An Inside Look At Internet Week 2011: Panels, Parties & More

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All last week I spent most of my days covering and participating in Internet Week, and with every status update I received the general reaction of “what the heck is that!? –isn’t it always Internet Week?”
This year marked the fourth year of New York’s annual event of informative panels, conference sessions, speakers and other events surrounding start-ups, social media, online video, and more. Experts and executives from AOL, YouTube, Google, Yahoo, Meebo and more all gathered at the Metropolitan Pavilion, this year’s Internet Headquarters to diffuse knowledge and engage a tech ready and tech savvy audience. In addition, many organizations, start ups and tech folks partnered with Internet Week creating events in the surrounding area connected to the motives of what Internet Week represents. Amongst those included various meet ups, and even a couple of concerts including SOUND CTRL’s FlashFWD event and the Girls Who Rock Benefit Concert.
Check out the video to get a snippet of what Internet Week is all about.

Interview: Poet Jasmine Mans On Criticism, Culture and Control

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The general public knows poet Jasmine Mans from the viral hit poem “Nicki Minaj” — a poem Mans uploaded one day without anticipation of the world clicking play.  Not only did thousands of people click play after the piece went up, but they embedded it across multiple blog sites and tried to dissect it, analyze it, or blindly criticize it.  But to those who know the world of poetry and spoken word, you may know Jasmine as a stand out award winning poet from UrbanWordNYC, and featured on HBO’s Brave New Voices.  Her accomplishments stack quite high for a 20-year-old college sophomore, so after her performance at an Alpha event at DePauw University I sat down with her to get a bit more insight on her life and her work in her own words through candid conversation.  We chatted about how she started, how she’s dealing with the growing attention towards her and her work, and her plans for the future.

note: *Mans was 19 years old at the time of this interview and just turned 20 this week.
You can follow Jasmine on Twitter @KingJasmineMans

HerAgenda.com Interviews Tina Wells

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HerAgenda.com launched the first in a series of interviews titled “A Peek Inside Her Agenda.”  In the series HerAgenda will feature different power women from across various industries who essentially embody the No one Ever Slows Her Agenda mentality through their career endeavors.  They took a chance on themselves, on their dream, on their skills and turned their passions into thriving careers.  The first in the series is entrepreneur and author Tina Wells who also just released her latest book this week “Chasing Youth Culture and Getting It Right.”  Its her first business book but its on an industry that she’s become an expert at through her work with her company Buzz Marketing Group.  
Check out a little snippet of the interview when you read more.  

What is a typical day like for you? 
Tina Wells: Depends on the day! Tuesday is my earliest start. I wake up at 4:45 (yes, I’m in bed by 9pm on Mondays!) and head to the gym. I train until 6, and then head home to get ready. By 7:30 (with Starbucks in hand), I head to my hairstylist’s salon. If I’m lucky and don’t do anything major to my hair (like color), I can be out of there by 9:30/10. While I’m under the dryer, though, I typically read all my morning news (every blog you can think of), check emails, and return calls.

By the time I hit my office I have a staff meeting, order lunch, and settle in for a day of calls and meetings. Occasionally I’ll head into NYC for dinner. I leave the office at 6, head home, cook dinner, and then proceed to watch a few hours of bad TV, write, and check emails until I head to bed.


How do you overcome doubt?
TW: Block it out. You just have to ignore it, or it’ll eat you alive.

Do you remember a moment where you had to prove yourself, not only to other people but to yourself?
TW: I honestly don’t. I think I was so naïve. I knew I was young, but I’ve always worked hard for what I want. I never made a conscious decision to work harder or prove myself. That was my strategy from day one – to just put everything into my company and see where it goes.

How do you feel your work is perceived as a female in our society?
TW: I hope people feel inspired. I’m just a normal girl who had a good idea, worked hard, and made it. I think for anyone to be successful, they need both the opportunity and the will. You can have one without the other and truly be successful.

What is something that women today still need to overcome?
TW: Our competitiveness with each other. We need to support each other. I’m so lucky to have the most supportive, wonderful group of female friends.


You can read the full piece on HerAgenda.com

VIDEO: Big Sean Talks School, Success & New Album

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Check out the video of our interview where Sean speaks on a bit of everything from school, to relationships, and more, including the best advice he’s received about being a new artist.  Be sure to “read more” for a couple of clips from his performance.

After earning a 3.7 GPA at an elite high school in Michigan, Sean Michael Leonard Anderson, better known as Big Sean, turned down an almost full scholarship to attend Michigan state pursue a career in the music industry. He literally pressed pause on the education route and pushed play on the music and fast forward 4 years later he is signed to GOOD music/Def Jam and set to have his debut album Finally Famous released June 21st.
Looking back the MC realizes he probably could have gone to school but admits it would have been hard. But his friend Mike Posner, who graduated last year from Duke University, proved attending college and signing a record deal is indeed possible.
Read More»

Meet Kris Kasanova [Interview]

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SocietyandStyle.com: Meet Kris Kasanova from Rhonesha Byng on Vimeo.

I finally had a chance to catch up with Kris Kasanova.  He’s an unsigned artist from Brooklyn on the rise and showing signs of a promising artist.  His debut project The Long Way Home has struck a chord with both industry insiders and fans.  Check out my interview with him as he talks music, life, and future plans.  And, if you haven’t already you can download his EP HERE.

Unique Takes The Independent Route [interview]

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From the projects of BedStuy, to school talent shows, to major arena tours and now a chart topping album in Japan, Unique’s journey is truly that–unique. Generating a buzz performing for major artists including Ciara and Chris Brown before inking a major deal, R&B recording artist Unique Zayas felt his hard work was solidified once he sealed a deal with Def Jam records. After signing with the label, as time went by without an official single or album in the works, Unique and his team decided to part ways with Def Jam and launch independently. Thus far, he’s encountered enormous success in Japan, and his single Maniac is building momentum in the U.S.


SocietyandStyle.com: On set with Unique Zayas [interview] from SocietyandStyle.com on Vimeo.

SocietyandStyle.com stopped by Unique’s video set to chat with him about the highs and lows of his career and his future plans. Throughout it all, he’s an example of the many obstacles that come for those on the pursuit of a career in entertainment: “Its good that people see the grind so they know it’s hard work, everything is not a fairy tale.” Check out the video and the entire interview when you “read more.”

How do you feel now that your official first single is out?
Honestly, I am filled with so many emotions. I feel like a kid on the first day of school–excited to go but nervous to step out into your new class. For so long people have heard music from me via MySpace, YouTube and those random sites that leak your music, but now you can purchase my single “Maniac” on iTunes and I just shot my first official music video for it. It’s an accomplishment.

I know that you wrote the song, but who worked on the song with you?
Well, I worked on the song with a few dope people on the team. Ty-Deals produced the track, John John & Johnny Black brought the edge to it with the guitars and heavy drums. I wrote the song with writer August Rush.


Is it based on a semi true experience?
Um, yea but I’m not saying any names. (laughs). With all my music I try to incorporate some truth to it and of course I’ve dealt with a maniac or two in the past. I think everyone has.

You released an album in Japan before the U.S.– why Japan? Will this album also be released in the US or will your American album be completely different?
Why Japan? Why not Japan! It’s a city I’ve dreamed of visiting. I got the opportunity to do an album out there and I jumped on it! So far it’s been amazing. I have the #1 record on their iTunes R&B charts for 3 weeks running for my duet “Wherever You Are” featuring international artist Charis and got the chance to executive produce my whole album entitled “From Brooklyn To You.” The albums are going to be different in production but the flue to it is my heart. It’s in everything I do.

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You’ve been singing since you were 5, and you’ve been pursuing a professional career since you were in high school. Was it difficult to go off the beaten path when you were first starting out as a professional singer?
Indeed. I wouldn’t say following your dream is the easiest path to take but I’ve always known from a young age what I wanted to do. I always tell people I’d rather struggle doing what I love than taking the safe path and living with regret.

Upon graduating from high school you were signed to Def Jam records, how did getting signed to a major label effect your career?
Well before getting signed I was out and about opening on tours for Ciara, Chris Brown and many other artists who had major record deals just building my fan base. Getting signed was a big deal for me–definitely a dream come true! It was like my grinding paid off and it was time to take it to the next level. I’d say being signed opened my eyes to this thing called “the music business.” It ain’t all about making music and going to fancy parties. There’s politics and a bunch of things the public doesn’t get to see or understand. Overall being signed forced me to grow up fast and take things into my own hands more than I had been doing before.

You’re now releasing your music on your own independent label, Star Power Media, and recently announced that you are no longer with Def Jam, can you explain what happened? Was it your choice to leave?
Yes, I am releasing music under my own label and it feels hella good. Def Jam just didn’t work out for me, but everything for a reason. I’m now able to have more creative control and present myself to the world as Unique. Leaving was sort of a mutual agreement. I could have stayed and been 40 years old waiting to be released or venture out on my own and continue to grind.

You have a legion of fans who have been following your career for years without even having released an album, how have you been able to build such a dedicated fan base?
It’s surreal to me. I’m a fan of many artist so to have my own is amazing. I think why my “dreamers” have been so loyal to me is because they’re ab;e to watch me, front row and center. Through my years of grinding, to getting signed and it not working out and continuing the journey. I try to make it all relatable to them by being honest and loyal to them. I’m so grateful for the love back.

How will you approach your career differently now that you are an independent artist?
I will continue to set the standard high for quality in my music and in building my brand and company. I wouldn’t necessarily do things different we’d just be taking it up some notches.

What projects do you have lined up for 2011?
Well, I should be visiting Japan soon. And of course, continuing to work on my U.D. release, performing and things of that nature. I’m giving everyday my all and letting God lead the way. I think it’ll be a good year.

For more on Unique and to follow his journey check him out on the following sites:
www.iamuniquezayas.com
twitter.com/iamuniquezayas
youtube.com/uniquestarpower
myspace.com/uniquestarpower

The video debuts in just a few days. But in the meantime check out the sneak peak:

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