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Essential Grillz

Fit for an Angel

Q&A with Essense Martin

I was born exactly two years after my dad’s punk band performed their last show. So I like to think an independent spirit that goes against the grain is in my DNA.

After spending a decade in journalism covering music, sports and fashion, I have decided to leave the traditional world of news media and step out in faith to fully dedicate myself to Kick The Concrete.


For those of you who aren’t familiar, Kick The Concrete started in 2017 as a website for music artists to share firsthand accounts of their personal stories. I was motivated by my past experiences, seeing how real people were affected by some of the flaws of the digital age. The chase for clickbait can lead to inaccurate information and misrepresentation and has real consequences. Kick The Concrete was successful in its first iteration. We told several meaningful stories and even had a release party for our print magazine during Grammy Weekend in Los Angeles. It was right before the world shut down due to COVID and is a special memory I will treasure forever.


Then, Kick The Concrete kind of faded away. I lost my personal motivation for it during the pandemic and my car was stolen on the last day of 2020. The thieves also took my Kick The Concrete banner and the last few copies of the magazine, which were in my trunk. I took it as a sign that Kick The Concrete was done.


But I kept the website up because I’m proud of it and grateful for the platform. I pursued other journalism endeavors (a few of my stories were on ESPN — a dream come true!) and continued to navigate life as we all do.

After five years of freelancing and piecing together part-time work, I found myself again working in a full-time news job. It was a blessing and I accomplished more things that were on any sports reporter’s bucket list, including covering the NBA Finals and the Super Bowl. But I still wasn’t fulfilled.


The idea of having my own media company still lingered.

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