Photo by Gio Bartlett
By Joe Walker
LANSING, MI – Entrepreneur and hip hop recording artist Ricky Pannell Jr. is an example of thriving in the face of adversity.
With the pandemic proven to be a frightening hindrance, the Lansing resident known popularly as Wavie P (Wavie is an acronym for Was A Valuable Influence Everywhere) used the life-changing circumstances to progress creatively and professionally. Both his music and his massage business, A Better Feel, experienced significant growth.
“Creatively as an artist I was able to expand my skillet in various ways,” he said. “From engineering all my music to creating my own cover art and still keeping a release schedule is a feat in itself.”
Always creating and elevating his music, Pannell has released a jaw-dropping amount of well-received singles. Recent selections “Winter In the Summer”, “Pressure”, “Thoughts”, and “Shining Bright” are available on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, and all digital streaming platforms along with music videos on his Wavie P YouTube channel.
When Pennell’s not blessing the microphone, he’s busy bringing clients peace, healing, and tranquility through the art of massage. With a widespread need for tension and anxiety relief, Pannell said A Better Feel, “exploded on its own during the pandemic. Throughout Michigan [it’s] known in good circles.”
Looking back over the past 24 months, Pannell found the bright side of the situation to be “interesting to say the least,” he admitted. “I’ve been able to progress in many ways regardless of whatever obstacles came my way.”
After graduating from Charles Herbert Flowers High School in Springdale, Maryland, Pennell studied Hospitality Business at Michigan State University in East Lansing. Welcoming by nature and refined through his education, a chance meeting with a few spa employees afforded him an opportunity to receive a well-needed massage. It was inspiration enough to pursue the craft.
“From there I went to school, and flourished by gaining experience and getting certified,” Pennell said, noting that the future of A Better Feel involves more than just masseuse-client services.
“My goal for the future is to build a network with all mobile massage therapists within Michigan, eventually throughout the Midwest and expand nationally,” he said. “I want to do webinars so people will be able to do in-home techniques to help themselves because a lot of times they may not be able to afford the opportunity to go get a massage.”
Pennell’s desire to be helpful doesn’t stop there. He takes pride in uplifting his community, he said, having supported Lansing 501 events, the farmers markets, area health and wellness professionals and advocates including Sparrow Hospital’s children foundation, and taking part in outreach programs with community groups.
“I’m hoping to do something with Meals on Wheels and anything to help the homeless,” he said.
As for Wavie P, fans should expect a full course. Pennell said he is cooking new releases and a whole lot more, and not even a pandemic will hinder him
“Music and content is development, and I’m looking to do sync licensing for my music to be in movies, videos games, and I have some big shows on the horizon – keep your eyes peeled. And a lot of people have be seeing me cook [food], so #BuffettSeason is on the way!”