Conversations Magazine's October/November Issue

Conversations Magazine's October/November Issue

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Dennis Perkins

Sunday, September 27, 2020

[Book Review] Dennis Perkins' THE CAMOUFLAGE OF DECEPTION reminds us to search for truth

 In a world where what is good is presented as what is bad and vice versa, we have to do our part to make sure we are not being deceived and doing what is right, not in our eyes but God's. For that reason I really appreciated Dennis J. Perkins' new book THE CAMOUFLAGE OF DECEPTION. 

He literally takes us back to the beginning with the lie told to Eve by the devil---and how lies are affecting us today. Perkins also shows us through his own upbringing how we can choose to do what is right, in spite of what others may say and do. 

The big takeaway for me is this: We can't allow ourselves to just go with the flow. We have to use our own God-given conscience and training to do what is right, especially if we want to be pleasing to our Creator.

A thought-provoking book that makes you think,  THE CAMOUFLAGE OF DECEPTION reminds us to search for truth on our own. 

Get your copy of Dennis Perkins' new book on Amazon

TAKE TEN with Recording Artist Kizzo

Kizzo, welcome to Take Ten. Even though 2020 has been a challenging year you have been able to continually give the world good music. What has it been like for you to see the response?

It’s been like fuel, pure energy. You’d think that with the events of 2020, things would slow down. It has kind of been the opposite for me. Sure, for a while you have a quiet time where you step back and evaluate everything to see what you’re going to do. That’s a good thing though because you can step back into it more channeled and focused. 


As far as the listeners, it feels like there’s more of an appreciation for the material right now. The big companies are holding back products, but the indie creators like us will still release it. It’s like we have nothing to lose. So we’re still giving content, and it just seems like people appreciate that. To receive that kind of energy, it fuels you to keep going. So actually it becomes a cycle, a circle of energy. 

 
Have you always known that music was something that you wanted to do?

Not really. Maybe by later during my high school years, I guess. Before that, though, I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do as far as a serious career. Once I graduated high school it was a lock.

Actually, my vision was to become a producer or have a music entity that could support and promote the people I knew that were much more talented people than myself. That’s why I decided to pursue the music business aspect of it. We didn't have access to people who really knew the business or how to release projects, publishing, and things like that. I was in a group at the time, and I wanted to be my groups’ producer, or at least give us an avenue to success. 

 
Who would you say have been some of your musical influences?

That’s an ever-growing list. I’d hate to exclude anyone. I could compile a huge list from different eras and, even genres. I’m influenced by some because of creative content, and some because of career execution. It could even change depending on the time period and what’s going on with me in my life at a particular point. I’ll be inspired or influenced by something or someone depending on how I relate to it at that moment in time. I tend to draw more towards the ones that lead the crowd rather than follow though. 

 


Marketing is a big part of brand as well. Our readers will see me with my Kizzo face mask in this issue. Did you always know that the promotion of your brand was going to be just as important as giving us good music?

Yes, I learned the ratio early. The music business is 10% music and 90% business. Also, I learned it’s all in the presentation. Whether it’s an article of clothing or accessory that your favorite artist always wears or that awesome, unforgettable logo of your favorite group. Those images are just as much a part of the legacy as the art they create. In fact, it is an art within itself.

Lastly, you are your greatest asset. You are your billboard, your flyer. You yourself are the product. The creations and content just enhance you. So you are the brand. So for me, my music is one branch of the brand. I am the entity. 

 How would you describe the Kizzo sound?

Kizzo’s sound is an ever-growing merger, similar to my influences. Without all those labels and genres that you have to mention, I would just say that my sound is familiar but also the future. I have those essences of the ones before me, but I’m always expanding into different sounds as well. It’s just creation. Even if you took an artist and said he or she is ‘this’, you could probably do some extended research and see that they are actually a little bit of “this, that, and a sprinkle of that too”.

As time goes on and music evolves, if you're a creator who’s been doing it for a while, you’re going to have your own unique sound, that is in fact a merger of everything you’ve heard, absorbed, experienced and so on. 

 Social media has helped to fill the void while many have been sheltering in place around the world. How have you used that to connect to your fans?

It was already such an important avenue and tool before all of this. This current situation really just intensifies the impact of it. So for me, it’s been trying to be more consistent with content, because I know people may have a little more time on their hands.

I have quite a bit of music out there, so I get to go back and circulate some things that maybe didn't get the time and attention that I would have liked earlier on. I’ve been focusing more on constant visual content as well. Music isn't the only thing being streamed. TV is probably an even bigger market. So visuals are imperative. You just want to give people something they feel is worth stopping on while scrolling through their timeline, and hopefully, I’m doing at least that.

Overall, I think it's beautiful, if honestly and positively engaged and utilized. For instance, I appreciate followers. More than followers, come likes. More than likes come positive comments and, confirmations. More than that; is someone actually going and streaming and buying the music or watching a video, then coming back with what they like about it. Then more than that is sharing that experience with someone they know and hoping they continue the process. So just to have a social media account and someone liking a post isn’t the highest plateau, although some treat it that way. 

 

I know you are looking forward to getting back out on the road. Talk with us about the live performance, Kizzo. What is it like for you to be able to get up on stage and see the response of the audience?

Whenever things are done right, and the proper preparations have been made, then the live performance aspect is still an incredible experience. It’s that rare human interaction that we get today, especially right now. It’s the difference between texting an entire conversation versus sitting down face to face and talking in person. You know, hearing the actual laughter instead of reading (laughs). 

It’s actually hugging someone instead of the hug emoji. That’s what the live performance should be about. Seeing people sitting in front of you smiling, waving their hands, bobbing their head, or even giving a not so satisfied look of disapproval, For better or worse, though, it's real-time and it's authentic. However, even as a fan and concert goer myself, I’ve realized that sometimes you get more wrapped up in live streaming and posting your experience than just actually experiencing it purely. So there’s that part of it as well.

 

What should our readers be on the look out for as we go throughout the rest of this year?

Right now it’s about maximizing all of the music and projects and, making sure that people are getting a chance to really experience all of the songs, visuals, and everything. Things are so fast-paced, and there are so many distractions that sometimes you don’t get to take in all of this new content that people are releasing. I want people to really soak it up and enjoy it, multiple times. Remember it. Then next year, we’ll start it all up again. There are some other creators that I’ve been working with, so I’m really looking forward to seeing them do their thing. Then there are some other forms of media that I have in the works as well. Even going back to the performance topic, we’re working on putting together a virtual show as part of our Soul-Out Tour. So we’ll see if we can put something together worth presenting.

 What advice do you have for other artists out there when it comes to pursuing their goals and dreams?

Define success and what that looks like for you. You need to know what the end game is and what you’re trying to reach. Some people say, “I just want to do music”. Then after a  little while they may slow down or even quit, because what they really wanted was to make millions of dollars doing music, or become nationally famous doing music. So in their eyes, they’ve failed. This concept of ‘making it’ can destroy people. So it’s important to understand what you’re doing, and what you’re in it for. 

I would say surround yourself with or get into a circle of those who understand you, appreciate you, and will push you. You need to be in an environment that allows you to blossom and reach your potential, but doesn’t let you do just any and everything. You want people to hold you accountable, and know that they want to be held accountable as well. This elevates everyone. 

Be honest with yourself. Be honest with others. There will be moves you have to make that will require both. Then, and this could really be the first thing; work on your craft and learn the business of whatever it is you’re trying to pursue. Lastly, giving up doesn’t hurt anyone but you. So don’t give up. 


Thanks for the time, Kizzo. How can our audience stay connected with you?

Thank you. I really do appreciate the conversation and the opportunity to do this. It was an amazing and inspiring experience. Everyone can connect with me on Facebook and twitter at @kizzotainment , and on Instagram @kizzomatic. You can stay up on things I have going on at www.kizzotainment.com

TAKE TEN: Recording Artist Marcell Cassanova


by Cyrus Webb

Marcell, we had a great conversation together on Conversations LIVE the radio show. Glad to have you featured in our Take Ten series for Conversations Magazine. Let’s begin with where we are right now. What has it been like to see the response to the Southern Love music?

 It has been amazing to see how everyone has reacted to Southern Love. It feels so good that it seems like Southern Love has become its own genre. The people have embraced the music, and I’m grateful.

You are one of those artists that not just create your own music. You have worked with a lot of other artists, too. Why has that been important to you to show that support?

 It’s important for me to show support because no one can truly make it alone, whether it be music or life. A lot of times we hear people say, “I’m self-made" or "I got here on my own”, but in reality, we all have had help in one way or another. It also feels good to help others, even if those same people never come back and help you or acknowledge what you have done for them.

To continue with that thought, Marcell, our association is crucial, especially when it comes to staying motivated. How important has it been for you to watch the energy you allow around you, especially with everything going on right now?

Energy is very important. I only want people with positive energy around me. People that have that 'I can and I will' attitude. In life, we have to keep moving forward no matter how good or bad the past was, we have to get away from the negative and think positive and be positive.

For those that are just discovering your music, Marcell, tell them when you first realized music was your passion.

I’ve always loved music, as most of us have, but I would have to say I realized music was my passion when I was in college trying to find my way and figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I had been involved with music professionally since I was a teen, but I never saw it as a career. It was just a part of who I was.

How does it feel to go from having your favorite artists that you like to listen to on the radio show to now having your own music being played on the radio?

It’s a wonderful feeling that actually never gets old. It doesn’t matter how many times I hear my songs, songs I’ve written, songs I’ve produced, recorded, mixed, or mastered on the radio it’s a feeling of success; and it’s something that no one can ever take away from you.

You, like the rest of us, have been using social media to stay connected. How has that helped you to reach your fans and introduce yourself to new listeners?

Social media has been an amazing tool to help connect with fans. It creates an opportunity for fans to get a closer look at you and for you to get a more direct look at what the fans like and want to hear and see. Social media is like a secret entrance to another dimension where you and the fans can get close, but no too personal.

Before things shut down this year you began 2020 performing. What is the difference for you when it comes to being in the studio and performing live for your fans?

 I’m a creator, and the studio is where creative juices flow freely. The difference is that I see the studio work for me and the performing live is for the fans. Being in the studio lays the groundwork for the live performance. When I’m performing, I just work to give the fans what I was feeling while I was creating in the studio.

What should our readers be looking for as we go throughout the rest of this year?

They should be looking for more visuals of the Southern Love Experience, merchandise (shirts, caps, etc.). I may even squeeze in a few exclusive releases for the fans.

What advice do you have for other artists out there when it comes to pursuing their goals and dreams?

The advice I have is to believe in yourself and don’t look for validation from anyone else to make you feel qualified to do what you are doing. Love yourself and be yourself, because there is always someone watching and copying you.

Appreciate your speaking with us, Marcell. How can our audience stay connected with you?

Everyone can go to my website www.marcellcassanova.com . Follow my Instagram @marcellcassanova , subscribe to our YouTube page, Feel Good Music Studios where they will get all of the videos and music. I’m also on twitter @themrfeelgood and my Facebook page is Marcell Cassanova. 

My music is available on all digital download outlets. I really would like to thank you for taking the time to allow me to speak with your audience, and like I always say when signing off #preciateitbaby.


[To You, From Me] 3 Reasons Why NOW Is the Perfect Time

Going into the final months of 2020 many people are just waiting for the time when things are going to be "right" for them to do the things they have been wanting to do. I get it. This is NOT the year many planned on, but as I have said before it is the year we have. Instead of waiting for a time in the future, I want to share with you 3 reasons why NOW is the perfect time to start on the path that can lead you to where you want to go. 

  1. IT'S THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED: The main reason why this is the perfect time for you is because there is less competition. Think about it: The majority of those around you are "waiting", right? That is why if you make the decision today to start that project or business you have an opening to fill before things get crowded again. 

  2. THE COST OF ENTRY IS LOW: If this time has shown us anything it is the power of the free tools right at our fingertips, namely social media. With the main cost just being your time and energy, the world is literally in front of you. All you have to do is reach out to them.

  3. TOMORROW IS NOT PROMISED: I have personally lost friends this year, individually who had no idea that this would be the year their lives ended. With that said all of us have to be reminded of our mortality. We can't afford to wait for a time that we don't even know we will have. 
In this issue of Conversations Magazine I am excited to present individuals who are making the most of the moment in front of them. They are blazing a trail in their respective industries as well as showing by their perseverance that they are overcomers, not victims. 

My hope is that you are inspired by them and what they have achieved and realize what is possible for you. 

Remember there is no time like the present. The time to act on your goals, dreams and ambitions is NOW. 

Happy reading!




Cyrus Webb, Editor-In-Chief
Conversations Magazine/Mississippi Success Magazine