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Entertainment Fly Person of the Week

Fly Executive: Media Veteran Kimberly K. Wilson pays it forward with launch of the D.A.D. Foundation in memory of her father

In recognition and honor of the March long Women’s Month 2017 celebration, meet Fly Media Executive Kimberly K. Wilson. She is Vice President, Affiliate Marketing for Disney and ESPN Media Networks. Her depth, purpose, and love of community in paying it forward truly makes her a Fly Executive. The 17-year media veteran and Southside, Chicago native epitomizes the strengths, talents and effortless giving we celebrate in all women this month, year long, past, present, future and universally. Steadfast to her dedication and passion for equipping and inspiring youth to dream impossible dreams, this sister is lifting as she continues to climb.

On March 23 rd 2017, the former BET and Clear Channel Marketing Executive launched The Don D. Wilson Dream A Dream (D.A.D.) Foundation with mother, Ann and younger sister Valerie Wilson in honor of their late father Don D. Wilson. The Dream A Dream (D.A.D.) Foundation is a Chicago-based, non-profit organization that was created to support, uplift and actualize the dreams of youth who may not have the resources to achieve their goals.

Kimberly says:

“Mentorship and Sponsorship have been essential in the role of my success. Without the amazing people who believed in or took an interest in me throughout my career, I’m not sure I would have the opportunity to do what I love at this level. You can’t get to that successful place all on your own.”

D.A.D. is committed to giving back to underserved communities and serves 8 to 17-year- old youth in and around Chicago, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. The organization’s three pillars of Music, Sports, and Entrepreneurship are at the core of its foundation and programs. D.A.D. will offer opportunities to youth pursuing music as an art form and/or business endeavor; provide access and resources to activities including clinics, sporting events, and camps; implement programs that teach the fundamentals of business ownership and provide support resources.

Kimberly’s father was a Chicago businessman for over 30 years. He devoted himself unselfishly to mentorship and humanitarian work in his community and worldwide travels. A lifelong learner whose interest spanned the spectrum from microbiology to world history to travel, her father’s passion and commitment are naturally rooted in Kimberly’s DNA.

Wilson talks about her family:

“It all began with my family – my mother, Ann; father, and sister, Valerie – who supported me to pursue a life beyond what I thought was possible. Their moral, financial and mental support early on is the only reason I stand here today.

Through her family’s personal mission to provide young people the resources, mentoring and encouragement to dream big, Don D. Wilson’s memory will forever live on now that #dadishere. We salute Kimberly K. Wilson for underscoring the definition of paying it forward. You are truly a Fly Executive!

For more information on The Dream a Dream (D.A.D.) Foundation, please visit www.TheDreamaDreamFoundation.org or follow them on IG/FB @thedreamadreamfoundation and Twitter @thedreamadream.

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Fly Person of The Week: Tracie Collins Wants To Bring More Awareness About Stage Play Diversity

tracie-collins

A female entrepreneur in her own right, writer-producer-director Tracie Collins has been hard at work with more than four full-production stage plays under her belt, countless staring roles with Bay Area natives on her side, as they consistently cheer her on. But there’s only one problem — she still continues to stay stagnant on her journey to the top just because of her skin color. Sounds familiar? Indeed, it does — and Tracie wants to do something about the problem that not only she deals with on a daily basis, but all African-American women in the same field, and perhaps beyond.

Her purpose:

To make a difference for women of color behind the scenes in the arts to diversify what the world sees on-scene in mainstream media.

We recently spoke with Tracie about the issue at hand, natural hair success on the runway with Angolan model Maria Borges, female director/writer Shonda Rhimes and more.

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Check out a few snippets of our interview below:

Why do you think your success and accolades is going unnoticed due to the color of your skin?
The power of the dollar in the black community is real! A great example is how a viral video about Pattie LaBelle’s pies have caused sell outs
across America—imagine if we supported black businesses like that across the board!
With the success of African-American female mainstream writers like: Shonda Rhimes (Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder), Zoanne Clack (Grey’s Anatomy) and Courtney Kemp Agboh (Power), how do you think the spotlight of other black female writers in stage play can be knowledge and brought to the forefront?  
The same way these other women have. Black women writers in theater are out there but media needs to wake up and pay attention. Stage is either where people start or where they go back to to brush up on there skills. Like Denzel Washington, Debbie Allen, Viola Davis just to name a few. This speaks to the Power of the Stage.
I have may projects for television and film already written but stage is where that adrenaline is right now.
On a “Black Girls Rock” note: Angolan Model Maria Borges just made hair history in the Victoria Secrets fashion show with being the very first female American-American model to walk in a VS show with her own natural hair. What were your thoughts on that epic moment? 
I thought it was excellent!!!! I was so happy to see that, especially having been natural for nearly 10 years myself.
Tell us about your upcoming “One Women Show”.  
Being from the Bay Area is unique in itself. I’ve made stage relevant in an area where folks don’t see it relevant. Not black people anyway. But in my quest, people are always asking Who Is Tracie Collins? Why should we know her or why should be care? Being the type of person I am, I decided to create a show to answer those questions for the naysayers.
I wanted to bring my journey to light so others can know, number one, don’t give up on your dreams and two, we all have a purpose and a platform. I will address pivotal moments in my life that shaped the actress or that shaped the producer in me. But more importantly that shape the woman you see. My tenacity really shows through in this piece. I want people to know that being a leader didn’t and sometimes still doesn’t come easily for me, but I know this is where I belong. I want to make a difference in entertainment so our daughters can look on TV and in magazines and see more women that look like them. That is my goal. It’s about the legacy. It’s about the longterm.
For other women that are trying to reach the goals that you’ve already obtained so far, what advice would you give to them? 
This sounds so cliche, but never give up. It’s hard and it’s meant to be that way for a reason. The process weeds out the weak. I’ve cried a hundred tears. I’ve invested thousands of my own money. I’ve sacrificed time with my family for what’s been bestowed upon me to create and do because the work is bigger than Tracie. So my response to that is, just don’t give up. The only thing that separates them from us is they didn’t stop.
We would like to thank Tracie Collins for speaking with SFPL!
Visualize her story through social:
Twitter – @TracieCollins
Instagram – @TracieCollins
About Tracie Collins

Born in San Francisco and bred in Oakland, Tracie Collins was inspired by the sub cultures of art, theater and stage performances anywhere from the avenues right outside of San Francisco to the abstract depth of the cultured Bay Area. While the oldest of her siblings and deemed responsible for their upbringing, Collins’ dreams of her voice to be heard around the world were conceived in these very moments. And it was in these moments that her modernized renaissance tale was conceived.

After honing her acting chops and the importance of the stage from the American Conservatory Theatre, where she mastered her stagecraft under the tutelage of veterans, she landed her first theatrical role as “Lorelle” in the critically acclaimed play “Dream Girls,” which prepared her for the role as “Pam” in “Misery Loves Company.” Collins’ desire to use her beloved platform to develop a new dialogue around women of color in the arts was promoted by this very moment in her bubbling career.

A year later, filmmaker JD Walker cast Collins as “Tonisha” in his new project “The Postwoman.” With a background in fashion and a pure love for black film, she was able to own this role. So much, it gained an honorable mention in The Sundance Table Read My Screenplay Contest. Collins used this opportunity to propel her dreams and take a real chance at success.

Collins made her directorial debut with the sold out, self-produced stage play, The V Monologues: A Black Woman’s Interpretation (October 2013).  Inspired by Eve Ensler’s original work The Vagina Monologues, Collins’ off Broadway adaptation chronicled the lives of various African-American women and their struggles to break generational chains and misogynistic falsehoods. In years to come, Collins kept the momentum and produced three more sold-out plays, including “Knocking At Love’s Door” (April 2014), “Girlfriend Chronicles” (June 2014) and “Cold Piece of Werk” (March 2015).

With the resounding success of the launch of Tracie Collins Productions and her electrifying stage productions that have drawn audiences and fans from the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond, Collins has lined up forthcoming productions including an experiential “One Woman Show,” which are all in development for 2016. Collins’ ability to draw from the many changes happening in Oakland, CA allows her to write, direct and produce entertainment that opens a forum for dialogue and self-awareness.

With a passionate force, Collins is a visionary at the forefront of the arts and film industry. Not only for the culture of the skill but moreover providing a new platform for black women all from behind the scenes. Her career embodies what she stands for the most: blending her love for stage plays with the inception of the new-generation performers creating a distinct balance for the future of the art. Her personal cause for art merges pop culture and the stage. Call it the millennial evolution of stage performance.

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FLY People of The Week: Suit Dreams Provides Hope for Male Students of Color

suit-dreams

 

Suit Dreams Sets Goal to Provide 250 Male Students of Color with Custom Suits; Hosts 5thAnnual Suit Drive Fundraiser in NYC.

For the past five years, Suit Dreams, has held an annual professional attire drive to collect suits for high school male students of color in New York and Chicago to use for prom, internships and job interviews. With over 1,000 suit donations to date, this year the NY-based charitable organization is raising the bar and aiming to arm 250 young inner city scholars with new, custom suits complete with appropriate shirts, ties and shoes to prepare them for the next step on their journeys to successful careers.

suit-dreams

Suit Dreams has set a goal of raising $50,000 to fund the program and is hosting its 5th Annual Suit Drive Fundraiser on May 2, 2015 at Parlor Private Members Club and Event Space in New York, NY.  The event will begin at 12:00 pm and will be chaired by Suit Dreams founder and Wall Street executive, Jerrell Horton.  In addition to the fundraiser, the organization has started a GoFundMe page for financial donations.

suit-dreams

Suit Dreams aims to transform the national perception of the young urban male by enhancing their professional image, facilitating academic achievement and fostering civic responsibility. In addition to donating suits to inner city males, the organization serves as a mentoring platform and organizes corporate field trips in an effort to expose students to professional environments and executive leaders of color.

Please donate at GoFundMe now to support this great initiative. 

We honor Suit Dreams on this week for giving back to the community in such a positive and Fly manner!

Suit Dreams, you are the Fly People of The Week!

Thanks for giving back!

-Stay Fly!

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Consciously Fly: Kendrick Lamar Touches on Real Topics in “Blacker the Berry” and We’re Here For It; So We Had To Recap!

“The Blacker the Berry”, the sweeter the juice… “Hiii Power” rapper and Compton creative, Kendrick Lamar has recently dropped some conscious jewels for the third eye viewers and high schoolers.

Tumblr
Tumblr

Donning a bit of Badu, and D’Angelo, Kendrick raps “Penitentiary will only hire me”, hinting at the rise of the prison population and the demand for the incarceration of minorities which, brings focus to the agenda of privatizing prisons for profit.

In “the Blacker the Berry”, Kendrick marks our not so favorable reality in black communities highlighting the continued injustices. Kendrick is well aware of the many Eric Garners and Trayvon Martins and clearly demoralizes institutions and white supremacy, all while, Assassin (featured on the track) reassures the world, we are the indigenous people.

Kendrick Lamar via Tumblr
Kendrick Lamar via Tumblr

As history recounts the victimization, institutionalism and conditioning of Africans, Kendrick forces listeners to “be realistic”. With these conversations being a rarity, it’s upsetting that those with the notable platform fail to exercise their power and voice. Kendrick claims the opposite from the beginning of his career and most notably from one of his first projects ‘Section 80‘.

Kendrick continually refers to himself as “the biggest hypocrite of 2015”, alluding to not only his hypocritical nature, but ours, which consequently leads to our plight and the repeating of our history. Not only have we fell victim to non-black attack but we berate, murder and lack the empowerment of our own communities.

Group is self, and here, Kendrick represents that original essence that we once had. With a following as culturally diverse as his own, this substantial anthem is sure to reach the ears of non-blacks, exposing them to not only the struggle but the strength.

K Dot via Tumblr
K Dot via Tumblr

The much avoided race discourse needs to be initiated in America, as it’s often treated as taboo. Listen to the track. Hence, that’s an interesting visual – we need to feed: the nation, the children, the people.

[ione_embed src=https://www.youtube.com/embed/6AhXSoKa8xw service=youtube width=560 height=315 type=iframe]

 

Thoughts?

Stay Fly!

[Fly Girl Shayna]

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SFPL’s Fly Person of the Week: Mr. Curtis Farrow

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It’s been awhile since we’ve introduced SFPL‘s “Fly Person of the Week!” But it was time to get things back in full swing and what better way to follow-up than with one of the most inspiring men of New Jersey/New York, Mr. Curtis Farrow

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Fly Person of the Week

FLY GUY OF THE WEEK: TRAVIS FROM ST. LOUIS

This weeks Fly Guy of the Week is Travis Mayes, a student originally from St. Louis, Missouri:

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[We ADORE] First Look at Blue Ivy Carter…

 

This is the moment we’ve all, admit it or not, been waiting for.

Proud parents Jay Z and Beyonce finally released photos of precious Baby Blue, and she is everything we knew she would be.

BEAUTIFUL!!

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[FLY Person of the Week] Jonnel “Young Harlem” Green

This weeks FLY Person isn’t fly on account of what they’ve done for themselves, but what they have, and continue to do for their community.

Jonnel “Young Harlem” Green was born and raised in the notorious St. Nicholas Houses in Harlem, NY. He was raised by his grandparents, the late Harriet Duke & Fred McKenzie, who always sought to instill in Jonnel the principals of “being better and doing better.” Having grown up as a Harlem child whose mother & father were incarcerated his grandmother ensured that he would be grounded in the Church, but Jonnel sought guidance from those who ruled the rough streets of Harlem. Having a hard time adapting to middle school and always finding trouble in high school, he eventually dropped out in the 10th grade and began to crave the street life.

The 1998 passing of Jonnel’s grandmother, Harriet Duke, changed his perspective on life. He vowed to pursue unlimited possibilities. Jonnel began to write music as source of healing. Realizing that he had a gift for writing he became interested in higher education. Jonnel obtained his GED and with the help of a close friend, was accepted to Lincoln University where majored in mass media for 4 years. Jonnel’s trendsetting events, radio shows and swag landed him the name “YOUNG HARLEM.” After college Jonnel interned and worked for many record labels and even though he began to touch the rim of the entertainment industry, he remained committed to helping children who had similar childhood struggles as him.

In 2008, he started Young Harlem, Inc., a 501C educational nonprofit organization certified by the New York State Department of Education, for kids living in urban communities. Always seeking to help others, Jonnel began to send texts to his Senior Pastor as a source of daily encouragement. This commitment blossomed to a daily text ministry, which currently reaches over 1000 people nationwide through various media sources. Through Jonnel’s most recent “leap of faith,” he founded Extreme Dreamers, Inc., a Multimedia brand that empowers you through Music, Literature, Film and Fashion. Additionally, Jonnel is in the process of writing his first novel called “Young Harlem: A Diary of a Dreamer.” Jonnel believes “In life you will have ups and downs, but never give up. You must Dream to the Extreme!”

Check out our dope interview and learn even more about “Young Harlem!”

1) What does the term “FLY” mean to you and how do YOU embody it?

Fly is one word, “Harlem.” It’s an art. Fly also means to be over, to be on top. I
embody ‘Fly” because I was born in it. I am from Harlem and who am I to mess up tradition? 

2) Growing up in an era in which our grandparents raised most of us, how do you
feel that attributed to your success today?        

My grandparents played a major role in my success because they instilled lifetime
values and street smarts. My grandfather taught me how to be a man and to always
work hard because if you don’t grind you don’t shine. My Grand mother taught me to put
God first no matter the obstacle or problem!

3) Was there any 1 specific situation that influenced you to create
ExtremeDreamers.com?

Working in the music business, I noticed there wasn’t an outlet for writers or individuals to be empowered or to be better and dream so I hollered at my friend Dwayne (editor) then God just did the rest!

4) What are some of the life lessons you learned on the streets that continue to
help you in your now corporate living?

My mother was a hustler and father was one, as well. Some lessons I’ve learned was to be a man of your word and never judge a book by its cover. Don’t open the right door with the left hand!

5) Who, in media, are some of your inspirations?

Of Course Sean “P. Diddy” Combs. People have always compared me to him, but its definitely  James EIchelberger, former VP and A&R of TVT Records, and my Pastor Micheal A. Walrond of First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem.

6) Where do you see yourself, and your company, in 5 years?

In 5 years, I see us having over 100 writers on extremedreamers.com. Every writer or blogger will want to be on this site. Also we’re taking the brand to Television as I have many people contacting me about reality television. Also to be known on a global platform. We have many views from Russia and Germany already. Sky Is The Limit straight to the top. Extreme dreamers will be a household
name in all media.

7) What levels of fashion do you deal with on ExtremeDreamers.com?

We Have the “I  Am An Extreme Dreamer” T shirts for the summer, which are sold out right now. (Shouts to Deon from Fresh Custom.) In the Winter, we have The Extreme Dreamers Varsity Leathers. (Shouts To KG at Professional Clothing.) We Plan on opening up the online store in the fall and I am looking for a Fashion writer who can also handle the clothing aspect!

8 ) On ExtremeDreamers.com, you have the “Extreme Dreamers Class of 2011.” What
can one do to apply to be apart of the 2012 class?

You cant really apply. It’s more of who we see is doing it to the Extreme in living their dream out. First event was a success so imagine how our 1 year anniversary will be? We are excited already and many names have been coming in for 2011.

9) Even though a huge majority of us have grown up in church, there is still a
huge distinction between Religion and Entertainment. Do you fear that
intertwining the two may not garner as much mainstream success as you’d like?

Nope, not at all. Many of us believe in a higher power. We aren’t shoving religion in your face. We are shoving encouragement, determination, and those keys we want to empower you with.  I feel we are in our own lane right now and that’s what makes it special and unique. Every writer has a story and overcame it.  Just like in the entertainment world, especially in music, artists sing or rap about their obstacles or opinions. We discuss ours, but we offer solutions. I never wanted to be in the HipHop realm. I am shifting more in to the NAACP image awards/Oprah Winfrey lane. Our focus is global, not local.

10) Any words of encouragement or last words to our readers?

Shouts to SFPL for the interview and to your readers in the midst of situations, obstacles, problems and pain, don’t give up! You are an Extreme Dreamer so always “Dream To The Extreme.” Log on Be empowered www.extremedreamers.com
(Shouts to Zoe,Shyah,Dway,Kris,Renta,Voni, Ashcash, and Punch)

 

Much love and success to ExtremeDreamers.com!!

Stay Fly!

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SFPL’s Fly Person of the Week: Kevin Cossom

Here we are, back again with SFPL’s Fly Person of the Week. This is a segment we created to highlight those FLY Individuals who are making a impact in their respective fields, so much so that they might motivate and inspire others to move forward with their respective visions. This weeks recipient is one of those dopest young Singer/Songwriter’s out right now, Kevin Cossom.

K.C., as he’s known by his peers, has written for some of the biggest names in Music and he’s definitely up next to reign supreme!!

Due to the winning recipe of a soul- stirring voice and boy-next-door charm, Kevin Cossom is poised to be R&B’s next breakout star. He is also the first artist signed to red-hot producer Danja’s ‘New Age Rocks Stars’ (N.A.R.S)/JIVE imprint, thanks to both his undeniable vocal skills and his phenomenal songwriting capabilities.

Born in Philadelphia and raised in Orlando, Florida, Kevin Cossom found his love and talent for song in church. Kevin’s mother- founder of a performing arts academy- highly supportive of her son, encouraged him to perform his first solo at the tender age of three. As a six year old, he joined his first group, a gospel act his mother had assembled. The young singer/songwriter realized that he wanted to make music his life at 14 and once the high school-aged Kevin met Rashad Tyler, his manager, things began to click for the young upstart.

By 2004, he was featured on his first song, Lloyd Banks’ ‘Karma.’ Kevin then followed up with his first songwriting credit when he penned the R. Kelly hook on Young Jeezy’s ‘Go Getta’ with production team and fellow Orlando natives, The Runners. He has also been featured on a number of albums from Beanie Sigel, Rick Ross, Chamillionaire, Trey Songz and Rocko, among others. “….songwriting was a way in… I thought that other songwriters didn’t take me seriously because I was just placing hip-hop hooks,” says Kevin, who XXL magazine referred to as ‘Usher meets Justin Timberlake.’

They’re taking him seriously now. In fact, it was those guest appearances that scored Kevin an audience with Grammy award winning producer, Danja (Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Justin Timberlake). “I went to work with Danja in Miami as a songwriter for a girl group he was working with,” says Kevin. “It was like instant chemistry. He asked me if I was just a writer and I told him no, it was just another passion and something I did to pay the bills. We talked some more, he heard me sing and the rest is history!”

With the support of Danja, Kevin is gearing up for the release of his as-yet-untitled debut album, which he describes as a reflection of who he is—urban, suburban and spiritual. “My music is really eclectic. Not backpack or playing on the conga eclectic, but I am inspired by anything that pushes the music to another level. I would definitely describe my sound as unpredictable, but at the same time safe enough to understand. It’s feel good and it’s fresh.” Kevin achieved his biggest accomplishment so far as a songwriter, “Knock You Down,” Keri Hilson’s record featuring Kanye West and Ne-Yo, reached #1 on the R&B charts and #3 on Billboard’s Top 100. The song also garnered him a BMI Urban Songwriters Award. He was most recently featured on Rick Ross’ “Usual Suspects” with Nas, Ludacris’ “Cross My Mind” featuring Damian Marley and penned hooks for Ace Hood’s “Overtime” and Fat Joe’s “One” featuring Akon, Fabolous’ “My Time”, Rick Ross’ “Lay Back” and many more.

In an age of reality stars and hardcore rappers, it’s comforting to see that there are some artists performing simply for the love of the music. Beyond his moving voice or his soulful songwriting, Kevin’s love and passion are what will leave his fans wanting more.

1. How does it feel to look around and see your dreams come into fruition?

Well I’ve been working hard at my craft for some years now, since I was a little kid. And I honestly have to say it hasn’t really hit me yet, because there are still so many things I want to do. So I’m pretty focused, but when I do get a moment to reflect, It does feel great to be where I am in my career.

2. It seems as if every writer wants to eventually take a chance at “stardom.” Many still don’t get the same success of artists they’ve written for. What makes you different from the rest?

I think most song writers are artists and sometimes you use that to get your foot in the door. I work very hard, been doing music for over ten years… Not to say that others aren’t working hard, but just to say you get out what you put in…

3. When did your love for music start?

I started singing really early. I’ll say around 3yrs old. I think I was around 14 when I fell in love with music. I realized then, that I wanted to pursue it professionally.

4. Who were some of your musical inspirations growing up as a child? Who are some current artists you gain inspiration from?

My Mom had me in church quite often, so one of my first musical influences was John P. Kee, but outside of the church, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Some of the groups like Boyz II Men, 112…

5. Who are the Top 3 artists and/or writers you aspire to work with?

Pharell Williams, Kanye West, and Beyonce.

6. What brought upon the decision to sign with Jive?

Well my relationship with Danja first pointed me in that direction.  They also have a great history with R&B and some of the biggest names in music are my label mates.

7. What influenced the decision to stick with your name, instead of creating an “alias” or “alter ego” for yourself?

I used to go by KC and most of my friends still call me that. As an artist I didn’t want it to get confused with other musicians ( KC from Jodeci, or KC and the Sunshine Band) but Kevin Cossom is already unique, so why change it? LOL

8. What does the term “Fly” mean to you?

Comfortable in your own skin, Confident.

9. Who do you consider to be the Top 3 fashionable people in Music?

Kanye West, Rihanna, and Chris Brown. Those 3 seem to always be on top of the latest fasions, and trends.

10. How would you describe your personal style?

It kind of varies, depending on my mood, but I would say “cool and clean” kind of describes my style best.

11. What are your Top Fashion Must Haves?

Fresh pair of Jordans, some clean accessories, designer jeans and a nice crisp tee shirt. I can make that look different in so many ways.

12. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

Mostly being relevant in the music business as a writer and an artist.

13. So you write, sing, dance, and rap. Do you have any other hidden talents?

Well a lot of people don’t know, but I am a pretty decent cook….

14. What does a regular day for KC, now, consist of?

From the time I wake up, I’m gone. From gym, studio, show rehearsals, phone interviews, radio interviews, conference calls, club appearances, in no particular order either. And the list goes on…

15. A lot of people do this solely for the fame and fortune. Why are you here?

For the love of music, my passion for the craft! I feel like this is what I was born to do!!!

16. Lastly, is there anything you would like to leave our readers with?

Stay up to date with everything “Kevin Cossom.”  I have a couple mixtapes out right now. “Hook vs Bridge” and “By Any Means,” and you can download both of them FREE at KevinCossom.com. I’m dropping two more mixtapes this summer. One of them a collaboration with Rapper Ace Hood, and the other, a follow up to Hook vs Bridge, which was a fan favorite. Also, follow me on twitter @kevincossom, and Facebook Kevin Cossom…

-Stay Fly!

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FLY Person of the Week: Fefe Dobson

SFPL’s Fly Person of the Week

This is a segment we created to highlight those FLY Individuals who are making a impact in their respective fields, so much so that they might motivate and isnpire others to move forward with their respective visions.

This weeks recipient is our very own Musical Rockstar, Style Extraordinaire, Fefe Dobson!!

“There’s something about you baby/That I never, ever felt before,” “Joy”

For her second Island Def Jam album, the aptly named Joy, the young, 24-year-old industry veteran Felicia “Fefe” Dobson is finally embracing her roots, with a no-holds-barred collection of full-throttle rock & roll that spotlights her skills as a singer, songwriter and performer.

From the cheeky, nursery rhyme playground anthem and first single, “I Want You,” the tribal percussion of “Can’t Breathe,” produced by rock legend Bob Ezrin, and the sassy retort of “You Bitch,” produced by Howard Benson, to the dance-floor thump of the tongue-in-chic “Paranoia” and the arena, flick-your-Bic torch song, “In Your Touch,” Fefe has finally found the sweet spot in her mix of rock and club beats.

“I grew up with Michael and Janet Jackson, but my older sister was listening to Guns N’ Roses and Nirvana, so I was right in the middle of it,” says Dobson, a native of Scarborough, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto, where she was brought up by a single mom, a mix of native Canadian and English, with a Jamaican father she just recently reconnected with. “I like that combination, especially when I heard Janet’s ‘Black Cat,’ with its rock guitar riff. That’s what this album reflects. I tried to isolate myself from the radio and TV while I was making it. I listened to a lot of old records, like Stevie Nicks, the Doors and Led Zeppelin, real dramatic, emotional music.”

Joy reflects that passion, both musical and personal, with Fefe’s sensuality oozing out of songs like the speeded-up punk of “Watch Me Move” (“I’m a firecracker/Better tell your mother… W-w-w-w-watch me move”), the Pretenders-like ballad “Shame” and the pure ecstasy of the title track (“I got joy in the bedroom/When it’s just you and I/I got joy when you satisfy me”).

Dobson bust onto the music scene as a precocious 18-year-old, releasing her debut album in 2003, which spawned four singles, including “Bye Bye Boyfriend,” “Take Me Away,” “Everything” and “Don’t Go (Girls and Boys).” She appeared as Tina Turner in the NBC series, American Dreams, opened for Justin Timberlake’s European tour, and was featured in a Tommy Hilfiger commercial that included “Don’t Go (Girls and Boys).”  The album also earned her two Juno Award nominations for Pop Album of the Year and New Artist of the Year.

By 2006, Dobson returned to the studio to work on her never-released album, Sunday Love, which featured collaborations with such artists as Billy Steinberg, Matthew Wilder, Cyndi Lauper, Courtney Love, Joan Jett, Nina Gordon and Rancid’s Tim Armstrong. In the interim, several of her songs were covered, including “Start All Over,” a song which was recorded for Sunday Love, but never made the album, by Miley Cyrus, “Don’t Let It Go to Your Head,” the first single, by American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, and “As a Blonde,” which was covered by Selena Gomez.

Four years later, Fefe is back, with an album that is a clear indication that she will be doing things her way, or not at all.

“I had to go and find myself musically,” she says about the break between releases, crediting manager Chris Smith ’s confidence in her ability for the breakthrough. “I needed time to do that. Luckily, I was allowed to do it on my own, without any interference. Otherwise, I would never have been able to make this album.”

Working with producers David Lichens, Jon Levine, Howard Benson and Bob Ezrin on Joy, Dobson lives up to the portraits of her heroes she first hung during the recording of her first album—Kurt Cobain, Judy Garland, Coldplay, the Vines and Jeff Buckley. She co-wrote most of the songs on the album, usually composing on guitar, her choice of instrument.

“I play the few chords that I know,” she says. “I try to write melodies off the same chords. ‘Joy’ is written with about three chords, and an extra one in the bridge.”

Songs like “I Want You,” which has been heard in the TV series The Vampire Diaries, as well as in promos for the film Whip It and The Sims 3: World Adventures computer game, come straight from experience.

“I’m a sucker for love,” admits Fefe. “When I was in junior high, I would carry around this huge volume of Shakespeare. I just like the romantic vibe. I write about it because I fall in and out of love quite a bit. I was always pulling on my mother’s heartstrings to get more love.”

“Shame” is a torch song underlined with jungle rhythms that is a confessional in which she does the breaking up. “When I went to demo the song, I had to go see an ex-boyfriend,” says Fefe. “I felt I betrayed him, so I wanted to clear the air. I could not sing it until I did. This reflects that relationship. As humans, we’re not perfect. We sometimes hurt people and break hearts, but it’s OK to apologize.”

In “Can’t Breathe” and “Watch Me Move,” Fefe is confident in showing off her raw sexuality.

“I am woman, hear me roar,” she laughs. “Aren’t we all animals at the end of the day? I like to show that side of me, but in a respectful way. I’m just expressing myself. It’s all about feeling good and confident about yourself, and not letting anyone else tell you what you can or can’t do.”

“People expect you to bring it by the third album,” she says. “But I’m not letting the pressure get to me because that’s when the fun disappears. I want to laugh and enjoy myself because, at the end of the day, I didn’t do this just to do it but because I love to perform and make music. At the end of the day, I want to be rocking like Tina Turner when I’m her age.”

With Joy, Fefe Dobson is on her way to achieving that goal. In fact, Fefe Dobson is just getting started.

1. When did you discover your passion for singing?

I discovered it at 2,3 uears old. I was singing on coffee tables. I was young listening and watching Michael Jackson and Judy Garland perform. I was mesmerized by them, and I wanted to do what they’ve done.

2. Who or what inspires you as an artist?

Love. Relationships. Family Issues. Being free from negative energy. I write a lot about guys. I grew up listening to Bob Marley, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam. My sister introduced me to Guns’N’ Roses. I’m also a big Johnny Cash fan!

3. What is a typical day/night for you in the studio?

Depends. I show up, make some coffee. I write and record. Yes! There are lots of candles, food. It’s such a relaxed vibe. Tons of good energy; There are photos and paintings there as well. Those inspire me as well.

4. What is your passion? Writing for others or performing?

I write for myself. If it doesn’t work for me but it works for someone else- that’s cool. It’s cool having artists singing my song. I love performing though- I can let my hair down.

5. What does the word “FLY” mean to you?

SUPER DUPER AWESOME. Dope. Having the highest level of confidence! When you’re fly you’re floating and it depends on what you say.

6. What 3 words describe your personal style?

3 words- Bohemian punk with a twist. 60/70’s 90’s Rock N Roll

7. What was the process like recording your first/last album album? Explain the concept behind “Shuttering”

I was 16 years old- I was in H.S. I was dealing with high school issues, boys, family. I would go from home to school to the studio. It took me a year to figure out a sound. With my last album I could just produce, and let my hair down.

8. Explain the concept behind “Shuttering”

Shuttering dealt with cheaters and liars. A guy was just too afraid to tell me the truth! I just wanted him to be honest with me, and hopefully those words would come out of him.

9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Making more albums, I wanna perform in some arena shows! Tour the world and keep rocking!

10. What would you like our readers to take away from this post knowing about you?

I’m a girl from the suburbs that got a chance. And I wanna share my life, my ups and downs. And I wanna share that through song.

DOPENESS!!

-Stay Fly!

[Interview by @NiceLookSean]