Author: elizagalesinterviews

An Interview With Singer Clayton Morgan

Clayton Morgan - Front pic

 

Clayton Morgan is a singer and songwriter who recently released the album “Taste for Love”; here is a link to his website: 

Q: When did you know you were a musician?

 

A: I knew I wanted to be a singer from early childhood. My earliest memories of performing date back to preschool.
Q: What themes do you like to explore in your music? 

 

A: I like to explore themes of love and happiness in my music. I am a person that loves love and it’s a universal theme that transcends all cultures and backgrounds. Love is a message that creates a common bond between people.

 

Q: Who are some of your influences and how can we hear this in your music?

 

A:  My biggest influences are Michael and Janet Jackson. I especially like the way Janet’s music makes me feel. Most of her music is upbeat and happy. Those are qualities that I like to put in my music. I want the music to be upbeat and happy. I want my music to make people happy when they hear it.

 

Q: What kind of day job (or income source) do you have and how does it influence your music?

 

A: I currently work a 9 to 5 in the Banking industry. Right now, my 9 to 5 pays the bills. It also helps me create the music that I make.

 

Q: What is the most effective thing you have done to promote your music?

 

A: The most effective thing I’ve done to promote the music is work with Michael Stover at MTS Management. Michael has been very instrumental in the success of my career. I can’t thank him enough for all his hard work and dedication!

 

Q: What is the worst advice anyone has ever given you about your musical career?

 

A: Performing live is an important part of connecting with the fans and building a following for what you do as a musician. Every artist is different regarding the types of gigs they choose to perform. I don’t think it’s in my best interest to perform at any gig dropped in my lap. I like to decide what the live performance opportunity will be and what feels right for me.

 

Q: What kind of training have you had?

 

A: I’ve had vocal training. I’m also working on dance training.

 

Q: Your father is Eddie Daniels. What did you learn about the music industry from him?

 

A: My dad’s time in the music industry ended shortly before I was born. I only heard stories about his time in the industry. He told me to watch people around you, meaning management wise. The music group he was part of had shady management. That was one of the main reasons he left the group.

 

Q: What inspired “Taste for Love?”

 

A:  Taste for Love was inspired by the instrumental track. Once I heard the track, the lyrics came to me instantly. It’s a sensual song about wanting to be with that special person.

Q:  What are you working on now?

 

A: My latest single ‘The Beat is Calling Me’ was released on November 12, 2018. I’m in the process of working on the live show set. There will be live performances coming up in early 2019.

 

 

Eliza’s interviews are done by email; all answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

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An Interview With Author Mitchell Thompson

mtt

 

Mitchell Thompson is the author of “Introspective Rationale: The Odyssey of Theodicy; here is a link to his website:

 

 

https://www.irot.me

 

Q: What is “Introspective Rationale.”  about?

 

A: Introspective Rationale is a nonfiction historical narrative that journeys the reader on a quest in understanding the deeper connection between major worldly religions and their historical context. These intimate connections, once revealed, display certain commonalities in both ethics and ideology. Such ideological parallels can be further understood in their application within modern science and mathematics – namely quantum mechanics. For example, there exists many numerological significance in ancient scripture; numbers of meaning that translate within modern fields of scientific study. One must first understand the history of both religion and science before gaining a deeper insight on their dualistic partnership.

 

Q: What made you want to write a book about individual subjectivity versus the objectivity of the universe?

 

A: For much of our lives, societal individuals are plagued with a yearning for instant gratification. Before I began writing my book, I was helping my mother take care of her bed-ridden father who was dying of dementia. This man, though my grandfather, was estranged to me and my family. He had not approved of my mother marrying a man of color. In taking care of him, we inevitably grew to bond. It was during this bonding that I began to realize how my subjective perception of our relationship (or lack thereof) was irrelevant in the face of our objective kinship. I began to notice certain traits of myself within him – even at the height of his dementia. I had never had a grandfather; for my Dad’s father had passed before I was born. However, the wisdom I learned from my estranged grandfather granted me new insight within the nature of myself. This experience inspired me to write about the concept of dissolving the ego: to differentiate the importance of both individual objectivity and subjectivity.

 

Q: What kind of educational background do you have?

 

A: I went to public school, and finished in the top percent of my high school class. Upon graduating, I began to attend a prestigious college in William Jewell College where I sought to triple major in Engineering, Physics, and Mathematics. Because I attained many college credit hours in high school, I developed a keen understanding for higher level mathematics and dimensional reasoning as only a college freshman. As it pertains to writing, I have always loved doing so but more as a hobby. I took many advanced placement literature classes in high school, as well as college English, so my informal writing has some formal foundations.

 

Q: What kind of research did you do for your book?

 

A: Comparing and contrasting hours of work in studying between my own research in writing IROT and that of obtaining a doctorate in philosophy:

 

Undergrad

120 credit hours required

16 week semester

15 credit hours per semester

30 hours of work a week (6 hours a day)

16 x 30 = 480 hours of work per semester

8 semesters of schooling (BA/BS)

8 x 480 = 3,840 hours of total work

2 years of Masters (MA)

15 credit hours

30 hours of work a week (6 hours a day)

4 semesters of schooling

4 x 480 = 1920 hours of work total

(1920 + 3840 = 5,760 hours of total work between BA/BS and MA)

PhD

120 credit hours (generally required)

16 week semester

15 credit hours a week

30 hours of work a week (6 hours a day)

16 x 30 = 480 hours of work per semester

8 semesters of schooling (PhD)

8 x 480 = 3,840 hours of work total

3,840 + 5,760 = 9,600 hours of total work to obtain PhD

 

Research/writing for IROT

41 months total

14 months of stagnant

27 months “hardcore”

14 months of stagnant

4 hours a day (maximum)

5 days a week

20 hours of work a week

14 months = 61 weeks

61 x 20 = 1,220 hours of total stagnant work

27 months “hardcore

“Hardcore”: 12 hours a day, 6 day’s a week (minimum), 72 hours a week

12 hours of work a day

6 days a week

72 hours of work a week

27 months =  117 weeks of hardcore work

117 x 72 = 8,424 hours of “hardcore” work

41 months total

1,220 + 8,424 = 9,644 total hours of work for writing IROT

 
Q: How would you define elevated consciousness?

 

A: Elevated consciousness is the state of being that exists ahead of the ego. When one dissolves the ego, they are able to attain an elevated state of awareness. A conscientious state that can differentiate between objective requirements and subjective desirements.

 

Q: How does one attain this consciousness?

 

A: One attains elevated consciousness by dissolving the ego. The ego is the subjective sense of self. In rationalizing the introspective process, one is able to step away from the ego’s deceptive perception and see reality in an objective light.

 

Q: What is the most successful thing you have done to promote your book?

 

A: I have made both a website and a Facebook author profile page.

 

https://www.facebook.com/mitchellgthompson

 

https://www.irot.me

 

 

Q: What kind of a day job do you have and how does it influence your writing?

 

A: I work two jobs: a morning gig and an afternoon gig. The morning job is at a supply warehouse, while the afternoon job is as a kickboxing instructor. The morning job forces me to wake up at 4 AM everyday, which gives me the discipline needed to write on days I don’t feel like writing. The kickboxing instructor position has allowed me to work with a myriad of different people – allowing me insight into many minds of varying beliefs. Such insight influences the way I write in appealing to a general audience.

 

Q: What philosophers have had the most influence on your work?

 

A: I know very little on many different philosophers. I am a master of some and an expert of none. However, of all that I’ve adopted from, Friedrich Nietzsche and Baruch Spinoza were perhaps the most influential.

 

Q: If you could elevate the consciousness of any famous person, who would it be and why?

 

A: Hmm… perhaps Kanye West. Mainly because he seems to have the right idea in certain ideals, but is lost in translating most of his thoughts through an egocentric lens of insanity. Most people of social and monetary affluence attain such fame due to their evolving of the ego rather than dissolving.

 

 

Eliza’s interviews are done by email; all answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Director Roger Hill

 

 

 

 

Roger_Hill

Roger Hill is the writer and director of the film Huckleberry, which premieres at the Marina Del Rey Film Festival on October 13th at 9:00 pm. Here is a link to the films Facebook page:

 

www.facebook.com/huckleberrymovie

 

Q: What is “Huckleberry” about?

A: The synopsis reads:

  A story spanning the year 1999 to 2000, Huckleberry 18, transgender-male, dissident, comes from a poor community in the Rust Belt.  A region much maligned and challenging, and often misunderstood, much like himself; also a place and time where non-conforming identities are met with suspicion and, at times, violence.

Huckleberry, or Huck as his friends call him, pursues his unrequited love Jolene, who is adrift in an abusive relationship, in spite of her loathsome boyfriend, Clint.

Rebuffed, and armed with the knowledge of Clint’s abuse. Huckleberry confronts Clint once and for all, but not before unleashing hell upon him while still cloaked in the lingering shadow of his undiscovered intentions.

Huckleberry then discovers the consequence that follow his actions, both intended and not, life threatening and affirming, as he, his two best friends Will and Levon, Jolene and Clint all navigate a particularly intense year and confront the life-changing results of Huck’s decisions.

 

Q: What made you want to make a film about revenge?

A: Revenge is an interesting theme to explore.  I think growing up in America we receive a lot of mixed messages about revenge, ranging from “turn the other cheek” to an “eye for an eye.”  US media, mainstream religions, history, military and culture are full of contradictions about the morality of revenge.

I think as a teenager I thought about “getting even” a lot.  I think this was born from the struggles that are familiar for most teens growing up, especially for men, the pressure to live up to a masculine ideal and to not to be perceived as weak… or vulnerable.  One of my teenage revenge fantasies served as the initial seed for this film.  Now older and wiser I think I’m able to explore the topic from a nuanced position without glamorizing violence, while highlighting some of the conflicting messages we receive about revenge. I think who benefits and loses in the revenge equation is not always black and white, there are a lot of shades of gray.

Q: What makes Huck an interesting character?

A: I think the tableau of his life experience makes him a very intriguing character.  He is far from cookie cutter.  Huckleberry has a profound sense of righteous indignation towards arbitrary authority figures and revels in his rebelliousness.  He is a character who acts and doesn’t shy away from confrontation.  Huck doesn’t always make the right decisions, he is fallible, like anyone, but I also believe that he is relatable to anyone whose felt the pangs of an unrequited love who is saddled with an abusive partner.  Huck is also transgender, which is not really what the film is about, but does make for a more interesting protagonist and one that elicits the prejudices of his community.  Casting him often times as an outsider or a rebel.

Q: What is the overall theme of the film?

In society regular people often make moral concessions in order to secure a better life for themselves, within the parameters of social mores, even ones they fundamentally disagree with.  That revenge does have a cost, but there is also a benefit analysis which is unspoken but omnipresent.  That trans-men are just as capable as cis-men of absorbing and acting on aggressive impulses born from the narrative of protecting a woman whom they desire.

 

A: What characteristics did you look for in a lead actor?

In a very practical sense I was looking for a transgender man in his late teens or early twenties.  I was attracted to Dan’s smirk in his headshot on Backstage.  I could immediately picture him as Huckleberry.  Huck has a very distinct attitude in my mind.  He’s a rebel, charismatic but aloof at times and prone to anger.  I was looking for an actor who could carry these traits but also deliver an unspoken vulnerability, and I think that was something that Daniel Fisher-Golden brought to the character that was so humanizing.  Dan worked hard to convey the anger that was instrumental to the plot of the film, but he also tapped into a very personal sense of empathy for the character which makes Huck so much more relatable, and believable than what was written in the script.

Q:  How would you describe your directing style?

 

A: All consuming.  I push myself harder than anyone, but I also require a lot of my cast and crew.  Everyone on set needs to be fully invested in the project.  I like a laid back attitude when it suits the scene and I do make efforts to not burn people out, but when it comes down to it we are there to work.  Fortunately I had an amazing cast and crew who understood this and who spoke up when they had concerns.  I learned in the last two weeks of shooting not to burn the candle from both ends quite as much as I had before and I think began to get a healthier rhythm together, but in general after we wrap shooting I sleep the majority of the next few days because I’m so exhausted.

Q: What kind of day job (or income source) do you have and what impact did it have on the firm?

(shooting schedule, budget, etc.)

 

I freelance as an event photographer, videographer, editor, and sometimes producer/director for short documentaries.  I had a job setting up photo booths for parties.  In general my day job has me working with a camera in some capacity.  It definitely had an impact because I started with only enough financing for a week of shooting, then another week of shooting, then editing the proof of concept, pre-production on primary shooting, primary shooting and finally post-production, between each stage of production I was working to raise money for the next phase.  My budget limitations also forced me to streamline the script, to cut unnecessary scenes and to focus hard on what was most important, in the end I think this helped craft a tighter narrative.  Sometimes limitations can be a good thing.

 

  1. What is your funniest Hollywood story?

I don’t really know that I have one.  So far, I’ve been a filmmaker outside of the Hollywood system.  I spent 12 years making documentary films before I started working on Huckleberry.  We shot Huckleberry in rural Ohio and had only one rising star, Jahking Guillory, in the cast from LA.  I did do the sound mix for the proof of concept in LA with my sound mixer and good friend Dennis Schweitzer, during that week I was staying at Dennis’ apartment and sleeping on an air mattress that would deflate each night leaving laying in a heap on the floor.  It was far from glamorous but we got the job done.  Oh and Danny Devito was staying with us as well….Just kidding, I don’t know anyone famous.

  1. What are some of your favorite films and why?

 

I vacillate between really heavy dramas like First Reformed, which was incredible, and comedies like The Big LebowskiNo Country for Old Men was amazing and blends the environment seamlessly with the story.  I loved Winter’s Bone for that same reason.  I think my favorite films are ones that aren’t set in Hollywood (other than Lebowski) and that open the audience’s imaginations to life in a distinct part of the country or the world.  Those that integrate the social values of the community into the narrative of the film, and which leave the audience asking questions, and thinking about a theme or subject differently than when they entered the theater.  I think we accomplished this as well with our setting in the Rust Belt.  It’s an environment I’m very familiar with after growing up in Northeast Ohio.  Some of my favorite films leave me at first frustrated with endings that aren’t wrapped in tidy bows, but which cause reflection on the deeper meaning of the film, which may come shortly or even days after the experience.  My favorite films stick in my mind after I watch them and make me work to figure out the message of the filmmaker.

Q: How did you go about financing the film?

A: I’d say about half the financing came out of pocket, I also deferred my rate as director.  Friends and family donated about 25% of the budget and the rest came from Kickstarter and a lone investor, Zak Webb who is one of the Executive Producers on the film.  We shot a proof of concept for Huckleberry over a two week period in October and December of 2016, between shoots I was hustling, working holiday parties as an event photographer and videographer.  I was pretty confident the film wouldn’t get made on the strength of the script alone, especially with me being an unproven director, so the proof of concept was critical in the process.  Finally I saved enough to finish shooting over a two week period in August of 2017.  I also partnered with the Film Division at Ohio University, which was a huge resource and saved me a lot of money, while also providing a substantial amount of the crew members from current and past students of  the program.

 

Eliza’s interviews are done by email; all answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview with YouTuber Desiree Mitchell

DESIREE MITCHELL

Desiree Mitchell is a singer, YouTuber and actress; here is a link to her website:

 

https://www.officialdesiree.com/

 

 

Q: When did you know you wanted to be a professional entertainer?

 

A: I knew that I wanted to be an entertainer when I tried dance, acting, and vocal lessons from 5-8 years old. My mom put me in these classes for fun during the summers and I never wanted to leave. Performing was the best feeling in the world, so I knew at a very young age that my dream career was to be an entertainer.

 

 

Q: Who are some of your musical influences and how can we see this influence in your work?

 

A: I love Beyoncé, Drake, Rihanna, Aaliyah… just to name a few. These people all have influenced me in different ways, since they are so different from eachother.

Beyonce is the greatest performer of all time. She can do it all. I remember seeing her in concert for the first time when I was 8 years old and I was never the same! What she has accomplished as it relates to her career is unheard of. And as a young black woman, I’m so inspired. If Beyonce didn’t exist, I would be a much different artist today.

Drake, he’s just dope and such a trendsetter in music. Whether people want to admit it or not, Drake’s unique sound and flow has changed hip-hop and R&B as we know it. I truly feel that almost every rapper and R&B artist to come after him has been influenced by him in some way. He’s a legend, honestly.

Rihanna… what can’t she do?! She puts out an album, and every song is a hit. Every single time. She has dominated the music industry, the fashion industry, the makeup industry… I mean, wow. It’s crazy. That’s so inspiring. There’s been a lot of people in my life that have told me that I can’t do it all… that if I’m an artist and I try to come out with a makeup line as well, they won’t take me serious. And that I “have to pick one”. I’m so glad that Rihanna has broken that stigma. You can absolutely do it all.

Aaliyah – Rest In Peace baby girl. She was really one of a kind and I wish she were still here today to have gotten the chance to grow and reach her full potential. Her sound was beautiful. She was just so cool in so many ways. Her voice was so soothing. She was so confident. That’s inspiring. She has heavily influenced me and you can definitely hear it in my music.

I have taken so many things from the 4 people listed above and I definitely think that it’s obvious in my sound and overall artistry.

 

 

Q: What inspired your song, “I Need That?”

 

A: I wrote “I Need That” while going through a rough patch with the last guy I was in love with. We had a very on and off relationship. Communication wasn’t there. We’d sometimes stop talking for weeks or even months at a time. But when we were on good terms, it was amazing. You know? I kind of just wrote the song to show the ups and downs of our situation, but to also let him know that I forgive him. When you’re in love with someone, all you want is for it to work out. With him, I was much more forgiving that I’d ever thought I’d be. I’m happy that I’ve moved on and that I’m not in that place with him anymore, but I’d never bash him or diss him. The truth is, he taught me a lot. We were both entertainers. I had a good time. Although it didn’t work out, when I think back on our situation, I don’t regret it at all.

 

 

Q: What is your new series, “”Loyalty” about?

 

A: “Loyalty” is about a few young adults that are going through the struggles of everyday life and the choices that they make. It’s almost like the butterfly effect – every choice that you make in life has a huge consequence. Life is gritty. Within the urban community, there’s a lot of things that go on that nobody really talks about. I love the concept of this show because I feel like it’s realistic. The truth is, people do drugs. People sell drugs. People have affairs. People get killed. Yeah it’s not right, but it’s real. People go through things. Life is intense. I can’t wait for everyone to see it.

 

 

Q: What role do you play?

 

A: I wear a lot of hats in “Loyalty”. I am the writer, director, executive producer, and the lead character. It was an amazing experience and I’m so proud of myself and the rest of my team for pulling this off! My character’s name in the show is Desirée White. She’s dope. She’s nonjudgmental. She’s a good girl but she still goes through things and even makes bad choices along the way.

 

 

Q: How did you become involved with the project?

 

A: I started writing “Loyalty” about 2 and a half years ago. It took me a while to get it to the point that I felt it needed to be to start filming. This is the first TV project I’ve ever written, so I definitely wanted to take my time. Now that it’s filmed and in post-production, I can’t wait for everyone to see this magic.

 

 

Q: You also make YouTube videos and get lots of plays. How did you build your audience?

 

A: I started actually posting videos on YouTube a little under a year ago. I had a few friends that were already YouTubers and told me how great it was, so I started actually getting serious about it. I definitely feel that I have a unique brand on YouTube because I often talk about my music and acting life on there and my subscribers get to see vlogs of my life outside of YouTube.

 

Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it effect your pursuit of your career?

 

A: I’ve never had a day job before. I’ve been pursuing my career in a serious way since I was about 11 years old. I have an amazing mother that believed in me from day one. My income currently comes from YouTube, Instagram Promo and Commercials.  I have over 400,000 followers/subscribers on my social media platforms which allows me to capitalize on my influence.

 

 

Q: What is your strangest on set story?

 

A: Hmmm. Strangest on set story? I guess I would say that I have been apart of projects that I’ve been on set for hours for, but the project never came out. Haha! I mean, it’s the life of an actress. Sometimes that happens. No complaints over here.

 

 

Q: What are some of your favorite gangster movies or TV shows?

 

A: Gangster movies and shows? Hmmm. It depends on what is considered “gangster”.My show “Loyalty” was ver y inspired by the show “Power” on STARZ. I love gritty shows like that. Like I mentioned before, life is gritty. I love real life kind of shows. I also fell in love with the show “Narcos” on Netflix. I love the iconic movie “Set It Off” with that AMAZING female cast. As far as comedies go, I love the move “Friday”… it’s still real life, it’s just funny at the same time!

Eliza’s interviews are done by email; all answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Across The Board Lead Singer Jacqueline Auguste

Photo by Bobby Singh/@fohphoto

 

Jacqueline Auguste is the lead singer for the band Across The Board; here is a link to the band’s website:

 

https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&q=http://www.acrosstheboardband.ca&source=gmail&ust=1526963976377000&usg=AFQjCNFKVaeoUT_l2rJEQcbfHvatD7WK4w

Q:  What is the overall theme of Sonic Boom?

 

A: Sonic Boom was written on our cross-country train tour last summer and is meant to chronicle the “breaking”of a band. I pictured the listener’s journey through the album as a rock opera—with a story, a heroine, and the trials and tribulations of a musical climax and anticlimax. The story starts off in the small city of Camrose, where I grew up—a small farming community in the heart of Alberta, and moves across the country to Toronto. As a young musician, I always dreamed of taking my music to the ‘big city’ and the album echoes this journey by rail to Toronto where I eventually meet the characters who will either try to steal the dream, or help me succeed. It has highs and lows, sadness and happiness and takes the listener on a musical and hopefully emotional journey. The idea of the title for sonic boom started with the phrase “making a splash”, which eventually became “making a musical splash” and when we realized that was like a sonic boom, it just fit—a band breaking out of obscurity onto the global scene in one big sonic boom that everyone hears. I think my most favorite song from the album is “No Curtain Call”- it’s the lowest point of the rock opera when the heroine is playing in a lonely bar, by herself, no one is paying attention, the lights come on the reveal the old wood floors, the sticky old bar top and all the folks who just don’t seem to care—and the revelation that comes to her after this experience—it’s not about making a splash, or having everyone pay attention to you—it’s about the journey, the music and staying true to one’s self-not getting lost in the hype or steered off course.

 

Q: How did you guys get together?

 

A: Across The Board, as a band, started as a Youtube channel where we would get together and create weekly music videos to popular covers. It grew from there, driven by a fan base asking us if we had original music to the release of our debut album in 2016 “Jane On Fire”. It was forged initially from garage jams and basement jam sessions and landed right where we are now–with a core of four musicians and a supporting cast of musicians who come out for live shows or collaborate on Youtube videos as we have kept up a solid online offering of musical and entertainment for our fans, expanding to a musical cooking show “Kitchen Sessions”, a daily vlog “ATB 365”, as weekly acoustic jam session, a carpool Karaoke feature called “Caravan Karaoke” (we drive a Dodge Caravan) as well as a weekly Live Broadcast on Facebook, Youtube and Instagram every Sunday Morning. We even publish a weekly behind the scenes “ATB AT REHEARSAL” segment.

 

Q: How did you come up with the name of your band?

 

A: Our band is such an ecclectic group of musicians from all walks of life, across all age ranges from young to “older”–we decided we were just a group of musicians that literally represented “across the board” — and thus the name!

 

Q: What is your strangest performance story?

 

A: Funny you should ask. On May 4th we had our CD Release Party in Toronto for our newest album “SONIC BOOM”. It was a sold out show and it happended during the worst wind storm in Toronto’s recent history. People were trapped in their cars by falling poles and trees, ambulances were everywhere. There was a power outage, yet still–the venue managed to rig the entire venue and sound stage with two generators and rewire everything to work on gas! They went and bought ice for the bar and in 90 minutes transformed the venue into a fully lit, fully powered show! Folks braved the weather, the obstacles and the “apocalypse” outside to make the show!

 

Q:  How does your work as an orthopaedic surgeon effect your ability to perform and record with the band?

 

A: As with any “art” including medicine, practice makes perfect. And surgery is a performance in and of itself–with the same preoperative anxiety that a musician feels before a show. I’ve learned how to practice, to rehearse, to study to perform from being a surgeon–and it transfers perfectly to music. Music for me is my creative outlet. It can be stressful at time to look after patients–particularly those who are very ill, or very broken in our case in orthopaedics. Music is that perfect blend of creative art, and technical prowess that is so similar to what I do on a daily basis in my job as a surgeon!

 

Q:  What is your creative process for writing songs?

 

A: Typically, songwriting for me starts as an idea. I like a beat, a riff, a lick, and suddenly a chord structure comes. I then add a melody to that and during the process of finding that melody, words just start to emerge. And something inside takes over and creates lyrics that match the mood, the melody, the current thoughts in my head about my life, the world–and bam–a song emerges. I then take that song to my cowriter or producer and we work on the beat and genre, as well as the bridge usually. I write my best work when I am procrastinating something like taxes or cleaning my house!

 

Q: Who are some of your influences and how is this evidenced in your work?

 

A: My biggest influences as a musician come from the music I grew up with –the music of my parents I suppose–The Doors, Pink Floyd, CCR, The Beatles and then the music I discovered as a young kid—Fleetwood Mac, Roxette, Queen. Today I relate to Broken Social Scene, Walk Off The Earth, Taylor Swift, and even Shania Twain, Meghan Trainor and so many others. I love all kinds of music! It all influences me.

 

Q:  You play a lot of different kinds of guitars. What kind of musical training have you had?

 

A: At the age of 10 I picked up my first guitar. Beyond that I learned oboe, flute and sax from stage and concert bands in school. I picked up the drums in my last years of highschool and started writing music and playing other stringed things like ukelele, mandolin and banjo in college. I’m classically trained in that I can read and write music, and I have spent so much time in front of musical scores… but I am a self-taught piano player and tend to write alot by ear. I wouldn’t say I have “perfect pitch”–but I can certainly tell when something is not right and find ways to fix a sound, a chord progression, a bridge, a key change, a harmony without much effort…that part comes naturally to me and I am grateful for that gift above all else.

 

Q: What are some of the things you have done to promote your band?

 

A: We are everywhere on social media–we try to maintain a solid social media presence with creative and high quality content, and bring fans along for the journey. We are story tellers and our lives are open. I don’t hide the fact I am a surgeon, I don’t hide the fact I am a mother, I don’t hide the fact I am now a grandmother! My middle baby has two little babies! My life is open and I’m hoping to inspire other women musicians and physicians and any professional who wishes to add music or other creative art back into their lives~it’s a balance. It’s an essential balance. It’s an outlet, but it’s also a lifestyle.

 

Q: What do you hope to express through your music.

 

A: In the early writings, my songs seemed to express loss, sadness, dark moments, intertwined with the occasional breath of air to relax, unwind. “Jane On Fire” is such a collection of emotional songs from “Sad Guitar” to “Take A Minute”. This new album however, is written to chronicle my journey–and I hope to inspire our listeners by finding some common ground in our collective stories!

 

 

 

Eliza’s interviews are done by email; all answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Writer Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

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Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is a former Poet Laureate of Kansas and the author of the novel, Miriam’s Well; here is a link to her website:

 

http://www.carynmirriamgoldberg.com/

 

 

Q: When did you know you were a poet?

A: As a child, I was hard-wired to make things, and I started out as a visual artist, drawing and painting all the time. When I was 14, and my parents were in the middle of a long-winded and horrendous divorce, I found I needed words, so I switched on a dime from art to poetry. Luckily, I soon found a great mentor in my high school English teacher, who took me under her wing and guided me to great poets. She also encouraged my poetry and my life as a poet. We recently reconnected, and I’m so grateful to her. Over the years, I expanded to writing fiction, memoir, non-fiction, songs, and much more.

Q: What is Miriam’s Well about?

A: Miriam’s Well is  a novel that traces a modern day Exodus of Miriam, somewhat from biblical fame (she was Moses’ sister), but set in America from 1965 onward as she searches for her people and place. She is very purpose-driven, knowing she’s alive to feed, help, reach out, and making joy with people, particularly people facing big challenges, so it’s no wonder that she keeps finding herself at the center of major events that shape our country, such as People’s Park in 1969, Wounded Knee in 1973, the AIDS crisis in San Francisco in the 1980s, the Oklahoma City bombing, 9/11, and so many other events. She also, through her wandering the desert of our times, finds bits and pieces of the promised land, sometimes in places at the edge of America, literally in the case of an island she lives on off the coast of Maine and earlier on, her days in Key West, but also in communities on the edge. She lives in an ecovillage in North Carolina, in the middle of a very rural area in extreme west Texas, and in a small town in Idaho along the way. Her calling is continually make meals, music, and miracles.

Q: What made you chose “Exodus” as the model for your story?

A: I was always drawn to the story of the Exodus, especially Miriam’s role. She saves her brother Moses’ life by putting him a basket and sending him down the Nile, and she’s credited with leading the women singing and dancing through the desert. There’s also a biblical story about Miriam’s well, a mythical well that springs up from something Miriam does with a stone whenever the wandering Jews land some place new. That well allows the people to feed themselves, so it’s no wonder that my Miriam is both a singer and a cook. Mostly, I wanted to explore how we are always searching for the promised land in ourselves and our communities, and in many ways, we are always wandering too.

Q:  You teach writing at Goddard College. What are some of the things you want your students to take away from the classes that you teach?

A: I teach in the Goddard Graduate Institute, and it’s a low-residency program in which students self-design their own studies. So there are no classes per se, and I work with students — after they attend an 8-day residency to plan our their semester’s studies — long-distance, reading their work, and helping them go deeper into their best ways of learning and applying their learning to the real world. I teach writing, but much more since we’re an interdisciplinary program in which students study what calls to them most. For example, I have one student now studying spiritual memoir, another writing a thesis about how good health is related to the gut, and another planning a school on mindful outdoor leadership. I love the variety. What I want for my students is what I want for everyone: that we find our callings and also coalesce strong communities around us to help us move toward what’s most meaningful in our lives.

Q: What are some pitfalls that writers should avoid?

A: I think there’s a fallacy that writers need to suffer, especially from writer’s block, which I don’t believe in. If you’re stuck as a writer on a particular project, it just means you need more time or new perspective or that there’s something else calling for you to write. If writers can reframe the torturous myths that they must grapple with writer’s block into a much more life-giving story that, to quote poet Theodore Roethke, “we learning by going where we have to go,” then writers can open their art and lives up to new possibilities and likely far more strong writing.

Q: What are your feelings about the latest trend of open mic story telling?

A: I think story slams and the rise of lots of story podcasts are wonderful! They get us looking for meaningful moments in our lives, then finding the language to convey the power of those moments. I listen to This American Life, The Moth, and other podcasts regularly, and I’ve been running with professional storytellers for many years, so I’m delighted to see this trend taking off. Then again, this may be a trend, but storytelling is at the very root of language and the oral tradition.

Q:  You were the Poet Laureate of Kansas. How were you selected for the honor?

A: I was both nominated and applied, and it ended up that while I was poet laureate, the governor eliminated the Kansas Arts Commission, which held the poet laureate program, so I was suddenly floating. Then again, the governor’s office didn’t ask me to step down, so I organized my own projects, did crowd-sourcing to raise funds for my travel, and had the privilege of working with writers around our state to hold readings and publish books. The whole experience allowed us all to speak out and up for the arts. In the end, I was able to find a new home for our poet laureate program with our humanities council, and the program has been going strong there every since.
Q: What are some of the key elements of a good poem?

A: Strong imagery and compelling rhythm are at the root of good poetry as well as strong fiction and memoir.

Q: Who are some of your writing influences and how is this evidenced in your writing?

A: I love a wide variety of writers — poets like Adrienne Rich and William Stafford, the novelist Toni Morrison, non-fiction writers like James McBride and Terry Tempest Williams. I’m not sure how my influences are reflected in my writing, but I believe writers need to read widely and deeply in many genres.

Q: How has your writing style evolved over the years?

A:  I started out as a very mediocre poet in my teens, and hopefully, I learned more since then. I have moved to speaking more directly, focusing more on my images rather than telling the reader what something means, and letting the writing lead me — and hopefully readers too — toward its own vitality that can speak to our lives.

 

Eliza’s interviews are done by email; all answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Actor Alessandro Marino

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Alessandro Marino is an actor who appears in the new series, “Manny’s Garage Sale”; here is a link to his website:

https://www.alessandromarino.net/

 

Q: When did you know you were an actor?

 

A: The moment I knew I was an actor was after a scene study class in which I did for the first time a scene from “A Hatful of Rain”, a play by Michael V. Gazzo in which I played “Polo”. That night I came back home and I couldn’t sleep, I kept writing and day dreaming and working on the script all night, I just couldn’t wait to do that again. I was incredibly excited but also very scared, I knew that was going to change everything.

 

Q: Your website says you like classic films. What classic film role could you have nailed and why?

 

A: It’s hard to think about nailing a part in a classic movie when they were already nailed by legend like Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Paul Newman, Humphrey Bogart and so on.. but I can definitely tell you two roles, one in an american classic and one in an italian classic, that I would have loved to play: E. Lee Prewitt in “From Here to Eternity” by Zinnemann and Guido in “8 ½” by Fellini. Two very different roles but both very magical for me. “8 ½” taught me how there’s no right or wrong in art as long as you express yourself truthfully. A great lesson for me.

 

Q: What is Manny’s Garage Sale about?

 

A: Manny is the proprietor of a regular garage sale where common items ignite uncommon events. Kind-hearted and just “a little left of center” Manny has a way of knowing exactly what a customer needs…even before they do. Manny’s Garage Sale is a quirky look at everyone’s relationship with their own wishes, dreams and goals. No matter what your religious or spiritual beliefs one thing is certain – we all impact one another. We can only hope that it’s for the better of all involved.

Good answer ah?;) I wish I could write english so well! This above is the description you can find on www.mannysgaragesale.com . Go check it out!

 

 

Q: What role do you play?

 

A: I play the role of Frank. Full name Frank N. Stein. If you read it all at once you can immediately have a quick idea of how hard life has been for Frank since a very young age… He’s an italian-american young man in his twenties living in USA and trying to make it as a writer while working at the cafeteria to support himself. Just when life seems to be too hard on him and he starts to lose hope, something very magical happens… He’s very

 

 

Q: How would you describe Josh’s directing style?

 

A: I would describe his directing style as modern, free and fast. I was very impressed by the fact that he was able to film 3 different episodes simultaneously while keeping everything under control and having the ability to make strong directing choices in a nutshell. Being an actor himself he has the quality to be able to talk to actors, understand their process and leave them free to experiment and improvise. Josh has the great quality to transform every problem that arises on set into an opportunity to create something. His calm and good attitude even in anxious moments taught me a lot.

 

Q: How do you support yourself while pursuing your acting career?

 

A: Being a foreign actor I do not have the possibility to have a side job that is not related to the field I graduated in at the moment, so apart from the income I get from my acting and modeling career I heavily rely on a trust fund I was lucky to build when I was in Italy. I graduated in “Business & Management” back in Italy and worked there for a little while.

 

Q: What do you miss about Italy?

 

A: The food, the language and the beaches (I come from south of Italy) are for sure at the top of the list. However the single thing I miss the most is the sunday’s lunches at my grandfather’s house, when the whole family get together. It’s not easy to be the only one missing!

 

 

Q: What is your strangest Los Angeles story?

 

A: It was one of the first nights out since I moved to Los Angeles, I was in a very nice bar in West Hollywood and I was talking with this beautiful girl and I asked her if she wanted a drink. She asks for champagne, which is not the best answer you can get as a struggling actor, but she was too beautiful and smart to say no. So while thinking how to save those money in the next days I decide to go to the bar and get two glasses of champagne.

The time to coming back and bam… she was talking in the corner with another guy, drinking champagne. I couldn’t believe that, until I realized that the guy she was talking to was Leonardo Di Caprio. That made me quickly understand that the competition in any field here in Los Angeles is not like in South of Italy! It was the last time I went to get two drinks at a bar without bringing the lady with me!!

 

 

Q: What kind of training have you had?

 

A: I started studying acting at the City Academy of London, then studied at Michael Rodger’s Acting Studio in Milan, graduated in Acting for Film at NYFA in Los Angeles last september and currently studying Meisner Technique at The Sanford Meisner Center for the Arts in North Hollywood.

 

 

Q: What would you do if you disagreed with a director about how a role should be played?

 

A: I would definitely try to talk to him and explain my reasons and listen to his, but in the case the disagreement can not be solved I would trust him and adapt.  An actor should always show up on set with clear and strong choices about the character but it’s the director who has a vision of the bigger picture and an actor should trust his vision and be able to adapt truthfully to any situations and change.

(As long as the director is not drunk… :p)

 

Eliza’s interviews are done by email; all answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)