How one Daybreak youth uses music composition to realize a higher purpose

The noonday sun streams in through a corner window. The sound of rhythmic and measured inhales and exhales fills the room. The instructor calls out cues for breathing and moving.

A young man in the corner responds with ease and graceful movements. His audible breathing sets the pace for everyone else.

Meet Da’Marcus. The 24-year-old yogi who has been practicing yoga since elementary school with the help of PBS. The yoga class he attends now is at Daybreak.

Homeless since age 10 and evicted 13 times, Da’Marcus arrived at Daybreak two years ago.

Recently, we talked with Da’Marcus to learn more about his story.

Daybreak: Tell us what brought you to Daybreak?

Da’Marcus: I was angry and on a bad path. I was in a violent situation and getting into real trouble. I needed help.

I was at a men’s shelter trying to figure things out when a Daybreak staff member found me.

What’s happened since then?

I tried to convince other people to come with me to Daybreak, but they didn’t have the fire to change.

After some time, I started learning how to use music to help me express myself. Daybreak has a program called Coffee House. It’s a room in Daybreak’s basement that has been converted into a recording studio.

A couple of times a month, we come together to share what we’ve created. Things like writing, songs, storytelling.

I started writing music. Mr. Robert and Mr. Josh worked with me individually to help me write sounds and lyrics about my experiences that I eventually linked together.

How has writing music helped you?

It helped me express the deepest side of myself and connect with people. That’s why I’m here in this life—to connect.

I decided on the name Azaelous for my recording name. It’s Hebrew and means Made of God. We have to have faith and purpose.

What are your thoughts about the future?

I have a full-time job managing the grounds of the apartment complex where I live. I’ve been working a lot to help my mom move to a new neighborhood.

I’m launching a clothing company called Apex Legion. I make art from Sci-Fi video games and print them on t-shirts and other clothing. The business plan is done, and I’m waiting on the vendor license.

Long-term, I think I want to go into real estate development. On a trip to Hocking Hills with OZ Works staff, I noticed land being developed and it interested me. I liked traveling outside of Dayton because it broadened my perspective about what’s possible.

I’ve also made two albums. They stream on YouTube and other channels.

How can we listen to your music?

Tune into YouTube and search for Azaelous (or click here to be taken directly to Da’Marcus’ YouTube channel.)

What would you like to say to other youth who may be in crisis?

Daybreak is a place where people help build you. They give you one more chance. The struggle is there, but it does work. You will see results.

Don’t rush the process of change and remember it’s all about how you want to see your life. Suffering builds character.

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