to achieve their dreams, while also providing ample listening time for the mind to completely get lost in instrumental breaks and lyric free songs.
Disturbed released a single with an iconic line “Gonna fight the war and use my music as a weapon”, in “Dropping Plates” off their debut album “The Sickness”. With such weapons like these in his arsenal, Cullah seems well prepared to take on his quest to produce a high-quality album a year for the rest of his life, while fighting the war against the cookie-cutter standards of the modern music industry.
His growing level of talent and discipline can only be attributed to a lifetime of dedication and devotion. This is reflected in the free album he releases every year under creative commons for the last 12 years. Because in his words, “music is love”.
Yes, you read that right it’s free and under creative commons. Which means not only can you get free music for your video projects, he will never slap you with a copyright strike or demand a royalty check for using his music in your content, as long as you attribute him as the creator. His music is only monetized through streaming services and media synchronization. This is nearly unheard of in today’s age with some places asking $2.99 for a single song. Yet despite the times, Cullah has managed to figure out a way to make his free-to-own creative commons model, work for him and his supporters.
The key lies in the synergy between the content creator and the need for quality music in their videos. Most of his supporters do in fact use his music freely in their projects, giving him proper credit and tagging him in social media posts. He showcases these works when he uses his music in their projects. Always giving credit and including the creator’s pages of course!
In turn, they gain exposure, and a few extra followers whenever he shares their content on his feed. As an added step he takes the time to leave an encouraging comment on the work! It’s a truly genius way to build a loyal and active community that all have a common interest.
Still, the proverbial eggs don’t lay in one single basket for Cullah. Free music no matter how amazing it sounds, along with tit for tat social media presence, is not a fast track to growing support and success for any artist. If the keys to success were that simple, the term “starving artist” would not be uttered by so many talented artists.
“ Information is sacred. Music is love.” — Cullah
No… There’s something very special about Cullah that draws people to his music and makes his supporters stick around for the long haul. There’s something about Cullah that makes people want to support him and his music. Something that immediately stood out and forced my investigative hand to dive deeper into the Cullahful rabbit hole. His talents are only part of a much more profound explanation for his loyal following.
Amid my personal journey to build an outstanding video production portfolio, I discovered much more than just another collection of royalty free music available online. In the chaos of me trying to figure out how to draw more supporters my way, and how to find my own success using YouTube tutorials, I discovered a calming truth. I discovered over time, what makes this bard so unique and charismatic that he draws in crowds of dedicated lifetime supporters. The revelation nearly made me burst with a flood of positive emotions and long lost hope for my own success. I finally began to see how I could shape my own path and finally control my own destiny.
I learned there are no secret formulas or hashtag methods used to maintain his growing fan base. Just, his transparent, genuine personality, and his generosity. I learned there are no gimmicks or tacky stunts in his repertoire, only a sense of humor and wit that are admirable, a desire to present his music as his gift to others, and a firm set of morals that steer his path. I saw that his personality is not determined by the traits or behaviors that society or the world expects him to exhibit. He does not abide by decency rules established by society, simply to conform with popular opinion. He posses a true authentic love for life and a radiating positivity that can be felt even when one is not graced by his presence. The beliefs he stands for, are the things he sincerely feels in his heart, not the ones others tell him he must hold in order to be valued.
He allows his work to speak for itself, his personal music archive is large spanning over 200 songs, yet his ego is not. Despite producing his own music since 2006, without the help of a label, Cullah manages to stay humble and takes the time to show thanks to his supporters periodically. He is not above humbling himself to seek the help of others in achieving his goals, even taking the time to gain the assistance of fellow engineers on his most recent release.
As a computer engineer, writer and lover of poetry, Cullah’s appreciation for language shows as well in his works. As he continues to produce an album every year, he gives clever titles to his albums such as “E = MC Cullah” “All the Cullahs of the Rainbow” “Cullahmity” “Cullahnary School” and “Cullah the Wild”. He fittingly names his backers “Cullahborators”, allowing them access to exclusive content and tracks in their raw form, before their scheduled release dates. He even allows his patrons to access the instrumentals to ALL of his albums and FLAC’s. Yes, he makes lyric free tracks AND releases his other songs as instrumentals for remixing! Audiophiles, you really need to go give him a look!
On his birthday April 27th, as he does every year, he plans to hold a release party in Milwaukee for his 2019 album dubbed “Spectacullah” with the help of his Cullahborators. Can anyone honestly think of a better way to spend their birthday than playing at their very own concert funded by their closest friends, family members, and biggest supporters?
The celebration though, will not end with this latest release. After all his goal in life is to continue his tradition of releasing one free album a year on his birthday until he can play music no longer, which his supporters all hope is for many more years to come! He wants to do this of course, without depending on a major record company so he can ensure that the money earned from his music doesn’t go towards the already existing exploitation of musicians around the globe. He cannot do this, however without the support of others who believe in him and his music.
“At my core I’m a total nerd.” -Cullah
There is always more to an artist than just their talents and accomplishments. The character and beliefs of the artist are what keep supporters coming back for more. So who is Cullah the man? And what is it about his character that makes everyone who crosses his path so enthusiastic to join him on his journey?
One could easily sum up the answer in 3 words, “An open book.”. Yet, there’s more depth to the man who proudly describes himself as a musician who is really just “a nerd at heart.”
His personal beliefs are that all artists deserve to get paid, everyone deserves autonomy, respect, and decency, information is sacred and music is love. He believes in independent creators and supports the efforts of the musicians in his area by continuously sharing their work with his followers. He fights for change by performing for charity events and asking his supporters to rally around his cause.
He does not believe in comparing people to each other but helping them see they all have something unique to offer that they should nurture and share with the world. He believes in the power of spreading kindness and loving yourself before trying to love others. “Learn to love yourself first and you’ll be able to love others as well.”
In a time where men are devaluing women at an unsettling rate, Cullah dares to do the opposite. He is not afraid to hold a stance in favor of female rights and freedoms. He shamelessly shares when he agrees with the female candidates running for office, and encourages his followers to vote for change.
While many musicians objectify women in their songs while refusing to feature them on their albums, Cullah voluntarily shares the works of female artists and musicians, giving them praise without asking for anything or making things about himself.
He takes pride in his family, periodically showing off his sister, aunts, and mother on his Instagram feed and in a few of his YouTube videos. With the aforementioned traits, it is no shock to learn that none of his songs promote the objectification or mistreatment of women.
Watching Cullah’s feed is like watching an old friend post updates to social media. One finds themselves invested with a genuine interest in his daily happenings with little effort to feel such a way. It’s a breath of fresh air in a time where social media is suffocating in click bait and gimmicks to grab as much ad revenue attention and followers possible.
“Take a look out at a tree. Inhale. What is it that you see? Is it something you believe? Perhaps it is a perception that is clear… Or perhaps it is something that you fear.” — Cullah
His feed is devoid of scantily dressed women and fast expensive cars, instead, he fills it with the work of fellow artists and musicians. He does not post flashy images of himself in designer clothing and gaudy jewelry, instead, he posts pictures of himself dressed like a grandma for Halloween, and photos of himself wearing flannel shirts and sweaters while enjoying nature. He posts himself being in the moment at live performances, snippets of his day, and weekly videos of him petting his cat. He shows himself playing with his friend’s animals, and sometimes what he’s cooking for dinner.
If ever one was looking for a musician who genuinely cares for the craft of singing, playing instruments and writing songs with tenacious lyrics, then they should look no further than Cullah. If anyone was ever looking for somebody wholesome, genuine and respectful to follow, then they should also look no further than Cullah.
Below is a montage of clips from Cullah’s 2018 album, “Cullahsus”, the album art of which, features the people’s flag of Milwaukee. If you enjoy what you hear, I strongly suggest and encourage you to visit Cullah’s Youtube, Spotify, SoundCloud, and other social media pages. All of which can be found through his website Cullah.com.
In case you weren’t convinced yet, here are more reasons to follow Cullah.
A nature lover: He loves all the animals. All of them. He even thinks bugs are cute. He takes pictures of himself enjoying flowers, cuddling his pets and spending outside in the wilderness.
He involves his fan base: Cullah lets his supporters vote on album titles, takes feedback and responds to his social media comments. He appreciates positive affirmations and doesn’t snuff compliments from his followers.
He doesn’t like Trump or mean people: A bonus that really needs no explanations.
He dresses like a dad and hardly swears: One cannot deny Cullah is genuine and friendly to everyone he engages. His respectful dialogue and wardrobe of sweaters with “dad shirts” only adds to his existing charm.
He loves tea and art: Need weekly tea shots and regular art pieces to look at in your stories? Cullah’s your man. He brews his own tea blends the old fashioned way and shares art daily!
He doesn’t like comment bots: The things that bots say to generate traffic and followers, can be absurd. Yet Cullah’s responses to these bots are concise yet entertaining.
He posts videos of himself playing his instruments: Why should TV shows and movies get all the cool BTS shots? Cullah lets you see what goes on during the creative process!
His mustache game on FLEEK and off the CHAIN: There’s something to be said about a man willing to maintain a well-groomed mustache and beard.
He makes silly videos regularly: Cullah has a very spirited sense of humor full of wit and unexpected surrealism. It’s enough to shame vine and Tik-Tok.
He is a punny meme machine: There is currently a pun war going on between him and I. I’m losing roughly 8–4 but I swear, I will catch up.
He keeps his “shirt tucked in”: There is actually an inside joke behind this that initiated the aforementioned pun war. However, if you want to learn more you’re going to have to become his fan and ask him to join his discord, where I will then happily explain!
Is actually precious: His interactions with all living creatures exude the cutest vibrations, his smile is infectious and he loves to cuddle his pets. While this cannot be said about many grown men, he has genuine innocence and gentle demeanor that makes him much like the fabled diamond in the sand.
He loves his fans: Cullah shares his appreciation and gratitude for his supporters regularly and they undoubtedly love him back for this recognition.
GUSHING OK: A patient man, he is neither upset nor irritated by compliments and adulations. “He doesn’t mind it.”
Still, need more reasons to experience Cullah for yourself? You’ll just have to venture into that world on your own and find the other reasons on your own!