Wednesday, April 7, 2021

COVER STORY: Neeko of #WarMusic Has A Mission To Make An Impact On Hip-Hop

Neeko of #WARMusic is an aspiring hip-hop artist from Illinois. He is very passionate about music and his dreams as made evident from his very active presence on social media! He was discovered by our former Freelance Editor, 4x Chicago Oscar/Academy Award winner Calynn M Lawrence, Miss United States Universe Tourism 2021, when she came across an article published about him in his local newspaper online that impressed her. She then petitioned her contributing editor Johnathan Kindall to do an amazing write up in one of the publications owned by her firm, Calynn Communications & Creative, called "What's Good Weekly."  After we saw the article, she gave him a highly favorable review personally and encouraged we share his story! 

"After stumbling upon his social media and reading that article in his local paper about him, I thought three things. The first was that I was impressed with his generosity in donating his prize money to a good cause. As a 'micro-philanthropist' myself, I love to see people put their money where their mouth is and contribute to positive change. The second thing was that he was talented and I vibed with a few songs that I took a listen to. Nonetheless, like I say with many of the creatives I work with, I believe he'll go far."

She also hinted that he is on their radar to be an honoree at this year's annual Fresh Faces Project Awards and a cast member on Season 3 of their 5-star rated web series "Chicago Talent." With a "legacy for helping over 500 startup creatives and entrepreneurs" (Billboard HipHop, 2021) founding "one of the largest pro bono marketing agencies in the world" (The Washington Mail, 2021) and being known as "The Super Girl of Small Business PR" (New York Times Daily, 2021), gaining a gold-star approval from her goes a long way! So, we're sure that we won't be the only media outlet interested in publishing him after the accolades he has been given. But, we can say that we were the first!

Neeko's passion for rap is very apparent in how much he uses his platform to promote his music and uplift his artist associates. In an Instagram Live Q&A, he states “Rap chose me.” He tells a touching story of spending his first real paycheck on hardware and software used to make beats, and being encouraged by his friends and family to begin using his gift of gab to start writing music as well.

In 2019, he won the Ottawa’s Got Talent competition and donated half of his winnings to charity, gaining coverage from local media outlets in his town. As of now, he now has several hundred dedicated fans on social media and 200,000+ streams on Soundcloud! 

With deeply rooted views that now is a better time than ever to live your dreams, he quotes “We’re in the internet age,” he said, “and we’re going on a decade and a half now of artists being able to upload their own content.” He emphasized that many of the restrictions and hurdles of old no longer exist, and that no one should allow a little anxiety over the unknown scare them away from doing what they love. As Calynn often says in her motivational speeches and interviews, "you should never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game."

In an Instagram story posted on April 5, 2021, a fan of Neeko’s fan asked him about his goals for the next 30, 60, and 90 days. He responded that his next musical project “I Told You” would be available on all platforms and that his energy would be focused on marketing all the songs for that project. His goals for the next sixty days included following through on that release as well as filming a new music video. This video would be a follow-up to Neeko’s most recent video, “I’m Alright,” which was released in early March. 

Neeko of #WarMusic is a talented artist with an insatiable talent and admirable drive. We look forward to seeing his progress along his journey to make his impact on hip-hop.

All of Neeko of #WARMusic’s catalog is available to listen to on his SoundCloud or on Spotify

Article has been adapted from the original article published to What's Good Weekly

Womanhood Warrior, LaSonya Alexander, Is Amazing!

MomsCanDoIt2 CEO, Lasonya Alexander, was recently highlighted in a glowing article on "What's Good Weekly," a publication owned by our former Freelance Editor, Calynn M. Lawrence, Miss United States Universe Tourism 2021. After reading her story and getting a touching personal review from Calynn, we want to share her testament! Calynn quoted the following:

"LaSonya is a womanhood warrior having conquered almost every obstacle that life can throw at you. She deserves kudos of the highest degree for her community service efforts with MomsCanDoIt2, and just being a sweet person in general. We've been friends and business associates for over 3 years now and I am blessed to know her! I credit her as the main person, among others, who convinced me to do pageantry in the first place. And, she is a constant source of encouragement to myself and many."

MomsCanDoIt2 is a grassroots community organization that consistently implements time and effort to support and help single mothers in today's society. Through her organization, La'Sonya has been spearheading several campaigns over the years to make waves in the disadvantaged single mother communities, especially in heavily populated minority areas! From clothing drives, to motivational speaking and her annual Mother's Day charity event that doubles as a small pageant, she is making a great impact and is an example to young women around America!

Besides being the Founder of a growing nonprofit organization that benefits single parents and their families, La'Sonya Alexander is also a pageant queen holding multiple titles in the CCP Organization, the American Elegance system and the All World Beauties System! She also has multiple awards including national honors from her pageantry and two Fresh Faces Project Innovator Awards! She is AN EMBODIMENT OF RESILIENCE to say the least, being a mother of seven children that she calls her "7 heartbeats." In her performance career, she is an actress who's appeared on "Empire", "Chicago Talent" and more! 

Recently, she welcomed home her eldest son, Kheeno, who we saw her fight and advocate for over the last 2 years, conquering many hurdles in the unjust legal system that pushes many young minority men through the tainted black and brown prison cycle. She successfully held a touching fundraiser and used the proceeds to help her son readjust to normal life! After a couple of years, it was very apparent, the joy that was on her face having her entire family together to celebrate.

LaSonya is indeed a fabulous example of being not only a valiant survivor of life's trials, but a queen in her own right.




Monday, March 9, 2020

The Fresh Faces Project Awards 2020: 4 Questions With The Founder, Calynn M. Lawrence

For those who don't know, The Fresh Faces Project Awards 2020 happened a little over a week ago on March 1st! This "Catching Fire" themed ceremony was thrown to celebrate and commemorate the works of many local artists, talents and entrepreneurs! This is the second ceremony hosted and produced by the Founder, Calynn M. Lawrence, Miss World America Nation 2020. As part of her community service and nonprofit work, she put together the free, invite-only event and honored over 40 individuals and businesses! At 24 years old, she has big plans for not only her nonprofit, The Fresh Faces Project, and her online reality show, "Chicago Talent", but she also will be announcing her biggest business venture yet later this year! Here are 4 Questions with her about things you'd like to know!

What made you start the Fresh Faces Project as a teen, and did you see it growing to the state it is now?

I started The Fresh Faces Project in 2014, as a Senior in high school at Jones. I was surrounded by people who were fellow creatives and business-minded individuals who were very career-driven.  With my beloved internship at the downtown (Chicago) Nordstrom mall about to end, and embarking on a new academic journey in college, I knew I needed to start something that could keep my talents utilized and that could carry over wherever I went! I had already been blogging for about 3 years, and I wanted to expand that. So, I was eventually inspired to start The Fresh Faces Project, a movement that could connect and promote others in the community, and eventually internationally, who were following their dreams and pursuing their passions! Obviously, I'd hoped it would go far and thankfully it has! I can't wait to see where it is another few years from now.

How Did You Select The Honorees For The Awards?

It has always been about the people. The Fresh Faces Project has ALWAYS and will ALWAYS be fueled by what's happening in the community and in the world. So, people who I'd observed throughout 2019 and so far in 2020 who I saw making moves to contribute to society and make a difference were the ones who I selected. It was a small committee who also submitted nominations to be approved, but every single last one of those selected had personally impressed me and impacted the world in one way or another! I am a firm believer in the concept of "Sending it on" and that "just one spark starts a fire" so I feel that people working so hard to do so much good need to be rewarded.

Who Do You Have To Thank For The Event's Success?

I am so blessed to have such a great support system that has made it possible for me to build my businesses and my career to this point. For the event specifically, my mother Dawn was my right-hand woman. She is the Founder of a new business called Damuchi Does It! She did the catering and the decor. My father Tory, my sister Candyss and her husband Robert, all donated beverages! My little sister Camrynn and her best friend Nicole were awesome photographers! And, two of my best friends Nikhaule and Ariel helped with setup and organization! They truly made this thing happen for me! As a self-funded entrepreneur, it can be very difficult to make ends meet on a shoestring budget, but they contributed greatly!

What's Next For You? What Are Your Goals For 2020?

I definitely would like to wrap up filming for Season 3 of Chicago Talent and give the viewers a stellar show! I would like to meet my goal, as Miss World America Nation 2020, to make a difference and do charity in every single continent globally before the end of my reign. Ofcourse, I would love for the launch of my next business venture to go smoothly and without setbacks. 

And, equally as important, I would love to find someone who I can call my own. I've been through a lot of heartbreak and it hasn't been easy. Having been purposefully single for about 9 months, I would love to find someone who is true to me and worthy of my love. I may only be 24, but as a hopeless romantic and someone who is looking to settle down in my younger years, it would mean the world to me to be able to build an empire with an equally powerful king to rule alongside me! I'm not settling for less though. He's gotta be the real deal, ride or die, I expect nothing less and will accepting nothing but.



Monday, September 16, 2019

Interview With Taran Knight, Fashion and Music Professional!

Taran Knight (Also Known As DARMONE) Is a Fashion Artist, Songwriter, Producer & Co-Owner Of Upcoming New Company “Davis, Smith & Knight Music LLC” Where Their Ultimate Goal Is To Create Timeless Music That Will Unite The World, One Song At a Time. He Has Been Around The Fashion Industry For Around 3 Years & In The Music Business For 2 Years Now. A Spiritual Human Being, Taran Want To Find The True Meaning Of Life, That’s Why He Is On His Journey.

1) Describe yourself in three sentences.

I’m a Spiritual Being. I’m at Peace With Life. I’m 

2) Tell us about your childhood. How would you describe your upbringing in a few sentences? How did this affect your adulthood?

My Childhood Was Something That Brought Me Good & Bad Times. Moreso, I Was Bullied A lot & Made Fun Of For My Looks & Whatnot. It Was Something That Pushed Me To The Brink Of Suicide in 2008. But After Getting The Help I Needed, I’ve Overcame The Obstacles. Told Myself That I’ll Never Let Myself Get To That Point Ever Again.

3) What motivates you to succeed? Advice for others seeking inspiration?

One Thing I’ve Learned Is That Everyday Creates Your History. When I Get a Chance to Inspire & Motivate Others, It’s Such a Blessing Because I Never Thought In a Million Years, That I Could Inspire Many People Like I Did. So As Long As I Can Continue to do That, Then That’s The Motivation I Need. And The Advice I Would Give Others Is To Never Give Up. Follow Your Dreams, But Work Hard Towards Them. A Dream Will Only Stay a Dream, If There’s No Dedication & Hardwork Towards Your Goals.

4) Tell us your definition of a "win" and a "loss"? 

I Never Say I “Lose”. It’s Either I Win or I “Learn”. You Can Never Lose If You Never Give Up.

5) If you could change something about your past, would you?

I’ve Made Mistakes In The Past That I’m Not Proud Of. But I’ve Learn From Them & It Shaped Me Into The Person That I Am Today.

6) Sum up your career goals, life goals, personal goals in a few sentences.

Career Goals? Be Inducted Into The Songwriters Hall Of Fame & Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall Of Fame. I Want to Do Something Really Special For All The Fashion Models in My City Of Detroit. Start a Beautiful Family & Become One Of The Greatest Who Have Ever Lived.

7) What is your most appreciated "failure"?

In The Words Of Dr. Eric Thomas, It Taught Me That if You Want To Succeed, As Bad As You Want to Breath, Then You’ll Be Successful. I’ve Been Rejected More Times Than I’ve Been Selected For Projects. But I Kept Pushing Because I Want to Leave a Legacy. 

8) Where will you be in 10 years?
Life Brings Surprises. I Can Tell Where I Want to Be, But I’ll Take It One Day At a Time. Want to Enjoy The Ride.

9)One word to describe your future?
“Fab” (Fabulous)”

Friday, September 13, 2019

COVER STORY : Why Bach to Rock Naperville Should Be Your Go-To Music School!

Our Former Editor-In-Chief, Calynn M. Lawrence, gave us the scoop on the hottest thing in arts education! It's "America's Music School." It's Bach To Rock Naperville!

Bach To Rock Naperville is a growing music school that came to the area in late 2018! They offer music education programs for a variety of instruments, genres and ages. From their early childhood classes, such as Rock City and Rock n’ Roll, that teach music and movement and give kids an exploratory curriculum, to their private lessons that give one on one hands on instruction and interactive learning, to their band programs that allow you to rock out in front of an audience, they have it all! 

With over 35 schools across the nation, they’ve been making moves and grooves since 2006! Being less than 15 years old, Bach To Rock has had wickedly rapid expansion across the U.S. and is not slowing down for anybody. They have both corporate and franchise division schools. But, they all operate under the same mantra and mentality that Music Education should be fun and informative, and that’s amazing! Bach To Rock Naperville is one of the newer schools but has been certainly applying this as well, everyone from management to instructors to students!

Some things to note about Bach To Rock Naperville: 

They value giving their students a balanced education that doesn’t just focus on learning a few songs, unlike some schools. They actually have a specialized curriculum that teaches both performance, comprehension and music theory. Things like reading music, understanding all of the details of your instruments and getting a diverse grasp on concepts are standard practice. 

They also believe in being active in the community. Some art schools can become so caught up in the operations of their academy that they lose sight of what’s going on around them. Bach To Rock Naperville takes initiative to make sure that this is not the case for them. They do weekly community events, often offering donated services like an instructor band or DJ. They reach out and engage with local organizations such as charities, book stores-libraries  home & school associations and farmers markets!

A couple of quotes from the staff:

“At Bach to Rock, there is a place for everyone! Growing up as a music student myself, it seemed I was always limited to classical music or musical theater in my private voice lessons.  What I was really interested in was music that was familiar and popular. My mom was always listening to Celine Dion and I wanted to sing just like her! At Bach to Rock, our students are encouraged to play and learn music they enjoy. We use those songs to teach music concepts that will allow students to be successful musicians; whether they decide to continue music as a hobby or if they decide to seriously pursue music as a profession.” - Tina, Director at Bach To Rock Naperville

Check Out Their Upcoming Events:

Check Out Their Website:

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Meet the Multi-Talented Artist, MaNazah Chandler!

A documentary titled, “My Girl Story”, MaNazah provided Voiceover Narration for, was selected into two 2019 Film Festivals in Detroit: I See You Awards & Trinity International Film Festival (TIFF). The short film titled, “FAMOUS the Movie”, MaNazah played a short speaking role in, was also accepted into the TIFF. She’ll be gracing the Runway, modeling for 4 designers, during the 37th Annual African World Festival (AWF), Detroit Rocks the Runway @ 9 PM on Saturday, August 17th 2019 outside the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

1) Describe yourself in three sentences.
MaNazah Chandler leads by example living passionately and serving her community. A true nurturer who spreads love and light to each person and place she graces. MaNazah is one dedicated, multifaceted and determined soul who works diligently to build a legacy to support a better quality of life for herself and others. 

2) Tell us about your childhood. How would you describe your upbringing in a few sentences? How did this effect your adulthood?
I’m grateful to have had a magical childhood where using my imagination and playing outside was LIFE. I was raised in a single-parent home by my strong, beautiful mother, Easter Jean Young. I’ve never been in Boot Camp, yet I’m sure my upbringing would be the perfect depiction; only with better tasting food prepared in LOVE. I thought the yelling and whooping’s would never stop. I wasn’t a horrible child. I was the quiet, straight A student with Perfect Attendance. I respected my mom, kept my room clean and my chores done. My mom did not play about those chores; if I did not get up as soon as she said, it would be a problem. I love and miss my mother dearly; she transitioned at 50 years young in Detroit, December 2018. As an adult, I have a low tolerance for others yelling at me. Through her teachings, she assured I was disciplined, knowledgeable, strong, loving and fully prepared for this world before she departed. As an adult, my mom always told me to, “Work SMARTER, not HARDER.” When I was a little girl, she told me, “You can do ANYTHING you put your mind to.” & I’m doing just that. 

3) What motivates you to succeed? Advice for others seeking inspiration?
Honestly, I find motivation to persevere regardless from every aspect of life, good or bad. In each experience, there’s something to be gained to aid us all in elevating to that next level. The fact that I’m not quite living the life I envision in my head, motivates me to keep pushing forward daily until it becomes my reality.

Advice for others: Immerse yourself in the things that fill you up with joy, stay in touch with your imagination, create, spread love, try something new, take deep breaths, travel, volunteer, laugh (your a** off), dance, spend time in nature, put your bare feet in the dirt to ground yourself and most importantly express gratitude daily for all you’ve had, have and desire to obtain. Follow and connect with others who are doing what you desire to pursue. Surround yourself with positive, inspirational people and lastly, love on you, take care of yourself and never give up on yourself or your dreams. You are your biggest supporter!

4) Tell us your definition of a "win" and a "loss"? 
My definition of a “win” is anything you accomplish, grand or minute, you’ve been toiling at diligently with no expectation of receiving recognition. The greatest wins are the ones others have no clue about.

My definition of a “loss” is a win in disguise. There’s always more to be gained and a lesson to be learned for further growth. When you “lose” something, it actually makes more room for the magical things to flow right in. #Winning

5) If you could change something about your past, would you?
I would say no, yet I would’ve learned how to drive and become comfortable with driving while I was a teenager. I currently do not drive, and I don’t have an interest in doing so. 

6) Sum up your career goals, life goals, personal goals in a few sentences.
I yearn to just LIVE, explore and thoroughly enjoy this magnificent life of mine. Being my own boss, having multiple streams of income, living a passion-filled life doing the many things I love: Acting, Singing, Voiceover, Emceeing, Volunteering, Spoken Word Poetry, Modeling, Event Organizing, etc. Simply leading by example to help guide others to their dream, purpose-filled lives.

7) What is your most appreciated "failure"?
It’s difficult for me to answer this question because again, I perceive my losses/failures as wins in disguise. I appreciate them all, big or small, because I wouldn’t be the dynamic woman I am today.

I stay winning!
Follow Her!