Oliver 'BAM' Saunders:
More to the Story
Taylor Harrington 7/14/2021
Oliver ‘BAM’ Saunders shares the inspirational story of his overcoming struggles with addiction to his now successful rap career and love and devotion to fatherhood. Growing up as the son of famous actor and model Garcelle Beauvais, Oliver is not new to the entertainment industry. As he grew, Oliver went through years of personal struggle and self-doubt which made him shy away from the spotlight and fall into his own darkness, that is until he met his now wife and mother to his son, who he gives all the credit to for redirecting his path and keeping him motivated to be the best father possible.
Oliver, growing up it must have been interesting to have a mom that’s in the spotlight. What was your journey like before you found this passion for music on your own?
Having a mom in the spotlight has always been normal to me, you know what I mean? So basically, my mom was already modeling and acting and stuff before I even came around, so it was just normal to me. My mom just treats it like it’s a normal day job, so growing up with that was super cool because we would go places and people would recognize her and she would take pictures and sign autographs and everything. I knew that she was an actress because we always talked about it, but it was just cool to see how many fans she has and how many people have love for her and how much love she has for her fans as well. That’s always something that’s always stood out to me with my mom. Growing up was cool. Yeah.
Then you entered this world of music and have your videos out and you’re rapping. When did you start on your musical journey?
I started writing music when I was seven years old. Yeah, I’ve always had a passion for music, it has always been my thing. I just love it. I’ve just always gravitated towards it. I like poetry and writing poetry. Rapping is just poetry on beats. It was just right up my Avenue, you know, and I remember watching music videos when I was young and I was just like, “Oh, that’s it. Like, that’s it for me.” Yeah, it’s been a passion since I was seven. I’ve done a lot of things. I’ve done a lot of shows and opened up for a lot of people– Nipsey Hussle, Questlove. It’s just always been my passion.
When you’re writing, where do you pull your inspiration from?
I find the beat first. It usually comes to me when I’m driving around in the car. So I’ll put on a beat that I get from a new producer or something like that, and I’ll just drive around with it. Sometimes I’ll come up with an idea and I’ll start writing that song, and then the next time I get in the car, I’ll put on the beat and I’m like, “No, that’s not it. It’s got to be this”, you know? I hear it for a little bit and then it just flows out.
That’s great! Did you just release a new music video?
I did. I just released a video called “West” with my production team. We’ve been putting together singles and videos because last year I dropped two albums. I dropped the album called Might As Well which is on all music platforms, and I dropped an album called BLU: Born Loved Unconditionally, as well. So now we’re just focused on dropping visuals with singles and getting people to know me more and getting people to see the music videos come along. It’s an interesting process. I love it though.
It’s probably so exciting to see this all come to life, too!
It is, it is. Like I said, I’ve been writing since I was seven. I used to go by the name Jason Rose. As we get into the interview more, you know, I was making the wrong choices and doing a lot of the wrong things as a child, and even more recently, like, a couple years ago. Once I came into my new self, which is sober dad, Oliver (son), I’m just all about responsibilities, handling business and stuff like that. I decided that my old name had to change because I don’t live that lifestyle anymore. I’m not a part of that lifestyle, and don’t participate in any of that stuff anymore. That’s when I came up with By Any Means (BAM). It’s been almost a year and some change that I started the new Instagram, I started all these new videos, I started everything. So just in that year of time, I’ve seen a lot of growth, and I’m super excited for the direction that we’re going in for the future.
Absolutely. I have to say congratulations on your journey of sobriety. That’s not easy. It’s really important to speak on that topic, because so many people are affected by the life of drugs, or you make one wrong choice, and then it can domino effect. How were you able to pull yourself out of that place?
My wife and my son, that’s it. It was one of the craziest things. For years I had been trying to fight it. I had gone to rehab, I had talked to people, therapists, all type of stuff like that. Even though I told myself when I felt like I was ready to stop, and I wanted to stop I could, but it was easier said than done. Then I swear, I swear, it was God, and my wife and my son, and it was just one day, none of that stuff mattered. None of that stuff mattered at all, you know what I mean? It was just like, ‘Yo, you got to do it.’ There was a rough time, but I have over a year and some change now that I’ve been sober. I’ve seen myself be so much more productive, so much more successful. I’m there as a father and I’m there as a husband and stepdad. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It was just amazing the way that it happened. It was meant to be. I had a responsibility that’s bigger than me and people that are relying on me, so it’s not even a question to me. I had to cancel out people that I hung out with. I had to stop going places that I hung out. I’m rebuilding completely and I love it. There are definitely harder days, but as long as I keep my eyes on the prize, I know that this is what I need. This is what I want.
It was like a rebirth of yourself when your son was born.
Yeah, it’s a tricky thing. It was just like, wow, this little person is relying on me to teach them things, to show them the way, you know? They don’t only pick up on what you say they pick up on what you actually do. I have to lead by example and I mean, my son, he couldn’t have come at a better time. I love him so much, I can’t even explain it. It was the best thing I’ve ever done with my life. It’s amazing.
He’s blessed to have a father that is so dedicated to turning himself around for the love of his child. With that, I know that you’ve also recently started a podcast about fathering and parenting. I didn’t know you, obviously, when you were going through the down parts of your life, but I’ve been following your journey quietly from the sidelines, and it’s been really fun, refreshing, and just bright. It’s real and genuine, and you’re finding your truth in life and sharing that with others.
It was a rough time that if you would ask my mom, there were times that I’m sure she wanted to just scream and pull her hair out. I’m so happy that we’re on the other side of it. I have the closest relationship with my family now that I’ve ever had. I talk to my mom and my dad a couple times a day, you know what I mean? I’m gonna actually be in Los Angeles this weekend and I’m gonna be able to take my little brother’s out to lunch or dinner. It’s just so amazing, the the turnaround and everything. But yes, yes, I did start a podcast called “Bigger Than Us”. I feel like people love to talk about fathers when they’re absent from their kids lives, especially black fathers, unfortunately. I wanted to just shine the light on dads that go over and beyond for their kids, no matter what their situation is, if they’re a single father, if they’re married, you know what I mean? It doesn’t matter, just fathers who have experiences and love for their kids. Like I said, this is the greatest thing I’ve ever done (being a father), so I love sharing it with other people. I love hearing other people’s experiences and I love going to the park with my son and the kids and hanging out and seeing them interact with other kids and the parents. I just think that we need more love in this world and I think that that’s my way of trying to help.
That true, genuine connection with other fathers that aren’t necessarily on the same journey as you, but the fatherhood journey.
Right, exactly. I feel like it’s just so relatable. I feel like it can make you a better parent. I was talking to a guest on my show, it’s one of the episodes that’s gonna come out, and he was just giving me advice, because his kids are teenagers already. He’s gone through the stages that I’m just going through now. He was just giving me advice and it was just so cool to hear it from somebody else who’s already gone through it.
You can’t control his choices, but as a father, you can be the beacon to shine the way for him, so speaking of advice, what kind of advice will you be giving to Oliver so that hopefully he doesn’t go down some of the same paths you took?
I’m going to keep him a lot busier than I was. I’m going to keep him in sports or instruments or whatever he grows up and sees that he likes, I’m going to get him in that and keep him busy. I’m going to tell him, don’t give in to peer pressure. When you’re on a substance it gives you this false confidence that you’re doing things better than you normally could, or like, you’re getting things done better. Don’t believe it. That’s not the case at all. It’s so crazy how much you can convince yourself, like I used to say, “Oh, I can only write music when I’m when I’m messed up”, and it’s like, that’s not the case at all. I just want him to know, he doesn’t have to give into peer pressure. Dad’s always got you. I’m always here for you. I’d rather you talk to me and ask me questions about something than just go try it yourself. I’ll never get mad at you. We’ll just talk and figure it out. I’m always here for you. I just want him to be able to be open with me. I feel like when I was growing up, there were a lot of things that I didn’t talk about, so I want to have an open line of communication with him always.
That’s amazing. You’re already setting this foundation that one day, he’s going to be able to look back and be like, “Wow, I inspired my dad to start this podcast, I inspired my dad to follow his journey.” That’s so cool.
I look at him all the time and I’m like, he has no idea what’s going on. It’s just so beautiful. I could have never expected this. If somebody told me two, three years ago, “you’re gonna have a son, your life is gonna be completely different”. I would have been like, ‘okay, we’ll see’. It’s such an amazing journey and I’m so happy. I take videos and pictures of everything so that later in life I can show him and be like, “Yo, this is where we started. This is where we are now.”
You’re such an inspiration for so many. I don’t have kids for myself yet, but it’s inspiring to know that there are people out there doing all the right things. So how can people find you to follow your podcast and your musical journey?
Okay, so if you want to follow me, you can go to my website, www.everythinbam.com, and it has links to everything. That’s the easiest way to do it. It has links to my iTunes, links to my Spotify, and links to the podcast. It has everything on there.
Originally from Edison, New Jersey, Taylor won the 2005 “Middlesex County Caring Award”, and hasn’t stopped caring since. When she is not writing or hosting More to the Story, Taylor can be found chasing her two mutts around Athens, Ohio where she currently resides with her husband. Moving to Appalachia has made a huge impact on her life, and she can’t wait to share some of her stories, laughs, and (mis)adventures with you!
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