In todays world the social media influencer is king. The top influencers have millions of followers and make millions of dollars. Businesses and brands vie for coverage or deals with influencers to reach their audiences. Personalities and lifestyles play a large role in being a successful influencer. Facebook was founded in 2004. Instagram (the birthplace of paid influencers) was founded in 2010. When I was coming up in the 80s and early 90s, there was no internet, yet alone social media. Yet I was able to witness the life of someone that started trends before Instagram started trending. Kim Saunders. #Influencer.
Growing up, you dont realize just how much people are making lasting impressions on your life. Many people know me for making songs and performing. They dont know that Kim played a major role in me getting into songwriting and making music. He would always get extra animated when playing his favorite songs, as he sang loudly along to songs like Kimbo King. #BigTune.
I wrote my first song chatting like the artists he listened to. As scared as I was to make a song, I would just remember Kim saying, Stop being scary, aint nothing in this world to be scared of. This song ended up placing in a song competition, second only to Jevons group. #WeWinners. Then I channeled my inner Kim (and his funny dance moves) to perform the song for television. #Classic. Making music and performing in front of others would become lifelong passions of mine, all from me imitating my cool, big cousin Kim. #Influencer.
I saw someone who always seemed to be doing something fun and interesting. Stepping in a fraternity? Check. Riding motorcycles? Check. Flying airplanes? Check. Ladies man? Check. #Gyalis. If social media was around back then, Kim would have had followers eating out the palm of his hand. He spoke with a commanding voice, whether seriously or in jest, and words never seemed to escape him. He always had something cool to say and had many witty remarks on standby for anyone brave enough to try and outdo him. To this day you can see the influence dripping off of his younger brothers and cousins. Generations of Kappa pledges stemmed from the way he was able to portray how great it was to be a Kappa. #Influencer.
When I look back and think of any memory with Kim in it, I see smiling faces and gut-busting laughs. (Rolling on the floor emoji). I can see an Instagram video of him in the backyard slamming dominoes. #GetUp! I see a Whatsapp story of him driving with one arm out of the window, singing over the loud music. A Facebook post of Captain Saunders in the cockpit of a plane saying, Gerbal, hand me that (tool that doesnt exist) over there with the caption: #LookaThisClown. To imagine Kim in the family group chat today can only be described as the way I saw him, #Legendary.
As time goes on, we look to thank those that helped to make us who we are. I never got to tell him how much he impacted my life. He was unable to see how many accomplishments I achieved that he was a part of. So many small gestures and seemingly meaningless encounters shaped my life. I can only find peace knowing that he was not someone looking for recognition. He was always in the limelight, but not seeking it. He would more than likely casually say, Its nothing Gerbal. Stop making a big deal and hand me that piston excavator (eye wink). #KimSaundersForever.