Welcome to the finale of season 6 of Candid Creator. This season was full of laughs, deep convos, and inspiration from the dopest creatives- and in true Candid Creator style, we are ending this season with a bang. We are having a candid conversation around ‘dating today in your 20s’ with Rashima Sampson, social media manager and contributing editor at WhatRUWearing. Mary and Rashima don’t shy away from topics like, is it even possible to meet people in real life vs. dating apps and is there really a ‘right time’ to have sex for the first time with someone!?!
Between the two of them, Rashima and Mary have had their fair share of relationships. Their ups and downs have guided them through many decisions, where they have confided in each other’s honest opinions about finding love and how best to hold on to it, all while not losing yourself in the relationship. As partners in crime, nothing is off limits in this honest episode. Rashima, no stranger to dating apps, and Mary, on the contrary, not having any experience with meeting lovers on apps, bring just the right balance to this topic and just enough real world experience to add color to what’s really good in today’s dating scene.
Make sure you are connected to us on social media @candidcreatorpodcast and keep up with our YouTube channel, Candid Conversations, while we are busy curating more amazing interviews and concepts for our next season, coming at the beginning of 2019. Thank you to all of our listeners for a wonderful season, and keeping the creativity flowing! We truly appreciate y’all. And to check out all the work Rashima puts in for WhatRUWearing, make sure to follow @WhatRUWearing and@PRGirlSeries as well as some of her amazing editorial here.
On this week’s episode, we catch up with fine artist and designer, Brandon Breaux, who is proficient in painting, sculpture, web, video, print, and much more. Brandon is known for being the artist behind all three of Chance the Rapper’s iconic album covers, and is recognized worldwide. Brandon takes us back to the days of his first artistic passion, how contributing to the culture has always been part of his DNA, the moment he finally had his breakthrough and his exciting, new, upcoming projects!
The first thing we will say is that there was no shortage of surprises during our conversation with the incomparable Brandon Breaux. Without pouring all the tea, we’ll tell you that we learned about his passion for dance (you’ll have to listen to find out what kind) and how music facilitated his introduction and contributionto the creative community. With the organic membership Brandon had from day 1 to the best of the Chicago creative community, opportunities to enter in the world of design, are never far behind. We learn that as a kid, Brandon always loved to draw, and took a lot of interest in the visual aspects of design, where figurative work gave him the ability to portray people, the human condition, and tell stories through his art. Brandon told us about his drive for learning, and how taking classes developed skills that he never knew he had! You won’t be able to stay out of your feelings when you hear him about the moment he become a well-known and influential visual artist within the creative space. His story about how he collaborated with Chance the Rapper will blow you away!
In this episode, we have, as described by Compose Yourself Magazine “an artist of many strokes”. Colin Grimm, or better known as Prob Cause, is a musician and has collaborated with the likes of Chance the Rapper and Griz, and is an artist who creates animated cartoons and is in the process of creating his own children’s book! Colin shared whether music or art came first, how him and EDM Dj, GRiZ, became good friends, and how “Prob Cause” came into existence.
From the moment we sit down with Colin, it is clear how passionate he is about his craft. A craft that he has been passionate about from a young age. We learn what an early love for graffiti gave him, as an artist, both positively and negatively and what he might do differently if he could go back in time. From an education perspective, Collin graduated with a degree in fine arts from the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, which was the beginning of his unique ability to combine art and music the way he does today. And when asked about his past to present relationship with music, the answers might surprise you. Let’s just say Mary and Colin connected on their past love for EDM and their current love for Hip Hop. And like any true artist from Chicago, he has his own Chance the Rapper story. We loved meeting him and getting to know him during our conversation.
This season has been filled with the most talented creatives, and it’s not over yet! This week, we caught up with the fabulous makeup artist, Mollie Gloss, who has paved her way in the makeup industry, one contour at a time. She’s known for using crazy and vibrant colors, as well as A LOT OF GLITTER, which we are all the way here for. She talks about her relationship with makeup, what the industry was like when she started her career, and her thoughts on the way the beauty industry has become more inclusive.
It’s clear from the moment we sit down with her that Mollie is a veteran in the makeup scene. Mollie reminisces with us about the days before the apocalypse of YouTube makeup tutorials, beauty gurus and bloggers. When the struggle was real! Finding inspiration and figuring out what your artistic aesthetic is, or could be, was not as simple as going online to see what everyone else was doing. In a time where makeup and brands are evolving to be more inclusive and diverse, we had to get Mollie’s perspective on Rihanna’s Fenty and other brands that have made it easier for women of all shades to have access to fun, high quality makeup and why the hell it took so long!?! Her answer is everything!
Despite the current status of everyone thinking they are a pro because they have 2 followers and people, in general, being able to teach themselves with tutorials, Mollie continues to evolve her skills and her brand, delivering innovative looks and face-beats like we’ve never seen before. She’s the real deal! To check out all of her gorgeous looks, follow Mollie on Instagram. And to see the full portfolio of her work, check out her website.
Louis De Guzman
This week, we sit with the very talented visual artist, Louis De Guzman. He incorporates abstract pop art into his paintings and merges his past with his present to create work that draws inspiration from abstract expressionism and pop culture iconography. During our conversation with Louis, we learn how he pulled together his most successful (to date) exhibitions, what it feels like to design for world renowned brands and what his culture means to him during his artistic process. And not to pat ourselves on the back, but (tap, tap) Louis reveals the details of his latest project to us FIRST! #HumbleBrag.
Like most artists, Louis has always been an artist- ever since childhood. So, it was an easy decision to go to school at Columbia College to study design. It was there that opportunities stated to present themselves to Louis. A first of those opportunities, being a chance to showcase his artistry in, of all places, a barber shop. In addition to his artistry, Louis shares his love of installations with us and what building something of that magnitude means to him and what he hopes it means for the audience he is curating it for. And as if all of that was not enough, he has had the pleasure of creating for the likes of the Soho House, NBA, Just Don, Nike, and Def Jam Recordings.
We are so happy for and proud of Louis for all he has already accomplished and all that he plans to make a reality in his future. Make sure to go check out Louis’ newest work, a Vinyl Sculpture titled “Elevate". To catch him at his next exhibition and to find out more about Louis and the artistic brand he is building, follow him on insta, and check out his site right now!
“No ketchup” podcast
Joining us on this week’s episode is one of my favorite people and podcast hosts, Sean Little! Sean is the host of Chicago’s very own “No Ketchup”, where he talks about Chicago sports, culture, the scene, and anything poppin’ nationally, while avoiding corn balls by any means necessary. Sean came to talk to us about why he started his own podcast, how he’s dealing with major career changes, and the struggles he has with voicing his opinions without trying to offend his audience.
Sean was an aspiring sports broadcaster before he decided to make podcasting his full time job. While at school, the reality of the competitive nature that broadcast journalism made him realize he needed to find another avenue that still fulfilled his love for sports. During his search, Sean started at a marketing firm, and later went on to work for CBS sports. This man LOVE sports, can you tell? Although he was surrounded by a concept that he loved, he felt out of place within his corporate work environment. We dove deep into why Sean decided to go the entrepreneur route to start podcasting full-time, and why creative freedom is important to him. We had so much fun talking about all things podcasting, we couldn’t forget to play a game involving Sean’s dope fashion sense!
Make sure to listen to Sean’s podcast, No Ketchup”, with new episodes out every week, and give him a follow on Insta to peep all his amazing fits and funny videos of him covering, you guessed it, sports events!
On this week’s episode, we caught up with multi-instrumentalist and singer, Luke Titus, who’s background in music will blow you away. He told us about what it was like being a member of a band called Woo Park, drumming for Noname, being on stage with the Blue Man Group (remember those high school field trips?!), and the lessons that he has learned from breaking away and becoming a solo artist.
From the moment our conversation began with Luke, it was clear that we were in the presence of one of the sweetest souls around! He walked us through his childhood and his journey to find is personal sweet spot in the music industry. Dabbling early on in singing, drumming and song-writing, by the age of 17, he had already been a member of 2 bands, drummed for Blue man Group and had developed his own genre-bending sound along with an impressive fan base.
Seemingly a “Jack of all Trades”, the next logical step in his progression as an artist was to attempt being a solo artist- and let us be the first to tell you, he is kicking ass at that too! During our conversation, Luke drops knowledge on how he approaches being a solo artist and the lessons (so far) he has learned from the experience. Luke currently has two EP’s available titled, Colors and Aside of Love. Prepare your emotional heartstrings for his explanation around his Colors EP, what inspired it and what it means to him.
To keep up with Luke and know where to catch his next show, follow him on Instagram. And to become an immediate fan of his music, listen to both Colors and Aside of Love on Spotify and Soundcloud now.
Happy Friday! On this week’s episode, we sat down and interviewed Lauren Scott, host of the television show, Chicago’s Best, where she goes on the road to explore and sample Chicagoland’s best, affordable and iconic dishes. Can you say “dream job”?! Who wouldn’t want to eat at the coolest restaurants and be on TV? Lauren told us about how she got her start in broadcasting, the obstacles she had to work through to get to where she is today and what really goes into making TV.
Any idea we had going into this conversation about how glamorous the TV life might be got eliminated the moment we sat down with Lauren. During our conversation, she talks to us about the first job she got after graduating from school. As a broadcast reporter in Houston working extremely long days that didn’t stop at the weekends, in order to be competitive in her space, Lauren describes the amount of hustle she had to put into her career. She dropped facts on us like how most reporters apply to over 100 stations before even hearing anything back- and in some cases, the feedback can be ‘we already have a black female reporter’. Cringe!
But through all that, our girl grew some thick skin and it gave her the courage to move around and do that job in many different cities before realizing her passion was no longer in the tragedy that can be broadcast journalism, taking advantage of the opportunity to host Chicago’s Best during the course of this past year, making her new work day routine something for anyone to envy: hair, makeup, good food and great drinks?!? Sign us up!
To connect with Lauren and find out how to catch her on TV, check her out Lauren’s Instagram. Chicago’s Best airs weekly on WGN-TV Sunday nights at 10pm, and there’s also an app that fans can download where you can discover featured restaurants in your own neighborhood!
Coming at you with another hot one guys! This week we got the pleasure of interviewing one of our favorite people. Maaly Williams is a visual artist, graphic designer, and the producer of the podcast, “Kommon Wealth.” In this episode, we talk about what it means to be a visual artist, where his love for design came from, the lessons that he’s learned over the years, and how to stay focused when you’re working on 58,593 things at once.
Talking to Maaly, we learn that as a kid, he loved cartoons and animation and that this love was what sparked his interest in design of all kind- graphic just being one. Not really knowing what he wanted to do or what visual arts was fully made up of, Maaly decided to do it all- and well, at that! With his organic love for drawing, painting and digitalization, he became comfortable with the notion of not being boxed into any one thing- and man are we here for it!?!
In addition to being able to successfully work as an independent artist, Maaly continues to live his best life by being involved with "After School Matters" where he teaches graphic design and visual arts to his students. We truly feel super lucky to have known him before our interview and are looking forward to seeing where life takes this artist.
Make sure to follow Maaly’s instagram where you can keep up with him and all the dope shit he puts out, check out “Kommon Wealth The Podcast”, and check out his website to hit him up for all your graphic and logo needs!
In this week’s episode, we get to talk to the multi-talented young artist and singer, Tatiana Hazel. She got her start on Youtube, amassing 70k views on a video for one of the first few songs she wrote and sang. Recently hitting Spotify’s top charts as a number one artist to look out for on the “Nuevo Noise” playlist, Tatiana walked us through how a hobby became a career, what it was like starting her musical career at such a young age, how her heritage has inspired her music, and how she has accomplished so much including developing professional relationships with Spotify and Apple Music.
The deeper we dove with her, the more we fell in love! Tatiana writes her own music and taught herself how to play guitar. From there, she started producing beats, exploring different genres of music, as well as adding an element of Latin fusion to her style. Mixing the love of her culture with her musical talents, Tatiana released her first single fully in Spanish, “No Me Encuentras”, which made big waves in the industry and, more importantly to Tatiana, with the people who love her music. She’s loving the response, and the fact that people can really connect to her music and heritage. We can’t get enough!
We have been having so much fun with season six! And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, we go ‘head and introduce you to Symone Snowden-Wright. Your new girl crush is a stylist and personal shopping consignment expert at Luxury Garage Sale. Her passion for what she does comes out in her every word during our conversation. We talk to her about where her love for fashion came from, what drives her to be the best personal stylist she can be, and her opinion on fast fashion vs. investing in quality.
From a young age, Symone couldn’t shake the fashion bug and found herself interning for many fashion brands. In describing her journey to LGS, we learn that after moving to L.A. to take a job in e-com, she realized she wanted to find a balance between a professional career and fashion as a hobby. But then quickly realized that in order to do that, she needed to immerse herself in the fashion industry. Though she knew Chicago was not as much of a fashion mecca as L.A., she moved back home and continues to prove that your location doesn't determine your success.
To feed your fashion habit, stay connected with our girl Symone on Instagram as she shows off the latest fashion to hit the racks! And make sure to check out @luxurygaragesale if you’re boujee on a budget!
This week, we kick it with our friend, Sovren, who is a rapper and musician. He also happens to work for RSVP Gallery, one of the dopest streetwear stores in Chicago. In this episode, we get to hear his views on the rap industry, his description of his killer fashion sense, and what it’s like working at such a creative, well known fashion boutique. Spoiler: Famous people come in all the time!
Sovren explains, initially being from Pittsburg, but now living and thriving in Chicago, what it feels like to be a part of the creative community of Chicago, which largely is made up of amazingly talented people that the world doesn’t know about yet. Being a part of this creative environment, Sovren’s music and fashion sense are unmatchable. Sovren gives us his thoughts on old hip-hop vs. new-hip hop, and explains how people forget about the sub-genres that make up rap itself. It’s unlimited! And don’t worry, we did not miss the opportunity to talk about his ‘fits. We tell him how we love the fact that he’s not afraid to merge colors of all sorts, and mix textures that make our heads turn and backs BREAK.
Welcome back bitches! We are back and better than ever with the launch of season 6. We’re kicking it off with the amazing and innovative jewelry designer, Kristopher Kites, who has been shutting down the internet with his Comic-Con and Superhero inspired pieces that do a great job incorporating those nostalgic vibes that we love, oh so much.
Kristopher has gotten a lot of buzz and love from the creative community, including Vogue, for his first ever jewelry line. In our conversation with Kristopher, he reminds us of our childhoods as he walks us through where his inspiration came from for his latest collection. We learn how designing almost came 100% natural to him and how he has evolved as a designer beyond using his god given talents to learning his craft.
He gives us the run-down on how he creates the pieces, what the marketing process has been like and some insight on what it feels like togain popularity and how he is dealing with it all.
This is just the beginning for Kristopher, and we can’t wait to see what he decides to create next. He’s the real deal! To cop one of Kristopher’s pieces, check out his website, and make sure that you’re connected with him on Instagram so you’re the first to know about what’s coming next!
FOUNDER OF WRUW
Wait…is it our season finale already!? We couldn’t think of a better way to leave you guys off before we come back next season with surprises, upgrades and things you won’t be able to believe, than to have a candid, unfiltered AF conversation about some of today’s most controversial and hottest topics with one of our most favorite people. In this steamy episode, Mary sits down with non-other than the founder of WhatRUWearing, Farissa Knox. As many of you know, not only did Farissa start WhatRUWearing, which is responsible for this podcast, daily fashion, style, beauty + creative editorial and web series’ like PRGirl, but she is also the founder of RLM, a media advertising agency and holding company. Farissa’s entrepreneur career is going on a decade and she is just getting started. In addition to building companies, being a content creator and a self-published author, she is a pro at being 100% authentic and that is why we have to grab her every now and then and turn her mic up!
We sat down to discuss relevant, important, and controversial topics, because well, WE CAN, and we feel that it is crucial and necessary to be able to listen to other people’s opinions, and teach others in the process. In this episode, we touch on diversity, including beyond race, try to tackle the difference between girls having a “Hoe Phase” and an “Exploration Phase”, and talk through what it means to be selfish, in life and in relationships.
In this week’s episode of CCP, we sat down with fashion designer, Chelsey Carter, the head designer and creative director behind Alex Carter. The brand and her clothing have been featured in Vogue, Verluxe, Kiss Magazine, Chicago Social, Off Kilter Magazine, as well as on SZA (dying). Her designs and personal hairstyles are breaking through the competitive fashion landscape, one statement accessory and piece of clothing at a time.
Chelsey sat down to talk to us, ski pant-overalls and all (they’re just as cool as they sound), about what influences her, and what it means to be an emotional designer. She took us back to her early teens to reminisce on when she first started designing, and how she knew she was meant to go into an artistic career. Her art teacher noticed her effortless and distinct style, and gave her a helping hand by suggesting she go into fashion design. She filled us in on why she thinks it’s a good idea to “fly under the radar of gender” in the fashion world when it comes to picking a name and aesthetic for your brand. We also got a real education around why independent designers charge what they do for their work, sometimes in the $200-$300 per piece price range, and how little they are actually profiting.
Check out the whole episode to hear how Chelsey got that bomb denim ensemble on SZA for the Grammy’s earlier this year and make sure to follow her on Instagram to keep up with her crazy life. If you want to rock one of Chelsey’s designs, take a look at her catalog on her website!
Our girl, Alina Tsvor, a renowned Chicago based photographer, stopped in to chat with us about her successful career. She specializes in portraiture, commercial, lifestyle, travel, storytelling, and social content. She’s accomplished so much already in her career, and she’s only getting started. We get to learn what is was like working with some of the amazing clients she’s shot for, like Adidas, J. Crew, Nike, Chicago Bulls, BMW, Beats by Dr. Dre, Bacardi, and so many more.
Our very own Mary Mel started off by bonding with Alina over their shared Russian backgrounds, and how it has shaped them and their work ethic. Alina told us about her family, and how her photography career started with the first camera she was ever gifted. We learned what it is about photography that continues to keep her in love with her passion. With some of the controversial changes taking place in her industry with so many models accusing male photographers and directors of sexual harassment, we had to make sure to get Alina’s reaction to it. She is open and honest with us about her personal experience with the controversy and how it impacted her personally.
SIR THE BAPTIST
HIP HOP CHAPLAIN
We’re coming at you with another exciting episode that you don’t want to miss! Our good friend, Sir the Baptist, paid us a visit straight off his international tour. Sir is a hip-hop and R&B recording artist, producer, songwriter, and a huge philanthropist. He’s labeled holistic lyricist, and is proving himself as a chaplain in the modern rap culture.
Humble as can be, our guest takes us back to the beginning of his musical journey, revealing the fact that he was homeless, living out of his car at a moment in his life when he was trying to bless the world with his talent. We find out how he found his way out of that reality, and how he used (and uses) music as his outlet for speaking about things that matter to him, and preaching realness to all who have the desire to listen. He told us how important spiritual currency is to him and what it means to him. Sir calls himself an “urban monk!” He dives deep into his definition of what that means and how the urban monk knows how to dig into the most important things without being aggressive, all while “wearing some fly kicks” Contrary to what some may think, his music isn’t focused on religion, but more so focused on the reality of people and spirituality. We dug deep into what it means to be an independent artist and the power he sees in signing with a label. Since Sir went on tour with Jay-Z (UM YEAH), we HAD to ask the first thing that came to mind about Queen Bey and oh yeah… what it was like touring with Mr. Carter himself. And you guessed right, it was unbelievable.
As if the journey and success he has had so far in the music world is not enough, Sir is coming out with an exciting new project which is a short film called “God Is On The Way”, a powerful story of a woman involved in sex trafficking overcoming her odds to find love. We cannot overstate how amazing this man is! Make sure to follow him on Instagram where you can check out his music, and take a look at his website so that you can catch his next show!
We’re coming at you with another good one, guys! A new type of creative made her mark on our show this week. Essence Taylor, a new face on the modeling scene making big moves in editorial and on the runway. We first met Essence at the Sheila Rashid show this past winter where Essence was modeling Sheila’s amazing new collection and we were so captivated by her beauty. Timing could not be more perfect for her right now. As we sit down to talk with Essence, she is fresh off of doing jobs for J. Crew, Walgreens, and Vogue Italia! Ummm…YEAH
Essence graced us with stories from her childhood and we learn what took her from Ball State University, bringing her back to Chicago. It was never a real question in her mind whether or not fashion was the route she wanted to take, so once back in the city, she pursued fashion merchandising and marketing, opening the door to modeling opportunities, giving way to the blossoming career she has now. As a dark-skinned Black woman,Essence tells us some of the hardships she faces (still) in the modeling industry. We get to live vicariously through Essence listening to her describe what it’s like seeing her face in ads and in magazines- spoiler alert: something close to amazing.
Essence’s career is only getting started, so make sure to follow her on her Instagram to keep up with her. We are looking forward to saying we knew her ‘when’ before she’s a staple at NYFW, modeling for Balmain!
RAPPER + LYRICIST
New Episode Alert! Lyricist, teacher and musician, Matt Muse, stopped by our studio to enlighten our lives and it is safe to say, we’ve completely fallen in love with his sweet personality and his passion for music.
Matt grew up in a household full of music. His parents wanted him to stay busy by learning how to play the piano and singing in the choir. Matt croons for us as he acknowledges that not only did that push towards music keep him out of trouble, but it introduced him to his passion. He’s proud (and rightfully so) of how raw and genuine his raps are and follows it up with a perfect blend of confidence and cockiness that you can’t help but agree with. Although he is aware of the motivation that can be invoked by his lyrics and the work that he does with his poetry students, he doesn’t consider himself a motivational speaker. He is an artist- and a great one at that! And as if his credentials couldn’t get any better, we learn he is an alum of Donda’s House, the nonprofit created in honor of Kanye West’s mother that supports young, aspiring artists of Chicago.
Before we let him go, he dished about his next (secret) project, and spit a few bars from his favorite, unreleased song! We had a wonderful time getting to know him and his motivation. Now press play!
For more information on Matt, his music and how to keep up with his performance schedule, follow him on Instagram and stay in touch with us. You are not going to want to miss him.
Get ready to kick back and laugh with one of the funniest, vibrant, and hardworking women in the event planning industry, Ciara Jibri. She’s a fashion publicist and event coordinator, as well as one of our good friends. We were so happy to sit down with Ciara to learn more about the platform she recently started, Haus of Mimosa, which is a bi-monthly networking social event to “simply connect people from all walks of life.”
Ciara is always on the scene. If there is an event, Ciara is there, and workin’ it. Born and raised in Chicago, we get a feel for how much passion Ciara has for her city. Attending Columbia, Ciara pursued a degree in fashion marketing and management. And as if it wasn’t cool enough that she has carved out the perfect space for herself in the fashion industry, she comes connected, as we learn the secret sauce. Hint: SHE GETS IT FROM HER MAMA! Like many of us, it took Ciara some time to figure out exactly what she wanted to do in fashion. We learned in this episode that it was being booked as a model that set the direction for not just where she is now, but where she described seeing her brand going in the next few years. If you are looking for that last bit of confidence to pursue a career in fashion or build your own brand, Ciara gives us advice on how to make that a reality, the types of people to surround yourself with and the kind of mindset you need to have- all while gushing over her man’s talent, who also happened to be in the studio during our interview to support his boo! Can you think of a better way to spend the next few minutes than listening to this conversation?!?
For tickets to Ciara’s next Haus of Mimosa event, click here, and make sure to look out for her fashion show, POISE, on April 15th! Follow Ciara on Instagram, as well as H.O.M so you can keep up with her and her crazy life!
Wow, do we have a treat for you guys today! Meet Lauren Asta: a traveling muralist and artist. We got the insight from this doodle dame on her inspiration behind her unique, rather mysterious, murals that make everyone stop and stare.
If there’s a clean white wall, Lauren’s painting it. You might be familiar with these insane murals on some of the buildings in Chicago, or in other cities like Berkeley, San Francisco, Memphis, and Huntington Beach, that Lauren has graced with her paintbrush. In our conversation with Lauren, she takes us back to the beginning of her career. She explains that she has been drawing for as long as she can remember, originally getting her education in photography in Northern California. Because she was hungry to feed her artistic passion after earning money after school outside of what she studied, she decided to move to New York in hopes of becoming a famous artist. As Lauren walks us down her artistic journey to finding the version of the self she is today, she describes the process of soul searching and longing for her paintbrush and the next opportunity to paint and how the opportunity to paint her first mural came to be.
After spending time with Lauren, we are sure that she is the most glamorous homeless person we know (inside joke you will be in on once you check out this episode). Hit play now to find out who those mysterious characters are that seem to radiate through every mural Lauren does, and what’s coming up next for her. And this is all just the beginning, so make sure to follow her on Instagram, and check out her website to see more of her famous murals.
MELO MAKES MUSIC
We’re kicking off season 5 with an independent musician named Carmelo, also known as Melo Makes Music! He is influenced by every genre that exists and creates *WARNING* highly addictive music that goes beyond the realm of hip-hop. Despite partying with him all night the night before our interview, he showed up ready to go, bringing his A-game to interview with us!
Melo starts off by tellingus where his “triple M’ed” name comes from (shouts out to Soundcloud). Calling himself a recording artist, he prefers to let go of any titles that hold him to one type of music “since there is so much that goes into making the song evolve.” He gave us some details on what it feels like being on stage, and how his nerves have since turned into pure adrenaline. Not only does he rap, but ladies, he SINGS too! At some point we did get a little serious for our industry heads and dove into Melo’s thoughts on the music industry. We talked about whether or not music is being dumbed down and if songs even have substance anymore. And as if he wasn’t amazing enough, we found out he has friends in high places. Melo shares with us what it was like collaborating with Taylor Bennet, AKA (Chance the Rapper’s brother,) and the entire process of what it was like making their song, Sleepless.
We had so much fun interviewing Melo, even though at times, he forgot who was actually being interviewed (lol). To keep up with MMM, follow him on Instagram, and check out his website so you can catch him on tour so you can vibe with him.
Photos by Greg Chmiel
WOW. Is it the end of season 4 already??? Time really does fly when you’re having fun! We’ve had incredible creatives throughout this entire season, and so you know we HAD to end it with a bang. In our 12th episode of this season, we chat with our great friends and musicians, Na’el Shehade and Via Rosa, also known as DRAMA duo!
The duo describes their music as happy-sad music that you can actually turn up to…(we know we do). Na’el had produced for many artists worldwide such as Chance the Rapper, Kanye West, Chief Keef, Snoop Dog, and many more from MTV, but eventually decided that he needed to have his own passion project. The universe brought him and Via Rosa together, creating three songs the first night they met (it was meant to be)! Being carefree, confident, and having loads of creative freedom, the duo has no plans of signing to a record label anytime soon. Their music video for their hit song,“Hopes Up”, caught wind back in January, 2016 with over 76k views since its release, and they’re just getting started. They believe their “I Don’t Care” approach kicked off their success, letting that resonate within their songs and performances.
Follow the duo on Insta' and FB and make sure to listen to their amazing new album, Gallows, on Soundcloud! Also, check out their website to follow their upcoming shows so that you can turn up with them.
We are almost at the end of season 4 (can you believe it?!?) and we are not slowing down! This week, we got to catch up with a the very special and unique musician, Chai Tulani. Chai's a singer and songwriter that incorporates soul, hiphop and blues into a unique style he calls soul hop!
Chai is currently based in Chicago, but is a Kenyan native who moved to the states when he was four years old. He’s been into music since he was young, but took the leap to make it his career four years ago. When he describes his style of music, for him, it doesn’t really fit into one genre. So instead of trying to fit in, he creates with an electric mix of Hip-Hop, Soul, R&B with a sprinkle of Reggae and we are here for it! We talked to him about what his music means to him, and all of the elements of creativity that make his songs sound good to him. Going to one of Chai’s shows, you will see that not only does he incorporate this Kenyan vibes into his music, but he infuses it into his personal style as well! Chai talked to us about some of his biggest marketing strategies. He’s not afraid to put in the work. He believes in the power of performing at open-mics', putting his music on Soundcloud (of course!), and surprisingly, the power of UBER!! What?!
In this episode, Chai gives us a taste of some of the details for his second official project release called Rebxl. We’re so excited to hear his upcoming project on November 22nd and to support him along the way! So give him a follow on Insta’ and take a listen to his most popular songs on Soundcloud. If you would like to check out his upcoming shows, check out his website and maybe we’ll see you at his next show!
We caught up with one of our favorite creators, Julian Gilliam, also known as Logik. Julian is a visual artist, animator, photographer, and painter. We got to pick his brain and learn about the visions behind his art and creative projects, what influences him, and the amazing clients he’s worked with.
Getting to know Logik, and behind his name, was lots of fun! He gave us some insight on the fact that he has always been a true artist since he can remember, but it has been a long journey for him to find the aesthetic/style for his art. He recalls from childhood that whenever anything was put in front of him, knowing that he could make it better. Born in St. Louis, growing up in Ferguson, Logic moved to Chicago when he transferred to Columbia College during his junior year. Utilizing many different art forms to capture his work, painting being his prominent and animation being his favorite, he describes his art creations as “aspirational and uplifting propaganda,” that are meant to influence people around him. He touches on the many projects that led him to the world of advertising, starting as a freelancer, and working his way up to working as the art director for The Estate of Tupac Shakur, working with Nike, and finishing his first commercial. We found out what he thinks about the rapid change in technology, and how he keeps true to himself, as well as his art.
He’s not a fan of the ‘suit and tie’ look, ladies, but he sure knows how to put a dope fit together. Take a look at his projects here, and creep on his Insta’ to keep up with him and so you can catch him the next time he’s live painting!
In our latest episode of CCP, we get to chat with a special lady named Sa’Rayah who started off her singer career with a group called Chicago Catz. From there, she went on to become part of the "Top 12" contestants on the 11th season of The Voice! Sa’Rayah talks to us about being in the competitive music industry and what keeps her motivated, why she picked the celebrity judge that she did over the other who also turned around during her blind audition on The Voice, and what we can expect next from her (she got us SUPER hyped).
Sa’Rayah is from Chicago and grew up in one of the most infamous neighborhoods in the city called Cabrini Green. She grew up singing in church, and we learned that she got her first solo when she was five years old. Sa’Rayah was all things music as a child. Musical theatre, choirs, solo-ensembles, and going to countless competitions was how she spent her childhood. And as if we couldn’t love her anymore, she makes a point to point out in our interview that she’s not only limited to singing one genre. She loves singing anything from soul music (her fav’), pop, hip-hop, and even rock. She is “up for the challenge” of keeping the essence of the song while putting her personal twist on it. So what can we expect from her next?!? In addition to starting her own record label called RegalRock Entertainment. She’s currently finishing up an album, with a single scheduled for release in mid-November, which we couldn’t be more hyped about!
We kicked it with our boy Eddie Martin, also known as Pause Eddie, who is an explosive dance machine whose incredible musicality does not skip a beat. Eddie is an instructor who teaches Chicago footwork and hip hop in different parts of Chicago in various renowned studios. He’s known for his aggressive crossovers, erks & jerks (*SNAP*), as well as his intense footwork. He also gets to brag and say he has worked with the likes of Willow Smith,Nicki Minaj, and Chance the Rapper.
Eddie was born and raised in Chicago, finding his passion for dance at age 14. Eddie reveals where the name, “Pause Eddie” comes from, and what Eddie calls a “gift," given by the leader of his group, King Charles. We learn that footwork is a street style, born and raised in Chicago. The style’s inspirations comes from tap-dancing (Eddie’s favorite), break-dancing, african tribe, and house music. Eddie describes his classes as intense and made sure to tell us “you’re gonna be tired as hell, but have a good time.”
Keeping his cool and confidence when being on America’s Best Dance Crew, America’s Got Talent, and Willow Smith’s FireBall Video, he’s taken all these opportunities to keep working on his passion, and perfect his teaching strategies. When we asked him where he sees his career in dance going, he confidently shot back, “This will take me wherever I want it to take me.” (we love him) To keep up with Eddie and his footwork, follow him on Insta’, as well as his youtube channel to watch all of his recent and upcoming dance videos.
DE LA PIEDRA
We sat down with interview the wonderful Elizabeth De La Piedra, who is a photographer, creative director and, as of recently, a featured ASOS ambassador! Elizabeth’s work has been featured in top publications like Vogue and Esquire. Liz joined us to talk about her style inspirations, her love for thrift shopping (YAS), and her ideas behind her innovative photography projects.
Liz was born in Peru, and grew up in Sydney, Australia, where she picked up photography in Melbourne, and majored in documentary photography. Once school finished, Liz ventured out to the states and interned in Chicago. Not feeling inspired enough, she decided to move to New York to intern for photographers and agency masters out there. After working on her craft, Liz moved back to Chicago, where she started a family and had ADORABLE babies, and started her own practice. She discussed the difficulties of long distance in the early years with her husband, Josh Young, (one half of popular EDM duo Flosstradamus, who recently started his new project, YehMe2) but since they were both so busy with work, she wouldn’t change those tough years for anything.
Liz describes her photography as "rooted in documentary and portrature.” It’s inspired by real life experiences and humanity in general, but aesthetic wise, it’s more traditional. The photographer’s ALPHABODIES project caught major attention for “exposing the naked truth behind social taboos.” She collaborated with Lydia Neubauer, a health and wellness instructor, and featured two female dancers and tells us all about what the experience of making it was like.
We interview our lovely friend, Sarah Aiken, who is the director of sales and marketing for VMR, the sleek, minimalist showroom featuring luxury fashion by design houses from around the world. VMR carries everything from Balmain, Brandon Maxwell, Nili Lotan, Off_White (dying), RTA, Iro, and of course, Zimmerman. Sarah also appears in the newly released web series, PRGirl, the reality web series created and released by WhatRUWearing just this week!
Sarah talks to us about her BAD A$$ bosses, and what it's like working at such a unique boutique, that she describes as the “in-between” of Lulu-Lemon, and Gucci. Growing up, Sarah was not ALWAYS decked out in Off_White. She was obsessed with preppy brands such as Vineyard Vines, later letting the street style of Chicago take its place in her personal style. As if that wasn’t enough to keep her busy, Sarah also manages the social for VMR, as well as the Insta’ and Facebook for Chicago Illuminating Company, which is the coolest event space in Chicago’s South Loop.
Of course we had to get the real of what her experience was spending her summer filming, PRGirl, with her best friend, Alex Moresco (check out our awesome interview with her from S3). From the sounds of it, we definitely think she was born to be in front of the camera. Make sure to follow Sarah and her dope clothes on Instagram, and don’t forget to check out VMR on Instagram, for all the designer eye candy you can handle.
We sat down with the dynamic duo Angela Brantley and Rhea Fernandez, the founders and creators of the luxury streetwear brand, HERO/BLACK, inspired by architectural cuts, and masculine and feminine silhouettes. They revealed how the universe first brought them together through the shared love of modeling and a very similar sense of style.We learned the origin behind the name of the brand. Hint: Someone they both love is a Hero and black is both of their favorite color. (Duh)
The designers wanted to conceptualize HERO/BLACK and create a network for strong, creative, fashion-forward women. Although “Chicago will always be home” for the duo, they have future plans to expand the brand into a variety of cities, a favorite being New York. “Why not?” We got to hear about the “experiment” brand, Idle.Wild, that the duo worked on before creating what is today, HERO/BLACK. They have come so far in as little as 2 years, from, first, designing t-shirts and clutches, to, now, a full collection. The girls talked about how exhausting it is to keep up with the rapid change in social media and brands, and how to stay calm in the midst of all the chaos. With their success, we think they’re handling the madness just fine!
“When we’re thinking about our consumer, we’re kinda thinking about ourselves. Because everything that we create, it’s because we wanted to wear it, it’s something we wish existed.” To keep up with the girls and their up-coming designs, follow HERO/BLACK on Instagram, and check out their site to snag some statement pieces for yourself!
SAl So Groovy
We get to chat with style maven, Sal E, also known as Sal So Groovy! “A stylist, A Maker, and a Mover”. During our conversation with Sal, she tells us when she noticed she had an eye for styling, what it’s like being a digital and visual artist, where she gets her project inspirations from, and being a part of projects with up-coming artists and creatives, such as Jamila Woods.
Sal talks about her innovative aesthetic when it comes to styling, and giving herself “challenges” of not using certain patterns, colors, or materials whenever she works with her clients. Inspired by one of her favorite stylists, Shirley Kurata, Sal shares her love for color and how its one of the most important tools that a stylist can have. Not only is Sal involved with many up-coming creatives in Chicago, but she’s also part of the styling team for the lovely women of Nike’s Air Society. Can you say, DAMN?!
Sal is simply “aiming to create beauty with new materials, using a mouse as a pencil, using wardrobe as paintbrush, and using love for imagination as clay.” To keep up with all of her up-coming projects, follow Sal the Stylist on Instagram, and check out her site to see all of her dope projects!
We sat down with innovative and self-taught designer, Tyler Lambert, the man behind some of designs that the likes Kylie & Kendall Jenner can’t get enough of. Tyler dished on his thoughts regarding influencers asking for free clothes, the impact social media has on his brand, and how being a designer is a God given talent.
When we sat down, Tyler explored his feelings about his hometown of De Pere, Wisconsin, revealing where the inspiration for his designs and aesthetic stem from. Tyler had a childhood filled with creativity, inspired by the people of northeast Wisconsin. Taught by his mother, Tyler learned the basics of using a sewing machine at a young age. From there, his aspirations of becoming a designer led him to Chicago's School of the Art Institute of Chicago, eventually deciding to leave to do his thing.
Since leaving school and building his brand, his designs have been worn by the Jenner sisters and the beautiful Sofia Richie, and recently have been seen on Bella Thorne, Tana Mongeau, Nathalie Paris, and Bebe Rhexa. We had so much fun getting to know Tyler.
If you don’t already follow him, follow Tyler on Instagram to be in the loop of all the dope celebrities wearing the shit out of his clothes, and check out designs that you can rock and purchase directly from his site.
This week, we caught up with independent photographer and founder of Low Res,Nathan Michael. We got to learn all about Nathan’s start in the photography industry, what drove him to build a business around his love for taking pictures and art in general, the impressive clients his company works with, and his thoughts on smart social media for brands as they grow.
Nathan shared a little about his personal life, and what being a small town boy raised in Saginaw, Texas, means to him. Before he settled in Chicago, Nathan was able to move around a lot. And we mean, A LOT. After successfully co-founding Popular Pays, Nathan realized that he missed creating and building a community around a brand. He went on to build what is now today, Low Res. Low Res(pronounced Low-REZ), serves as a visual content agency, event space, and hub for creative minded people.
Did we mention that Nathan has a podcast as well?! The Creative Muscle is a “podcast for the creative in all of us”, with episodes that debunk the myth that creativity is just for artists.
We interviewed 29-year old designer Sheila Rashid – who, most famously, is the creative brain behind those cute as hell overalls that are now synonomous with Chance the Rapper’s overall brand! (See what we did there?!?) We all saw the video of Beyonce touching them while giving him a hug back stage at the VMA’s last year. And we can guarantee you that we freaked out just as much as he did! And as if that wasn’t enough, Sheila Rashid has the likes of Zendaya, Mick Jenkins, and many more wearing the shit out of her designs.
When we had the privilege of sitting down with this amazing chic a couple of weeks ago, we talked about her roots in the design industry, Chicago’s DOPE fashion scene, and her love for street wear and denim. Her designs have evolved immensely since she decided to leave Columbia University before graduating, taking her own path while using Chicago as her inspiration, and incorporating an “androgynous” aesthetic into her unisex clothing brand. Sheila told us what makes her brand unique and how hand-made clothing goes a long way to keep a brand exclusive, organic, and authentic.
Make sure to check out Sheila’s famous designs on her website, and follow her on Instagram & Twitter. She is literally blowing up and we feel so lucky to now be able to call her a friend. And, if you want to dig even deeper into who she is and her inspiration, check out her feature on MILK.XYZ’s Gender Diaries where she discusses her relationship with gender and how it intersects with her relationship with the fashion industry.
We catch up with hip hop artist Solo Sam. Solo Sam is a unique MC with an awesome retro vibe, but music wasn't always on his agenda. The 24-year-old was originally on his university's football team. Due to an injury he was forced to be off the field, which lead him to his new career. Solo tells us how he stands out in city full of music, how he came up with the name of his upcoming album "Egocentrism," and gives us a sneak peek of one of his favorite songs. The refreshing artist is the perfect example of how things can fall flawlessly into place, even when they seem to not go our way.
If you don't know BeBe Jones, she's definitely one that should be on your fashion radar in Chicago. Recently, We spent time with her in the studio and fell in love immediately. She is a lover of fashion with the most positive, and infectious personality. During our convo' we learned about her family values, how she combined her two loves (journalism + fashion) to start her company, and her love for Chicago!
Want to know how NYFW influenced the name of her company? Also, read how the 'Ah-ha' moment in her journal lead to an opportunity with NIKE chicago. Be sure to check out her website, RowASeat1, and follow her Insta for 'All-things-stylish' from designers and stylists to featured style mavens and fellow bloggers.
In this week's episode, we meet Alyse Young. Alyse started designing prom dresses a few years ago before heading all the way to London to study design and falling in love with the idea of designing her very own full line. Sounds like a fashionista fairytale, right?!
Today, she launches her debut line, London Alyse, on her e-commerce platform for young, professional women who don't want to sacrifice color and their unique sense of style just because they are heading to the office. You can find all chic things from matching two piece sets to a beautiful patterned dress that shows just the right amount of back (perfect for 9am - happy hour!).
We learn what inspired her the most when coming up with concepts and color patterns for her first line, how she manages the design and production process and the marketing approach she uses to reach the woman she wants in her clothes. HINT: BAD ASS CHICKS ONLY!
Click here to follow Alyse London on Instagram.
This week we talk to the 2014 Ms. Illinois about her pageant career, how she got started and what she is doing now. This girl is so unstoppable we have to tip our hat (crown), to her. She went from being the shiest girl in the room to standing on stage, competing against other ladies and becoming a professional opera singer- but most importantly, not taking herself too seriously!
Marisa’s recent performances include recitals and fully staged operas in the United States, Italy, France, Austria, and Thailand. And of course, she looks amazing while doing it all (seriously, you should see the dresses she gets to wear!).
Marisa Buchheit expresses her love for the purity of her genre and why she thinks it will never die out- and she sold us! For news on shows to catch Marisa in and to stay caught up on what she doing, make sure to check out her website and and follow her on TWITTER or INSTA!
Don't forget to download our podcast so you have access at all times to past and new episodes.
We dive into a whole new category of guests to introduce everyone to one of our favorite underground Chicago rappers, Tripp Heavy. After Mary Mel gushes about how and when she found him on SoundCloud, (click here to see the vid), we get inside the artist's mind about where his inspiration comes from, where he wants to take his career, how Chance the Rapper changed the independent game overall, and the mark Tripp wants to leave on the world. We even get him to share, live on the spot, one of his favorites from his new album coming out this month.
Check out his new song 'WAV' out on spotify and Soundcloud!
Don't forget to download our podcast so you have access at all times to past and new episodes.
“You don’t know until you made your first mistake, had your first failure, or had your first success. That’s when you really know what entrepreneurship is like. It’s a roller coaster to say the least.”
– Katy Lynch
Katy Lynch hung out in our studio giving us advice on starting businesses, what kids should be studying in school today and how she came up with her new venture, Codeverse, the world’s first fully interactive coding school and educational tech platform that teaches kids to code. If you’re trying to be your own CEO one day, you can’t miss what Katy had to say on what brought her to where she is now (which is a very bo$$ lady place!). Don’t forget to listen to our podcast episode, and make sure to keep up with her on LinkedIn & Instagram for all the things she is up to now, and in the future.
There are some people who love fashion, and then there is Alexandra Moresco. In this episode of Fast Fashion, Mary catches up with Alex Moresco - fashion blogger and PR Maven extraordinaire. Not only was she working on her fashion blog and growing her empire while in school at Depaul, but by senior year, Alex already had clients for her own PR firm. Her business has continued to boom, and now she's working with celebs left and right all over the country. So how did she market herself and put her foot in the door, AND stay motivated in such a large industry? Listen to the podcast and find out! Learn more about Alex's company Follow Alex's Instagram Follow Alex onTwitter !
We sat down with the WRUW crew and singer / fashion stylist, Athena, to talk about everything ... and we mean, everything. From the social media world of followers and relationship drama (how do you tell a friend to move on and stop chasing someone!?), to keeping the honeymoon stage alive and taking care of yourself, WRUW gets real in the studio. Oh yeah, did we mention Athena was on The Voice, and gave us a little taste of one of our favorite songs ... what better way to end a podcast? Don't forget to check out our new video series capturing the look and conversation while recording the podcast by checking out our first episode of In the Studio with the WRUW squad.