What: Lil Shawdi and Zig Zag concert
When: 6 p.m. Saturday
Where: Veterans of Foreign Wars, 5513 U.S. Highway 64, Farmington
Album signing: From 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Delgado and Zig Zag will sign albums at Hastings, 3020 E. 20th St. in Farmington.
Farmington — Just two years ago, Jeremiah Delgado was living on the streets in Farmington.
But everything changed when he signed a recording contract and became a hip hop artist who calls himself as Lil Shawdi.
On Saturday, the 22-year-old Farmington native's debut album, "The Great Depression," will be released.
Delgado, who now lives in Albuquerque, will sign copies of his album, along with the hip hop band Zig Zag, at Farmington's Hastings store. Both Delgado and Zig Zag are also scheduled to perform Saturday evening at the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Farmington.
Delgado said his new album is based on his life experiences.
"Every human being in our human experience, we go through a great depression," Delgado said. "For me, it was being on the streets."
Delgado said he left home at age 17 because of problems at home, he said, and turned to the streets. He called the time he spent on the streets wild and dark. He admits to using meth, cocaine and other drugs, as well as drinking heavily. He dropped out of Piedra Vista High School.
"I was looking for an escape," Delgado said.
Often, Delgado and his friends broke into abandoned houses to sleep, he said. Sometimes, he would crawl into the water drain at Kiwanis Park or find a tucked-away hiding spot at Berg Park. He also spent a lot of time at a cafe on Scott Avenue in Farmington. A woman who worked there would sometimes give him a bowl of chicken noodle soup and some crackers, he said.
"That's where us poor people would go," Delgado said.
Life changed for Delgado one day when he and his uncle, who lives in southern Farmington, had a conversation about music.
Delgado told his uncle that he wrote a lot of music and let his uncle look at his notebook. While flipping through the notebook, his uncle told him he could be a good musician.
At that moment, Delgado said he heard the voice of his grandfather, who had recently died, in his mind. His grandfather had always told him to follow his dreams and called Delgado his "estrella luminosa," or shining star.
Delgado recalls hearing his grandfather say, "Hijito, you only got one opportunity."
At first, Delgado was reluctant. But then he heard his grandfather's voice saying "Hijito, what do you have to lose?"
So Delgado told his uncle he wanted to pursue music. His uncle began to get to know promoters, and a year and a half ago, he got Delgado in contact with Grip A Lot Records, a company based out of Pueblo, Colo. Delgado is the company's first New Mexico artist.
As a teenager, Delgado was using hip hop to tell his life story, said his record producer J.C. Salazar.
"Through his music, he found his way out," Salazar said.
Since signing with Grip A Lot records, Delgado's life has changed drastically.
Delgado said he went from the kid who listened to and idolized hip hop artists to someone who gets to sit in the studio and tour with some of those same musicians.
Delgado said he aspires to create music that even young fans can relate to. He said he would like to inspire and motivate people.
"Artists before me motivated me," Delgado said.
Delgado said that people often told him he would never make it in the music world. Still, he's quick to point out that life and circumstances can change in an instant.
"When I was a kid, people used to tell me things change. ... I got to see this," he said.