Category: Uncategorized

AN Interview With Hip-Hop Artist Vernon Little

 

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Vernon Little is a Hip-Hop artist who just released the album, Double Minded; here is a link to his Reverbnation page:

https://www.reverbnation.com/vernonlittle

 

Q: What made you interested in Music? 

 

A; I was  fan of rap music since I first heard it while growing up in the Bronx. A Local DJ named Joe Stick gave me my first opportunity to rap.

 

Q:  Why did you choose Christian music? 

 

A: After so many years of trying to put out a project, I felt in my spirit that God was telling me to honor Him with my music, and He’ll open some doors for me.

 

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

 

A: Kool G Rap. On my song, The Chance To Tell You, I tried to make three or four words rhyme in every two bars like he does.

 

Q: What is the overall theme of  ‘”Double Minded?” 

 

A: Put God first in your life, and everything will fall into place.

 

Q: If someone were only going to listen to one song on the album, what should it by and why?

 

A:  The Chance To Tell You. It has good music, rapping, singing, and a positive message.

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

 

A: I work for the transit authority in NYC. I come in contact with 100’s of people a day – five days a week which enables me to cross paths with music lovers and network.

 

Q: What separates you from other Christian Rappers? 

 

A: My music has an old-school feel to it.

 

Q:  How did you come to be affiliated with Bentley Records? 

 

A: I submitted some music to an independent music promoter. They heard it and reached out to me.

 

Q: What kind is your strangest performance story?

A: My very first performance with my former group, Def Duo, at Rice High School, we had to perform on lunchroom tables.

 

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 Screenwriter Marina Shron

 

 

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Marina Shron is the writer and director of the film, “Fruit of Our Womb”; here is a link to the website:

 

https://www.thefruitofourwomb.com/

 

 

Q: What is, “Fruit of Our Womb” about?

 

A: The story follows Christina is a 13-year-old sexually fluid street girl who has grown up trading sex for love and protection. Her chance meeting with an affluent Manhattan couple turns out to be a stroke of luck when she is welcomed into their world.  But what starts out as a utopian dream soon degenerates into a nightmare of love, deceit, and mutual manipulation.

 

 

Q: What inspired you to make the movie?

 

A: My inspiration for the screenplay was two-fold. On the one hand, I was inspired by the character herself – Christina. She’s the heart of the film. Innocent and manipulative, ethereal and lethal – she’s a child-woman who discovers the world by touch.  She was deprived of childhood, of normal family… But there is something elemental and powerful about her existence that makes her a magnet for others, more privileged than herself.  Her presence reveals the best – and the worst – in those who come in touch with her. Once dropped inside the couple’s world, she will either make it explode — or alter its entire fabric…

 

But if Christina herself is unique – her story is not. While doing research for the film I’ve heard countless stories of women and girls who were exploited, betrayed – and, ultimately, blamed for that very abuse by the adults who were supposed to protect them. Unfortunately, we live in a society that makes this cruel paradox possible.  By making this film, I wanted to dig deeper beneath the surface of the incestuous, in nature, family dynamic and try to understand what makes it so pervasive.

 

 

 

Q: What would you say motivates each of the three main characters in the film?

 

A: Initially, each character has very simple, basic motivation – Christina needs home, Lynn needs a child, Joe needs peace and quite in his family. But like all of us, humans, they tend to misconstrue their needs – and when their true needs surface, they come as a surprise to the characters themselves and to us, the audience. Without giving away the ending, I can just say that Christina leads the couple to the brink of the discovery of what really missing from their lives… I say “the brink” because it scares the hell out of them. And I’m not talking about the couple’s sexual needs or fantasies but something that’s much more sublime… and uncanny.

 

 

 

 

Q: How do you think an American audience will respond to the character of Christina?

 

A: Haha, this remains to be seen!  I’m sure she will be a divisive figure…. She’s not your girl next door. Christina is an outsider, and her existence is marginal, both regarding her social status and her sexuality… But on the other hand,  that’s what  make her a quint-essentially American character… So I hope people will relate to her!

 

 

Q:  If people invest in your film, will they be able to share in any profits?

 

 

A: Absolutely! We will be drafting a profit-participation agreement with each one of our investors once the film is fully financed!

 

 

Q:  Who are some of your film making influences?

 

A: I love Lynne Ramsay films – her early  “Rat Catcher” is one of my biggest inspirations. Catherine’s Breiilat “Fat Girl” is another one…  I’ve always been inspired by films with a uniquely female perspective… but not only by films directed by women. My biggest influence — in the way I approach filmmaking in general –  is the grandfather of surrealism, Luis Bunuel.

 

 

Q:  You teach screenwriting at The New School. What makes your class different from other screenwriting classes?

 

A: I give a lot of creative exercises to my students – and not just the exercises on structure and character development but exercises that help to develop their imagination… that tap into their physical and emotional memory.

 

I also show my students a lot of films of diverse styles and perspectives, from different time periods – and I show them next to each other, without providing a “historical perspective.” I believe the best cinematic works belong to the natural world, and not just the world of culture. I’m sure many academics will disagree with me! But this is how I teach film and screenwriting…

 

Q: What is your most memorable classroom story?

 

A: In one of my introductory filmmaking classes, I showed two short films, almost back to back… One was a very well executed if somewhat cheesy love story. Another was an experimental 1972 short film by Chantal Akerman,  “La Chambre” – a circular shot with a camera panning around the room for 11 minutes. I thought my students hated that film… But at the end of the semester, when they were presenting their final films, I was surprised to discover that one of the students drew his inspiration from both of these very different  films. His film was a love story told by a pan that goes around the room for 10 minutes!  And it was a gem of a film!

 

Q:  What mistakes do you see new screenwriters making?

 

A: One of the biggest mistakes new screenwriters make is relying too much on dialogue…over-explaining what the character feel and think.  Another mistake is trying to make a point or send a message that’s too obvious or clichéd.  Some say: “cliché is a cliché because it’s true”… something like that. I hate this expression.

I think real truth is always rooted in a paradox.

 

 

Q:  If you could remake any movie in history, what movie would you remake and why?

 

A: Kubrick “Lolita”… In a way, that’s what I’m doing with “The Fruit of Our Womb” –  remaking Lolita it’s from the girl’s perspective.  And because it’s a female point of view, Christina has to be a stronger, darker, more complex character than Nabokov/Kubrick’s heroine… She’s not at all a victim. I think of her as a perverse messenger of change.

 

 

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

An Interview With Singer Tia McGraff

tia

 

Tia McGraff is a singer who recently released the album Stubborn In My Blood; here is a link to her website:

https://www.tiamcgraff.com/

 

 

Q:  When did you know you wanted to be a singer?

A: I won the Canadian Country Singing Contest Female Open Category when I was 19 years old. The prize included cash (used it to buy my first guitar) and free recording time at a studio in Niagara Falls, ON. I  wrote my first song, Mister with my new guitar and recorded it in the studio. We decided to release it to Canadian country radio and soon I was getting noticed. I even got a call from a CBC tv show in Toronto and was on the show with Johnny Cash and June Carter. I was hooked on the music industry and knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life.

Q:  Which of your songs is the most personal?

A: Let ‘Em See Your Strong is a song of courage and inner strength. Overcoming toxic relationships. Something I’ve had to do in my life.

Q:  What do most people not understand about the Nashville music scene?

A: you need to  be patient and consistant. Stay true to your talent and find a way to set yourself apart.

Q: What is your weirdest back stage story?

A: I really don’t have one. I have always tried to keep things back stage clear and drama free. No one who shouldn’t be there. I also learned early in my career, from being in theatre I suppose, that you get on and off stage without lingering back stage.

 

Q: What kinds of day jobs have you had in your life and how did they influence your music?

A: I worked at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. It was great listening and learning about all the history and stories behind the stars fame. It helped me see that everyone of them came from a beginning in their career and worked hard for their success.

Q: How did you and your partner Tommy Parham meet?

A: In Nashville. I had moved there from Canada and he had moved there from L.A. We were introduced by his music publisher to write together. The rest is history.

Q: What is the overall theme of the album “Stubborn In My Blood?”

A: Stubborn In My Blood The title track is about my family/where they came from/diversity/strength/dreams/etc. Sums up the message of the album

Q: What are some successful things you have done to promote yourself?

A: Social Networking is so important in today’s music scene. In fact, I have tried to keep up with it myself, but due to our touring schedule and writing appointments, I have found it necessary to hire a social media person to handle my gig posts etc. She is amazing, and it helps me keep up with the things I need to take care of, while my fans feel they are in the loop of everything.

Q: What are some of the pitfalls you have experienced in the music business?

A: rejection, being too unique…….

Q: If you had the chance to perform with any music legend, who would it be?

A: Dolly Parton. I am involved with donating a portion of my book sales to our local chapter of the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. She is just an incredible aritst, business person and human being

 

 

 

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

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:)

An Interview With Author Mitchell Thompson

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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:)