José Vaca is a California-based entrepreneur, artist, designer, dancer, photographer, and visionary—a full-stack creative, as he describes it himself, who thrives outside the boxes and refuses to be limited by titles and degrees. We were introduced to him by a NY friend, Will Nguyen Cao, a while back.
He is one of those people that continues to surprise us in the good way. An optimist who firmly believes creativity has the power to change the world, with a passion for social activism, storytelling, art, adventure, and making the impossible possible. Oh, and he absolutely loves blueberries.
José grew up in Salinas with Mexican parents. Immigrants who worked extremely hard to provide for him and his sister—and give them the opportunities they didn't have themselves—for which he'll be forever grateful. He studied architecture because saying thank you didn't seem like quite enough. He wanted to build his parents a house, and still want to. However, as time passed, he realized that the only way he can ever start to repay them for his upbringing and the sacrifices they made would be by following his passion, continuously do good, and create opportunities for others.
José's roots and heritage is a vital part of who he is. His family comes from Michoacán in Mexico, and his indigenous roots are P'urhépecha. "Juchari Uinapekua" is a saying on the P'urhépechan flag, meaning "Our Strength," which is a great example of how the culture is ingrained in his mindset. He firmly believes in the strength of collectivity—the power of people and communities.
José is currently pursuing a wild dream that has yet to give him a single dollar—a project called bēkn.
bēkn is a startup with a social consciousness that provides tools for people to easily discover, connect and engage with their local communities, resources, causes, and each other—a space for people to organize, where all voices are heard and where everyone has a seat at the table.
When José isn't working hard to reach his dreams, you'll likely find him breakdancing and becoming one with the music. He's officially been a Soulshifter since 2015. The Circle of Fire x Soulshifters Crew is his extended family. He explains that Soulshifters is more than just a dance crew. It's a collective, a family of artists around the world.
This playlist took us by surprise. It wasn't what we imagined or expected a playlist by José would be like, but we love it. A mix of electronic, ambient, neo-classical, house, hip-hop, and classic rock. Enjoy!