Lola The Don Talks Being a Female DJ, Her Self-Love Journey and Socialogy Care Company

The “Don” is defined as someone who is respected by many people, a leader, a king, or in this sense a Queen. Lola The Don is respected by many and says she’s never walked into a room that she didn’t deserve to be in.  Lola is DJ in a male dominated industry, a nursing student, and importantly a self-care advocate. She talks about her highs, lows and everything in between that it took for her to get to her happy place that she’s in now. Check out her interview below.

DG: You’re an entrepreneur, what all businesses do you have under your belt?

Lola The Don: The most prominent is Socialogy Care Company, that’s the most visible right now.

DG: With Socialogy Care Company, there are 3 other co-creators. What all services do you all provide?

Lola The Don: We are a health and wellness care company. We get asked a lot if we are health gurus and people would come to us for health-related advice, and I would tell them that is not at all what we are. We are not the point of contact for health-related advice, but what we are is the point of contact for directing you to those people who can give you the correct health advice. We’re the liaison, the middleman, between the community and health & wellness service providers. Those providers, for us, are anyone that offer some sort of services tailored to health & wellness; that could be a personal trainer, a fitness instructor, a gym, a healthy eatery, a person who makes body butter, a person who makes hair care products, even a financial specialist because good credit and finances is a part of health & wellness. Anything you can think of that is health & wellness related, we try to help the community find their services.

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DG: What was your reasoning for wanting to start/become a co-creator of Socialogy Care Company?

Lola The Don: I was looking for health and wellness resources and did not know where to start. So, I wanted to help others who were having this same issue. So I decided to create something that would be a hub for people to be able to come and search for these health and wellness related resources.” So, we, the creators of Socialogy Care Company, take the task of you having to use Google and provide you with the information on our website and look into our database to find the resources you need.

“Life be life-ing”

DG: Do you have a background in health & wellness?

Lola The Don: Yes, I got my bachelor’s in Socialogy, then I went into the healthcare field as a case manager, which is like a baby social worker. I sat on the clinical team at a substance abuse treatment center for adolescent boys. It was heavy work and my first introduction to healthcare as a whole. I did that under two years and loved the experience and the children I worked it; they still reach out to me, to this day. That was the biggest take away from that job. Unfortunately, there was not a lot of pay in the field as a case manager, so I went back to school after doing some praying, soul searching, meditating and consulting with my higher powerful (shoutout to GOD), and I went back to school for nursing. I’ve always known that health & wellness was somehow my calling. So I started nursing school, then “Life started lifing” so I tabled it for a second and now I’m back in nursing school.

“I know you, I fuck with you”

DG: I’ve seen on your social media that you decided to give up alcohol and dating for a year. What prompted you to do that?

Lola The Don: I experienced a breakup a year ago. During that hard breakup, my mental health plummeted, and I fell into a state of depression. Prior to the relationship with him, I never really had anxiety but it started to develop within that relationship and it was really exasperating. That is something I look back on and it reinforces me stay on top of my mental health. After a couple weeks of having a pity party, I started taking the necessary steps for me to feel whole again; one of those things was letting go of drinking. When I would go through hard things, I would resort to drinking instead of letting myself feel feelings and healthily dealing with them. The second thing I gave up was dating and became celibate. I never sat with myself for an extended period of time as an adult. I was either in a relationship or always dating and that’s a form of running away from yourself, in my opinion.  I realized that when you get with someone, you sometimes unconsciously lose  yourself within that person and when/if that person leaves, they will take a piece of you with them and you have nothing. So, I made a vow to myself that I will never let that happen to me again. It was equally the most grueling time in my life as it was the most rewarding. I stayed on path and at the end of it, I truly believe that certain blessings started to flow in and the biggest blessing was finally looking in the mirror and saying “I know you, I fuck with you” and no one can touch that. After this one-year cleanse, I met a guy and he’s very nice, it’s refreshing, and I am able to be in that space and pour into that but still have my boundaries and know who I am.

I can not have this business and not walk the walk and talk the talk.”

DG: What other practices do you do for your own personal health and wellness besides not drinking, in a sense of self-care? How are you practicing what you preach in Socialogy Care Co.?

Lola The Don: I can not have this business and not walk the walk and talk the talk. Firstly, I feel that what I put in my body physically (eat and drink) and spiritually (what I read, watch and listen to) matters. No, I’m not a saint eating the right things and listening to the purest things, but I do try to incorporate those things into my lifestyle regularly. I’m a big water drinker, I rarely drink anything besides that. Also, I pour positives things in my life like positive podcasts or YouTube videos. If I’m not listening to something self-care related, I’m listening to something business related. One of my favorite podcasts, The Wall Street Journal Secret to Wealthy Women and they talk about how they acquired their wealth and success. I love to journal, even though sometimes I find myself doing it on my phone instead of actually writing it. Two of the biggest things for me, self-care related, is practicing mindfulness; when I wake up in the morning, the first 30 minutes are important, so I don’t check my phone and I talk to God. The other is practicing positive self-talk. I don’t talk down on myself.

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DG: With you going to nursing school, how are you going to implement your studies the Socialogy Care Company?

Lola The Don: Right now, I don’t have the credentials behind my name, yet, but what I do have is my research and my personal experiences. Once I get my credentials, that’ll make me much more credible to my subscribers.

DG: What events does Socialogy Care Company have coming up?

Lola The Don: Last year, our was goal was to produce an event every month and we were able to do that, whether it be one that we put on ourselves or one that we partnered with a health care professional or orchestrated a volunteer session. This year our goal has been to mainly show up at other people’s events and support them.

We are in the process of working on our first annual citywide wellness retreat. It’ll be a weekend getaway with everybody without breakout topics about financial, mental health, prayer circles, and just networking overall. We want to be able to produce this event every year.

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“I’m coming back to buy the building of all those doors that were once closed on me.” 

DG: Switching the focus to your DJ career. Is it intimidating being in a predominantly male industry?

Lola The Don: On the surface, generally speaking, sure, it could be intimidating for people. On a personal level, no. I actually embrace it and welcome it. I had a recent encounter not to long ago. I was booked to host an event by a good friend of mine, and I’ve hosted many events for him in the past before. Once I got to the venue, I went to the DJ booth and asked where the mic was because I was the host for the evening. The guy told me I wasn’t getting the mic and I was confused of course but I didn’t really trip off it too hard. I did reiterate that I was booked to host. He eventually hands me the mic and I was on it for a while, but he ended up requesting it back so I figured that we would go back and forth on the mic which is fine. I step away for a minute and come back to another guy being on the mic who is respected around and known for hosting. I respect that and his craft. So, I asked him was he hosting with me and he said no, he was only going to be on the mic and I told him, like I told the previous guy, that I was booked to be on the mic as well. He told me he was getting paid to host too. I’m mature enough to let it go, I got paid already so I decided to kick it with my friends. But during the times I did have the mic and was hosting, I noticed they kept turning my mic down. It was crazy and I thought “What is happening?” and “where is this energy coming from?” I think it is wack when a guy hates on a girl, we are in two totally different lanes. This is definitely a male dominant industry and I don’t think it is a career for the faint heart, If you are a woman. We as women are required to show up 10 times more prepared so we can rightfully demand the respect that we are owed. There are times when I get doubt or side-eyed from people who may have concerns of why I get/got booked for things. I’m sure there are people think I got booked for a gig because I am a woman or for my looks. It goes back to me knowing what I’m capable of and qualified for. I don’t get discouraged or deterred from situations like that. My mindset is “I’m coming back to buy the building of all those doors that were once closed on me.” 

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“ As a woman, I always want to be seen as someone who conducts herself with a level of dignity, class and grace and not in a soft way, but in a way where things can roll off me and not knock me off of the life high I have going on.”

DG: Wow that is crazy to have experienced that level of shade and hate but I guess it comes with the industry and luckily you have a positive mindset about it. So, to back the bus up, how did you get into DJ-ing?

Lola The Don: I’ve been DJ-ing off and on for 10 years. I’ve always loved music. Music is therapy for me. I actually have a very deep love for techno and house music. I have a lot of favorite techno DJs and it started there and my love for underground hip-hop like when TDE first started with Kendrick and School Boy Q. I also had love for Indie Rock and that’s what made me want to be a DJ. There’s a feeling that I get when I hear music being mashed together. There’s this euphoria that over comes and these endorphins that are released and I want people to feel that.

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DG: Who are your favorite female DJs and your overall DJs, men included, overall?

Lola The Don: My favorite female DJs right now is Shale, she does a lot of live mixes and mashups; Dj Millie, I love her look and how she brands herself. Also, Vashtie, she’s the Dondada because she DJs, she’s a video director [she directed one of Kendrick Lamar’s first videos], she’s a fashion designer, designing a brand of Jordans for women.

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As far as my overall DJs, I love DJ Diplo. He has a group that he branched off and created and it’s called Major Lazer. They are a mashup of techno, house music, reggae and hip-hop. I used to love Deadmau5  and his production; he does a lot of techno and house-inspired music. Those two are my favorite guy DJs.

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DG: How far do you want your DJ-ing to go?

Lola The Don: The lane I’m really interested in tapping into is the vixen, sexy DJ lane. I really don’t have the desire to DJ in the clubs, that’s not my focal point. The radio is not a goal of mine, but I wouldn’t mind being featured on there. I actually would like to be a traveling DJ. I just came back from an out of town gig in Chicago. I also would love to be someone’s tour DJ. I’ve DJed behind my ex, who is also a musician. We actually did SXSW a few years ago. I’ve done a lot of underground showcases here too.

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DG: What makes your DJ-ing style different?

Lola The Don: I would say the biggest thing that I’m coming out with is the energy that I’m trying to give off through my productions and mixes. Sou-lection is the vibe that I’m trying to gravitate towards. I want my sounds and mixes to be very fluid, flowy, and healing, but also something that you can dance and vibe to. The plan is to start dropping live videos of me mixing. I’m in the process of developing group of ladies called The Misses and every time I drop a live mix; I’ll have two of my misses behind me dancing to my music. We’re going to put on a show and that’s the different thing im bringing to the table; it’s not going to be just what you hear but there’s a visual aspect to it as well.

Look out for Lola, whether she’s DJ-ing or hosting your events or out with her co-founders promoting their business Socialogy Care Company or even at your local hospitals because she’ll be a nurse soon!! She’s a go-getter and wants to see everyone win. Follow her on Instagram @LolaDaDon

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[Exclusive Interview] Miami Artist Teenear Opens Up About Her Fame, Influences, Collaborations & More

Miami native Teenear has groomed herself for the moments she’s living in right now. She’s been singing since she was a toddler, singing covers on YouTube since she was 15, and she is signed to Slip N Slide Records. Teenear has a single with Sage The Gemini, which went global, gracing the presence of Japanese dancer Kahonna. She’s living in her moment and making Miami proud. Check her interview below as she talks about her influences, experiences and much more.

Danii Gold: Being from a musically inclined city such as Miami, what influence did you have growing up?

Teenear: Miami is such a melting pot of genres and sounds. There’s the Miami Sound Machine, disco, R&B and hip-hop in our music history. That inspired me to want to break barriers with my music. Betty Wright was one of my early vocal coaches and is a hometown legend who I can still reach out to at any time.

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Danii Gold: Back in 2015 you had a single with Sage the Gemini titled “Friday Night”, and it went global after a well-known Japanese dancer, Kahonna used it in a dance video. What was it like getting such exposure, especially with “Friday night” being your first single?

Teenear To be honest, at that moment it was 100% surreal because I had just started and for somebody, all the way from Japan to recognize a song and do so much with it for me was appreciated to the fullest. 

Danii Gold: What was it like to collaborate with Lil Baby on your latest single “I Like It”? And having your video play on BET Jams? Congratulations on that. How are you feeling?

Teenear: Thank you so much! Collaborating with Lil Baby was amazing! I’m genuinely so grateful that I was able to get him on “I Like It”. He did an amazing job on his verse and I am really appreciative of BET; they’re always super supportive towards me and my team!

YouTube: “I like it” video

Danii Gold: What was the process like, when you signed with Slip N Slide Records?  

Teenear:  I had a conversation about if being an artist is something that I really wanted to do. From there, I started putting myself out there doing  a lot of covers, and during that time I was doing a lot of recording to a lot of records that people sent in. It wasn’t until I met with a producer from Atlanta named Anthony, and he played me a beat he had and that’s when we created “Friday Night” ft Sage the Gemini and from there I just kept growing with Slip N Slide.

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Danii Gold: Do you have any plans on collaborating with any of your label mates such as Trina, Plies, Trick Daddy, Sebastian Mikael, etc.?

Teenear: I’ve already collaborated with Trina on one of my earlier records named “Streetlights”. In the future, I definitely see myself collaborating with my newer label mates F$O Dinero, Mike Smiff and Sebastian.

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@TeenearR Instagram

Danii Gold: What other artists would you like to work with now or in the future?

Teenear: I am a big fan of so many artists right now but at this moment I would love to be able to collaborate with H.E.R, Ella Mai, Megan Thee Stallion, Saweetie, Bruno Mars and honestly, the list can just continue. There are so many talented artists out right now that I can’t wait to be able to work with! 

Danii Gold: If you weren’t doing music, what would you be doing?

Teenear: Growing up I’ve always been a big fan of not only music but also acting and I have a really big passion for musical theater exclamation! So if I wasn’t doing what I’m doing now I most likely would be pursuing a career in musical theater.

Danii Gold: Any upcoming projects in the works?

Teenear: I definitely have quite a few projects coming out really soon that I’m really excited about! I’ve been working with a lot a new and extremely talented people that have been helping me create some amazing records so make sure you’re following me on my socials so you can stay updated on when I’m dropping them!

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Danii Gold: Of course! What message do you want to send in your music?

Teenear: To be honest I just want my music to be able to reflect me as much as possible. A young girl growing up, finding herself and just having fun in every moment that life is giving her.

Make sure y’all check out her new single “I Like It” featuring Lil Baby along with multiple videos she has for the song.

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Check out her website: https://teenear.com
Instagram: @TeenearR

Ebbi Nicole, Creator of Fluffy GRL Movement, Talks Body Positivity, Empowering Women and Fluffy GRL Inspirations

For decades, society has created the standard that women have to be a certain size to be considered cute, dateable and even healthy, but in actuality that’s not the case. Ebbi Nicole, a proud curvy woman, embraces her “fluff” and empowers women by walking in her truth, being transparent, hosting events and workshops and even a Curves N’ Waves Pool Party. Check out Ebbi’s interview below as she talks about her Fluffy GRL Movement.

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Danii Gold: Why did you create the Fluffy Grl Movement?

Ebbi Nicole: I created Fluffy GRL Movement because I was tired of hearing women speak hatefully about themselves. I wanted to create a platform that would celebrate, elevate and empower the plus and curvy communities to tell their stories their way and to walk in their truths unapologetically.

We produce innovative events and workshops, conduct interviews featuring plus women who are the face of their brand and help women polish their personal style with consulting services. The ROOT of Fluffy GRL has always been about rewriting the narrative to include our truths, and defy those imposed by the media and societal norms.

Danii Gold: I love how you substitute a negative word for a positive word, Fluffy. Growing up a Fluffy Girl, did you face barriers?

Ebbi Nicole: I was teased ALOT as a child. Unfortunately, I was bullied by the kids at school and picked on by family at home. I was a target because I was ALWAYS one of the bigger kids in class and I started wearing glasses in Kindergarten. As a result I developed super low self esteem and I questioned everything about myself. It got so bad at one point that I started begging the teacher to let me eat lunch with her during recess because I was afraid of getting beat up on the playground. 

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Danii Gold: Besides empowering women, you are also a stylist for Fluffy GRLS and women in general. What made you add that service to your brand or title behind your name?

Ebbi Nicole: I decided to start styling for plus and curvy women simply because my audience asked me to. I wish it was more to it but it isn’t. I always receive so many compliments behind how I rock what I wear. Then I started receiving messages about styling services. At first, I was totally against it. I am not a fashion enthusiast NOR am I the edgiest person in the industry so I was skeptical if I was the IDEAL stylist. Through working with clients I learned that all labels and fashion houses aside, I really enjoyed helping women polish their personal brand and identify their personal style. It brings me joy to see women feel and look good in her clothes. It radiates as confident and self aware, both of which are super sexy!

Danii Gold: I’ve been following your brand for a while and I heard you say a while back that when you were younger, guys wouldn’t show you  attention in public, but they they would flirt with you in private. How do you or would you handle a situation like that now? 

Ebbi Nicole: Great question! I’m at the “YO LOSS” point in my life. I do a really great job at letting people know that they’re missing out and standing in the fact that I am not a Night Creep Chick…unless the ish is on MY terms and I want it. Simply put! If you can’t check for me in the sunlight, then you damn sure can’t check for me at midnight. Okurrr

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Danii Gold: AGREED!! So, what are some things you do on the regular basis to empower women who are Fluffy?

Ebbi Nicole: I walk in my truth…unsure, very sure, complicated, simple, easily and hard as hell. As muddy as the journey is and as tough of a reality it is to face sometimes, I work to empower women by being transparent about my challenges and triumphs. Sometimes, the most work is done when you are just…YOU.

Danii Gold: That’s dope! So, do you have any Fluffy or Curvy women inspirations?

Ebbi Nicole: Of course! I’m a 90s babies so when we talk about inspirations, I have to reach back to who paved the way around that time. My faves include Missy Elliott, Queen Latifah, The Lady of Rage, Mia X, and even Raven Symone. I remember seeing each of these women and they all exuded power and self awareness. None of them tried to HIDE their bigness, in fact their confidence is what made their careers so successful. They did things on their terms. In a thin positive industry, they exuded what it meant to be a Fluffy GRL. PRESENT. VISIBLE. RAW. VOCAL. UNAPOLOGETIC. 

Danii Gold: How do you feel about women like Lizzo being her authentic self, showcasing her body positivity, despite how society tries box plus size women in? (For instance, the stereotype that thicker women can’t wear certain clothes)

Ebbi Nicole: I. STAN. LIZZO. I know that there is the Rihanna Navy and the Bey Hive but HONEY, I am forever a LIZBIAN. She is stomping on those boxes. Her presence in the music industry couldn’t have come at a better time. She offers something rarely seen from plus women in the main stream media…SEX. SPICE. AND NO FUCKS GIVEN. I love that she is NOT ONLY visible but she is also VERY VOCAL about her position on fatness in today’s society. The women I named earlier lit the torch and Lizzo is taking things up a notch! She is making some folks very uncomfortable and I AM LOVING IT! 

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Danii Gold: Agreed! I love me some Lizzo. So, you have your annual Curves N’ Waves Pool Party coming up. What made you come up with the theme?

Ebbi Nicole: The name for Curves N’ Waves came about because I wanted something catchy yet clear that this was a party created by a woman for other women. I wanted a name that would empower women of all shapes, sizes and shades to make a SPLASH and take up space in a place made for them. My sole thought, if you put a lot of curves in the water, some waves are bound to happen. Hence Curves N’ Waves. 
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Danii Gold: That’s super catchy! What else do you want to come out of the Fluffy GRL Movement besides body positivity?

Ebbi Nicole: Besides messages of self acceptance and an avenue for body diversity, I want people to help dismantle myths about the fluffy community. Contrary to popular belief many of us are active, working our asses off in various industries, have loving partners and families, can dance longer than 15 seconds, aren’t always the comedic relief and we are all capable of telling our stories without the help of those who don’t know anything about them. 

 

Danii Gold: That’s deep and inspirational AF! My last question for you is, what message would you like to send with your brand?

Ebbi Nicole: FLUFFY is a way of life. It’s not all about how you do or don’t look. It’s about how you choose to live, view the world and share your journey with the world. To be FLUFFY is to embrace you AND the unique person next to you. Fluffs, fluffettes and fluff supporters are a whole vibe!
The Fluffy GRL Movement 2nd Annual Curves N’ Waves Pool Party on August 10th.
Make sure you follow  Fluffy GRL Movement on Facebook and Instagram @fluffygrlmovement and check out her website –> https://www.empowerthefluff.com/
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Ashlee Akins Uses Her Platform To Create Her Own Company, AA Dimensions

Ashlee Atkins is more than just a face on the OWN network. She’s an educated, entrepreneur making her way while using her platform. After being on Will Packer’s Ready To Love, she decided to take advantage of her loyal fan base she had on the show and create a brand bigger than herself, empowering women, managing artists and plenty. Check out her interview below:

 

Danii Gold: What made you want to open your company, AA Dimensions?

Ashlee Akins: After being on Ready To Love, I sat down with my mother and told her I wanted a company that exemplified women’s empowerment arts and entertainment, fashion, health and wellness and here we are. My mother has always been my biggest supporter and cheerleader, and we have always made a great team in business as well. This journey is one that I can freely give my all to, simply because there’s nothing like having a team you can trust.

Danii Gold: What was the inspiration behind opening the company?

Ashlee Akins: The inspiration behind my company is simply myself and my mother. I wanted a brand that represents and showcases real individuals, real leaders, real women and men, striving to make a difference in this world and helping each of us gain success across the board. I wanted to create a platform that encompassed each of my passions, with a foundation in one mission; to empower people of color to grow and work in their highest potential.

Danii Gold: What services does AA Dimensions provide?

Ashlee Akins: We provide inspiration for the arts as well as artist management, women’s personal and business empowerment, including different panels, forums and conferences. I have just released a book that is a self-help interactive journal to teach individuals the formula to life and to become the author of their own story. We believe in full-circle support, therefore we also serve in areas of mental and physical health and wellness.

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Danii Gold: With you being experienced within the entertainment world, positively, does that help you reach a wider variety of clients or even sponsors for the company?

Ashlee Akins: It definitely does help our networking community but we are always welcoming new sponsors and new partnerships. Due to my participation in OWN Tv’s Ready to Love, I have gained a large and loyal fan base, which I cherish dearly and am constantly motivated by to push harder and go the extra mile. One thing you should know is that fame doesn’t make you successful. Hard work and dedication does.

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Danii Gold: With you having experience with reality TV, sports, recently music; new single titled “Walk Light” AND you’re even educated; what’s next for you? Acting perhaps? 

Ashlee Akins: I am definitely a Jane of all trades. I am going to continue to pursue acting. I recently worked on a TV series on Starz and I’m just going to keep trying and reaching and exceeding all of my goals. I love life and everything it has to offer so I want to do a little bit of everything. Essentially, this is why my company includes and showcases so much. I don’t really believe in limits when it comes to self-progression.

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Danii Gold: What tools and encouragement do you use to empower consumers or people who work within the company?

Ashlee Akins: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work. We are loyal and dedicated to one another and we strive to make sure each individual reaches their highest potential. We surely live lit or die boring, but we keep it cute and professional along the way. Overall we want each person to reach unbelievable destinations.

Danii Gold: What message do you like to send with your company?

Ashlee Akins: When beginning a task never give up too fast be your labor great or small do it well or not at all‼️ 

Follow her pages on Instagram @AADimenions and @_IAmAshlee007

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[Interview] Drew Negus Talks Being a Solo Artist, Years in Music and New EP

St. Louis native Drew Negus is more than just an artist. He’s a creator, from rapping to songwriting, to engineering and even film scoring. He’s been making music for over 15 years and doesn’t plan on stopping. He’s collaborated with artists in Atlanta and even Los Angeles. He likes to put positive energy into my music and wants to make the world a better place. Check out his interview below, where he talks about being in a group, his music experience and his projects.

Danii Gold: How did you get into doing music?

Drew Negus: Looking back I have always been into music even before I chose it as a career. I played instruments in elementary school and sung in the choir at church. I even played a rapper in a school play in 6th grade! I started taking music seriously when my best friends and I started a group called A1O. We released a song on an old social media site, “Bebo” and got a great response. The website even reached out to us and offered us what was basically a marketing deal! They agreed to promote our music if we only released music on their website. 

Danii Gold: I definitely remember the Bebo days lol. With you being in a group back then, how did the four of you collectively contribute to your music? 

Drew Negus: Our process was always fun and organic. We would all contribute to making the beats (not having a clue what we were doing) and then we each would come up with flows and melodies. Most songs would start off like a cypher with the next person taking over every 4 or 8 bars. We had a lot of fun for sure! 

Danii Gold: Do you think being in a group is still as successful as being a solo artist? 

Drew Negus: From a financial standpoint it’s easier to invest in the music as a group for sure! On the other hand money is split more ways. Clearly groups like the Migos show you can still be very successful as a group so I would say Yes. 

Danii Gold: Would you or have you collaborated with your group members since you all went your separate ways? 

Drew Negus: I have produced for my former group members since we separated. I don’t know what the future holds as far as making songs together but it’s a possibility. 

Danii Gold: Finish the sentence, “I’m Drew, …. “ 

Drew Negus: I Am Drew; Artist, Producer, Engineer, and Songwriter 

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Danii Gold: What do you enjoy most, writing music, being an engineer or artist ?

Drew Negus: Lately I have found the most joy as an artist! This is really a full circle moment for me, starting out as an artist and finally finding my way back! It’s definitely close though because I Love producing! I also enjoy mixing! It’s just something about turning beats into actual songs that people can relate to that is very fulfilling to me.

Danii Gold: You’ve recently produced and engineered for artists in ATL and LA. Would you consider moving out of St. Louis to work with other more established artists or do you feel like you can bounce back and forth? 

Drew Negus: I actually moved out of St. Louis In 2010 and it is one of the best decision I have made! I have lived in Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Dallas. I would encourage any upcoming musician in St. Louis to expand their horizons. St. Louis music scene is definitely thriving and has some of the best talent I have seen. There are just much more opportunities to grow and learn about the industry in other cities like Atlanta and LA. I have found myself in rooms with artists, producers, and A&R’s that I would have never had access to in St. Louis. You separate yourself from 90% of other musicians just by BEING IN THE ROOM! I definitely want to work with and bring value to the St.Louis scene. Low key, there are many St. Louis natives in other cities THRIVING in the music industry behind the scenes. 

Danii Gold: You recently got into film scoring. What sparked your interest to  get into scoring?

Drew Negus: I actually have always thought it would be cool to work in film scoring. One of my good friends “Cherie Antionette” is an independent film director and actress in Atlanta. She solicited my help on her short film “The Porcelain Chef” and the rest is history. The film is actually award winning now and has been featured at several film festivals. It is a very fun experience! The music behind different scenes affects how you feel about what you are seeing so much! It’s almost like doing magic. 

Danii Gold: That is dope and different. I haven’t heard of any music creator say they would be interested in film scoring. So switching topics–You released your first solo EP “Abundance of the Heart” back in June and it’s great! I personally like “Star”, “Swim” and “Signs”. Since you were making music when you were younger, what took you so long to come out with a solo project? Did you ever doubt yourself?

Drew Negus: Thank you! Once the group split up I felt that I should focus on producing and engineering. At a certain point I became completely entrenched in that and kind of lost sight of my passion for being an artist. My experiences over the years as a producer and engineer have led me to this point, and helped me a lot as I have begun my journey as a solo artist. I have been involved in and around the process of being a successful artist and worn a few different hats. I believe that gives me a well rounded perspective of how I should approach my artistry. I always knew deep down that I desired to get back on the mic. I am glad things have played out the way they have so far. My character and thought process have grown tremendously over the years and it reflects in my music. 

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Danii Gold: Well-put! So, would you consider signing to a label or staying independent?

Drew Negus: At this point, I am focused on being an independent artist and continuing to strengthen my team and resources. When the situation is right I would be open to partnering with a major label. Nowadays major labels mostly only invest in established, successful independent artists. As i continue to grow I plan to keep my options open.

Danii Gold: What do you have coming up? Performances, new music. Etc.

Drew Negus: I am currently working on “Abundance of the Heart II” which I plan to release in mid 4th quarter. 

Danii Gold: That’s what’s up! Since you are a man of many titles, what is your end goal? What would you like to accomplish?

Drew Negus: End goal? Make the world a better place! My music career is only a vehicle to do that. Energy cannot be destroyed, only transferred, so I plan to put positive, uplifting energy into my music and spread it throughout the world! I also plan to build a Major Record label over time and connect some dots for independent artists along the way.

Danii Gold: That’s nice and inspiring. Lastly, What message do you want to send in your music?  

Drew Negus: I just want to depict my inner world by expressing myself musically. God has me on an amazing journey and I’m blessed to be able to tell my story through music.  I want to motivate my community. I want my sisters to be able to turn up without being womanized. A wise person once told me to put the medicine in the candy. I take that approach in my music.

Make sure you check out Drew Negus music on all streaming platforms and his latest EP “Abundance of the Hearts”

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St. Louis Artist Valencia Talks Upbringing, Lyrics and New Single Dropping 8/2

Valencia Valencia Valencia!! That’s a name you don’t want to forget. She’s a St. Louis based artist doing the thang and making a name for herself. She working hard these days; she dropped her EP F**k Girl earlier this year. Valencia released a single titled “Another Round” just a month ago and now she’s working on the release of her new song “Vibe” that is dropping on Friday August 2. She’s opened for nation wide artists and even has the same vocal coach as Grammy nominated artists. Check out her interview below!

Danii Gold: How did you get your start in music? Do you come from a musically-inclined family?

Valencia: I got started in music at an early age. When I was very young (like 6 or so) I would sing songs involving a lot of harmony with three of my older siblings. However, I didn’t realize my love for music until I was much older. Although I took guitar lessons, dance classes, and singing lessons I didn’t grow up directly under nor with someone who had the same passion as I have now.  I have a lot of family members outside of my siblings who sing, dance, rap, produce, and more but I didn’t get this from my parents directly. 

Danii Gold: If you had to introduce yourself to a person by letting people know who you are, what would you say? For instance, finish the sentence, “I’m Valencia, a singer, …”

Valencia: It’s ya girrrrl Valencia, aka DAMN, bka, Damnn Valencia.. Okay just kidding! I’d only say that on stage. I would say I’m a singer/songwriter, performer or entertainer, and creative music video director. 

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Danii Gold: Those are some good titles. When you started writing music at age 15, what would you write about at the time?

Valencia: Back then I used to write a lot of (if not only), inspirational songs. I grew up in church so I never ventured out to write about different aspects of life until I got older and more comfortable with better expressing myself. 

Danii Gold: Being that you’ve been into music for such a long time from writing to singing it, Would you consider writing for other artists ?

Valencia: Most definitely! It’s one of my goals and actually something I’ve already started to do. 

Danii Gold: That’s what’s up! Your music and voice is dope AF. You are open with your sexuality in a classy and sensual way. Not a lot of female artists are like that, but with the few that are like that, did you have any music inspirations growing up when it came to singing about your sexuality?

Valencia: Ah, thank you so much! Growing up I was super conservative. Since I grew up in the church, my family and I were missionaries and my dad was a pastor. Now, I’m not trying to pump up the cliche that “pastors kids are the worst ones” or anything, but I do have to say I didn’t become comfortable with expressing myself or even being myself until I got older. I grew into my own person and realized that I’m a free spirit. There wasn’t anybody in particular who I got inspired by at the time, but I guess I just finally figured out what type of being I was and wanted to be. This time in my life was so liberating! 

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Danii Gold: In the past, you were blessed with the opportunity to work in vocal coach Ametria Dock who’s worked with Jidenna, Janelle Monae and even India Irie. How did you two link up?

Valencia: I went to a singers workshop in Atlanta, just to grow as a singer/musician when I learned of her. I was obsessed with India Arie growing up already so to find out her background singer, Ametria Dock was going to be there and teaching was beyond exciting. After attending the event I reached out to her about singing lessons and I was under her teaching for years after that. 

Danii Gold: That’s so cool! Did her large clientele help you connect with other artists? 

Valencia: It began to, however, I will say from when I was younger I realize now that I could have done much more to network with those she knew– you definitely live and you learn. She was willing to help me too. But thankfully I actually plan to start my lessons back up. Her talent and ability to help others grow is unmatched and I really miss learning from her. 

Danii Gold: Speaking of other artists, you opened up for Flo Rida and AJR back in 2017. How did you get that opportunity and what did you learn?

Valencia: It’s important to have genuine people and friends in your corner! My amazing friend Allen Gates invited me on stage with him for this opportunity. We always try to look out for our loved ones but man, he’s just the type of person that goes above and beyond. So major shout out to Allen “You know how G do it!” Gates! 

From that experience, I learned that this music thing is definitely for me! I learned to own the stage and every opportunity you’re given. And finally to handle it all with care, grace and humility. That same day a St. Louis, singing legend and someone who I adored personally, Rollyn ‘Klassy’ Moore passed away. I never told anyone this but hours before the performance I spent crying and mourning my friend who was always encouraging me to keep going. I had a growth spurt the day I performed this concert. I learned my strengths and my drive and reasoning for doing what I do, was way greater than I realized. 

Danii Gold: Wow, that’s a great way to look at it. So switching focuses here–you have a new single dropping on Friday August 2 at 7pm title “Vibe”. What was the story and inspiration behind it?

Valencia: Wow, “Vibe” was created on the complete random! I was bouncing ideas off my partner in music for a totally different song (shout out to 4012!) and I had already been working on building up my catalog of music when I just came up with this catchy ass hook… “it’s the summertime just vibe, vibe…” And when I say I’ve never written something in such a short amount of time that I actually LOVED– I shocked myself! I finished it in literally 30 min. Writing songs usually comes very easily and naturally to me, but this one was so special for some reason. There wasn’t any inspiration behind it per say, it just felt good and the song itself made me happy. I could only imagine and hope that it does the same for those who hear it! 

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Danii Gold: I love how you express in your music that women can do and feel the same way as men, no double standard. The term being used now is “having a hot girl summer.” Lol. What reactions have you gotten from men regarding the lyrics in your music?

Valencia: Haha! Yesss, to the “hot girl summer!” I’ve received mixed feelings from men. However, surprisingly, most of those feelings were just them appreciating the art and loving the sound! I was surprised, I can’t even lie. But with others you could definitely tell they were uncomfortable and felt some type of way about it and ended up asking for clarification for some of the lyrics and their meanings. Which, I took no offense to because that’s part of the reason why I created F*ck Girl. I wanted the conversations, I wanted to be expressive and a bit problematic, and I definitely wanted the buzz.

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Danii Gold: What is the ultimate goal you want to reach with your music?

Valencia: Whew, my ultimate goal? This is a tough one! I feel like there is no limit in this one little life that we all get to live individually. So I want my music to have endless opportunity and countless stories tied to it and survive to live through future generations (sky’s the limit right?). Music is healing, it’s freeing, it’s everywhere and nowhere. I want it to be heard around the world, and I want it to help in anyway it can. 

Danii Gold: What message do you want to send through your music?

Valencia: Be yourself, be happy, be carefree, be wild, be kind and loving, and enjoy your freaking life!

Valencia is a beautiful soul and a dope artist making her way in this music industry. Make sure you listen to her new single “Vibe” dropping on Friday August 2 at 7:01pm. If you want to keep up with her, follow her on Facebook and Instagram @DamnValencia. Her music is on all streaming sites. Also, check out her website for more information on her –> https://www.damnvalencia.com

 

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Houston Artist, Mallory, Drops New Single “1Hunned”

A Houston RnB singer is creating her own opportunity and putting her music out for the world to hear. Artist Mallory started singing at a young age in church and also knew it was something she wanted to pursue. In the beginning, her family didn’t take her serious but they eventually realized that singing was going to be something she would pursue. She took a break from music when she decided to go to school and get a degree in Public Relations. Music has always been a passion for Mallory so she decided to give it another try. I was able to interview her about her background, music inspirations and more. 

Danii: Did you get discouraged when your family didn’t take you seriously at first?

MalloryIn a way, yes; but back then I don’t think I cared too much. It started to affect me more later in life than it did originally.

Danii: Who are your music inspirations?                                                                     

Mallory: Definitely Chris Brown! He is beyond talented. Beyonce has also shaped some of my style, but I listen to all kinds of music, so I’m also influenced by gospel, oldies, anything that I can learn from

Danii: Being a Houston native, do you feel like you have to be just as good as someone like Beyonce since that’s her hometown as well?         

Mallory: I don’t feel I have to, but I am. The difference is the experience and the hours put in at the same point in time. If I continue to work hard and learn, my talent will grow and show just like hers has.

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Danii: Ideally, where would you like to be musically in 2 years? 
Mallory: I want to be at the point at which I’m touring and have a decent audience; maybe not icon level, but definitely known nationally.
Danii: What are your favorite topics to sing about? 
Mallory: That’s a hard one. *thinks about it* Man, I don’t know. I like to sing about whatever’s real. It may not be something going on right at that moment, but I just pull form experiences and desires. From there my favorite topic for the moment comes out. Love songs always leaves room for the most emotion, in my opinion.
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Danii: Being a philanthropist and an advocate for mental health, did writing and singing help you get through those dark times? 
Mallory: I wouldn’t say music helps me all the way through hard times because it can’t always give me better perspective and different ways to handle things, but music is definitely therapeutic for me. When I listen, it’s like having my closest friend there with me and when I sing it’s like getting everything off my chest.
 
Danii: What made you want to dedicate your birthday to The Premier Benefit & Birthday Bash?
Mallory: I always wanted to throw a charity birthday party. I wanted to celebrate while making it about more than me. Everything came together after going through severe depression. That became my fight, therefore something I could relate to and help others with. I just remember thinking, “if I feel this way, others do too.”

 

Danii: What message do you want to send in your music?
Mallory I just want people to know that we’re all human. Artists go through the same stuff listeners do: love, heartbreak, family issues, doubt, fear, depression, good times, bad times, etc.

Mallory’s new single 1hunned is out today, make sure you check it out on all streaming services!!

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