Friday, February 24, 2012

Music News: Conversation with Singer and Songwriter ~ KJ Rose

When I begin to question the passion and soul of Rhythm and Blues today, it's people like KJ Rose that encourage me to believe. 

As the world speeds up to keep pace with the changing trends and advancements in technology, passion seems to be placed on the back burner. Not for KJ Rose. My purpose for sitting down with her was to get a glimpse of her musical career journey, but she gave me so much more. She gave me herself, the soulful person. It's with this soul she sang on stages around the world and recorded her own full length independent album, "All Heart, No Regrets." The title alone lets you know she's giving it her all. 

We found that we had much in common, which made our chat feel more like old girlfriends catching up. Join our conversation below!

Who is KJ Rose?
I am a blessed Chicago girl who has found purpose in performing and songwriting.  I'm also one who believes in the Sydney Harris quote "Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable." ~ as this is my benchmark for living.

How did you get your start singing?
My singing career began at my college Alma mater FAMU - I was fortunate to have extremely supportive friends and sorors (Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.) that rallied behind my voice although I found myself fighting them most times!  They encouraged me to sing for music publishing executive 'Big Jon' who then put me in touch with my management team First Artist ( Dave Nelson and Irskine Isaac) - they provided the tools needed to hone my skills and it wasn't long before I had the opportunity to record on the albums of Heavy D (Big Daddy) and the Notorious B.I.G. (Playa Hata) and a host of others.

I further attribute my touring opportunities to Recording Artist Kelly Price who I had a chance encounter with on one Friday evening and a week later she asked me to go on the Puff Daddy World Tour (P. Diddy).  I knew that my steps were surely being ordered and I had to develop an unwavering sense of faith to finish what she started. 

What inspires you?
I'm inspired by passion that is unapologetic, deliberate, relentless, and fearless - Delusional Optimism - People that Champion themselves - Realized Potential - and Love that has the ability to defy time also inspires me!  Ok, I think I'm done!:)

What are you most proud of accomplishing on this journey?
I am most proud to finally understand what it means to Champion one's self while relying less on the validation of others - this is what lead me to create my debut album "All Heart, No Regrets" as an independent artist.  This breakthrough has also allowed me to infiltrate areas that were otherwise reserved for artists with major record deals.  I'm proud that my experiences have given me a wealth of knowledge and sensibilities that you can not find in any book - there is no getting around the hard work nor the failures that are necessary to sustain in the business of performing.  And lastly, I'm proud to have met new people while on this journey and perhaps inspiring them to pursue their true life as well.

Where do you envision yourself in the future as a singer?
I pray that I can continue to lend my voice to platforms that are empowering, impactful, and transformative. I also believe that singing has been the catalyst for my writing and I hope to pen songs/ stories for other vocalists, films, commercials, television, etc.  I've realized that my purpose is bigger than myself and directly aligns with the assignment of being a blessing to others.

Check back regularly from some extraordinary artists sharing their gifts with the world!

Love - 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Music TV News: Diddy Announces New Cable Station: REVOLT

Diddy's video announcement of his soon to be launched TV cable station has gone viral. REVOLT, the name of the channel is slated to compete against MTV, BET and VH1 in music programming. Check out the announcement here. Are you excited about this news? What are thoughts?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Kristen Pope co-hosting the 24th Annual Thurgood Marshall Fund

Check out my red carpet debut! It includes interviews with actors Blair Underwood and Lynn Whitfield. It was an honor to co-host the official red carpet on such on a night that highlights Thurgood Marshall and educating African American youth.

Feel free to share your thoughts ~


Saturday, February 11, 2012

"I Will Always Love You" - Whitney Houston - Rest in Peace

If you were an aspiring singer, music lover or simply listened to the radio over the last 30 years at some point, you were graced with one of the greatest, most soulful, dynamic voices you've ever heard. The voice belonging to Whitney Houston. This evening, Beverly Hills police confirmed that Whitney, the singer, actor, mother, daughter -- has died at the young age of 48 years old.  
The news is incredibly tragic and saddening. When I was in the 5th grade, a good friend of mine used to call me just so that I could sing, "I Will Always Love You." Of course the reports are sharing the full picture of her life that include substance abuse and other dark issues. But when we really step back and look at the legacy left by Whitney, it comes down to one thing...her voice. So many singers have tried to imitate Whitney, cover her songs and really meet the bar that she set. There will never be another Whitney Houston. According to Wikipedia, Whitney was the most awarded female artist of all time, according to Guinness World Records, with 2 Emmy Awards, 6 Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards, among a total of 415 career awards as of 2010.

However, even as she left the earth at a young age, she leaves this amazing legacy that makes her living far from in vain. She gave her gifts and talents to the world. She did what we're supposed to do everyday of our lives, give ourselves away to the benefit of others. Her voice will live on in the hearts and minds of all who were touched by her...forever.

My heart goes out to Whitney's family - Bobbi Kristina, Bobby Brown, Cissy Houston and Dionne Warwick.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Grateful because I get to do this...

Yesterday was one of the most fulfilling days of the year and in my professional career as it stands now. The last two years has been spent managing and balancing a freelance career with a day job. It hasn't been easy and sometimes down right discouraging, but I continue to forge through the obstacles and press forward. None of which I could have done without my Heavenly Father and my husband.

I woke up feeling like I hadn't slept in days - to which my husband aptly replies, "You haven't." I began praying to God to replace my weakness with His strength. From that prayer on into the rest of the day, I began receiving inspirational emails, one after the other. Normally, I receive one or two a day from sites I'm subscribed to, but these were personal, from people I actually know. The confirmation of strength replacement and a great day in store was certain. Once I got to work, I prepared for my first meeting of the day with the Executive Editor of a major business magazine.  During the preparation, I felt heavy fatigue looming, but I continued to press through. All the while receiving encouraging emails as if people knew I was feeling physically empty...God knew and He was answering mightily. 
The meeting was great. I had a similar meeting with this same magazine years prior, but I didn't have the same leverage.  This time the meeting went differently and opportunities were on the table. I left feeling empowered and grateful that "I get to" do what I love.

My second meeting wasn't by coincidence, but rather my sweet tooth craving. As I was walking back to my office, I stopped inside a nearby Starbucks. To my surprise, a videographer that I've been wanting to work with was there. I politely interrupted her meeting to express my desire.  She was totally open and the rest will be documented history. After that encounter, I'm sure I skipped back to work. God was lining things up step by step, piece by piece.

Shortly thereafter, I readied myself for my next meeting, a phone interview with a boutique financial firm. The story of how I met the owners was totally a God open door. From the on-set of our meeting, they were eager for me to tell their story. Our first foundational conversation today for the story was awesome.  When I hung up the phone, I got my second wind. All of the fatigue from earlier had subsided and I was in full swing - shaken and movin.'

By the time I was leaving work, I was in full reflection of the day. What was happening??

As the fog cleared my mind and I put the puzzle of my day together, I began envisioning myself for the first as a full time freelancer. I left out one other key detail. Earlier in the day I received an email from a new connection and fellow NABJ member who is quickly making her mark as an outstanding writer having written for some of my favorite magazines. Her email was breaking down the ways to be a successful freelancer.
I see you God!

I felt like I was hitting a critical milestone in my journey to full time television and broadcast. I'm grateful that even as I build a foundation - I feel like everyday is my first day at this all over again. I approach it with  freshness and excitement, because it's what I love doing and the stories are different. No story is quite the same and all have to be told with tailoring to the specific subject. I feel God's glory rising in and on me.

I get to do this...stay tuned.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Let Go!

Feel free to surrender...He's already prepared the way. All you have to do is walk in it!

In love -

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Who Cares What Other People Think?

A HUGE overarching reason, I started this blog was because I needed to keep a record of my life. I'm used to keeping a paper journal. I have kept one most all my life. Several years ago my diligence for regularly updating my journal was lacking. Blogs were becoming the new thing, so I jumped on the bandwagon, really...just to keep a consistent record of my life's journey.

This blog, like my journal is for transparency, vulnerability and honesty. So here goes...

Growing up, I used to care a lot about what people thought of me and how they viewed me. It's strange because my calling requires mass amounts of people to judge me. I'm a writer, a television host, journalist, speaker, singer and actress. None the less, I struggled with people's perceptions of me for most of my life. Similar to most people, I want to be liked and accepted. In my case, it was to a fault. I always found myself the constant chameleon - editing myself to sound acceptable, conforming to fit in and creating false identities to not be judged. In the midst, I was silencing and covering my own voice and identity. Sometimes forgetting my own desires and wants in life.

It wasn't until I founded The King's Daughters, Inc. that I really felt like I had found my voice. Abstinence advocacy is not popular across the majority, but I strongly believe in it's mission and power and am committed to seeing it's message broadcast across the world.

Recently, I felt that past angst of discontent and insecurity rear it's ugly head. Since conquering or overcoming this desire to be "liked" and "accepted," initially I didn't know what it was. Until I noticed myself editing my phrases to sound acceptable. These attacks that creep up, saying, "Will they like me? I wonder what they think of me. Did I say something wrong?" etc usually happen the closer I am to my goals. The bigger steps I take towards fulfilling my calling the stronger the questions and accusations of whether I'm good enough, worthy and what will others think begin to rise up.

Overcoming this enemy and yes I call it an enemy is and will always be one of my greatest fights because its been one my greatest struggles. The learning I have gathered over the years is that as long as you care what other people think more than what God thinks or you think, you'll always remain middle of the road. You will always reshape yourself to fit other people's molds. You won't ever discover you're true identity in Christ as the unique person you were called to be.

No two people, not even twins are exactly alike. There is a mark of uniqueness on everyone. I've also learned that not everyone is going to like you. "Ah ha!" lol. So trying to fit it, trying to squeeze yourself into everyone else's mold is a waste of you talents and gifts. There are some people who will read this and criticize me, saying, "I never knew you were so insecure." "How weak." "She's pathetic." As if they don't have struggles of their own. Whatever... Who cares what other people think?

The greatest level of authenticity is what has caused the greatest amount of success in people's lives. People don't want your representative. They want you, the real you. No doubt, I am a poised, well spoken, confident woman. But I am also, quirky, a little wacky and sometimes inappropriate.

Maybe, I'm the only one who's gone through this and fought this fight. Regardless, this is my place to be transparent. I hope I've helped another, but truthfully, this is to help me.

Who cares what other people think? *clears throat* That includes you. =)


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Black History Month begins - Love, Peace and Soul

We're in the second month of 2012 already. If you haven't gotten entered your stride or made moves towards your goals and greater might need a reality check. That's not a bad thing, just something to say "get moving!"

Black History Month is celebrated in February of every calendar year. While I'm a proponent of celebrating BHM 365 days a year, it is purposeful to make an impact during this month while other races, cultures and countries are watching.

This year's BHM started off somber with the death of "Soul Train" founder and creator Don Cornelius. As a music lover, artist and fan who grew up on the impact of Soul Train, Cornelius's death struck a cord. Regardless of how he died (reports claim suicide) he will be remembered as a trailblazer and legend in spotlighting African American's in music, dance and fashion. Looking at the groundbreaking work of Soul Train speaks to how powerful our voices, the media and technology really are. Rest in Peace Don Cornelius and thank you for your everlasting contribution.