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Monday, January 9, 2017

Meet J-Hen, Recording Artist

J-Hen is an R&B/Hip-Hop recording artist from the Dallas metroplex area. His passion for music first began at an early age, and he taught himself how to write his own songs when he was in middle school. He and his friends released their first LP, which included tracks of J-Hen singing, when he was still in high school.

His latest single, "On To The Next," was produced in Miami, FL at the infamous The Hit Factory Criteria Recording Studios. Learn more about J-Hen by visiting http://j-hen.com.

1. Growing up, how did you teach yourself to write your own songs--and then did you teach yourself to produce as well?

Growing up, I started out as a rapper and I used to write lyrics for my homies so I slowed it down a bit and realized that I liked R&B better. I started writing about my life experiences and it just kept getting better and better. As far as producing, I started out with a program called Fruity Loops. I think every producer has heard of that program! I was just messing around with it and just started creating my own beats.

2. Your work seems to have some diverse influences behind it, from current hip hop music to 1980s pop. When you sit down and write today, who are the artists that continue to inspire you?

There's quite a few but Michael Jackson, James Brown, Prince, Genuine, and Usher are a few that I would like to acknowledge.

3. What is the music scene like in Dallas, and how has that influenced your work?

The music scene in Dallas is actually starting to really open up. It's always been here--it's just knowing who, what, when, where, and why and being in the right place at the right time.

4. What projects are you taking on in 2017?

My new album is coming out in January 2017, as well as a tour to introduce my new album "On To The Next," a feature part as an artist trying to make it in the music business in a movie called "Caught Up" by Sharon's Revelatory Productions, as well as performing on the 2017 The Experience Factor Cruise on Carnival.

5. For readers who haven't heard your music before, what would you like them to know about it, and what song or album of yours would you suggest that they listen to first?

My music is about relationships and life experiences and is typically written so that people can relate to and really feel and be inspired by it. I love to paint vivid stories in my music so that you not only hear the music but you can close your eyes and see it also.

The album I would suggest they listen to first is "The Prelude." This album gives you a peek into what my music is all about. It's a prelude of what's to come. It's all about feeling good and just enjoying and being able to relate to my music. My next album "On To The Next" showcases the level I am on now in my career.

Thanks, J-Hen!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Meet Rich Marcello, Author

Rich Marcello is the author of three novels, The Color of Home, The Big Wide Calm, and, most recently, The Beauty of the Fall. He also writes poems and songs, and teaches writing at Seven Bridges' Writer Collaborative. He previously had a long and successful career as a technology executive, managing several multi-billion dollar businesses for Fortune 500 companies.

Learn more by visiting http://richmarcello.com. You can also find the author on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and SoundCloud.

1. What gave you the idea to write The Beauty of the Fall?

When I started the novel three years ago, I was interested in writing about technology as a healer and a community builder. There are many good novels out there about the evils of technology, but few, if any, about technology companies that bring about positive social change. The idea of using technology to enable true democracy, as opposed to the slew of representative democracies in existence today, intrigued me. The events in the world this last year­­–--the rise of fake news, populism, racism, and sexism--confirmed that I was one the right track. However, as my protagonist, Dan Underlight, emerged, I realized I was actually writing a redemption story. Once I was clear on that point, the themes broadened out to include non-violence, trust, honor, forgiveness, and simplicity.

2. How did your past experience as a technology executive come into play in shaping some of the aspects of the novel?

I spent many years in tech running different kinds of hardware and software businesses. Even though the technology used in the company Dan starts, Conversationworks, is beyond the industry's current capabilities, I wanted the feel of CW to be as real as possible. I spent a lot of time speaking with technology executives, many of them friends, to make sure the business scenes were authentic. And yes, I drew on my experience, especially around the norms of a healthy company.

3. What are some of the challenges you experienced in writing about grief?

The Beauty of the Fall is, at its core, about grief. That's why it was important for me to spend so much time developing Dan's inner life. I wanted to show, through his actions and his thoughts, what he was going through as descended further into his grief. At the same time, I wanted to show Dan ascending through his work at CW. Getting the balance right between the ascent and the descent was the hardest part of writing the book.

4. How does being a poet inform or enrich your prose writing?

I think it mostly informs at the sentence and phrase level. There are days when the poet in me takes over in a given scene, and I spend hours making sure the words I'm using have the right level of poetry in them. A number of my writer friends are also poets, and we seem to all agree that our best writing happens when poetry and prose meld together.

5. Do you see the fictional companies in your novel, RadioRadio and Conversationworks, as offering a commentary on the social media and/or tech climate of the moment?

Yes. I think many companies, particularly in America, have lost their focus. They're too focused on profit and quarterly results and have lost their way when it comes to the customers, communities, and employees they should serve. RadioRadio is the composite of many of these broken companies. On the other hand, I tried to show Conversationworks as a company of the future, one that better balances customer needs, communities, employees, and profits. I'm a firm believer that a revolution in business is coming, and it will be leaders like Dan Underlight, and companies like Conversationworks that lead the way.

Thanks, Rich!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Meet Syreeta Thompson, Musician

Noted as one of the great instrumentalist and clinicians in the musical arena, Syreeta Thompson's musical gift proves to be both sincere and incomparable. The powerful trumpeter has managed to blaze the gospel industry circuit by sharing the stage with many of its greatest icons from the renowned Hezekiah Walker and LFT to the legendary Dorinda Clark-Cole.

For many, the musical experience of Syreeta Thompson is simply profound as she consistently delivers a stirring performance as an anointed minstrel each time she ministers. For the woman affectionately known as the Trumpet Lady, each opportunity is undeniably an opportunity "to infuse the gospel of Jesus of Christ to all mankind and to touch souls with the gift of music."

To learn more, visit http://www.TrumpetLady.com.

1. When did you first start playing the trumpet, and how did you know it was the instrument for you?

My start in music began very early when I was nine years old. I actually started playing the clarinet and later switched to trumpet. My mother told me she wasn't going to buy me another instrument unless I took the trumpet to church lol! So, I had to PLAY EVERY Sunday in church! Lol!

2. How did you become known as "The Trumpet Lady"?

I used to carry my instrument on my back and there was gentleman in my church that used to speak to me as "Trumpet Lady." Also, while touring with Hezekiah Walker, everyone in the band had a name, and mine became "Trumpet Lady." I figure it was memorable, so I kept it.

3. Would you tell us a little bit more about how your music is a ministry?

My music is totally based on inspiring others to pursue their dreams. I'm the product of a single parent home, and I'm an inner city kid who beat the odds. My dad is deceased, so my mom wanted to keep me disciplined. So, I want others to know that you can overcome the odds of the stereotype.

4. How did you choose "Winner" for the title of your second album, and how have listeners been responding to it since its release a few months ago?

The Winner release is dedicated to help inspire and keep Arts Education in urban settings. It has a total of seven songs which feature The Love Fellowship Praise & Worship team & Dorinda Clark Cole. I also wanted to show my roots and technical side, which has the song church melody, and which has New Orleans and Churchy feel.

I've been so overwhelmed by the response. The Winner release has received rave reviews, and I’m thankful. Also, the body of work maintained its position on Billboard for eleven weeks consistently.

5. Do you have any plans and projects coming up in 2017 that you're especially looking forward to working on?

Yes, in July 2017, supporters and listeners can expect the Evolution of a Winner Hymns & Songs. I'm in the process as we speak, recording this body of work!

Thanks, Syreeta!

Meet Remso W. Martinez, Podcaster and Blogger

Remso W. Martinez is the host of the Remso Republic podcast, one of the fastest growing political podcasts online. He's a blogger, community organizer, and campaign consultant who describes himself as being passionate about capitalism and individual liberty. You can hear his podcasts on SoundCloud, read his blog posts by clicking here, and learn more about him by visiting https://remsorepublic.com/.

1. How did you first become interested in politics?

It was always part of my nature. I didn't understand why if ideas were good that they had to be enforced by violence. It was at that point I understood that government wasn't the solution to our problems as a country, and that individuals thriving could accomplish more than any politician.

2. What inspired you to start a podcast?

I was a blogger for about a year, but very few people like to read things anymore; they focus on the picture and title instead of the context. I understood the only way to educate people was through entertainment, since all politics is downstream of culture.

3. What sets the Remso Republic apart from other political podcasts?

We have a commentator industrial complex, a lot of people who are famous for nothing but being famous and offer no real insight. My time in the media and political arena gives me the insight and knowledge that makes me a credible figure in my field. I don't talk about things I don't know about, but give you the straight talk needed to give you the best opinion and insight out there.

4. How does your perspective as a campaign consultant and community organizer influence your blog entries and podcast episodes?

I'm not a journalist; I'm a pundit, which means I have an agenda and worldview that I want other people to understand. I'm advocating for open minds and open markets, and hope I can help change some minds.

5. Would you tell us about some of the topics you hope to cover in upcoming shows--and do you ever consider listener-submitted ideas?

I want to continue to cover current events, but I am always open to listener recommendations. If you join my private fan group, the Remso Republic Nation, on Facebook, you can talk directly to me and my show producer Ryan and give us input and recommendations. My fans help shape the direction of my show because if they aren't listening, having fun, or learning, I'm doing something wrong.

Thanks, Remso!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Meet Seraphim Aun Weor, Musician and Film Director

Seraphim Aun Weor grew up in Tupelo, Mississippi. Her debut single "You Never Loved Me" delivers a first-hand view of the raw emotional conflict of self-affliction; it's the first of many singles to be released from her studio album, Chaos and Innocence. Other announced single releases are "You're My Biggest Mistake" and an intriguing alternative industrial mix entitled "Make-Up".

Seraphim is also an independent film director, and her latest film, Ünholywood, guides viewers into the mysteries of the forbidden unknown while taking them on the emotional rollercoaster of a downward spiral in a town that lost its wings when bloodshed became a virtue.

Learn more about Seraphim by visiting www.SeraphimAunWeor.com.

1. How would you describe your music to listeners who haven't heard it before?

I have a lot of amazing influences; however I am a bit different in my creations and writings. It takes you back to Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know" with a twist of Nine Inch Nails. I am a broken Valentine, so my lyrics are colored as such; it could be considered Vamp.

2. What inspired you to form your new band, Deliver Me Up?

I am a rocker chick at heart, and in the past I was a solo artist; during this time, I found it a bit awkward to rock out without a live band backing me up. My shows are dramatically set--think of a dark Katy Perry show as in Creole Voodoo extravagant--but I had no guitar to smash and that bothered me. Hence back to the future I formed Deliver Me Up, and am looking forward to my future world wide tour, "Soul In Tacked".

3. What was the process like for creating your debut album, Chaos and Innocence?

It was a very emotional process as the lyrics mean a lot to me and they shade my past, my present, and my future. Although I am a broken Valentine, I still have joy some how that allows me to create honestly, bringing the listener into my world just for a moment in time. My producer is Jason Charles Miller (Godhead) who is an amazing producer I may add, as I do over write my songs and every studio session turns into a writing session, so you get the short end version of my album Chaos and Innocence.

4. How do you balance your time between music and your filmmaking projects?

Usually I am in the studio twice a week recording or rehearsing which allows me to have a lot of extra time to do my films... I am currently in casting for my new film Unholywood which is an incredible process watching my characters come alive in the auditions. I have cast most of the lead roles already, but am not yet finished with the bit roles; you can follow my films and filming process under Sin Icon Motion Pictures.

5. As someone who has been a solo artist, how has your work evolved through opportunities to collaborate with others, such as your new band?

Collaborating with others such as music artists, this is very much in my near future and I am extremely excited about that for Deliver Me Up. I am in the treatment creating process for my new music video, "You Never Loved Me," in which we are certain it will open up a lot of doors and new opportunities in music. For all enquiries for me to collaborate with another artist or be featured on another artist track, please contact my publicist Domenick Nati.

Thanks, Seraphim!