If you take the time to ask, you might be surprised what you could learn about a person, which may contrast significantly with your first-glance assumption of who they are and what they might become. Villaboy JayByrd is a young artist from Slidell, Louisiana who originally sought a life on the college gridiron in America, but wound up pursuing a career in music after a tragic turn in his life changed his path.

Villaboy JayByrd is an independent musician and rapper from Columbia, South Carolina, with roots in Slidell, Louisiana. Born in Germany to US Military parents, he’s working everyday toward his goal of becoming a full-time musician. Villaboy has played before small crowds in his career to-date, and in such widespread locations as Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Kansas City, Missouri; and New Orleans and Mandeville, Louisiana.

Football: a First Love

American football was Villaboy’s first love. The son of a Creole mother from Slidell and a hard-working father from Columbia, South Carolina, he grew up in a home with three sisters. Both of his parents were former members of the United States Military, and when he first thought about college, his pursuits were football and an accounting degree. As Villaboy recalls, he didn’t go to college with any intention of learning music:

“I was confused about what I wanted to do. I went (to school) for accounting, but I didn’t really want to do an office job so I went into sports and got a degree in Socialist Liberal Studies to educate children. I didn’t finish all of that. I was chasing a football dream, I didn’t worry too much about school, I was trying to find my way in life. Liberal Studies was the basic studies so that’s what I decided to do.”

However, Villaboy’s life diverged, unexpectedly, from football and the gridiron. He suffered a torn ligament in his shoulder that limited his ability on the field and which mentally affected him on the field. An injury wasn’t the only thing that would redefine Villaboy’s path in life though.

A Tragic Loss

When Villaboy was 23 years old, he dropped out of college, but it wasn’t just as the result of his shoulder injury. During his time in school, Villaboy learned that his mother was ill with breast cancer. Following his departure from school he had secured a job, but when his mum became sick he dropped it all to be by her side and take care of her.

He quit his job and became his mother’s carer. His mother fought the disease with all her strength, and he was by her side every step of the way. Unfortunately, she lost that battle, in 2012, and as Villaboy would tell you, he lost his best friend when his mother passed away from breast cancer.

Enduring Strength in Tough Times

As a young child, Villaboy always used writing as an outlet for his emotions and frustrations. He says that he’s always been a writer, and when needed, that writing always helped him. However, it wasn’t until college that he applied writing to channel his thoughts and feelings into music. The death of his mother, although tough, provided him with inspiration for his music, which in turn offered him an outlet for his emotions during a tough period of life.

His mother had taught him to be a strong person, but it wasn’t until he spent time caring for her and looking after his younger sisters that he finally found himself on the right path in life. In many of his songs, you can hear the inspiration from his family:

“(Inspiration comes from) my family, the things I went through on a day-to-day basis, from when I was a kid to when I went to college. I don’t talk a lot; I keep to myself when I’m in the studio. The way I get my message across is through my writing and my music.”

In his family, he finds not only the strength and inspiration for his music, but also his support. Villaboy’s father still lives in Columbia, and is enjoying his retirement. His Pops (father) has been one of his biggest supporters from the very beginning:

“Oh yeah, my dad has been a DJ for as long as I can remember. That’s another thing, I’ve always heard music. He’s a DJ, he helps me with everything that I ask him for. He doesn’t really know what I need, but he helps me if I ask him for anything.”

Music and writing are things that come naturally to Villaboy. He recalls that he’s always could come up with stories for his music, just like that. Sometimes his dreams offer him a creative catalyst, and though he admits he often remembers only snippets of information, he can take that information to the extreme to create compelling stories and themes for his music.

A Story Yet to be Completed

As with any career in music, it’s difficult to break onto the scene and become a success overnight. As someone who has spent his life writing his own tales, Villaboy understands that his story is yet to reach its conclusion. He briefly flirted with a career in acting, spending time working as a location assistant.

However, he found that the 16 to 17 hour days and 5 hours of sleep at night only pulled him further away from his dream career in music. Though he’s still a person who runs on little sleep, and seemingly has no problem doing so, he has gotten back to what he truly loves to do. Each new morning brings with it another chance for him to chase his dream and reach his goals, and that’s the most important focus in his life right now.

Villaboy knows when to get down to business, and if the world offers too many distractions, his go-to retreat is meditation. He’ll sit and listen to choirs, calm waters, or just write and see what he can get off his chest while writing. If he could write the final chapter today, Villaboy just wants to have a career in music that leaves him financially free and capable of taking care of his family. In his opinion, all it will take to reach that goal is having the right person hear his music.