Conversations with Music Sept./Oct. 2015

Conversations with Music Sept./Oct. 2015
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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Introducing Conversations Magazine's Music Issue


Shadow Play Entertainment and Conversations Magazine are pleased to announce that the special music edition will be re-released on May 18, 2012!

Featuring recording artists from around the world, Webb strived to bring together individuals from various walks of life that all had one thing in common: their love of music. "I was amazed by the over 100 responses from individuals interested in being profiled," says Webb, 36. "What we ended up with is an eclectic group of men and women who are providing a worldwide soundtrack of talent and skill."











INSIDE THIS SPECIAL ISSUE
* DaShawn Miller: R&B's Prince Asks "Can You Handle It?"
* Schuyler Fisk: Adding Her Own Chords To The Music Of The World
* "Why We Go Goo Goo For Lady Gaga"
* Clare Lioon: Lessons Learned From Lady Gaga
* Michael Silas: Dancing Into His Destiny
* PROFILE: Mareshah Lawton (Melbourne, Australia)
* PROFILE: Adie (Valletta-Malta)
* Trey Lorenz: Sharing His Passion For Life Through Song
* Jessica Felman: Basking In The Light At The End Of The Tunnel
* Pretty Boiiz: Creating Music Without Limits
* PROFILE: Sarah McClurg (Canada)
* Nate Fowler: Pursuing His Music Through It All
* PROFILE: Michael "Mr. Fluid" Norris (Mississippi)
* Musician Cassandra O'Neal: More Than Hollywood
* Vinson Baker: A Rising Star Hiding In Plain Sight
* Recording Artist Peter Baldwin: Creating and Connecting One Day At A Time
* PROFILE: Cunning Brad (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe)
* Introducing Natalie Foley (Country)
* PROFILE: Ofelia Guizzon (Queensland, Australia)
* PROFILE: Robert Graham (Canada)
* PROFILE: Scarlletta (London)
* V.A.I.N.: Using His Lyrical Ability To Set Himself Free
* Recording Artist Dorothy Kersh: Living By Faith
* PROFILE: Soulsion (Auckland, New Zealand)

To order your copy of this special music edition of Conversations Magazine today for only $6.99, shipping included or to read the issue online and find out more information about those profiled, visit www.conversationswithmusic.com.

Friday, April 6, 2012

DaShawn Miller: R&B's Prince Asks "Can You Handle It?"



by Cyrus Webb

For 24 year old recording artist DaShawn Miller the success he has experienced so far has been a culmination of hard work and incredible blessings. The Waco, TX native is living his dreams and sharing his love of music with the world in ways that few artists have been able to.

I have interviewed the rising star several times over the past couple of years, and it's easy to see why he is winning over fans of his music all over the country and beyond. He's stays up late using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to talk with his fans, get their input and promote his latest project. Even at his young age he realizes that with such attention his looks and charm can only get him so far. He has to make sure the music lives up to the hype as well.

When preparing the music edition of Conversations Magazine we knew that it would be incomplete without DaShawn voice within it. In this interview he talks about where he his, what has got him to this point and there is much more to expect in the future.


DaShawn, first of all congratulations on all of your success. When did you first realize music was something that you had a real interest in?
It was early in life, about the age of twelve. My mom played alot of R&B in the house, and I fell in love with it.

Now that you are writing and producing your own music, what does it feel like to be focusing on what you love?
It's a crazy feeling, but it's also a blessing. When you have alot of people all over the place who like your music, that means alot.

How would you describe your particular lyrical style?
My music is more for when you are trying to set the mood right for that special person. If you find yourself loving groups like H-Town, Sillk as well as K Cee and Jo Jo then more than likely you will like DaShawn.

Congratulations on the digital distribution deal with Def Jam for the song "Can You Handle It?" Tell us about the meaning behind the song.
Thank you. The deal with Def Jam is just proof that all of the grinding with this music is paying off. I'm really grateful. As for the song, "Can You Handle It?" is more of a slow, club song. Basically I'm asking the girl if I give you my all can you handle that?

Because of the popularity you are generating, DaShawn, it is inevitable that you will have individuals looking up to you. Is being a role model something that you are comfortable with?
You know, I do want to be seen as a role model. That's why I try to keep my image clean. I want to portray myself in a way that others will look at me and what I"m doing and say they want to be like that person. That's important to me.

When it comes to getting your music out there, how have social networking sites like Twitter, Myspace and Facebook helped you reach a larger audience?
It makes it alot easier for your fans to connect with you, and you can get their feedback. It is also great for networking, linking up with producers and songwriters. For me, it's been a big part of my lifeline to the world.

I mentioned earlier about other individuals including artists looking up to you and what you have accomplished. Do you have an advice for them?
I would tell them that you have to keep doing it everyday. In the music industry there is no such thing as an off day. Even if and when you get the negative feedback, you have to keep going. Believe me, I am living proof that it will all pay off in the end. Repetition is the key to success.

In June 2011 recording artist DaShawn and good friend Bryan McCann of the Dallas Cowboys became the national spokespersons for the Ballin' With Books Literacy Campaign. Ballin' With Books unites sports lovers with books that fit their particular interests.

It was in six grade that DaShawn started getting interested in sports, namely football. His uncle played and was really good at it. I always looked up to him," says DaShawn. "I even wore the same number he wore (45) and played the same position." From football, DaShawn began to show an interest in basketball. When he began to pursue his music, he was able to do so balancing his love of sports.

No matter what he was doing, though, education was something he was going to excel in regardless---and that included reading. DaShawn hopes to use the spotlight that is on him to bring attention to this important topic as well as get others to see that you can be cool and still better yourself.

Look for two new singles and a video to be released by Dashawn in the near future, with details about his album coming soon. You can also find him this summer on the U Rock tour visiting stops in New Orleans, Dallas and Houston.

We at Shadow Play Entertainment and Conversations congratulate DaShawn for following his dreams and encouraging others to do the same. For more information about him and his upcoming projects visit www.reverbnation.com/dashawn.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Nate Fowler: Pursuing His Music THROUGH IT ALL


by Cyrus Webb

Raised in Boise, ID recording artist Nate Fowler took an interest in his father's acoustic guitar and never seemed to give it. As he says on his website "Music has always been something that has intrigued me." That intrigue, hard work and sheer determination has led him to pursue a career as an entertainer and release his new project THROUGH IT ALL.

Pouring out who he is and situations that have occurred around him, Nate has found that his music is not just resonating with those who support his music but with some in the industry as well. He has been awarded prizes and gotten the respect of individuals in the industry over the past couple of years. This has not changed the way he approaches music per se, but it's obvious that he is more sharp in his delivery and exactly what he wants to convey when he is on stage or in the studio.

"I like to make memories," Nate's website reveals about him, "and it seems that there are other people that like to make memories as well." These people come out to see him perform, purchase his music and stay in constant contact with him online. Some would have given up because the stardom they wanted wasn't coming fast enough. This wasn't the mindset of Nate. He knew that he was on this journey for the long haul, and through it all he was going to keep on until he was successful.

According to Nate "failure is simply not trying." So what is his advice to all of us? "I’m passionate. Please be passionate about something with me. They don’t have to be the same passions but we can still be friends." Yes, Nate I think you are right about that.

Find out more about this rising superstar at www.natefowlermusic.com and follow him through his Facebook fan page for current updates.

Pretty Boiiz: Creating Music Without Limits


by Cyrus Webb

It would seem that CT natives Rocky and J-Rez were destined to create music together. The two met while in school together and that meeting led to their forming the group Pretty Boiiz. The result has been that they are creating a sound that people are gravitating to and enjoying and goes beyond any limits that may be put in front of them.

When talking to the two of them it is obvious they are not only excited about the success they are having but enjoying themselves along the journey as well. "People are listening and joining the movement," J-Rez told me during the phone interview. "That is a good feeling, because it is something we have put our hearts into."

They have definitely come a long way since that initial meeting in 2004. Three years after that they had entered a talent competition when in high school, which led to their meeting their manager. I asked them what it was like to be in their early 20s and already doing what they want to do while so many others their ages are still trying to figure it all out. Rocky told me it was a real blessing, and J-Rez added this: "What is really good is that people like us for us. We're staying true to ourselves and living our lives in a positive way."

The name Pretty Boiiz came about when the two were trying to figure out what would fit them and their style the best. In school they had become known as "pretty boys" for their love of fashion and looking good. In the end it seemed like the perfect description of who they were and what they represented.

Describing their sound was easy. They wanted to produce music that was fun, creative and different, and something that people their age and all ages could relate to.

When they were guests on Conversations LIVE Radio in September 2011 they introduced their single "Blue Yankee On". They have released a video for the single that can be found at www.youtube.com/prettyboiiztv.

I asked them what they would say to others who looked at their success and what they have achieved and wanted to know what advice they would offer. They both mirrored the same sentiment: "Never give up on your dream. If you believe in yourself there is nothing you won't be able to do."

To stay in contact with the Pretty Boiiz visit www.prettyboiiz.com. You can also find them on Twitter at www.twitter.com/prettyboiiz. Interested in listening to their interview on Conversations LIVE? Visit www.tinyurl.com/prettyboiiz.

Trey Lorenz: Sharing His Passion For Life Through Song


by Cyrus Webb

Many got to know Grammy-Nominated recording artist Trey Lorenz when he sang a cover of the Jackson Five's "I'll Be There" with Superstar Mariah Carey, but that was by no means the beginning for him. In fact his love of music and skills as a performer became apparent as a kid in church growing up in the South. Today people all around the world know of his talent, and he is using the platform available to him to share his passion for life through song.

I had the opportunity to interview Trey on Conversations LIVE in September 2011 just as he was celebrating a string of high notes of the year. Before the discussion on the radio he had already enjoyed the success of two hit songs overseas with DJ Harry Choo Choo and DJ Tony Moran with the #1 UK dance record “Can I Love U More”.

I asked him in the interview what was it like for him to do something that he was so passionate about? "It's really a blessing," he told me "Life is a progression. I feel really fortunate."

The first time Trey performed "I'll Be There" with Mariah Carey for the world was on MTV Unplugged, however, it was the performance in 2009 at the Michael Jackson Memorial that people seemed to really resonate with. For Trey it was in many ways a full-circle experience. "It was one of those surreal moments in life," he relates. As someone who grew up loving Motown and of course Michael Jackson, it was an honor that Trey will never forget.

When asked what advice would he give artists looking to break into the business, his answer is clear: "Do your homework and study your craft. Some artist may have great songs but lack in other areas. Make sure you are studying the greats."

For Trey Lorenz nothing is impossible. His new single "Rescue Me" is available now on Itunes, and he can be found performing across the country and beyond sharing his passion for life and his gift of music. Even as he is reaching higher levels professionally, Trey also has words of wisdom for everyone with a dream. "If you have a passion for something make sure you stay with your first love," he says. "If it's really your passion it will never change."

Keep up with Trey Lorenz online at www.facebook.com/treylorenzmusic and www.twitter.com/trey_lorenz.

PROFILE: Sarah McClurg (Canada)


by Cyrus Webb

"I don't know exactly where I'm going yet, but I hope you'll come along for the ride!" That is what Country music sensation and native Canadian Sarah McClurg has to say about her new album TENNESSEE RAIN and her career. In my opinion, I think you should take her advice.

Sarah's voice and passion for her music and conveying it to the public is clear in watching her perform (as you can on her website www.sarahmcclurg.com), and I don't believe she will be stopping any time soon. Best known for her powerful voice and show-stopping performances, Sarah was gifted with an undeniable love for music early in life, and she is glad to be sharing that now with the world.  

In 2009 the young lady traveled to Nashville, Tennessee and met with producer Danny White of renowned 16 Ton Studios on famed Music-Row. After collaborating on what was to be just a "single," the two decided a full-album was the only way to go and so ensued "Tennessee Rain", an album of heartfelt, sincere country songs by a seasoned and confident artist.

The title track "Tennessee Rain" can be heard on Sarah's Facebook fanpage and is an up-tempo, vocally driven tune about lovers against all odds "washing away the pain tonight in the Tennessee rain".  "This album is everything I wanted it to be and it's only possible because of this journey I've been on all these years", she says.

Conversations Magazine congratulates Sarah McClurg for the courage she has shown in pursuing her dreams, and the path she has carved out for herself. It's not about trying to be anyone else. She is just being Sarah.

Visit www.sarahmcclurg.com and discover the magic of recording artist Sarah McClurg for yourself.

Musician Cassandra O'Neal: More Than Hollywood


by Cyrus Webb

Looking at the life of Cassandra O'Neal today it is remarkable to think of all that she has accomplished at this point in her life. Her musical resume includes working with artists such as Pink, 98 Degrees, Avant, Chante Moore, Mary J. Blige and Macy Gray, yet it is her recent work with Prince as part of the New Power Generation that has had people talking over the past couple of years.

Through it all, Cassandra has remained true to herself, allowing her deep sense of gratitude to guide her. In our phone conversation for the music issue of Conversations it was hard not to see that what she has been able to do has not changed who she credits for it all.

Growing up in the church as a preacher's daughter, Cassandra was always around music. At the age of five she was playing the piano, learning to imitate her mother. As she became more aware of what she was able to do, it was easy to decide where she wanted her gifts to take her.

"My goal was to play for a big name pop artist," she said to me. And that she has done and so much more, yet Cassandra is quick to let you know that she is not defined what what she does. "I will never be Hollywood," she says. "My focus is on the music I am creating. I want you to hear me. That's how I stay grounded. I am a person who just wants to make good music."

With the roller coaster ride that she finds herself on today moving from shows, rehearsals and public appearances, I was curious as to how she finds the time to take it all in. "You pick your moments to savor it," she explains. "Whether it's in the dressing room or after the night is over. I make sure I take that little moment and exhale."

Cassandra is also aware of how her music is affecting others. She refers to it as a "gift" that is "a blessing" to share. As in any other field there are pitfalls and haters to deal with, but her focus is making sure that she is doing all that is possible to let her light shine.

Since she was raised in the church I thought it was appropriate to ask her how faith has played a role in her life since being involved in the entertainment industry. She answered this way: "I have never gotten into drugs, drinking or any of the other traps out there. I'm not perfect, but I know that I would be nothing without my faith. I have made it this far by staying true to my beliefs and morals. My success is all God."

We ended the conversation by addressing another issue that we've been tacking recently in Conversations Magazine: the way that the internet has changed the way we listen to and get our music. "Everything has its pluses and its minuses," Cassandra says. "The internet has changed the game. No doubt about it. As artists we need to stand together and support each other. Our biggest investment should be in ourselves."

Confident, talented and aware of her inner strength and purpose, Cassandra O'Neal is more than just another part of a competitive industry. She represents the very best of all of us that strive to use our gifts to be of benefit to others.

Find out more about Cassandra by joining her Facebook fanpage at www.facebook.com/cassyqtkeys or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cassyqtkeys.

Recording Artist Peter Baldwin: Creating & Connecting One Day At A Ti me


by Cyrus Webb

 

Recording artist Peter Baldwin is someone who gets it. The Anchorage, AK native is definitely into his music, but he realizes the importance of the human component as well when it comes to actually connecting with those hearing it. Now living in New York, NY you can tell that it is the actual creation process that drives him, and he admits that he is himself a work in progress.

 

I first interviewed him for Conversations LIVE and afterwards as we were preparing the music issue I knew we had to have him be a part of it. In this candid discussion Peter talks about his beginnings, his inspiration and what's next.

 

Peter thank you for taking out the time to talk with us. Do you remember when you first begin to express an interest in music?

1997. I was sitting in church friday night next to my friends, Codey and Andre, during the part of the service when people 'testify'. The two of them decided to stand up and sing a song so, since they're older than I am, I followed. From then on we were 3-T or the 3 Testimonies.

Now looking at where you are today what surprises you the most about what you have been able to accomplish?

At that time in my life there were no expectations of a music career. I sang for Jesus. My ministerial function was choir boy and sometimes drummer if the other kids didn't show. I devoted entire sundays to church services and buffets. Now I'm a recording artist with sex appeal. Everything surprises me.

I can only imagine what it's like for you to see the reaction to your music when you are performing in front of a crowd. How would you describe that feeling?

What I'm seeing from the stage is a super intense moment that everyone is both creating and partaking in. What I'm feeling is like a current of absolute acceptance.

When you and I talked on Conversations LIVE I was curious about the journey you have been on as an artist. What inspires you or captures your attention enough to write and sing about?

Women, honestly, are the most inspiring thing I know, and my relationships with women shape my thinking. I have my ideas on what would make the world functional, but I think it starts between me and women.

Does the business side of the entertainment industry take any of the joy away from the craft for you?

Business does create some conflict in my head by raising questions that I wouldn't otherwise need an answer to: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? But there's no reason to lose my joy; it's mine. And if I'm here 10 years from now, I will be an influential human being with sex appeal.

What should we be looking out for from you in the near future?

Right now I do have new material in the works that I'm very excited about, but in the nearest future I'm selling "Peter Baldwin in Vodville" on iTunes and Amazon. I'm also taking on the college touring circuit soon.

How have you been using social networking sites to promote your work as well as connect with your fans?

I'm not an expert, but I have found that it's better to keep a personal profile on Facebook for real virtual interaction. I don't have to look at analytics charts because I'm actually out there selling myself.

Because of what you are accomplishing there will be those who read this, Peter, and will wonder what was the secret. What would you tell them about how you were able to make it this far?

Here's something I just made up for myself: Every day is made up of person to person interactions. The reason I'm not more accomplished is because I can get better at communicating with people. I have to make responsible communication my lifestyle. I have to build a solid support group and accept its resources.

Continued success to you, Peter. How can our readers keep in touch with you and support your music?

Thank you. I can be found on Twitter @Peterbaldwin. My website is http://peterbaldwinrocks.com . Blessings.

"Why We Go Goo Goo For Lady Gaga"


by Cyrus Webb*

At a time when so many in the entertainment industry are scrambling to keep up with the trends of the day, superstar Lady Gaga is standing out from the pack. Her style grabs headlines, but it is the music she creates taht keeps people talking about her.

For the past two years I have found myself caught in Lady Gaga's spell as well. The first song that I couldn't seem to get out of my head was "Paparazzi." Then there were songs like "Bad Romance", "Poker Face", "Telephone" and of course "Born This Way" that kept me going back to I-Tunes time and again.

I'm not the only one of course that can't get enough of the entertainer that seems to be everyone and doing everything. Her peers in the business have also been in awe of her talent and her rise from seemingly nowhere to the top of the charts and in the sight of everyone including former President Bill Clinton.

What is it that has drawn people to her? "Lady Gaga is so appealing and so successful because she is so unique," says Bonny Dolan, Managing Director and Executive Producer at Comma Music. "Who wears meat? She is fearless with an extraordinary talent. Mix this with her great voice and the fact she writes her own music, makes her the
full package. She isn't afraid to do anything and has done amazing job
using social media to share her music and spread her message. Most
importantly, she makes people feel comfortable no matter who or what they
are: gay, straight, black, white, etc. She helps people build confidence
in themselves. She is truly 'performance art' with an amazing voice."

Bonny seems to also believe that the rise of Lady Gaga also has to do with where music was when she came on the scene. "I think people were ready for this unique person to cut through the clutter and demand our attention. Demographically, she appeals to so many different audiences, teens and tweens, young adults, baby boomers and even the mature market."

Walt Ribeiro, composer and creator of For Orchestra is someone else who admires the skills of the Gaga. Ribeiro fuses his love of the orchestra and pop music and arranges music by artists such as Lady Gaga. He told me in a phone interview that he "loved Lady Gaga's music from the beginning," even before many of us even know who she was and definitely before knowing what she would become. "I was blown away from her music and loved her production style," he says.

As someone who has a love for music himself, he seconds what Bonny had to say about Gaga's appeal. "Every artist is an inspiration to every other artist," says Ribeiro. "She grabs your attention but has the content to keep your attention."

Something else that is clear with Lady Gaga is that she has found her place in the world and is comfortable in her own skin. I think whether you are a public figure or not, that is something that everyone strives for. She is fearless yet aware that her influence and gift were given to her for a purpose.

We should all be so fortunate as to be able to use our gifts in such a way that the world can't help but take notice.

* Photos courtesy of Madam Tussauds Hollywood

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

PROFILE: Michael "Mr. Fluid" Norris (Mississippi)


by Cyrus Webb

It's hard to believe that I have known Michael Norris over a decade now, but one thing that has not changed over the years is his passion for music and his ability to go against the grain. A native Mississippian, he and I have been moved outside of the state we call home, seen what's out there but returned to the Magnolia State to bring what we have learned here. When compiling the profile for the music issue of Conversations Magazine I knew that I wanted someone who I believe represents the versatility that the state has in terms of musical influences and talent. Michael is one of those people.

Known today as Mr. Fluid, he began writing poetry around the age of 13 or 14, but it wasn't until a few years later that he realized it was something he wanted to share with others. Not long after that he began playing the guitar, and then the journey began with Hip Hop by putting spoken word over beats.

In 2001 his entire view of his skills changed when he did a show opening up for the artist Pish Posh in 2001. "Being in front of a live crowd and getting a good response told me this was for me," he told me in a phone interview. Today his influences come from all styles of music and books and just the events of life.

When I asked him what keeps him going in such a competitive industry Mr. Fluid told me it was "waking up and continuing to live life."

In 2011 he released his new mixtape Magnolia Magnificent for free download and has been doing shows to promote it and share his skills with all that he comes in contact with. Get your copy of the mixtape at www.mrfluid.bandcamp.com. Discover more about this lyrical talent by becoming a fan on Facebook at www.tinyurl.com/mrfluidfacebook.

Tomas Doncker: Using Music To Stand Up For What's Right


by Cyrus Webb

Tomas Doncker is not just any kind of musician. He is the right kind of musician for the world we live in today. The Brooklyn, NY native has know since he was twelve years old that music was going to be his way of speaking to the world. He was watching television when a show came on showcasing acts from different genres and he "flipped out." "I went and woke up my mom and told her this was something I wanted to do," he recalls. His mother---a musician herself---told him how difficult the business was, but there was no changing the young boy's mind. He knew he had found his calling.

Fast-forward to 2012 and it's clear that Tomas Doncker knew exactly what he was talking about. With music distributed around the world he is being known and respected for a craft that he takes more seriously each and every day. It's something that he definitely doesn't take for granted. "It has been such a blessing,"he tells me during a phone interview. "I didn't realize at twelve the real rewards of an artistic journey: the friendships, the daily revelations, etc. The journey is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Music has truly shown me the power of the word."

The proof of the power that words have can be seen in his SMALL WORLD album which includes both messages of love but addresses social ills as well. This is by no means an accident. It is something that Tomas intended. "I've learned the power of music from around the world," he says. "I also have learned that music can evoke change. This is not just about playing notes. It's about a message."

One of the first lyrics that Tomas Doncker paid attention to was a line by The O Jays: "I love music" He recognizes today more than ever what that music can do. "It is the healing force of the world," he says. "As a kid you sing along, not thinking about the words. One day it hit me: I'm a musician. I'm supposed to be helping the world be a better place. It dawned on me the power of music and what it could do. I realized then that the gift of music was something really important."

From Tomas' perspective this is something that all of us can learn. "If we just treated each other with respect that would be a great start," he told me.

Interestingly enough whether people get the message or not, that isn't what drives him to keep going. "Whether the audience responds or not, it doesn't stop me from doing what I feel like I have to do. It makes me feel good that people are paying attention, but I don't need anyone else to validate what I'm doing. There's a certain sense of satisfaction in just doing what I know I'm supposed to be doing."

Tomas told me that when it comes to his style of music breaking through the various choruses being sung by artists of all genres he believes we are in a renaissance right now. "I think people are coming back around to the question 'What do you have to say?'"

The artist has found success and feels satisfied because he is in a good place. It is his life and he is inspired just by the gift of living.

Look for Tomas Doncker's new project POWER OF THE TRINITY on I-Tunes. Look for details about it and other events at http://www.tomasdoncker.net/.

V.A.I.N.: Using His Lyrical Ability To Set Himself Free


by Cyrus Webb

Recording artist V.A.I.N.(Verbal Assault Is Nasty) is not just another artist in a box hoping to make it in a tough industry. The Queens, NY native is following a self-made blueprint that guarantees his path to success as an artist and entreprenuer.  A student of the business and someone who doesn't limit himself as to what he can do, V.A.I.N. is now in a position to work with the individuals who first influenced him.

After the death of his father V.A.I.N. committed himself to a career in music not just as another rapper but an innovator as well. Describing his own musical style, he is quoted as saying this: "I believe I come from an educated yet street point of view, where I'm giving people insight into life.  What I desire to accomplish through my music is to educate, inspire as well as entertain.  I think I write from the heart first and then the mind.  There is nothing in the entire world quite like performing, and I simply can't get enough of the euphoric musical high!"

In my interviews with him on Conversations LIVE Radio as well as for this feature Vain has always been about truth to yourself, to your craft and to others.

As you build your own brand and pursue your goals, how do you stay true to who you are?
I stay true to myself by being honest with everybody around me. I realize you can't please everybody, so you just have to display your side, and where you are coming from, and people tend to understand. That statement "the truth will set you free" I really live by that! Because a lot of the time your assumptions of how people were going to percieve you are drawn up in your head a lot worst then the actual outcome.

It's obvious you are confident in yourself and your abilities. Where does that confidence come from?
I just be myself because no one on this earth has a matching finger print or DNA as me so why would I try to be like anyone else? Its better to be honest and be your unuiqe self. You' be surprised how many people like you for you.
 
Music has changed so much over the years. Some artists are here today and gone tomorrow. How are you approaching your career in a way that will make sure your music is here to stay?
Well i try to make timeless music. To me that's the key. I aim to touch on feelings and emotions that people go through. This way your music won't be just a fad or a trend. People will play u through the generations.
 
What advice do you have for others who are looking to pursue their own goals and dreams?
I would tell them that you're one giant magnet attracting what's around you. All that you dream up in your thoughts and dwell on when it comes to what you want and where you wanna be at in your career will come true for you. Also make music to compete with what the majors are putting out. Don't strive for demos or sub par mixed records.. Give yourself the best possibility to compete.

Clare Lioon: Lessons Learned From Lady Gaga


by Cyrus Webb

When I put out the call to talk with fans and admirers of Lady Gaga for the music issue of Conversations Magazine it surprised me how diverse the pool of responses were. I literally had people from all walks of life write in sharing their own experience with the music and the madness of the talented performer. One of the most memorable emails, however, came from Clare Lioon.

The 25 year of is not just a fan of the music created by Lady Gaga, she has learned quite a bit from the woman as well. Claire shares with us how she got to know of Lady Gaga, what is it about her music that attracts people from all walks of life and some of the ways she has been able to incorporate some of the messages of Gaga in her own life.


What was your initial attraction to Lady Gaga as an artist?
I initially felt attracted to Lady Gaga simply for her music. I am a product of the pop era age while growing up and spent my teenage years obsessing over the popular boy bands and girl groups/stars of the time, so I cannot help but to have a true love for pure pop music. I suppose it’s in my blood. As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to appreciate many other types of music and have favorite artists from other genres, but pop has always been my ongoing favorite – a guilty pleasure, if you will. In the past few years, I felt as if the music industry was missing a true pop artist, and I longed for a new one to emerge. My other favorite pop singer, Justin Timberlake, had been missing from the pop scene for years having taken a new foray into acting. Other pop singers were fun to listen to for me (ie. Britney Spears and the like) but none of them really did much for me other than provide fun songs that kept me singing and dancing throughout the years.

It’s hard to accurately depict in words, to be honest, what my initial draw was to Lady Gaga. A friend of mine had mentioned her, and I had seen photos of her posted to the popular celebrity blog, “Perez Hilton.” But, I did not feel like she was anything special. However, my initial opinion was not based on her music. I had merely judged her by the comments made through a friend and some pictures of her online. Not long after finally taking the time to actually sit down and listen to a few of her songs was I hooked. However, it wasn’t her hits “Just Dance” or “Poker Face” that really reeled me in – it was the slowed-down, piano ballad versions of those same songs. I stumbled upon some videos of Gaga belting out some stripped-down tunes on the piano in her now infamous “Cherrytree Sessions” (Glee’s Lea Michele and Idina Menzel even performed a Cherrytree Session of “Poker Face” during an episode). I believe that was the day I truly came to LOVE Lady Gaga as a musician. I YouTubed countless videos and watched as many performances as I could – In one evening, I was sold.

Not long after that, I bought tickets to my first of many Gaga concerts. It was a small venue that only held maybe 3,000 people – but it sold out, and quickly. Tickets were only $20 and standing room only. Her energetic performance and true grit confirmed what I already knew to be true – Lady Gaga is a brilliant and talented musician who is only just getting started.

Despite the controversy she sometimes stirs up do you think that is making her a more relevant artist/advocate for issues?
I began to love Lady Gaga for her addictive pop music songs and for her amazing, multi-faceted singing voice. However, it is the controversy she stirs and the issues she stands for that made me adore her as a person and a public figure. Not only do I feel that her bizarre outfits, strange antics, and strong beliefs make her a more relevant artist, but I feel that they prove why she is an artist who is clearly here to stay. Some people believe that Lady Gaga’s strange wardrobe and performance choices mean that she’s merely a flash in the pan, she tries too hard, she’s going to fall into irrelevancy faster than most artists when her tricks run up. To those naysayers I say – you’re wrong. Lady Gaga is a true performance artist. She lives and breathes her art, and she’s not going anywhere. She is not afraid to take chances and make bold moves with her fashion and in her performances. Gaga grew up loving the theater. A dramatic performer at heart, she carries this trait into her artistry. I myself grew up loving the theater as well. I absolutely loved “The Phantom of the Opera” and have many fond memories of trips to the theater to see the musical along with many other shows. Gaga brings that same kind of theatricality to her performances and to her everyday life. She lives the performance. I have never seen an artist like her in my life who truly never stops “performing.”

Many of the issues she stands for, she does so with such passion. She speaks for the LGBT community, for homeless youth, for AIDS awareness, for those who are bullied, for equal rights for all. I appreciate that she is such an outspoken, strong leader of these causes. I think it is so important for our generation to see stars who CAN and DO make a difference, rather than squander their money on drugs and DUIs. Lady Gaga is a real human rights leader of our time – I truly believe that. She uses her celebrity for good.

You've seen her in concert many times. Describe if you can the connection you feel in that venue moreso than listening to her music on the radio or watching on tv.
I have seen her in concert six times. I’ve been in the front few rows of the show for five out of those six times – and been in the actual FRONT row for a total of three times. The connection I feel with her in a concert setting is immeasurable, insurmountable, indescribable. I still get chills when I think about the opening interlude of her last tour, “The Monster Ball.” Being in the concert setting for me is like being home – I feel so welcome there. Not only do I feel a connection with her personally, but also with the thousands of like-minded fans. I have met so many amazing people at Lady Gaga concerts that I feel fully comfortable going to them by myself: I have been to two shows alone and met the best of friends. “Little Monsters” are so welcoming and accepting. I have made friends of all ages – some young, some much older. I’ve even met and befriended the professor who teaches "Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame” at University of South Carolina during my Gaga concert excursions. The concert setting is so amazing when you are surrounded by so many new (and old) friends who are just as excited as you are. When Gaga talks to a Little Monster friend, you cannot help but be excited and giddy for that fan as if it had actually happened to you.


I have been fortunate enough to share two special moments with Lady Gaga while in concert. I am a big fan of costumes, so I jumped at the opportunity to dress like Gaga for the concerts I attended. I spend months crafting the perfect Gaga outfits and enjoy the challenge of replicating some of her most famous looks. Because I wear such intricate and detailed costumes, Gaga has taken notice of me twice when I was in the front row and has directly talked to me about my costumes in front of the entire arena. After the concert, I cannot tell you how many fans wanted to take a picture with me because “Gaga talked to me.” I felt like a mini celebrity myself – it was a lot of fun. However, the connection I felt when she directly looked at me, acknowledged me, and talked to me was really amazing. Out of all these fans, you want to talk to me? You took notice of me? I was flattered.

But even without talking to me, I still feel a connection to her when she’s on the stage. During my first front-row concert, I didn’t dress up as crazy as the next two, and although she made eye contact with me several times, she did not call me out to speak to me. However, she did speak to two of my newly found Little Monster friends! I still remember those moments vividly, and although she was not speaking to me, I felt as if she was because I was so happy and excited for my friends. Lady Gaga’s stage presence and personal connection emulates to each fan in the crowd. Even when she speaks to other fans, you feel as if she’s speaking to you. And she does address the entire crowd. She speaks of being picked on when she was a kid, and how she grew up and overcame it all to become a superstar. You, too, can become a superstar if you believe what Lady Gaga preaches to her concert fans. And I do believe it.

I had the opportunity to meet Gaga once outside of her show in Atlanta. However, it was a freezing cold December evening, and plenty of other fans had gathered for the chance to get a glimpse of the star. She quickly met and signed autographs and took just a few photos with fans (me being one of the very lucky few). We barely got to speak, but I do remember telling her how much she meant to me as an artist and a person. We snapped a quick photo before she was whisked inside to perform. Although it was a fleeting moment, it is a photo and memory I will cherish forever. It is not every day that you get to meet your all-time favorite star. Meeting Gaga has made me feel a connection to her so much more when she performs. I feel like I am watching my friend up there, not an intimidating celebrity.


How has Lady Gaga inspired you as an individual going after your dreams?
Lady Gaga inspires me every day. Her story of hard work proves to me that anything you dream IS possible. Gaga grew up as a sheltered Catholic school girl, much like myself. She blossomed into an amazing, inspirational performer and person. Her success story is proof that anyone can work hard to reach a dream. I have pictures of her hanging up in my work space to remind me to keep pushing, to keep working harder. Gaga had to overcome so many obstacles to become the superstar she is today. She personifies one of my favorite quotes: “Successful people do the things that unsuccessful people are unwilling to do.” Lady Gaga followed her dream to become a performer. She didn’t let failures stop her along the way (she was dropped from her first label Def Jam and faced a lot of industry pushback) but she kept going. My career in social media can be very challenging, but very rewarding. On top of that, I am also finishing up my MBA in online classes at night. When the days seem long and hard, I remember to keep pushing. Gaga has inspired me to feel that way. Although I am very happy in a committed relationship, I feel that this quote from Lady Gaga explains my feelings best: “Some women choose to follow men, and some women choose to follow their dreams. If you're wondering which way to go, remember that your career will never wake up and tell you that it doesn't love you anymore.”

My relationship is important, but much like Lady Gaga, I am a strong, independent female always. I will never be the type of girl to let another person take care of me. I will always provide for myself and want to be an equal partner in a relationship. Lady Gaga has a fierce, “no-BS” attitude and is extremely outspoken, sometimes crude. However, I LOVE that she is so honest and open. She is a strong, fearless woman who doesn’t let anyone control her or stop her. No one can hold her back. She inspires me to be strong, to stand up for what I believe in, to be outspoken, to be true to myself, and to always put myself and my future first.

MICHAEL SILAS: Dancing Into His Destiny


by Cyrus Webb

The first time I ever heard of dancer Michael Silas was on BRAVO's reality show STEP IT UP AND DANCE, but his career began long before that national experience. For many, being on a show like that would be the momentum needed to open up doors for the future. In Michael's case, he had been knocking down doors long before that tv appearance, and he hasn't stopped since.

You see, for Michael, dancing is not just something he does. It's a reflection of who he is and what he is capable of in the future. So far his skills have granted him access to working with celebrities like Chris Brown, Mary J Blige, Neyo, Christina Aguilera, Hilary Duff, Kelly Rowland and Lady Gaga; and his brand continues to expand has he is featured in movies like The Longest Yard and commercials.

At the end of the day, though, Michael is not defined by who he works on but the work in progress that he sees himself as being. This interview has been three years in the making, and I'm pleased to share a glimpse into the world of man that is truly using his abilities to dance into his destiny.


When did you realize that dancing was something you were passionate about?
To be honest, my passion with dance for awhile was something I struggled with. The
inconsistency of the dance hustle was truly a test on my whole being when I first moved to LA. I thought I knew passion, but I would soon discover that my passion for life and dance would pull me through. My appreciation for passion became more understandable when the movement called Lady Gaga entered my life. To see something I love called Dance change my life the way it has is when I really knew this would for ever be my passion. So to answer Dance is still becoming my passion on a daily basis. It never stops...

Michael, confidence is something that many young people struggle with. What about you?
Confidence will always be an ongoing struggle for people. It's the way society works in a way. Always judging people or things. I call it people being absent minded to there own ignorance. Including myself. Confidence starts from within. It's a daily struggle because each day brings a new test. So inside I tell myself, I am a special person born to be my own individual the way God created me: beautiful, unique, gifted and a Rock Star!

So no matter what people think or say about you, know it's ok to be different and walk in confidence with your head held up!

Have you always been confident in your abilities and what you were able to do?
Yes and no. You have to be confident within yourself before you can truly approach it
head on. The mind can be a tricky thing, but I reverse the doubt and utilize it to prove myself wrong! If you think you can't do it, guess what then you won't. I learned a valuable quote from Laurie Ann Gibson that I have really applied to my own life: 'You are only as great as you allow yourself to be, so be great dammit!' (laughs)


Before you were on national tv, you had the pleasure of working with many well-known individuals. Give our readers a rundown of some of the people you have had the pleasure to work with.
See when I get asked this question it always makes me feel some kinda way, I never
want anyone to think I'm cocky when I talk about what I like to call blessings in my
life. I'm so grateful and humbled by the journey I've been blessed to be on. I've worked with artist like Lady Gaga, Chris Brown, Mary J Blige, Neyo, Christina Aguilera, Hilary Duff, Kelly Rowland, Solange Knowles, Cassie. When it comes to choreographers, I have worked with Laurie Ann Gibson, Brian Friedman, Hi Hat, Frank Gatson, Richard Jackson, Mikey Minden, Jerri Slaughter, Tabitha & Napolean, Dave Scott, Leville Smith, and Todd Smith. I also been fortunate to do movies like The Longest Yard as well as commercials for AT&T Go Phone, and Puma.

Michael, how did the experience of being on BRAVO's STEP IT UP AND DANCE assist you in getting the word out about who you were and open up new doors?
It did help me a bit, but I was already a professional dancer before the show so I had some small buzz from that and being a former Mr Gay Texas. Step It Up And Dance open the doors on a universal level,I had no clue that it would air outside of the USA. That took me off guard and when I began to travel abroad on the Tour I started seeing that it really did get my face out there.


When I caught back up with you last year you were on tour as part of the Haus of Gaga. How has this experience changed your life?
I don't even know where to begin, because its done so much for my life and being. I've learned so much about myself through this journey, it's brought a over whelming amount of happiness to me being able to live out my dreams on THIS type of stage while traveling the world with such amazing people...priceless, however its taught me no matter how high you go in your life always stay grounded and true to yourself for these blessings come from a higher power. Patience is key in the journey to happiness, and let the simple things in life bring that to you!

With all of the attention you have been able to get, what do you hope those who might look at you as an example will take away from your journey so far?
That I go through it with most genuine approach that I can, inspiring people with my story and testimony. Don't be afraid to really be who or whatever you want to be, u don't have to live in the box called society's standards! Beat to your own drum and know what beat that is for it's the very being of who you are!

Success is a word that can be personal for each person. At this point in your career, what does success mean to you?
To me success is my happiness these days. As a kid growing up I use to have these
outrageous goals that I never dreamed possible. Well now that my dreams are reality on a daily basis its surreal that I can say I've become successful! I've developed this new love for teaching workshops around the world and through them I spread the message that success and happiness is such a personal thing. Don't hold it to anyone else's standards but your own. You can't please them all so always make sure its starts within self!

What do you hope people take away from your life and how you are living your dreams today?
I hope I can inspire or make someones day with my story. I know how it feels to live life not feeling like you fit in or feeling different. Use that very uniqueness god created you with to be a INDIVIDUAL. To Laurie Ann Gibson, Richard Jackson, and LG thank you so much for showing me what it is to live with your wings spread, go through life fearless and staying true to self. Doors are always meant to be knocked down if not opened for you! So make sure you have a strong foot!

You can stay in contact with Michael online through Facebook and on Twitter.

Jessica Felman: Basking In The Light At The End Of The Tunnel


by Cyrus Webb

Her musical journey seemed to begin at the age of six when she wrote her first song. Now Pasadena, CA native Jessica Felman is performing in front of audiences, sharing her gift in a way that few will ever experience. "It's a great, rewarding experience," she told me in a phone interview for this edition. "I love music, and this is my way of sharing the truth of myself with others."

Raised on the Beatles and the classics, Jessica started off playing the guitar and has found a rhythm and style that fits who she is and seems to be resonating with others. The live shows, however, are something that she is still growing into. "I have to get used to the stage experience," she admits. "Every crowd is different, every place is different, and I am always thinking I want to do better and become better."

These feelings come in part to the way she feels about her family and the way they have reacted to her pursuing music. "They are all loving and supporting," she says. "I want to make them proud." That pride is something that not only those who know her feel but also those who are watching her progress and expand.

When talking about those who are also looking to go after their dreams, Jessica offers this great advice: "You have to have faith in yourself. If you have doubts, it's going to be a struggle. Never give up There is that light at the end of the tunnel."

The title of Jessica Felman's album is "Starting Over". It is available on I-Tunes and other online outlets. You can also keep up with her music and upcoming events at www.jessicafelman.com.

Recording Artist Dorothy Kersh: Living By Faith


by Cyrus Webb

Many around the world came to know Belzoni, MS native Dorothy Kersh when she auditioned for the BET singing competition Sunday's Best in 2010, however, her love for music began when she was just a little girl.

"I've always loved to sing," she told me, "but it wasn't until she joined the Humphreys County High School Choir that she realized that she had a real gift. Dorothy grew up with music in the home. Her mother was also a singer, and this provided an example for Dorothy that stayed with her into her adult years.

After overcoming challenges that threatened to destroy her, Dorothy Kersh emerged a strong person of faith and would use her experiences to minister God's Word to people she met.

In 2007 her faith became tested when she was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. "For a moment I thought my life was over," Dorothy says, "but later I realized that God was not finished with me yet." The lesson she learned? "God allows things to happen to us. He said in his word that we are going to have trials and tribulations, but He's made a way for us to escape." Today she is cancer free.

By 2010 Dorothy was ready to use the gift of song that God had given her to reach even more people with His message. She began working on her album, and earlier this year she shared the single "Jesus Is My King" with my listeners on Conversations LIVE.

For those who are going through their own difficulties and struggles, Dorothy offers this advice: "Have faith in the Lord, because he will never leave us or forsake us. God's words are true. He can't lie."

Look for updates on her album and other events at her website http://www.dorothyjkersh.yolasite.com/   and on Facebook. You can also purchase her album on I-Tunes, CD Baby and Amazon at this link: http://www.amazon.com/Lord-Pour-Out-Your-Spirit/dp/B006DRS1K0/ref=sr_shvl_album_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1336862475&sr=301-1 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Schuyler Fisk: Adding Her Own Chords To The Music Of The World


by Cyrus Webb

For actress and recording artist Schuyler Fisk her life is not to be defined by her famous mother (Academy award-winning actress Sissy Spacek) or just her physical beauty. She is more than that, and through her skills the world has come to know her as an entertainer serious about her craft and intent on carving out her own way.

Her music has been heard around the world with credits including the movie Dear John (based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks) and the series finale of the popular show "Ugly Betty". With aspiring actors and recording artists watching her journey and getting to know her through her music, Schuyler's message is simple: let your heart be your guide.

Thank you for taking out the time to talk with us, Schuyler. You have been able to pursue your passion both in movies and on stage as a recording artist. What has it been like for you to be living the life that so many just dream about?

I feel very grateful, happy and blessed. I'm motivated to continue to be able to make a living being creative.

In this issue we are talking alot about the unifying power of music and how it crosses so many lines and really speaks to the heart. When did you fall in love with music and how do you hope your music affects listeners?

I don't remember when I fell in love with music, but it definitely happened at a young age. I think it was my mother singing lullabies to me when I was little. I was enamored by her voice. 
  • I love how music brings people together. It connects people on another level. I mean, it literally moves us. There is nothing quite like getting lost dancing to a great song. 
  • Lady Gaga is also profiled in this issue. Many have a strong reaction to her talent and stage presence. Who are some of the artists you admire and enjoy seeing performing?

    I love all sorts of shows. I loved seeing the Rolling Stones and watching Mick run all around the stage - so electric and inspiring. But then I love very understated shows as well. I just saw the Weepies play acoustic at the Troubadour to a packed house - so moving and intimate. I like shows where it feels genuine and nothing is lip-synched!

    What can we expect next from you either on the screen or musically?

    My record "Blue Ribbon Winner" just recently came out as well as the film I am in called Restless, directed by Gus Van Sant. I've been back in the studio and have some neat music projects coming up that I can't wait to share!

    We really appreciate this opportunity to speak with you. Do you have any advice for individuals reading this who are still looking to find their passion? What encouragement would you give them?
    Follow your bliss! 

    Keep in touch with Schuyler and her upcoming events by visiting www.schuylerfisk.com.

    Introducing Natalie Foley (Australia)


    Shadow Play Entertainment is pleased to introduce you to recording artist Natalie Foley. One of the most sought-after country sounds in Australia, she generates energy and excitement everywhere she performs.

    Natalie started singing at the age of fourteen in talent quests. By the time she was sixteen she was a member of a successful country band and performing regularly. Jean Stafford, Rex Dallas, Jimmy Little, George Boyer and Main Stream. Foster and Allen, Deniese Morrison, Trevor Knight, Ian Blundel, Ian Bettridge and many, many more successful artists in the 1980,s. In 1988 Natalie was a finalist in Star Maker and competed through to the top ten.

    After a long break to raise her family , Natalie is back and she is still committed to country music. January 2009 saw Natalie as finalist in the Australian Bush Balladeer Star Quest which opened the doors to music once again. In August of 2009 she recorded a New Album at Enrec Studio with Steve Newton. Steve is famous for he’s ability in the studio winning himself a number of golden records over the years. “You See Me” is the tile of the Album and that is precisely what you get. Natalie has poured herself into this cd, showcasing four of her original songs.

    This dynamic lady with the big voice has been performing all over Australia. Natalie performs songs from the Golden Years of country as well Australian Bush Ballads and Contemporary Country.

    PROFILE: Adie (Valletta-Malta)


    Name: Adie

     

    Year established: 2009

     

    Hometown: VallettaMalta

     

    Current Location: G'Mangia – Malta

     

    Genre of music: Pop with a cross-over in rnb/dance/hip-hop

     

    What inspired you to pursue your love of music?

     

    Music was always part and parcel of my life without me being aware of this from when I was a kid. My dad was my inspiration – the man who introduced music, singing and dance to me and in my life. I recall him buying a lot of 9 inch vinyl records, mostly of The Beatles, Abba, Smokie and The Four Tops (and of other groups and artists too), having had the hobby of collecting them too, and then dancing and singing with each song of theirs. Then it continued at school where I used to experiment with poem writing and developing these poems into my very first songs. At school, they also used to choose me to be a main part in musicals that would require me to sing, dance and act at the same time, year after year.

     

    Mum was also a big fan of Italian music and so, we never missed watching their popular annual music festivals on TV. The love for music could never stop and it kept growing, leading me to win a very important talent show, then a national karaoke, local festivals all this leading to being a resident singer on Malta's Top Talk-Show at age 16. I also took part in various TV programmes and I have been invited as a guest singer both in the Maltese Islands and overseas. Having experienced things other people don't experience in their every day lives such as being the support act singer in Italy at age 14 for well-known and established singers Riccardo Fogli, Luca Barbarossa and Scialpi and recently, for The Cheeky Girls who came in Malta last March, makes it even more exciting and inspiring. I was very lucky to meet other Italian famous singers such as NEK, Orietta Berti and Fior Da Liso in person and was 2 metres away from actually speaking to my favourite actor Brad Pitt whilst he was filming World War Z in Malta this Summer. Last year I was also invited as a special guest singer on an Italian TV programme that featured a talent show competition amongst teenagers. When I think of these experiences, I look back at them with great pride and with a big smile on my face for all were wonderful and fantastic experiences, not to mention that music also opened doors for me such as being a Dj and radio a presenter. Yet, I'm even more curious to know what the future reserves for me and my music career and I'm looking forward to live this music journey to the full!

     

    Who are some of your influences?

     

    My influences vary from a heavy dose of American music, mainly those in the pop and rnb genre, including soft rock. Great artists such as Arethra Franklin, Michael Jackson, Madonna, the 90's music and nowadays, Alicia Keys, Rihanna, J.Lo, Akon and Ne-Yo are my favourites as they inspire me a lot. Bon Jovi, Europe and Scorpions were favourites too although I'm not so much into rock. I must admit that Italian music has had a great impact on me and my music too, especially Zucchero, Michele Zarrillo and Laura Pausini but my number one right now is Adele. I just can't stop listening to her album '21'. This gives me more courage and faith because from artists such as Adele I learn that singers who are not stereotypical and that have a great voice but do not fit in the usual diva figure, can be successful too.

     

    When it comes to pursuing music, what is your idea or view of what success means?

     

    My success would be when people start requesting more and more of my music; when they cannot stop listening to it because they just love what they're hearing and when I feel that all my efforts and hard work are being appreciated by many people from different parts of the world. I truly believe that this is a small world we are living in, especially from when internet was born, where it is easier to connect with people from wherever you are. But I strongly believe that music unites and having to travel to different parts of the world, appreciating the individual beauty each country and its people has to offer whilst trying to give them something back from my country, would make me feel so fulfilled and useful to society. Also, having this talent, is not something to be taken for granted – it's a gift from God – and so my mission is to try and use it the best way I can whilst earning a living from what I love doing most. Combining all this with my favourite hobbies - that are meeting people, learning new things and languages, going abroad, clubbing, dancing and enjoying life – wouldn't be a bad idea either.

     

     

    What keeps you motivated?

     

    The fact that I come from the tiny sunny island of Malta, that is marked as a dot (and that is almost invisible when compared to other countries and continents on the globe), and today, I'm being featured in this popular international magazine of yours, I guess it's already motivating enough and beyond my expectations! Moreover, looking back and re-living those memories in my past, I realize more and more how much I've learnt, how much I've been through and how much I've grown. The gigantic improvements that I see, although I feel I can still do more since my aim is to reach higher goals in my life and in my music career, keeps me wanting more of this and I have a feeling that I am now moving in the right direction.

     

     

    What advice do you have for aspiring musicians or individuals interested in pursuing their own dreams?

     

    This is interesting as one of the mottos I pursue in my life is that if one stops dreaming, one stops living! This is because I feel that dreams are such an important asset in our lives, in my life especially. Dreams motivate me, they push my limits and even encourage me to be more creative and be the person who I always aspire to be. If there are no dreams, most probably there are no aims in life and unfortunately, nothing to look forward to. It's good to be a dreamer, but it's also important to be realistic. If an artist decides to become a singer or a songwriter because they think they are going to become rich overnight and live comfortably, then that shows that their dream is most probably an unrealistic one, unless they already have the money, the right contacts and people to push them immediately to the top. However, the reality of a musician is far than relaxing and living in luxury!  Speaking of myself, apart from being a singer and a songwriter, I also have my full-time job to help me fund my own music, apart from keeping me busy intellectually and young at heart. I teach kids and although this is very demanding and energy-consuming, I feel happy because I can be of service to the most honest beings in this world. It also makes me proud because by the end of each scholastic year, all of the children would have made amazing improvement holistically, and that would mean that I made a difference in their lives. Therefore, it's very draining for me to cope with what I consider and call as my 'two full-time jobs' and sleepless nights, but as they say, it's how badly you want it that makes you work so hard for it – and this is me, hoping that my big day is near! Where there is a will, there is a way and I'm definitely giving my best here with no regrets.

     

     

    Where can readers find out more about you or purchase your music?

     

    The readers can listen to my music into more detail and get to know more about me, my life and personality, by means of accessing my Official Website www.adie.com.mt, apart from viewing videos I submit on my YouTube Channel called adiemusic. I consider my website as my baby and my home, where new and fresh information are usually published there first. Then, apart from the website and YouTube, one can also reach me on the social networks.

    PROFILE: Cunning Brad (Bulawayo Zimbabwe)


    Name:  Cunning Brad

    Year Est: In 2006 although I have been writing songs and playing the cover circuit for years.

    Hometown: Bulawayo Zimbabwe

    Genre: lyrically loaded melodic rock and ballads

    What inspired you?
    My family has always been musical. I was born with music in my ears. My Mother played piano and piano accordion, my brother is also a singer/songwriter/entertainer. He gave me my first guitar that we rescued out of a dustbin. My Dad managed to glue it back together and I learned to play on that.

    What other musicians influenced you? 
    Too many, always love old school classic rock like Aerosmith, Led Zepp, Bad Company, Journey and Boston, but I also was weaned on Cat Stevens and Jim Croce. I'll love anything melodic doesn't matter if it is hard and angry or soft and slow.

    What is your view of success as an artist? 
    I don't feel like I should pursue music as such. Obviously I am seduced by the idea of fame and fortune, but I feel success every time someone hears me, then buys my album and then raves about my songwriting.

    How do you keep yourself motivated? 
    I am pretty hard on myself when it comes to songwriting and performing, I expect a lot and I incubate my original songs for ages before I record them, so I push myself quite hard, but my passion and love for my music is obvious and is what I think keeps me motivated.

    Brad, what advice do you give to other artists or those pursuing their dreams?
    To other artists I would say work with your hearts as well as your minds. Hone your skills as best as you can. Focus on sharpening your song writing and your genre of choice. Get yourselves a marketable brand. Collectively save and invest in decent gear for the band and for decent production in the recording of your songs, 'Voodoo Child' are a good example of that. Approach agents, publishers, record companies, radio stations, venues etc. Try to be different to other bands, do stuff that sets you apart. And push, push, push. Never ever give up. Trust me, because I am still doing it too.

    You can find out more about me at my website www.cunningbrad.co.za , and we are also
    on facebook as "Cunning Brad" My music can be heard on both sites and anyone wishing to buy the album can contact me through my website.