You know what's cooler? A billion.

Douglas Laity is a physician in San Diego. *Isn't it funny that I boxed his identity in as a physician - like that's the first thing I mentioned - I'm so conditioned just like everyone else....He went to undergrad with my brother at the University of Rochester. They were the first person each of them met in college, standing with their suitcases in hand outside their dorms. They then found each other at an Intervarsity meeting - that always happens! Both became brothers very quickly, b/c God destined them to be friends. They spent the next 4 years traveling life's winding roads with a sense of confidence (inside joke). Then Doug moved to LA for medical school, and he has become a very close family friend of ours. We trained for a marathon together, and he even used to play sports with me when I was fat - that means so much to a fat kid! Douglas (I call him by his full name b/c he's white - and white people command that kind of respect from me - also me saying that will annoy him :-))has friends from every country in the world. He knows his friends, and he would do anything for those he loves. You want a Doug on your team -if you don't have one, it's your loss. A doug doesn't come very often. A Doug represents consistency.

Doug is the one playing the guitar on many of my songs - he's done "At Night" from my first compilation album, "Lone Ranger," and "Waiting for you." He's also done "Song Wrote Me," "Road is Easy," and "Love Song" on my first solo record - and he did "Why do we give up" on Zer0 & 1ne. Doug believed in my talent when I didn't think of what I had as talent. Doug saw people liking the music when I couldn't like my music on a good day. Doug said: "Rajeev, imagine 20,000 kids at Urbana singing this song." Nine years later 20,000 kids at Urbana sang my song - a different one (thank God), but a song nonetheless. Doug says he listens to 4 artists - 1)Sufjan Stevens 2)K'Naan 3) some white indie band that I forgot the name of 4) G-Vo --- I made his list of top 4 - and he's a picky picky guy.

Last week I had lunch with him in San Diego. I let him hear my entire album. In true Doug fashion, he was overly excited as the album progressed. I tried to calm him down, but his exuberance could not be contained. His excitement hit its pinnacle at the very last song on the album. He was mad that a few movies hadn't picked it up already as their theme song. Usually when I am around Doug, I smile, laugh, and observe.

Then, in a cooler, more suave and nuanced manner than Justin Timberlake - He quoted JT's line from "The Social Network" - except he tailored it to my world. He said "Rajeev, a few thousand fans are cool - but you know what's cooler? A hundred thousand people in a stadium - singing your songs - and you directing the parts in 20,000 people increments" - My response: "Doug, you're crazy. I'm going to write a blog about you!"

Yes, Douglas is crazy. He dreams for his friends. He believes in his friends. But it's not in a fake, inspirational, this-is-what-friends-do type of way. It's in a way that's real, b/c you have to be good for him to support you :-) And that's what I appreciate - I don't think he would co-sign for people he really didn't believe in. He told me to imagine the thousands in a stadium - I'm waiting for it. Today, I write songs for stadiums. Don't tell me to perform in cafes and tiny trendy spots that have 30 people in it - I love those spots - don't get me wrong - but I write things for the stadiums - and if you don't believe me, buy "Endangered Species."

Douglas, make sure you are in the front row - stadium status - nothing less.

Peace, and much love to you - John Baptist!


  1. I love love love this. :) I'm so grateful you exist.

  2. @ Eugenia - me too!

    And we are waiting to fill up those stadiums - and when we do, we better get front row, VIP backstage perks like Doug :)

  3. This is beautiful!


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