Men in Power Interview: DJ Blighty: Celebrity DJ

This week on Men in Power we have a very talented, award-winning, father, celebrities know him as the master on decks and you all know him as UK’s finest Top Dj.

I am pleased to have DJ Blighty as our men in Power of the week.

Congratulations on winning best Urban Dj of the year for Mixcloud.

How was it finding out you won best Dj or the year?

Thank you. It was unexpected, to be honest so I was very overwhelmed when I found out, I wouldn’t have got there without the support of my listener’s so I’m very grateful to them for their support.

You have over 10 million streams on Mixcloud and the number growing each day.

How do you know what songs to mix?

Haha, not quite reached the 10 Million milestones just yet, I’m hoping to get there before the end of the year though, think I’m closing in on 7 Million which is amazing. My song selection is my picks of current hits, new undiscovered artists & classics. There is no formula other than my musical ear which I had from a very young age, I have a natural ability to know which songs will mix nicely together which makes life easier.

Your mixtapes are always popping, How did you learn how to mix?

I taught myself at the tender age of 13, many tedious hours of trial & error, there weren’t any tutorials or how to’s back then, so years of practice & perseverance.

And have you considered holding masterclasses?

I haven’t, but it could be something to look at in the future.

So how did it all begin?

I’ve been obsessed with music since before I can remember, I started to take an interest in DJ-ing at the age of around 11/12 (Back when it wasn’t all that cool or popular) I begged for my first set of decks which I was fortunate to get for my 13th Birthday, started buying records with my pocket money & practicing. Many years later, here I am today.

• Where did the name come from?

That’s an easy one, my surname is Blight, my nickname in school was Blighty so choosing it as my DJ name just seemed like a no-brainer

•Well, that was very simple, I thought you might have had a story, like other djs do. Did the DJing, Production, Promoting come 1st?

DJ-ing for sure, in my opinion you shouldn’t start promoting your name as a DJ/Brand until you’re confident with your skills/ability.

• Which countries have you played/?

I’ve been fortunate enough to play all over the world, but my journey as an international DJ is only just starting to take off, literally lol. Up to now I’ve done New York City, Greek holiday islands such as Zante/Kavos aswel as plush holiday resorts such as Puerto Banus in Marbella. At present, Dubai, Japan & Italy are all in the pipeline which is very exciting.

• What was the first event you ever played at/?

A small VIP club in my hometown of Cardiff which was at the time one of the most talked about events in the city called Sugar & Spice which is still going strong to this day. It was from there I started to build up my presence in my hometown.

That’s pretty cool, heard Cardiff has great spots to hang out, What’s the best event you’ve played at?

That’s a tough one to answer as I have so many incredible memories of events I’ve done throughout my career. My most memorable show to date would be a very close call between opening for J. Cole in Cardiff or playing to a sold out Proud at the O2 in London to over 3,000 people, the atmosphere was insane.

What was the first record you bought?

• Luniz – I Got 5 On It which is still one of my favourite Hip Hop tracks of all time.

Out of all the tunes you have, which one ‘never fails?’

With the digital age of DJ-ing, I have around 20,000+ tracks with me when I play out. It depends on what sort of party I’m playing but I have a crate with at least 30/40 guaranteed to get out of jail cards.

What’s your favourite tune of all time?

• I would be here all day writing down names of songs & wouldn’t be able to pick one, there’s just too many.

True considering the amount of songs you have, When all the partying is over how do you like to chill out?

• I recently became a father for the first time so any chill time has now become a thing of the past haha. I wouldn’t change it for the world though.

Awww congratulations and she’s very adorable. Funniest thing that ever happened at an event?

• A young student posing to be a superstar dance DJ tricked me as I didn’t know what they looked like, that always stands out in my mind. Felt a bit stupid when the actual DJ turned up haha.

lool. Bless you, Other DJs you rate?

• Jazzy Jeff is the greatest of all time, in my opinion, I’ve had the honour of working with him a few times. Jaguar Skills who I work with regularly & is super talented. Tim Westwood is a legend who has always inspired me. Scottie B.

You have been a Dj for over 10 years, how do you keep yourself humble?

• To be honest I don’t know. But it’s something I’ve always done & will continue to do no matter how far my career takes me. I’ve seen ego ruin people & it’s ugly.

Where do you see your career if you were not a writer and DJ

• I would have loved to have been an architect as I love being creative but the maths was waaaay over my head.

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Past Events

Who is a person that you considered as a role model early in your life? How and why does this person impact your life?

My grandmother who was always the person who pushed me to work hard & chase my dreams. She taught me all the important morals & principles which I live by today & was the most positive person I’ve ever known.

How did you decide to pursue the career that you are working in today? What was a pivotal moment?

It’s been a dream since a very young age, that passion is still there & stronger than ever. I’ll keep chasing my goals until the fire goes’s out which I doubt after this long it ever will.

What’s the best piece of advice you have received

To never care what people think of you or what you do. There’s a lot of bitterness & negativity in the DJ world which I personally ignore.

What would you say to yourself when you were 18?

Work harder, sleepless

Do you ever sleep?

Not very much now I have my daughter, I used to manage a few hours a night though haha

What’s the last movie that made you laugh

Daddy’s Home 2

That is so cute would never have imagined Daddy’s home 2 would make you cry. Bless

When do you feel most creative?

I get random bursts of inspiration from various factors when I do it’s straight to the studio.

How do you see the scene 5 years from now?

• I really don’t know, it’s changed a lot in the past 5 years so time will tell

Is your family musical?

• Yes, I grew up around music. My mum was a singer & my dad was a DJ so it definitely runs in the family.

That’s pretty cool, have to research who your parents are now 😊

How do you handle mistakes during a performance?

• I try to avoid them by staying calm & moving on is key. Like any professional performer, ignore it & carry on.

Finally, Any Advice for those who think Djing is easy cause I tried it out it isn’t. What would you say?

• It’s not as easy as it looks, however it’s easier to learn now than it was when I did. I actually do tutorials on my YouTube channel: DJ Blighty TV. Plug Plug 🙂

Great Plug, Well was great sitting down with you and was a pleasure knowing you and I can say you are very humble compared to the dj’s out here, congratulations on your bundle of joy.

You can follow DJ Blighty on Twitter, Instagram, Mixcloud, Soundcloud and Facebook

@DJBLIGHTY

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Management/Bookings: talent@fridayflava.com

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Domestic Violence Nearly took my life-Abigail Okeyre Story

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Domestic violence is on the rise, on average, two women in England and Wales are killed by their current or former partner every week, an estimated 1.9 million adults aged 16 to 59 years experienced domestic abuse in the last year, Abigail Okeyre was part of that statistics, but luckily for her, she managed to escape such a volatile relationship  Honestly, I had to accept that he didn’t love or want me and that I had been abused all along. That was so hard to do but once I started, I began to recover.”

Abigail’s relationship with her ex, started off as been very close friends for nearly seven years, before they started dating, and in those years there were no signs that he was or even had any traits of a violent man. Their relationship was always blissful like any relationship would be sharing secrets and laughter with one another until one day when Abigail found out about another relationship he was having and she confronted him about it ‘ He swore that she was a crazy ex who didn’t want to leave him alone. Initially, I believed him but the day I challenged his lies was, the day the beatings started. Prior to that, he had never even raised his voice at me before. In fact, he was the calm to my storms.’ statistics show that victims of domestic violence never see the signs, as the predator has the following traits: charming, jealous, manipulative, controlling, a victim. unfortunately, Abigail was drawn to the charming side of her ex-partner. “There were no signs at all. He was such a charming sweetheart.

The first time he beat her she tried to hide it but her mum saw the injuries when she got home and involved the police. He usually would hit me with his fist. I guess wherever he could lay his hands on me, he would usually hit but my face always seemed to bear the brunt of the beating and he would injure me mainly on my face He once threatened to hit me with an iron but to his credit he really controlled himself. I thought I was going to die that day .He threatened to never talk to her again if she allowed the police to arrest him and claimed that the charge would ruin his future. She got scared so she lied and fought the police to drop the case against all sound advice. That case was never dropped although she almost succeeded.

The last time he beat her up, they had argued about the same girl she has accused him of having an affair with. He punched her in the face and blood kept oozing uncontrollably. He kept beating her, that she passed out multiple times. She remembers hearing him threatening to kill her for real next time; each time she gained consciousness. That was when she began to reason the situation whilst lying there. she kept saying to herself, “if I die here, no one will fight for me”. As a Ghanaian and him being from an affluent family, her case will be swept under the carpet and he will continue living. As soon as the beating stopped she called her parents and his parents and told them everything. her mum came to get her and that was it.

Abigail was able to escape from her violence partner, however not many men and women are able to do so on average, two women in England and Wales are killed by their current or former partner every week. The number of prosecutions relating to violence against women and girls in England and Wales reached a record level in 2015-16, rising by almost 10% to 117,568. New measures on violence against women to be put in domestic abuse bill, Abigail, had to accept that he did not love or want her and that she had been abused all along. “That was so hard to do but once I started, I began to recover. The funny thing about my situation was that I WAS educated. It didn’t change anything. I was living in denial and I made so many excuses for him”.

Abigail is now able to share her story to other women and men who are going through or know anyone in such situations and her advice to you is “Honestly, if you are going through it, walking away does not make you weak. He/she does not love you, they’ll never change and your life is more important. It will hurt as though you are about to die but it will get better and please get counseling. I did not and it’s messing me up today, years later. If you know someone going through it, be patient. More necessary than anything, they need a non-judgemental ear to listen and shoulder to cry on. If they can trust you with that, they are more likely to listen to your advice on walking away. Also, get counseling for yourself too. It can be traumatic watching your loved one go through this.

Domestic Violence is a continuous problem as victims are not able to identify themselves as one, according to the year ending March 2017 Crime Survey for England and Wales (1.2 million women, 713,000 men). were accounted for domestic violence. Are you part of that statistic if so get help and talk to someone like Abigail did, it is never too late.

If you know anyone or you have been affected by this story and would like more help and information, please do not hesitate to contact National Domestic Helpline

Remeber Domestic Violence can happen to anyone, including men not just women, if you see any form of abuse do not wait, speak out and report it, you can be saving a life

0808 2000 247

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Men in Photography: Maxwell Bonsu

This week on Men in Photography we have none other than Canadian Photographer Maximilian, who has been in the industry for many years, he specializes in: wedding, portrait,  and lifestyle.
 He draw’s his inspiration from all the small and extraordinary things that surround him. He strives to capture dynamic, timeless images with enthusiasm and honesty. Known for his impeccable editing style, Ghana-born and Toronto-raised photographer Maxwell Bonsu loves to deliver beyond expectations. Cultivating his passion for photography at the George Brown School of Design, Maxwell’s eye for images was evident long before.
@modelxdoll Makeup artist @dessyxj
Maxwell prides himself on efficient turnaround time and final edits that sport a realistic finish. Since his start, Maxwell has had the pleasure of working in several aspects of photography covering Toronto Fashion Week for a Vancouver-based magazine and Melissa Grelo, host of The Social and CP24 Breakfast. Maxwell continues to advance his versatility as an artist, gladly taking on projects that force him to think with new eyes and a focus on photography, and was a pleasure interviewing you.
What made me become a photographer basically I was very interested in creating perfect images and also I was a graphic designer in the past and I knew I needed good quality images so I decided to take up photography in order to I guess feed my graphic designer needs I’ve been in the industry pretty long about 10 years now
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I knew Immediately that this career choice was for me during college so I think I was about 19 to 20 years old at that time
Like I said before I was a graphic designer and I did a lot of animation in terms of turning images into cartoon characters so I need very high-quality images I spent all the money I had to buy an entry-level camera and start taking pictures of people and Animating them
I decided to go with Maximilian because I looked up the meaning of the name Maxwell and realize that it’s actually an abbreviation which the meaning of the name is “the great” not to be narcissistic or anything but I really like the meaning of the name it just didn’t have anything else after that it just said “the great.”
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I was highly inspired by many things fashion photography urban photography street photography very few photographers that I can name from that timeframe that inspired me but I guess you can say one of my most favourite ones was definitely Matt Barnes
I decided to shoot mainly African American or black woman. Because I noticed that there wasn’t a lot of representation for that group of people in terms of photographers who are professionals were able to create art a lot of people seem to go towards the more easy side of things in terms of photography I decide to take a different route
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What I really want to convey in my photography is acceptance integration and diversity
Are use an array of different types of technology from computers to programs but you definitely find me editing everything on Adobe programs
Honestly, what keeps me going I would say the supporters my family and the thought of the future I would love to teach others photography whatever path they decide to go towards that being fashion urban street photography I would love to teach them the basics the fundamentals
I would say what is unique about my business is my ethics and editing, My advice for Inspiring photographers is purely just starting, go don’t hold back
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I definitely wouldn’t consider my photographs “raunchy” I would say that they allow the woman to be who they wanna be Whether that being sexy or in clothes whatever they decide to do and I think that’s why the also feel comfortable enough to be around me because I don’t judge them
I never really have time to really relax if I do I spend it mostly watching movies are spending time with my girlfriend or family
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At the moment I would say Drake probably be somebody I’m interested in photographing
My top three priorities as a business owner are to make sure you have your ground rules set make sure everything is clearly conveyed to the clients and make sure that you are prepared for anything and also keep your emotions in check
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It’s a bit of misogyny and also lack of enthusiasm and drive so it’s a bit of both from both genders that really keep a lot of female photographers down
My Instagram is Milan Photos and you can find me on pretty much anywhere in social media with that same name
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Women in Music: KLAUDIA KEZIAH

Hey love I know it’s been a while since our last Men and Women in Music Interview and I am proud to say, this week we have KLAUDIA KEZIAH, vocalist, song-writer and cellist (a talent I wish I had). I hope you all enjoy this interview as much as I did

How are you today?

Happy weekend

Hello! I’m very well thanks, thank you for having me!

Last year was successful year for you , What would you say was the highlight of 2017?

And what are you looking forward to for 2018?

I’m so excited for this year. My EP ‘Gold Light’ opened up the year for me with my new sound. I’ve met loads of amazing people during the promo period, who are genuinely interested in the project.

I’m  supporting Mauvey on his Love therapy UK tour on starting on the 31st of May.

I’ve got some exciting new music on the way with some special dance collaborations too just in time for the party season.

How did you know this is the career for you? And what made you to go forth and chase it ?

I knew I wanted to be a musician since I was 8 years old. I began my musical journey attending a classical music school where I played Cello and piano. I only realised I can and wanted to sing during my college years! But Music was the plan since a very young age.

What is unique about your music compared to other artists?

A lot of people say it’s my songwriting and vocal tone that is unique. Most of my writing is very visual and metaphoric which can get lost in a lot of current music.

Have you ever turned down an artist ?

You always need to make sure the collaboration suits your path and the Message / image you’re trying to put across. I’ve been lucky enough to connect with very like-minded songwriters and musicians. I have however, turned down a few dance producers as I simply can’t say yes to every collaboration.

And if so how did you know it was the right thing to do?

Like mentioned, if there’s not a vibe musically or our brands are miles apart then it can be hard to connect and make great music!

If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

Music is one of the most difficult industries to be successful in or to make a full time living out of. But if you love it enough then to need to keep pushing until you reach your targets. If everyone quit when it got hard then there wouldn’t be any musicians left!

Just believe in your talent, grow your skill and knowledge of the industry and a sick team around you

What advice would you have for young men who are trying to get involved in the fashion and business industry?

I know fashion can be just as hard to succeed in, but if you’re a creative you need to create and share your talents with the world, so  absolutely do it! That said.. I think especially in fashion you have to be ruthless.

Do you ever take time out to relax and rest and if so what are the things you like to do in your free time?

I love fitness and you can find me in the gym any time I have a spare minute. Also, if there’s more free time, I love exploring the world and especially the US.

Who would you like to work with in the music industry if you had a chance to?

I’m a huge fan of Nao, Frank Ocean. I would love to work with people like Daniel Ceasor, MNEK and disclosure!

And what are your predictions for 2018 Music trends?  Who would you like to see come out that is underground at the moment

The scene is in a great place for independent artists right now, which has made space for some amazing new sounds, right now the Afroswing/afrobeat sound is really making waves commercially. And behind that there’s some great r&b/indie artists like Daniel Ceasor creating some great music. So I think 2018 is going to be a great progression of urban music and it’s influence in general

As a entertainer, what are your top three priorities? And Do you set high expectations or tolerate mediocrity?

1 Create music that reflects me as an artist and a person

2 Surround myself with a humble and inspiring team

3 Take no notice of haters because they’re still taking time out of their day to interact with you. Just surround yourself with positive energy

I am a perfectionist but setting the bar high makes you work harder and get the best out of your ability. And that’s in any career path!

music artist questions

how did it feel when you decided to step out and pursue your career?

You basically can’t plan out a music career and stick to the plan, which scared me at first because I’m super organised. Things change daily and you don’t know what’s around the corner. So I’d say it’s nerve racking but worth it.

Did you ever face a backlash from your family when you told them you wanted to step out and work on your music?

My family have been my number one fans since a young age. My mum is my biggest supporter haha!

You have been singing for many years now, who did you grow  up listening to?

A lot of Michael Jackson, Anastasia and loads of r&b was played in my household. I’m defiantly influence by MJs story telling type of writing and soulful vocals from Anastasia

Tell me a bit about your latest single?

Me EP ‘Gold Light’ dropped last month alongside the music video for the lead single ‘Gold Light’

The message behind the track in a nutshell is that materialistic things don’t matter – what matters is having a golden heart/being kind. I feel in our society now, absolutely everything is judged on image, status and money (‘gold’). Especially in the social media world. I find a lot of people are losing personalities, raw emotions and true feelings through all that materialism. ‘Gold Light’ is essentially a love song and about meeting your soul mate. But the underlining story is that you can give all the “gold and diamonds , rhinestone showers” ( lyrics) to the other person, but all that really matters is whats inside.

how did the name come to be chosen?

‘Gold Light’ is a metaphor for a positive energy/ feeling. Like a light at the end of a tunnel

Who is a person that you considered as a role model early in your life? How and why does this person impact your life?

I’ve always had strong female role models in my family. My mum has always been my role model. She’s one of the strongest females I know.

If we’re sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great year it’s been for you, as an artist  what would  you like to have achieved?

I want my music to reach so many more people this year. I want to look back and be proud of all the new music I made and people I’ve met.

When have you been most satisfied in your life?

I will let you know when! Haha

I think you’re never fully satisfied, and that in itself drives you to do better. I’m always super appreciative, but it’s not the same as satisfaction or a feeling of completeness

Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.

Collaborating with ironik was great. Me and my friends used to listen to his music at school 15 and share the songs via Bluetooth, who would of thought I’d be on a track with him  years later!

Tell us about a time when things didn’t go the way you wanted

As a musician you always have a good and bad gig story. I remember one time performing at a venue which had an automatic sound cut off of you played louder than the threshold (as it was in a area with lots of houses) and let’s just say having a full band wasn’t the best idea haha!!!

What projects do you have coming up for 2018, album, tour?

I’m shooting the new music video for “My Muse” off the EP next week in Miami.

I’m touring the UK with Mauvey next month and Getting the new material ready for summer!

Name your top 3 artists from nigeria?

I’d say Malerk Berry and Wizkid

Top 3 international artists on your playlists?

Nao

Daniel Ceaser

Frank ocean

Where can everyone follow you on the socials?

Facebook.com/ KlaudiaKeziah

Instagram.com/KlaudiaKeziah

www.KlaudiaMusic.com

Twitter.com/KlaudiaMusic

Youtube.com/KlaudiaKeziah

Women in Power: Nayoka Oware (Radio Presenter, Content Creator

This week’s Women in Power is the beautiful Nayoke from “The Journey Online” she wears multiple hats from being a mum to interviewing celebrities on her show online

What made you to start Presenting? And are you glad you started it

My sister Amma. She made the suggestion after thinking about Jamal Edwards, MBE, founder of SB.TV. She told me his story and encouraged me to invest in a DSLR, go into the world and create opportunities for myself. She even came up with a show I could host. In addition, when I was in my early teens, I would watch June Sarpong and Richard Blackwood present the show MTV Select, and in my head I wanted to be them, be in the limelight, be recognised, be popular. As I grew older, my reasons for wanting to be a Presenter changed. I realised that it was a gift and not just a money making skill. I realised that it was important to see people on the TV and listen to people on the radio that you can identify with, that look like you, that understand diversity and that we are all unique. I wanted to show others that it is possible to achieve your dreams so far as you never stop working. Even on the days when you just don’t feel like it, find the strength to work.

Sarkodie & The Journey Online

Your a radio presenter at ABN TV Radio every week, how did that come about?

At present, I no longer work at ABN Radio but, I worked as an Intern at VOA Radio…

You have been presenting for many years now do you consider yourself branching out? For example movies or directing?

I believe in being open to all opportunities, so far as they tie in with my gift/calling. If another profession will assist me to develop myself further, professionally and personally, I am willing to learn, grow and embrace that opportunity.

Where do you see yourself in the next 2-5 years?

I’ll still be learning, growing, applying what I’ve learned, thriving and excelling in all areas of my life.

How did you decide to pursue the career that you are working in today? What was a pivotal moment?

Talking to people and having a genuine interest in their response comes naturally to me. In my opinion, asking relevant questions and being an intent listener are two important skills to have as a Presenter. I am the co-founder of The Journey Management LTD, an entertainment company and the founder, CEO, co-editor and host of The Journey Online. I coupled my love for music with the passion I had, and still have, for Presenting, and started my online channel in 2012. Additionally, I believed in myself, even on days where I just wanted to give up because I didn’t trust the process, I wasn’t enjoying my own journey and failed to recognise my small victories.

A pivotal moment for me was interviewing Sarkodie. I had wanted to meet him for over a decade, had reached out to his team a couple of times, but it was proving difficult to pin him down. After years of trying, I hosted him on my online channel. Having an artiste of his calibre praising the show confirmed that we were doing something right.

What are the most important decisions that you face daily as a leader?

Deciding if an idea myself or the team suggests, will have a positive long-term impact the company and ensuring that it is a true reflection of my brand.

How do you maintain your and your team’s daily motivation and inspiration despite obstacles, pushback or setbacks?

Keeping in constant contact, updating the team on the progress we are making, having a genuine interest in their wellbeing and talking through any challenges or triumphs we have.

How do you foster creative and innovative thinking within your business? And How are ideas shared and implemented within your team?

The old fashioned way. Putting pen to paper individually and then coming together as a group to share best practice and bounce ideas off each other. We often watch interviews and/or documentaries and learn from others in the industry and in other fields, that came before us. We network, seek advice from those who are willing to impart knowledge on how to start and maintain a successful business and ways to succeed in ours. There is much to learn from a veteran.

Once we have shared our ideas, we weigh out the pros and cons of pursuing each idea and then make a final decision based on what will benefit the company and all who may be involved at that time.

What’s the best piece of advice you have received?

Do what you know. There is no point of trying to learn about a profession that you have no interest in and know nothing about. Build on the knowledge you have first, then, broaden your horizons.

20 years in the future what advice would you have for yourself

You’re still alive. Keep going. God obviously isn’t done with you yet. Also, enjoy and share the fruit of your labour.

🚨 FULL INTERVIEW in our bio 🚨 – @stonebwoyb ‘s interview with @nayoka.oware. They talk life changing surgery, #ShattaWale & more… 📹: @oware10 | @jenniferoteng

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📸: @michaeltubescreations

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What would you say to yourself when you were 16?

You have already identified what your gift is, start working on building your empire. Do not procrastinate. Work toward your dream every single day from writing ideas to networking, don’t waste a single day.

If you were a Juice what would you be?

Lychee Juice. Not every one knows what it is, likes the sound of the name or the look of it, but they’d be willing to give it a try… and then they’re hooked!

Who do you look up to the most?

Myself. I work towards bettering myself everyday.

Love that response What’s the last movie that made you cry?

The Notebook. If you haven’t watched it, please do. You’ll understand why it is a tear jerker.

What’s the last movie that made you laugh

Parts of Black Panther.

What are the most important traits of successful leaders today?

Transparency, to a certain degree, being loyal to your cause, calling and vision, being unshakable but willing to accept constructive critique, honesty and selflessness.

What is the most important characteristic that every leader should possess?

Transparency, loyalty, having entrepreneurial skills, honesty, compassion, resilience and selflessness.

What are the most pressing challenge that leaders are facing today? And why?

Not listening to the cries of the people that they are meant to be serving and fulfilling their promises. Depending on the type of leader you are, you will have a board of governors, a team, an audience or there will always be a group of people who will guide you, you will have to serve or provide a service for. If you are incapable of listening to what they want or making an effort to change whatever may be affecting them, and if you cannot cater to them in some way, if that is the role you are called to fulfil, then you have no right being a leader. If you don’t serve the people, they will become disgruntled and turn against you. Selfishness, greed, power and authority can consume you as a leader if to begin with, your focus was on the wrong thing e.g. money instead of your love for people.

Do you have a mentor? If so, what traits are you seeking in a mentor and why?

I do. I think that it’s imperative to have a mentor irrespective of the industry you are in. My mentor is transparent, gives constructive criticism, motivates and encourages me and is forthright. He tells me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear.

What are you doing daily to ensure your growth and development continues as a successful business owner ? If so, how?

Challenging myself, taking the time out to write down my thoughts, looking at multiple streams of income, being open minded and unlearning things I was taught that restricts the flow of creativity and conflicts with being an entrepreneur. I also write a list of tasks that I need to complete everyday. There is never less that 8 things on that list.

What is the best and worst decision you’ve ever made?

Best: wanting to be more than most African women are lead to believe they can be and taking action to ensure that I pursued my dreams.

Worst: Not starting earlier, since I had already realised what my gift was.

What was your dream job as a kid and why?

To be an actress, because I enjoyed Drama and Theatre studies and loved acting school. Not forgetting that my mum encouraged me to. She wanted me to be on TV and stay away from boys…

What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?

Staying down for too long when we get knocked down or discouraged. Yes, we have to work three times as hard as men do, but if we stick at it, history has taught us that we can achieve great things… Oprah Winfrey, Margaret Thatcher, Shirley Frimpong Manso, Ellen, Wendy Williams, Folorunso Alakija… the list goes on.

What woman inspires you and why?

There are too many to list, as each of them exhibit different qualities that are needed to be great. A woman that does not conform, is confident in herself but remains humble, is ambitious and unapologetically herself. A woman of faith who has a vision and is willing to help others whether she is called upon to help, or not, that is the type of woman that inspires me.

What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?

In my opinion, there are no new challenges for women, the intensity and support may be the only difference. For example, the women that accused Harvey Weinstein and Billy Cosby of sexual assault and/or gross misconduct, if this were to be a decade or two ago, only a few of women would have been bold enough to speak up, so the movement would not have been as intense as it is currently; there would not have been as much support due to fear. Although women seem to be more outspoken that ever, WOC will still have to fight for equal rights and equal pay. Women will still have to prove that they are just as able, intelligent, capable, diligent, forthright and efficient as their male counterparts.

When do you feel most creative ?

At night. I’m nocturnal.

If your life was a song what would it be?

Miss Independent – Ne-Yo

And what words of wisdom would you like to share to young and older women in the beauty, YouTube and Instagram industry ?

Never think twice about being yourself. Your true self. The self that you may be afraid no one will except, because you and only you will have to live with decisions you make, the rewards you get and the consequences you face. I’ll leave you with one of my favourite quotes: ‘Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. ‘ – Oscar Wilde

Thank you, so much for sitting down with me

You can follow her on Twitter & Instagram

@TheJourneyOnline

Men In Photography:

Men in photography interview

What made you go into photography?

Well in the realm of the world where politics, freedom of speech and religion is the cultural anomaly, photography allows me to escape the noise of quarrelling politicians and world atrocities. Photography allows me to express myself. I can depict many things through photography and it sort of brings a calm inside me which is what initially made me go into it. In addition, the aid of my good friends Ben Irwin and Ivor Moyo prompted me into photography as well. Ben taught me a few basic skills such as editing Pictures to a professional level through Adobe lightroom. I’d started shooting landscapes and architecture then progressed onto portraits as I felt that these told more of a story.

Ivor on the other hand pushed me to think outside the box, which prompted the start of my business “KunguShots”

What age did you know this career was for you?

I knew at the age of 24. Growing up I’d always been creative. For example I’d started producing samples of music and taught myself how to play the guitar, drums and bass in my spare time. I was also part of a band in high school as a drummer so I have always been creative. Photography allows me to express myself in ways that words can’t describe. As a form of artistic expression, photography for me tells a story. The implications of producing provocative, exciting, crude or even bad photography (bad in the wider sense) in the eyes of some may either tell a happy, strange or sad story that’s the power of photography hence why it is my career.

What inspired you to name your brand Kungushots?

The inspiration behind my brand name stems from my nickname in high school “Kungu” extracted from my last name “Makungu.” Ben Irwin (my good friend) added the element of “Shots” creating “kungushots” and it was almost like an epiphany and we came to the realisation that this worked perfectly.

Did any photographers inspire you and if so which photographer influenced you and how did they influence your career path?

One of my biggest inspirations in photography is Kat Irlin (@Kat_in_nyc) her work is truly powerful and what I love the most about her work is the dark cinematic feel. I came across her work in early 2017 and from that moment I knew how this was my career path.

Exactly what it is you want to say with your photographs and how do you actually get your photographs to do that?

I tell stories through my photographs. The first thing I normally do before a photoshoot is getting to know the model. Once a model has shared stories about their lives, I apply that to my work. This is a skill I picked up in June 2017. This is another reason I wanted to focus all my energy into portraiture, people are very interesting.

What was your career path? How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to actually doing it full time, for a living?

Before photography, my main career path was to work in advertising. I studied marketing at university, so back then this was my main goal. I mean, it has taken me almost two years to get to the stage I am now and it came with a lot of challenges which I was able to overcome and get to the point which I am at now.

What technology/software/camera gear do you use to keep focused on what you do best, as you photograph?

I shoot with the Canon 5d Mark II with the 50mm 1.4 sigma lens. I love to challenge myself, instead of owning 5-10 other lenses, I’ve decided to stick with the 50mm. By using just one lens, this helps push my creative limits. Once I have mastered the 50mm lens, I will move onto the next lens. I edit all my photographs on Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Most of my work are captured with just natural lights, I don’t use any other camera gears.

What motivates you to continue taking pictures economically, politically, intellectually or emotionally?

I would say that the emotional side of photography is what I show the most in my works. I love to create whether it be a collaboration with a brand or model, I am able to bring out the mood/emotion in that specific picture even if it’s a portrait or simply a picture of an object. Being able to see my vision come alive motivates me to continue taking pictures. I could be having a bad day but as soon as I pick up my camera and start shooting, it’s almost as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I am in my own little world where I can express myself through photography.

What advice would you have for young men who are trying to get involved in the photography industry?

The best advice I have for those starting out photography is to start off with a decent cheap camera, learn how that camera works. Once your skills have improved, move onto the next camera. Do not waste money on photography courses, no one can teach you how to become a great photographer in a short period of time, you must put in the work.

As bob Marley said “the greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.” If you literally live by this quote, your greatness will shine through your art, that being photography.

Do you ever take time out to relax and rest and if so what are the things you like to do in your free time?

I do take time off to relax, don’t we all?  Sometimes it’s important to take a breather and just look back on how far you’ve come and enjoy life. In my spare time I go to the gym, meet friends, go for food. You know, your average normal everyday things.  However, it’s also important to carry on seeing the vision that you want to create with your work even on your off days. I do have off days but I will refer to them as “creative days” too because creativity is something that I just do subconsciously sometimes. I could look at an object and think ” I could do something with that” it just comes naturally you know? Like breathing, it’s almost engraved into my everyday life.

Who would you like to work with in the fashion and entertainment industry if you had a chance to?

I’d love to work with an array of stars such the Weeknd, Chadwick Boseman, Mette Towley, Lupita Nyong’o, Jeana Turner, Vendela Lindblom  and many more. I’m always looking for ways to develop my work and work with stars in the entertainment and fashion industry and I believe that getting my work out there and continuing to create will be pivotal to my development as a photographer thus allowing me the opportunity to work with people in those industries.

As a business owner, what are your top three priorities? And Do you set high expectations or tolerate mediocrity?

My top 3 priorities are firstly always remaining professional and making sure that clients are comfortable. Secondly, always setting goals and looking for new ways to evolve, I’m a perfectionist and my work must reflect that, but if there are ways I can improve I’m open to doing so. Thirdly and finally, I think that being consistent is a priority as well, keeping a consistent work flow allows for a better service.

In relation to mediocracy, my answer is simple, mediocracy has no space in photography for me personally.

Men in Business: Meli Moyo (Check Out Africa & Promoshin)

This week has been a pretty relaxed week, for me as I have been catching up on my lectures, and assignments.

I sat down with Meli Moyo co-founder of Check Out Africa, and Promoshin Media & Marketing pr company. We discussed how he and his partner Ivor decided to create the online company which showcases Africa finest artefacts, fashion, culture and also African companies.

Meli is a man of business and at a young age is succeeding in his business ventures, check out how our interview went below.

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How are you today, Happy New Year

I’m feeling blessed and highly favoured. Happy New Year to you too.

Last year was a successful year for you and your brand. What would you say was the highlight of 2017? 

I would say the highlight for me last year was all the great stuff we achieved for CheckOutAfrica. After going through a rebrand and website revamp, we can back strong with high profile interviews, more content and growing our social media following. 2017 was a good year for us.

And what are you looking forward to for 2018?

In 2018 I’m looking forward to more success & growth. We have launched Promoshin, our social media management and marketing agency and I’m excited about what’s to come.

Please tell our readers what you do?

I’m a jack of all trades and a master of some. I wear different hats in my roles, so I’m sometimes a content creator, a social media manager, a blogger, interviewer but I’m always a entrepreneur. I think we’re blessed in this day and age that we’re able to be multi-facetted creators and have that as a job role. I love it.

You are co founder of Check out Africa and Promoshin how did that come about and how did those two brands start? 

Well these companies have been around for a long time, but the last couple of years have been our most ‘successful’ if you will. The genesis of CheckOutAfrica came from a need to show the beauty of Africa. Unfortunately, media coverage of Africa doesn’t always present our Motherland as we Africans know it. We made it a mission to change the narrative around Africa, showcase the beauty in our many cultures and traditions, but also the beauty in our cities, villages and provinces. And social media gave us the tools to do this without going through mainstream media channels.

Promoshin, our social media management and marketing services started because we saw that a number of the companies we were working with had little or limited social media presence. So we set up and started helping businesses grow their online audience, amplify their reach and ultimately grow their business. The rest is history.

How did you get your idea or concept for your business ?

We saw the need and the demand, and decided we wanted to do something about it. Like most businesses. If you’re business isn’t meeting or addressing a social need, it can be hard to stay operational. So make sure you address a need and if it’s not there. Create it.

How did you know this is the career for you? And what made you to go forth and chase it?

I didn’t, I kind of fell into it. So it wasn’t a choice I made but something that happened naturally. This lifestyle is always glamourized or romanticized. However, not a lot can prepare you for the struggles that come with being an entrepreneur or a business owner, and it certainly isn’t all roses. There’s peaks and valleys, but you just have to keep pushing. A wise person once told me that being a entrepreneur is more about the journey than the destination. And that statement couldn’t be truer.

What made you choose this type of business?

Two things: one, access. The barriers to entry have essentially been kicked down. Social media and the internet has given us a voice, that people didn’t have before. Through social media we’re about to reach people in Africa from our phones or laptops. For an organisation like ours, that’s gold. We’re able to empower, inspire and collaborate with people in Africa remotely.

And in regards to Promoshin, social media marketing is crucial to businesses, this is the trend going beyond 2018 it seems. And with our skills we want to help businesses harness the power of social media as we have managed to do with CheckOutAfrica and others.

What is unique about your business?

What makes our business unique is our team. We don’t work like traditional companies. We have a genuine passion and care for the companies we work with. We work closely with all our clients so we’re personally invested in helping companies grow and reach their goals.

You have worked with a number of high end clients and brands have you ever turned down a client?

We haven’t turned down a client per se. We try to hear out anyone who gets in contact with us. However, there has been times when things haven’t worked out for various reasons obviously. Maybe the budget wasn’t right, we couldn’t work out schedules or just differences in perspectives.

And if so how did you know it was the right thing to do?

One thing we try to avoid having in our line of business is FOMO (fear of missing out) – When things haven’t worked out, we try to see to it as a blessing in disguise. We try to do the best for our clients and have a vested interest in their business, so when we get a client where we feel we this isn’t the case, we try not to do them a disservice by taking the project if we’re not fully invested.

If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

I would say comparison kills and perseverance is your oxygen.

What advice would you have for young men who are trying to get involved in the fashion and business industry?

I’d advice them to study their craft. Find balance and don’t be afraid to try things out. Don’t feel like you should know exactly what you want do, you can take time to explore and figure it out. It’s a marathon not a race.

Do you ever take time out to relax and rest and if so what are the things you like to do in your free time?

I’ve been lucky to have a good work-life balance, in my free time I like to chill and hang out. Grab a drink with friends, go to a concert, see a movie. Live life not just exist, if you know what I mean. 

Finally As a business owner, what are your top three priorities? And Do you set high expectations or tolerate mediocrity? 

Balance & Discipline: Not comparing ourselves to other organisations and being disciplined in our practices enough to make our business succeed.

Knowledge: What we’re doing to stay ahead of our competition but also how we’re empowering and inspiring others to have a voice.

Network: Not only networking up but networking across –  So not only trying to work with people in a better position or higher up in the food chain than us but working with people from our backgrounds, different African countries. Growing our network so we can better help others too.

We do not tolerate mediocrity. We definitely set high expectations, mostly for ourselves as an organisation.

How do you balance the up-keep of CheckOutAfrica and social media outlets ?

Updating social media platforms and outlets has become second nature at this point. Obviously we use social media tools and resources where we can but for the most part we manually manage our social media platforms as well as for clients. It can be a lot of work but you learn to love it.

Where would you like the businesses to be in the next 5 years?

For CheckOutAfrica, in 5 years we will be bigger, with offices in Africa and also working with bigger organisations and actively doing more work within Africa. Promoshin will be bigger and better. High profile clientele and offering a wider array of services.

What advice do you have for the young men trying to start up a marketing and social media platform ?

I would advise them is build your own social media platforms first before managing others. Also, stay up to date with the trends. Social media moves very quickly, trends change over night. We’ve seen it recently with Instagram, so it’s important to know whats happening. But most importantly, have fun. Nothing is worth doing if you’re not having fun or enjoying yourself, so try to do something you truly enjoy and will fulfil you.

Importantly, you don’t own your Instagram account, your twitter account or whatever platform you use. You’re renting the space, and if your business is solely based on a social media platform, whether you have 1M or 1K followers you’re always an algorithm or a new popular platform away from not having a business. Think beyond social media.

You can follow Lynn and Check Out Africa & Promoshin on all Social media platforms 

@melligram

@Checkoutafrica

@camillefriendshow

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Women in Power: Erica Matthews Fashion/celebrity stylist & content creator

Please tell us your career field in 5 words?

Fashion/celebrity stylist content creator

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You have been in the fashion industry for many years now, styling celebrities and high-end magazines such as Vogue

How did you first get into fashion?

I am definitely blessed to have some of my work featured in Vogue magazine. Surprisingly, I never knew the job role existed! It really began as a hobby for me while working in retail and I worked my way from a sales advisor to a visual merchandiser. But things really began moving for me when a high street brand PR Director/Stylist Arieta Mujay spotted my work, she took me under her wing and taught me the basics. The next thing I knew I was assisting for editorials and designer shows at Fashion week and assisting with styling Celebs like Kelly Rowland etc.

What inspired you to join the field?

I think it was the encouragement of hearing that a hidden passion of mine can become a career. “Fashion Styling” was definitely a more elite role a few years ago when I started. With the support of my mum, I took the chance – quit my job and so many opportunities began coming my way.

 

Your portfolio is quite impeccable, I do not even know where to start from. What would you say are your top 5 styling opportunities you have had?

Styling Shingai Shoniwa for the Africa Express performance with Sir Paul McCartney

Styling Samantha Harvey for a Pepsi campaign

My First International job in Milan styling a Lookbook for Designer Alberto Zambelli

My First ever international commercial campaign for Sleek Hair

Seeing my styling featured in British Vogue twice

You have been in this industry for a while now did you think it’s easier now or back then to gain exposure and work?

I think there are elements which make it both easier and harder now, but the real exposure is about knowing the right people. Previously you didn’t really have that many platforms to promote yourself for free, whereas now we have so many i.e. Instagram – which I believe is the number one visual platform to promote yourself. Because of this shift, brands/clients now Increasingly want to book “people”. So the number of followers you have and your stats can increase your chance of being booked apposed to just how great your portfolio is. But it’s important to always be flexible and fresh. 

Do you think social media has helped in your career field now in terms of gaining more exposure than you would have in the past?

In a world with no social media, we used strong branded websites and word of mouth which still are the strongest career builders in my own opinion. But I definitely feel that social media has helped by; putting a face to my name, making me more accessible and building my brand presence.

Do you believe there’s competition in the fashion styling and social media industry as people claim there is?

Unfortunately, there is and I have experienced it myself. I see people with little experience of styling being featured in magazines as style experts and creating collections with designers. I’ve seen editors give up their front row seat at fashion week for socialites. But I make it my business to open the fashion door to working & aspiring stylists out there, especially via my youtube tutorials. I believe that there is room for all of us and if you work hard and keep improving, it will pay off!

I know family always comes first for you has there been times you have had to. Miss Big opportunities because of a family commitment?

My family is so important to me and I think I love them even more because they understand my grind. I don’t have any kids of my own so they all understand that big opportunities only propel my career. – Last year I missed my nieces huge birthday party because I flew out to Monaco for a last minute job.

 

You have a great following you are now on 20+ followers on all your social media platforms there are a few influencers and brands that only care about the numbers. Do numbers matter or is content more important? 

Content and numbers are equally important! I say this at least twice a week when answering questions in my DM’s. Consistently great content helps to build all your social numbers. If you want to loan items as a fashion stylist then PR’s are more focused on your portfolio and body of work. So you can push your social if it showcases your work well!, But now that I have stepped into the influencer world with more brand collaborations I have found that they are a lot more about followers and your interactions etc.

 

You have used your platform very well, not many people know this but you are a mentor, content creator and new to YouTube

What made you start YouTube and mentoring? And are you glad you started it

I was in a really low place in my life. Recently heartbroken and just came out of a surprise operation and lost my visual job I was doing on the side. I was listening to a Joyce Meyer Podcast and she said: “if you want to know how to make yourself feel better – Help somebody else”. For years I had spoken about starting YouTube, so I used my savings and bought a camera and a light and decided to just film. I thought, If I could help just one person out of despair it would be worth it! The lovely messages I get from my subscribers really knock me off my feet sometimes! It’s one of the best decisions I have ever made!

Where do you see yourself in the next 2-5 years?

This year has already served me some surprises which I will be announced VERY soon! But I have learned not to make my life plans a box to keep myself in. Being freelance is fun and exciting and you literally have no idea what opportunity could be coming around the corner.

I always love working hard in silence and letting my successful moments make the noise. But you can definitely find me somewhere between working much harder to build my brand and my presence and drinking more water lol!

 

How did you decide to pursue the career that you are working on today? What was a pivotal moment? 

I was working as a visual merchandiser full time and I had a manager who just didn’t want to see me grow. I wanted to study fashion – she said no. I had an opportunity to be featured in company magazine – She (tried) to say no. I was offered to be head stylist assistant for a fashion show at London fashion week – she said no. I have always been a creative free-spirit and she clipped my wings so much, I knew it was time to fly.

What are the most important decisions that you face daily as a leader?

Time is precious. So I make sure that I cherish each moment. I always make sure that I am organised and at least do three major things on my to-do list every day! For years, I read productivity as work, work, work. Now I know this also means I need to have “me moments” where I switch of and focus on making myself happy.

 

How do you maintain your and your team’s daily motivation and inspiration despite obstacles, pushback or setbacks?

It’s surprising to some, but I actually work alone. I motivate myself daily with a morning social ban. I read my bible devotionals and meditate and set out what I need to achieve for the day.

Most importantly, I have learned to take each day as it comes which means over preparing. With experience, you learn the different things that can happen on a day-to-day basis and always remain professional in any situation.

 

What’s the best piece of advice you have received?

“The harder you work, the luckier you get”

 

What are the most important traits of successful leaders today?

consistency, faith, fearlessness, versatility and persistence

 

Now-a- days you don’t see leaders who have faith in any industry, so What is the most important characteristic that every leader should possess?

Patience

 

That’s very true, I believe patience takes you very very far, What are the most pressing challenges that leaders are facing today? And why?

I think the biggest problem is jumping on the comparison train. At the height of the digital era, we spend a lot of our time scrolling through our phones, bombarded by other peoples showreels. We end up being pressured into PR’ing our own lives, whilst wanting someone else’s ‘perfect’ life. It’s dangerous because the journey is just as important as the milestones. Brand identity and individuality are crucial in such a saturated industry and more than a few end up becoming clones. Very few use their individuality as a driving force for their success.

 

that’s why we are seeing young people, changing careers every day because they are constantly comparing themselves with other people. Do you have a mentor? If so, what traits are you seeking a mentor and why?

I don’t currently have a mentor, but the ones I worked with were always realistic, optimistic and very thorough with accountability in my goal setting.

 

What are you doing daily to ensure your growth and development continues as a successful business owner? If so, how? 

As mentioned before, I think a good balance between work time and my time is very important. I work with a goal setting based diary that I use every day. I have some main goals to achieve throughout the year – both business and personal ones. Every month I work towards these goals day by day. consistency is key, patience is key and you’ll always find me listening to some motivating podcasts or a book – the current book I’m reading is ‘In the meantime’ by Iyanla Vazant.

What is the best and worst decision you’ve ever made?

Best decision: Putting my happiness first

Worst decision: Working for a client I cared about for free.

 

What was your dream job as a kid and why?

Very Cliche, but fashion is in my blood. My mum was a designer. She studied fashion and has attended Paris Fashion Week shows like Yves Saint Laurent when she was younger. She gave me her fashion gene for sure! I would literally drive her crazy because she would wash clothes and fold them away and I couldn’t help but change my outfit 10 times in a day.

 

What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?

Even in fashion, the job roles are still significantly dominated by men., I would love to see a lot more women in leading roles i.e. photographers, creative directors, fashion stylists etc.

 

What woman inspires you and why?

There are so many powerful and hardworking women out there that inspire me but Kahlana Barfield is definitely one of them! She worked her way from the bottom to the top and has etched her mark in the industry as the editor in chief of Instyle Magazine US! Her expertise range from fashion and beauty to all things lifestyle! She has created with an amazing name for herself with all of her hard work and she does all this while being a great wife and mother! What a superwoman!!

 

What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?

The advice I give out the most is telling women to “just believe in yourself”. Self-belief can truly move mountains. Without it we would never start, we wouldn’t get back up, we would keep comparing ourselves to others and we wouldn’t keep pursuing our dreams. So believing in yourself and your own ability and your individuality is POWER!

When do you feel most creative?

I feel the most creative at night, I am such a night owl.

 

If your life was a song what would it be?

I can’t share my life story one day! Alicia Keys – Girl On Fire!!

 

And what words of wisdom would you like to share with young and older women in the beauty, YouTube and Instagram industry? 

The industry is fast-shifting and there are people less qualified than you doing things you want to do – simply because they decided to believe in themselves. So starting from today, stop second guessing your self, stop procrastinating and get started with what you have now!

 

how do you balance travelling and spending time with family?  

I am quite lucky that with a close-knit family we have a tradition that Sunday’s are a family day. So I see everyone on a Sunday and try my best to never work on a Sunday either.

 

20 years in the future what advice would you have for yourself 

Hard work definitely pays off, believe in yourself, love yourself, don’t settle and trust your intuition!

 

What would you say to yourself when you were 16?

Life will change so much for you. Cherish each day you have, especially the ones you have with your dad! Work hard and follow your passion because it will lead you to your purpose!

 

If you were a Juice what would you be?

 Could I be a cocktail instead? lol!

 

( me cracking up) lol cocktail is perfectly fine, quite different. Who do you look up to the most?

There are so many inspiring women, so I look up to women who are confident, humble and kind!

 

What’s the last movie that made you cry?

Moana.. it’s completely underrated!

 

wait wait Moana like the Disney movie like Moana one of my favourite movies made you cry, awwww glad I am not the only one who cries to this then phew lol. So What’s the last movie that made you laugh?

I’ve watched it so many times!! Bridesmaids

 

I feel like we have the same taste in movies, you have reminded me to watch Bridesmaids this weekend And finally 5 words of encouragement to young women who would want to be in the fashion industry ?

Hard Work Always Pays Off!

 

Well that definitely sums it up, hard work always pays off, you were a gem and you gave me a few motivational words of wisdom to take with me. Thank you for allowing me to interview you and we would be rooting to see more of your work in the future

I hope you enjoyed this interview as much as we did, you can follow Erica on all social media platforms 

Website: www.ericamatthews.co.uk
Blog:www.stepstostyle.com
YouTube: www.youtube.com/ericamatthews
Email: info@ericamatthews.co.uk
Social: @ericafmstyle 

Chit Chat: Jobi Fuego Artist & Lyricist

Who is a person that you considered as a role model early in your life? How and why does this person impact your life?

My biggest role model is probably my mum because she’s so determined and focused and always finds a way of making everything happen even in times where she’s under pressure.

How did you decide to pursue the career that you are working on today? What was a pivotal moment?

I’ve always had a strong interest in music from a very young age most likely because of my dad who has always been into all sorts of music, but I decided to take it seriously after my first year in the sixth form, one of my subjects was music technology where I was first introduced to Logic and I decided I wanted to produce, I’ve always liked the idea of rapping and as a joke my brother and I and my friend and his brother would battle through whatsapp voice notes over beats I made on logic and I really enjoyed it. When my AS results did not go my way I set my heart on that.

If we’re sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great year it’s been for you, as an artist what would you like to have achieved?

I would like to have released at least one successful body of work and have some more shows under my belt, make more of a name for myself by increasing and adding to the great support that i already have.

When have you been most satisfied in your life?

I think I was most satisfied when I released my first ever song and got so much positive feedback

What things do you not like to do?

There isn’t much I can think of that I don’t like to do

Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.

My most significant achievement to date is getting my music played on the radio

Tell us about a time when things didn’t go the way you wanted What’s your superpower, or what’s your spirit animal?

My superpower is my ability to focus when I really believe in something and do my best to make it happen even if others don’t believe in me.

What projects do you have coming up for 2018, album, tour?

This year I plan to release a self-produced body of work and do some more shows.

What’s the best piece of advice you have received

To never give up and to stay positive because positivity breeds positivity.

20 years in the future what advice would you have for yourself

Stay focused and stay on your grind.

What would you say to yourself when you were 16?

MAKE BAD AND BOUJIE! (start making beats from now so I can improve) If you were Juice what would you be?
Pineapple & Coconut
Who do you look up to the most?

My Mother.

What’s the last movie that made you cry?

I haven’t cried at a movie before

What’s the last movie that made you laugh

Think like a Man too

When do you feel most creative?

Late at night or when it’s in the shower

You write your own lyrics how did that come about?

I’m not sure I just always have written them myself.

Are your family supportive of your music career?

My family are very supportive of my music career

Tell me about the genre of music you would like to dabble in and what artists you would like to work with?

I’d like to do more Afro swing, and I would love to work with Jhus

Dead or alive who are your top 5 artists you would like to work with and why?

In no particular order (apart from Michael Jackson); Michael Jackson
James Brown
Stevie Wonder

Biggie Smallz Drake

They are all very unique and amazing artists, that developed their own sounds which I really admire and aspire to use my sound to achieve similar feats to all of them.

If your life was a song what would it be?

The Boss – James Brown

Well there you have it guys, was great sitting down and chatting with Jobi, do check out his songs below and let us know your thoughts and who else to interview

Catch me next time on men in Power Series

Sweetboy Riddim (PROD.DJ DAVDA) –

https://soundcloud.com/jobifuego/sweetboy-riddim-proddj-davda

Attack (PROD.DJ DAVDA) –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKO3Flj6h9w

STA (PROD.FROZONE) –

https://soundcloud.com/jobifuego/sta-prodfrozone

Lollipop (PROD.RAZORONTHETRACK) –

https://soundcloud.com/jobifuego/lollipop-prodrazoronthetrack

Rutless  –

https://soundcloud.com/lennoxtdf/lennox-ruthless

Men in Power Series: Dane Cobain Award Winning Author,

Happy New week. I hope you had a lovely weekend and are looking forward to this week

Today we have a very interesting person joining us, in this week Series, he is a published author, with 7 published books, a freelance writer, book blogger, poet and (occasional) musician.

with a passion for language and learning. When he’s not working on his next release, he can be found reading and review books for his award-winning book blog, SocialBookshelves.com, while trying not to be distracted by Wikipedia. His releases include No Rest for the Wicked(supernatural thriller), Eyes Like Lighthouses When the Boats Come Home (poetry) Former.ly (literary fiction), Social Paranoia (non-fiction), Come On Up to the House (horror) and Subject Verb Object (anthology).

Dane Cobain is this week Men in Power, where he answers all my questions

Last year was a very successful year for you, you completed your book and published it. Can you tell us a bit about yourself in 5 words and how you came to be an author?

Last year actually marked the release of Subject Verb Object, which is an anthology of which I’m both a contributor and editor but which contains work from a variety of authors. That was my sixth book and my upcoming release, Driven, is my seventh. In five words, I’m a quirky indie author. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember.

Very interesting quirky and indie do not get that often.

How did you know this is the career for you? And what made you go forth and chase it?

It’s something that I’m passionate about and I’m a keen reader as well as a writer. I enjoy it a lot, which makes it feel like less of a job and more of a vocation.

It’s interesting because I am a very keen reader as well and nowadays you do not meet people who love to still read books so, what made you choose this type of business?

That’s a difficult question to answer as it depends on what you mean. I make a living as a freelance writer and I chose to go freelance because I could be my own boss and forge my own path, funding my living by doing something that I love doing.

Interesting for you to choose a freelance writer, as I would have assumed you being an author was your first job, your book Driven How did you get your idea and characters for your book Driven?

The idea itself was developed over time, but I’m pretty sure that I got the idea of using a self-driving car as a murder weapon from a meme I saw on Facebook. The characters just sort of came about as I developed the idea, but most of them have some of my own personality traits as well as some of those of the people I know and love. For example, the friendship between Marie Rieirson and Jayne Lipton is based on a friendship between two former coworkers of mine who’d studied together at university and always worked as a creative team.

Dane Cobain - Driven

It is really true when authors do say they can get their book ideas from anything, even Facebook.

Do you ever face writer’s block?

I’m one of the lucky ones who doesn’t. I get bored of working on things every now and then, but then I just switch my attention elsewhere and work on something else for a while.

Well, you are definitely the first author I have met that does not complain about writer’s block. You are an author, a poet and musician. How did music come about?

I learned to play the guitar when I was fourteen, but even before then I used to make up songs or rewrite the lyrics of popular songs to make them more relatable to myself. The music side of things just gives me another medium in which to write, and it’s also a great way to blow off some steam at the end of a busy day.

If you had to choose music, poetry or writing novels forever which would it be and why?

Writing novels. It’s more fulfilling and more enjoyable, plus I generally have more ideas for fiction projects than for music and for poetry projects. Really, though, I wouldn’t like to limit myself to any one thing in particular. With my freelance career, I rely on income from a variety of different sources to make a living. I’d quite like my writing to be the same.

If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

Don’t give up and just read and write as much as you can. Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it does make you better and better over time.

What advice would you have for young men who are trying to get involved in the book and poet industry?

Just play to your strengths and make sure you stay true to yourself. Never write stuff just because you think people will like it. Write stuff that you yourself would like to read.

Do you ever take time out to relax and rest and if so what are the things you like to do in your free time?

Honestly, not really. I’m almost always doing something, and I actually find it stressful to ‘relax’ in the way that most people do, by just sitting there and watching TV or just doing nothing. The closest I come to relaxing is when I’m reading, I guess.

Have you ever considered writing other genres of books for example recipes or children’s books?

Well, I already write in a pretty diverse selection of genres. I don’t think I’d necessarily say no to a specific genre, but I do play to my strengths and so I wouldn’t write a recipe book when I could spend the same time writing a novel and it is better. As a freelance writer, though, I also do a lot of work for hire. So if someone wants to pay me to write a book in a specific genre, I will. I’m already ghostwriting non-fiction book about the future of healthcare.

What are your predictions for 2018 in terms of your new book Driven?

I’m not sure if I’d like to make any. I’d like to think that people will like it, but that’s really not up to me.

As a business owner, what are your top three priorities?

Tracking time, tracking cash flow and keeping clients happy.

And do you set high expectations or tolerate mediocrity?

Haha, I have high expectations. Go big or go home.

Should we be expecting more books in the near future?

Yes, at least one more in 2018 but potentially 2-3 books in 2018 on top of Driven.

If you were a juice what would you be and why?

I’d probably be apple juice because it’s similar to cider and that’s alcoholic.

And finally what advice would you give your 16-year-old self?

Stop taking yourself so seriously and be patient.

Well thank you so much, Dane, for taking time out to sit with m, was a real pleasure interviewing you, and I cannot wait to read your new book Driven . For more info on Dane’s previous books visit http://www.danecobain.com/ 

Men in Power Series: Jaye Parson, Celebrity Designer & Culture Influencer

So I have decided to start men in power series also because I received a few emails and comments regarding the women in power interview I did with Mervielle the model, that I should also incorporate men.

I took on board your comments and today I had the pleasure to have a chit-chat with Jaye Parson, a man of many many artistic talents, you may have seen his work across social media and also on stage with the dopest celebrities i.e: Erykah Badu and more.

Jaye is changing the way we see fashion by his innovative designs and stepping out of the norm, check out our interview below.

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Happy NewYear. and it is finally great to have you on our first Men in Power series. How are you today?

I am fine thank you feeling positive.

Last year was a very successful year for you and your brand 

What would you say was the highlight of 2017? 

Meeting Ericka Badu. It was a very magical moment and at that point, I knew I was doing the right thing. I designed her a customise biker jacket and met her backstage while she was on tour. She liked the jacket and cried.

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Jaye x Erykah Badu Tour Back Stage
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Erykah Badu Jacket made by Jaye

And what are you looking forward to for 2018

More art. More influence and brand awareness. To continue.

How did you get your idea or concept for your fashion business?

Being around music, the industry and it’s something I have always done naturally. So I can’t tell you why or where it’s second nature. It’s just what I see.

How did you know this is the career for you? And what made you go forth and chase it?

I didn’t know this was the career for me. This one time it was the day I returned from living in Canada for a year. Beginning of 2017 Jan I got invited to an after party in central London Mayfair it was Sremmurd after party and at the time they have a no.1 single with Black Beatles and they were on tour in the UK. Fresh off plane I get ready to go out long story short at the party good vibes good to see faces I haven’t seen before. Towards the end one of the members of Sremmurd on the way to the bathroom. He was drawn to my jacket and asked me where I got it from. At the time I was just making customised jackets for myself I had no idea to turn it into a business but one of the dude from the band liked the jacket and wanted one. So I thought I will bring him one. Didn’t want to miss the opportunity so I said yes and he invited me to the second day of the party and I would come and bring a jacket. So I bought the jacket the next day he tried it on he took it and asked me for my Instagram and he said he will promote it. The next day I woke up to new followers and where to get the jacket from. he wore it on his tour and pretty little thing commercial and the rest is history.

What made you choose this type of business?

It chose me. As in my previous answer.

What is unique about your business?

I believe I create jackets for men that woman love. I think with my jackets and my art I feel like I tick so many boxes. I created over 25 jacket concept in 2017 so there’s got to be something you like.

You have worked with a number of high-end clients and brands, such  Ashanti, French Montana and Swalee and more

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Have you ever turned down a client?

Yes because they couldn’t afford me

loool right now I am clearly one of those clients, so how did you know it was the right thing to do?

Because I believe in my time and credentials was worth more than the client was offering.

If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

Be yourself. Don’t try and be some body else unless you plan on being better.

What advice would you have for young men who are trying to get involved in the fashion and business industry?

I still don’t think I am in the fashion industry so I don’t have advice. Think outside the box and don’t be the afraid to be the first to do something.

Do you ever take time out to relax and rest and if so what are the things you like to do in your free time?

Female company and good music. Family and friend time.

Who would you like to work with in the fashion and business industry if you had a chance to?

Kanye West

And are your predictions for 2018 trends 

PVC for men.

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As a business owner, what are your top three priorities?

Consistency, Creativity and Marketing.

CCM, I can clearly see that consistency, creativity and Marketing are your three priorities from your business and work ethic and finally; Do you set high expectations or tolerate mediocrity? 

High expectations yes it is in my designs. I only want to delivery my best work.

Thank you very much, Jaye really enjoyed this interview and learning what motivates, and drives you to be the successful man you are today 

You can follow Jaye Parson on all social media to see more of his designs 

Instagram: @Jayeparson

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Erykah Badu Jacket made by Jaye

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A Boy from Tandale- Diamond Platinumz Interview

So I had the wonderful pleasure to sit down with Diamond Platinumz while he was here in London, we talked about how he feels to be in London, to have his first headline show in December 17th, his new album “A Boy From Tandale”, his collocations with international artists. Such as Omarion, Rick Ross and finally ho he feels with his family being in the spotlight

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Check out the interview below

Camille: How is your stay in the U.K going so far?

Diamond Platinum:  its cold, but i am

Camille : Yes, you came straight from Tanzania the nice hot heat, while over here it is cold and wrapped up wearing, the woolies and all sorts

Diamond: It’s cool I like it here

Camille: You are always swagged out, from head to toe, you and the Mrs’s who is your stylist?

Diamond: I dress myself, i just look in the mirror in the morning and put things together

Camille: Please let us know about your concert you have coming up, because this is your first headline show?

Diamond: it has been like three years, since i performed in London, and I consider this as my first performance because I tried my best to make sure it is on point, I will be performing with my band, dancers, with different sets on the stage, so I can not wait as I love performing and I want to give the people something they have never experienced in one stage and my fellow musicians will be joining me

Camille: I know you have your new album that is about to drop as well , are you going to be playing some of your new tracks for the fans?

Diamond: I think I will be playing some of my new tracks FROM “ A Boy From Tandale”

Camille: Speaking of your new album are you, who did you collaborate with, can you name 2 of them?

Diamond: I have Rick Ross, Omarion, and Davido, oops i named more than three