Tuesday, September 11, 2018
As a musician and recording artist Iyse Gibson has been able to take his passion for music and share it literally around the world.
In 2018 he was stepping things up a notch, preparing new music for his fans while still enjoying the success of his latest single KEEP IT KING.
"It's a blessing," Iyse told me during his recent visit to Conversations LIVE radio show. "I just take everything day by day." He quickly added: "Anything I accomplish I attribute it to God. I couldn't do anything without Him."
His faith has helped him to enjoy his success by garnering fans around the globe. "I appreciate all of the support," he says. Talking about his fans and what's in store for them he says "I'm excited about what's to come."
As we discussed what it's like to do something that he loves, Iyse says, "It's really special. You have to love what you do, anything that you do. For me that thing is music. For you it might be something else. If it's something you love and is dear to your heart you have to do it."
Though it is something that he loves, Iyse acknowledges that the love doesn't make it easy. I asked him what keeps it fun in what could be a competitive market. "I don't look at it as me competing against other artists," he explained. "I'm trying to be better than I was yesterday. My biggest competition is me. If that helps me to be better than that's cool. My main goal is just to be better day by day."
By being better than he was yesterday that is also the way Iyse has been able to diversify what he does musically. "I started off as a musician first," he told me. "My father taught me the piano and keyboard. I grew up around musicians." So it's more than just words for him. It's about the entire feel of a project. "When it comes to music that was always something that kept me going," he says. "I love to create in all genres. I've studied it all. Music is a journey just like your life. That's what I like to talk about, the things we all actually go through."
Going back to his single KEEP IT KING, Iyse says the great thing about the song is that it can mean a lot of different things. "If I told you I'm going to keep it king with you it can mean I'm going to tell you the truth, what's really going on. It's not just keeping it real," he adds. "It's how you take charge of your life, how you go after what you want. As a king I go after what I want. I fight for it. A king takes care of his throne and his people. My pride is my family, not my ego."
Part of what keeps him focused is he company he keeps. "That's like one of the most important parts of it all. I've always heard you want to be around like-minded individuals, and that's why I watch my circle and protect it."
Reflecting on his path and what's ahead Iyse knows that others can look at him as an example. "I believe that even my mistakes were meant to happen," he says. "They are all just making me who I am and who God wants for me to be."
Stay connected with Iyse through social media at www.facebook.com/IyseGibson, www.twitter.com/iysegibson and www.instagram.com/iysegibson.
I was first introduced to actress and producer Carrie Anne Hunt in 2015. At the time she was promoting her film MAGIC MIKE XXL, and it was clear after that chat in Atlanta, GA that we would stay connected and become friends.
Fast forward to 2018 Carrie Anne has continued to make moves for herself, both in front of the camera and behind it. As an actress and producer she is able to not just be a part of projects that she believes in but create those projects as well.
When we met up again this summer we talks about the process, the journey and why in spite of the challenges the creative process is still what feeds her love of life.
CARRIE ANNE ON THE PROCESS:
"When you have a clear idea of what you want then things start lining up. If you're open to it. It takes a lot of faith. It's like walking in the dark in a way and just knowing there's a light ahead of you. You're making this decision where there's more risk, but it keeps me open to the things I need to be open to. It's trusting that if you put the work in and you're hustling like you should be then everything is conspiring to help you continue to move forward.
"Enjoy the process. It's something that should be stated and can't be stated enough. If you're not enjoying it it's time to step back and see how you can find the joy again. There are days you're sitting on the kitchen floor and saying 'It's hard'. If you have that big picture, if you have an overall positive attitude, then you kind of know you can have that day. Don't run from that moment. Say 'I'm going to take this time and let it move through me.' Then you have another day and you keep going."
CARRIE ANNE ON NEW CHALLENGES:
"It's hard, but it's worth it. You just sort of do it. When you have the right thing and the right intention then the doors start opening up, and the people start showing up."
CARRIE ANNE ON EMPOWERING OTHERS:
"I'm glad it's happening. As artists of any kind we have a unique position that people are watching us to be inspired or have their hearts changed. It's a way that people can go watch a movie, read a book or listen to a song and it helps them not feel so alone. It's a way that people can be reached on their own terms. They take [it] in and carry [it] with them on their journey. It's important for me in everything that I do. it's important to be a light in the world for other people saying 'You can be happy. You can be a positive force for change in the world'. It doesn't have to be all dark and closing in on you. The more you do that, you get what you put out."
One of the big takeaways from me from Carrie Anne was that you have to be willing to be stubborn when it comes to your goals and dreams. Don't be afraid to learn. Don't be afraid to change. Learn from the process and never stop moving forward.
Stay connected with Carrie Anne on Instagram at www.instagram.com/carrieannehunt.
Monday, September 10, 2018
She may have become known to many through her work on stage, but 2013 solidified actress Renee Lawless as one of the unforgettable stars of the runaway hit by Tyler Perry The Haves and the Have Nots on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
In the first 10 minutes of the first episode we saw her character Katheryn Cryer as the strong matriarch of her family, however, the show has also revealed another side of the woman whose cutting retorts and strength masks a world of hurt and pain. Millions have made the show must-see television and Renee couldn't be happier.
I have had he pleasure over the past 5 years to have her as a guest on Conversations LIVE the radio show, but in April 2018 we met in Los Angeles for the first time for a taping of my web-series Cyrus Webb Presents---and it was like being reunited with an old friend.
I asked about her thoughts of the first episode and the response to it. Her answer? "This is going to be a hit, and I'm a part of it." Renee went on to tell me that they expected high numbers on the first one and as we have continued to grow that's what has really been more overwhelming. The importance of that moment is not lost. "Not too many people get to be at the start of something great," Renee said to me.
Renee Lawless' place in the spotlight is something that has been in the works for quite some time. "Even as a young child I was singing the loudest in church plays," she told me. "I always dreamed of being a movie star." When she began in theater, it just felt right to her. "This is my home," she said of the experience. "This is where I want to be." She knew in high school that no matter where she went that performing would be a part of her life. "I've been on stage many years, but my ultimate goal was always TV and eventually film." The Haves and the Have Nots has made that dream come true. She said that to not only have achieved her ultimate goal of being a series regular and a star of a series is an experience she is loving.
It was really intriguing to talk with Renee about how she has brought Katheryn to life. "I knew all these layers before you all did," she told me. "With any new television drama everyone is brought in in the middle. It's up to the characters to bring you in. The one thing that I love about Katheryn is that she's a very multi-layered person, it's like peeling back layers of an onion. She's like a hollow oak tree: outside she's a strong pillar of strength but on the inside she's rotting and hollow. What her husband and children and life have given her has made her a very lonely person. It's basically what it means to have and to have not."
Renee then gave an example that I think resonates with everyone. "Even though she's worth 50 million dollars she's a woman who's over a certain age, who doesn't like getting old, who is dealing with cancer and problems with her kids. Not many can relate to being worth 50 million dollars, but 50 million people can relate to what she's going through. She in many ways is one of the most relatable characters because she has all of these layers. She's just like me."
Though things are going well for Renee and she is doing what she loves, it hasn't happened without a real commitment to her craft. "I worked very hard and long and got many more rejections than I've had successes," she told me. "I do this because I love it, not for the award or the paycheck that it affords me." Speaking of the world that actors live in she adds: "Our career is very unsure. If you're just doing it for the fame and glory you're not going to go very far or last." Her next words are great reminders for all of us with a dream. "You have to love what you do in order to truly be successful at it."
May those words resonate with us as we identify our passion in life and vow to pursue it.
Renee's website is www.reneelawless.com and you can follow her online at www.twitter.com/msreneelawless and www.instagram.com/reneelawless.
It is one of Conversations' most popular lists: our 25 Summer Reads of each year. Handpicked and read by book club President, media personality and author Cyrus Webb, this list is sure to have something that you will want to add to your own reading list, covering both fiction and non-fiction interests. Though summer is coming to a close, see how many of these titles can still make it on to your shelf before the end of the year.
Conversations' 25 Summer Reads for Adults, 2018 (in no particular order)
- "Welcome to Moonlight Harbor" by Sheila Roberts (Mira Books)
- "Three Shoeboxes" by Steven Manchester (The Story Plant)
- "Racism from the Eyes of a Child" by Mathew Knowles (Music World Publishing)
- "I've Got My Eyes On You" by Mary Higgins Clark (Simon and Schuster)
- "Another Bump in the Road" by T.M. Brown (T.M. Brown)
- "Dog and Bitch Island" by Robert Blake Whitehill (Calaveras Media)
- "Firestorm" by Solange Ritchie (Stony Hill Publishers)
- "Flight Season" by Marie Marquardt (Wednesday Books)
- "The Escape Artist" by Brad Meltzer (Grand Central Publishing)
- "Woman Last Seen In Her Thirties" by Camille Pagan (Lake Union)
- "Jenna's Case" by Andy Siegel (Rockwell Press)
- "Abyss" by D.G. Torrens (D.G. Torrens)
- "I Give My Eyes" by Brian H. Peterson (Due Santi)
- "Envy" by Victoria Christopher Murray (Touchstone)
- "Happy Accidents" by Four Day Weekend Comedy (Wiley)
- "Death Logs Out" by E.J. Simon (Endeavour Media)
- "Welcome to My World" by Curtis Bunn (Strebor Books)
- "Love and Death Among Pigeons" by Lawrence A. Wood (Lawrence A. Wood)
- "Bad Men and Wicked Women" by Eric Jerome Dickey (Dutton)
- "Think Like A Winner: Act Like You Won" by Carl Mathis (Carl Mathis)
- "The Way of Beauty" by Camille Di Maio (Lake Union)
- "The Gospel According to Abraham" by Paul Abraham (thewordverve)
- "In Praise of Difficult Women" by Karen Karbo (National Geographic)
- "The Cutting Edge" by Jeffery Deaver (Grand Central Publishing)
- "Delta Epiphany: RFK in Mississippi" by Ellen B. Meacham (University Press of Mississippi)
What I have learned, however, is that we do everyone involved a disservice by staying in a place where no good is being served. In my own life I have had to sever ties with individuals and things that I realized were keeping me from the place I was supposed to be.
Here is the truth: Each one of us have to be willing to do what is best for US. It might sound selfish, but how can we be any good to anyone if we are not able to perform at our best? It could be a job that no longer satisfies us, a relationship that has us feeling empty or a geographic location where we feel as though things have gone as far as it can go. Is it scary to move forward, leaving the comfortable behind? Yes! Is it necessary to do so? Absolutely!
How do you know if a change is needed? Be honest with yourself. Make a mental checklist or even write down where you are, where you want to be and what you can do to get from one place to another. Is it about your attitude, and something you have to mentally let go of? Is it actually someone or something around you? If you can ask the questions that will lead you in the direction you need to go.
No matter what that thing is for you that might be keeping you stuck the important thing to remember is that you have the power. You can make the change. You can make things better. You can set yourself free if you are willing to unload that thing that is holding you back.
Until next time,
Cyrus Webb, Editor-In-Chief
"I always look forward to this list each year," says Cyrus Webb, Editor-In-Chief of Conversations Magazine and host of Conversations LIVE Radio show. "I like the idea of taking the time to give some recognition to those that every day are doing something to make the world a better place through their gifts. It's a reminder for us all to use our light in a way that will inspire and motivate others to do the same."
Conversations Media Group proudly salutes these 25 women who are making a difference in their personal and professional endeavors (listed in no particular order):
- Andra Day
- Keala Settle
- Antonique Smith
- Cynthia Erivo
- Rachel Kerr
- Amy Newmark
- Rachel Renee Russell
- RJ Palacio
- Linda Bello Ruiz
- Joy Elan
- Allyson Byrd
- Jasmine Sar
- Oprah Winfrey
- Sallie Krawcheck
- Beverly Bond
THROUGH THE ARTS
- Jenifer Lewis
- Shonda Rhimes
- Viola Davis
- Ava Duvernay
- Tess Holliday
THROUGH PERSONAL MISSIONS
- Erin Merryn
- Leeza Gibbons
- Brely Evans
- JoJo Siwa
- Hannah Alper
* Image for "25 Women Changing the World" created by Talamieka Brice
Friday, September 7, 2018
Many people have gotten to know recording artist Gerald Green as a member of the group The Perfect Storm. What I learned in 2018 when we met in Baton Rouge, however, was that Gerald has long been weathering storm in his life---and continues to fight to make sure his voice is heard.
As we taped an episode of Cyrus Webb Presents the web-series, I was impressed not just for his passion for music but his growth as an artist and individual.
Even before The Perform Storm, Gerald shared with me that he always has thought of the music business as just that, a business. "I've always had a serious side," he told me. In a previous group he was in he realized that it wasn't a good fit because "the brotherhood wasn't there."
Another thing Gerald has been open about is one of the biggest lessons he has learned: not being led by ego. That was something that became painfully clear for him when he was in high school and auditioning for the advanced choir.
"I had family members before me that were in the advanced choir," he told me. "I went in knowing 'I got this'. That,"he shared, "was probably one of the biggest mistakes.
"I was told by the choir director that I needed to humble myself. The director told me 'You have a gift, but that gift can only go so far. The rest has to come from within.' The words struck a chord with Gerald, because it wasn't the first time he had been told this. "I had heard this before from my grandmother," he told me. "I was used to winning," he said, but that conversation with the choir director helped him to see that to win you have to remain humble.
Today both as part of the group The Perfect Storm and as a solo artist, Gerald wants to do music that will appeal across the board. He has honed in on listening to lots of different artists, learning from them but being true to his own voice.
By finding his own voice Gerald Green has been able to embrace the freedom that music has given him. It is that freedom that he shares with his audience around the world.
Stay connected with Gerald at www.facebook.com/gerald.green.33046 as well as on Instagram at www.instagram.com/geraldsingdeep.gg.
At 19 years old Coralyn Jones saw a dream of hers become a reality: becoming a published author. Her book LEAP is all about taking chances, and it's something the author knows about quite well. Before the book's release she had been making a name for herself in dance. Now with LEAP she is able to merge her love of empowering others and movement into one project.
I was introduced to Coralyn through social media, and instantly went to Amazon to purchase the book. Since then we have had a chance to meet in person and she's been my guest for both Conversations LIVE the radio show and my web-series Cyrus Webb Presents. It all comes together in this conversation for the magazine, one that I think will inspire people of all ages.
Coralyn, thanks so much for the time. First of all how does it feel to have released your first book and to sel over 100 copies in the first week?
It's very exciting. I'm more determined as to what I can do. The idea for the book started when I went to college. I always talked about it, and my mom motivated me. I had to make the decision to do it and I did!
Did you always know that it was going to be a book that everyone would benefit from?
No I didn't! At first I was going towards the younger age. I was trying to be an inspiration to younger people just to motivate them to stay on the right track. To know it is inspiring others is a great thing.
What do you want others to know about their own goals and dreams?
I want to be an inspiration to others. I want them to stay positive and stay committed. When I think of what I've done to get to this point it gives me chills. You have to work for what you want and you have to keep going. Everyone has their own definition of success. Find yours and go for it! Even when difficult times come try to keep going. I know I have goals I want to pursue. I want to keep those goals going. If I work hard I know I can do it, and so can you.
Get LEAP on Amazon.com.
Cyrus Webb's Review of LEAP
In LEAP! award-winning dancer and author Coralyn Jones shares not just advice for those who want to make it in dance but also in life. Building on words like Purpose, Faith, Dream and Persistence she shares a story that will have you evaluating what you want and what you're willing to do in order to get it.
Winning is not just for a few, and even the idea of winning is different for everyone. No matter what your goal, Coralyn shares that it's something that is within your power---if you're willing to take the LEAP.
"It's deep inside," she writes. "You know it. You can be it. Who you're meant to be is more than just a feeling. You have purpose. It shows, and he world needs your flow."
That last line is so important. We have been given something that the world needs, but it's up to us to share it. Let go of the fear. Don't be afraid to dream. Take the leap. You never know what you can accomplish until you try.
Everyone knows I love a great conversation, and I think one of the most powerful thing any of us can do is get people to talking about issues and looking at different perspectives. An individual that I had a chance to chat with this year who is doing just that is author/media personality David Lorenzo Glover, known to his follows as the Controversial Counselor.
After reading his book Cocktail Conversations by the Controversial Counselor we had a chance to discuss not just what led to it, but what he hopes to accomplish.
DAVID ON BECOMING 'THE CONTROVERSIAL COUNSELOR':
"It's been tremendous. As a school counselor I am pretty laid back and quiet, really not that outspoken. Being able to use this platform has helped me. For the people who knew me they knew I always had it in me to stir the pot. I wanted to come up with a catchy name, and make people feel a little uncomfortable. Being a counselor I have the background knowledge to give my assessment."
Thus The Controversial Counselor was born.
DAVID ON THE TOPICS HE DISCUSSES:
"I give scenarios, invite feedback and then give an assessment. I know it's not always easy to voice one's opinion but I give the platform to do so.
"Even within the book it was more really trying to hit individuals on the head. I want to try and make [people] understand that these things are going on.
"What surprised me the most are some of the responses. It makes you understand that we all can be looking at the same situation but have different opinions about it.
DAVID ON HIS GOAL AS 'THE CONTROVERSIAL COUNSELOR:
"The ultimate goal has to be to have that hunger and that there's more to do. Sometimes you have to scale down certain things to ultimately get where you're going. I want to be on platforms to talk about my painful childhood.. When you go through certain things you have to have a creative imagination to get through it. Certain things can drag you down. I was fortunate that I had good family support and a dream."
It is that dream that is now helping David to reach people around the world.
Stay connected with 'The Controversial Counselor online at www.controversialcounselor.com as well as on social media, including Facebook, www.instagram.com/david.glover.7712 and www.twitter.com/dglovecc2.
Sunday, September 2, 2018
In July 2018 Shannon Little, known to the world as author Joyful Soul, posted this message on INSTAGRAM: "Best Thing I Ever Did Was Believe In Me"---and that is a message she has been sharing with the world.
I discovered Joyful Soul through Facebook initially as she was promoting her book GIVING BIRTH TO HIV. With a thought-provoking title and a fascinating story inside, the book has quickly become a conversation piece.
In this conversation Joyful Soul and I talk about the book, her message and walking in one's purpose.
JOYFUL SOUL ON SHARING HER VOICE:
"It's been rejuvenating to be able to see that I have a voice and something that someone wants to hear. It's been inspiring to me to be able to see that for myself and invest in it and continue the walk.
"I was at a place last year where I wanted to share my story and everything I had endured to help someone else. That was the turning point for me to say this can make a difference."
JOYFUL SOUL ON BEING HONEST WITH YOURSELF.
"It's a very intense process. Anyone who does nonfiction will tell you [that] you have to go back to the beginning and live it out as you're writing it. It puts a little pressure on you, but it allows you to put it all out there and be yourself while you're doing it.
"I never wanted to tell this story. My point that I got to was when I wanted to date again after my husband had passed away. By putting it in a book I invited the platform so people can understand where I've been and where I'm trying to go."
JOYFUL SOUL ON THE RELEASE OF GIVING BIRTH TO HIV:
"[The title of the book] was my way of saying I wanted to give life to a dead situation. I wanted to give birth to it to show them (the reader) a different way.
As Joyful Soul continues to share her message through the written form and her social message she hopes to be able to encourage others and get them to see that their lives can be better, if they are willing to do the work.
When it comes to relationships she told me that "A relationship does contain work. It contains serious commitment and communication. Being able to lay that foundation is a great experience for myself." She knows it will be the same for us too.
In meeting people where they are Joyful Soul is sharing her brand and spreading the word that if we do the work we can all give birth to something special. And that's something we can all look forward to doing.
Stay connected with Joyful Soul on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authorjoyfulsoul and Instagram at www.instagram.com/officialjoyfulsoul. You can also visit her website www.insidejoyfulsoul.com.