Flint Bedrock: A Musician and Entrepreneur with Heart

I met Flint Bedrock a while ago on Twitter and then thankfully, we recently became reacquainted. I have always been impressed by his drive, his outlook, and his collaborations. He’s a musician and businessman from Leeds, England who knows how to work well with others and obviously enjoys it! I love the story he tells in the answer to my first question about his mom and to me, that is so telling of the type of person he is. When you are raised right, you are definitely put on the right path early on.

Q: You are both a musician and an entrepreneur. Which came first and how did you become interested in music?

Flint Bedrock: That’s a tricky question, LOL! I started having piano lessons when I was 5 years old after my mother noticed that I had taken interest in playing the instrument. I was often found playing or rather trying to play on our church piano before and after the service.

I come from a business family and have in one way or the other been involved in some type of business however small the role, for the most part of my life. I remember my mom giving me a pack of sweets (lollipops) and telling me I could either eat them all or individually sell them and make enough money to buy more than what she’d given me. Kids would have little stalls outside church during lunch hour where we’d sell all sorts of snacks and refreshments. Our community encouraged an entrepreneurship lifestyle and from a young age children were taught business values. To answer the question, I definitely had a passion for music first but I also took to business at an early age.

Q: I know you like to collaborate with other musicians. How do you choose the projects you work on?

Flint Bedrock: I enjoy working with other artists, being able to create a new piece of music with other people is such an amazing privilege. I tend to be drawn to artists who have the same values as me, I believe music is an expression of self. I like to make sure that behind the fun and artistic expressions there’s also a strong message that listeners can hold on to or something that inspires them to make positive changes in their lives.

Q: Do you also collaborate with people on the entrepreneur aspect? 

Flint Bedrock: I absolutely love collaborating with other entrepreneurs, I have always believed that if your dream only involves you and your interests then it’s too small.

Q: Who would you like to work with musically that you haven’t had the opportunity to yet? 

Flint Bedrock: I have a lot of respect for artists who have excelled in both music and business, the likes of Will.i.am, Pharrell Williams and P Diddy, I would be over the moon if I got an opportunity to work any of them. There’s many people I’d love to work with.

Q: Both Music and the entrepreneurial world have been changed a bit by reality TV with shows like The Voice, Idol, and even Shark Tank. What do you think of those platforms? Useful or not? 

Flint Bedrock: TV reality shows create a great opportunity for the right people. The format draws in  different kinds of artists and by design does not benefit everyone, but for the people who are able to maximise the exposure they get, it can be life changing. I think it’s important for a contestant to understand exactly what the show is and what it’s not and be realistic about their expectations. The downside to it in my view is an unknown person with no experience of dealing with the media can find them self on the cover of every magazine one day and be out of the competition the next day. This can cause a lot of psychological trauma and difficulty in adjusting back to normal life. There’s no aftercare or financial compensation and with the whole country expecting you to be some sort of a celebrity it’s incredibly difficult coming to terms with the fact that nothing much has changed and in a sense you’re back to square one.

Q: What advice would you give someone who was just starting out in music?

Flint Bedrock: The business has changed so much. 6 Deciding to become a professional singer/artist is a very brave thing to do. The most important thing is to know exactly what you want out of it and be completely realistic with your expectations. Not everyone can be a superstar but if you have talent, drive and determination they’s no reason why you can’t have a successful music career. Do things the right away, register with organisations that support artists and put in the hours. There are no shortcuts to success and don’t wait for someone somewhere to come and make your dreams come true. Believe in yourself and never give up, good things take time!

Q: What advice would you give them on how best to utilize and incorporate Social Media?

Flint Bedrock: Social media platforms provide a perfect opportunity for artists to get noticed, promote and sell their music. You can also get invaluable data about audience demographics which can help you identify and develop your niche market. I have personally benefited from social media, Twitter in particular; a platform which I signed on to virtually unknown and now have a following of over 150 000 people. It’s given me credibility as an artist, exposure and more importantly has helped me sell my music which is what you need to be able to make a living off your music.

Q: What is one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you wish we could all live without?

Flint Bedrock: At this point in my life I can’t live without my phone, smartphones provide incredible convenience and capabilities which are indispensable for my music and business.

If we could do away with greed, the world would be a much better place.

Q: Speaking of social media, where can we find you online?

Flint Bedrock: Follow Flint Bedrock on social media: Twitterhttps://twitter.com/flintbedrock Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/flintbedrock1 Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/flintbedrock

Q: What is coming up next for Flint Bedrock?

Flint Bedrock: I am currently working very hard to develop my business and creating new music. People can expect to hear much more music from me this year.

Hush Manhattan is the Private Oasis Every New York Man Needs

You know I LOVE my spas and my spa treatments. Normally, I travel to other locations to experience the best spas and find the latest treatments like in Ft Lauderdale at the Grand Resort and Spa (which I need to do again this spring!) and I’ve been to Grail Springs in Canada but I really wanted to find a space here in NYC where I could escape, relax, and recharge. I actually searched for a while in between my trips to the others but never found a good one here until last year. I finally had the good fortune of finding Hush Men’s Spa in Manhattan!

I’ve been there countless times for massages and body scrubs and I recently added eyebrows, hair removal, and glorious facials. Let me tell you a little about the space and the services.

First of all, Hush Men’s Spa is located near Times Square on 47th Street but don’t let that scare you. Once inside the first floor apartment, you are in a total zen, peaceful, and quite space. I know, you don’t believe it’s possible.. but, it’s true! You don’t hear any of the outside noises, you are greeted with friendly faces, relaxing music, and aroma therapy. They got everything right from the lighting to the ambiance, and customer service. You are always offered water, a chance to use the bathroom in case you have traveled there, and I have rarely had to wait for my appointment. Actually, thanks to NYC subway schedules, I think I have been a few minutes late here and there. The best part is, just like the Grand Resort and Spa, Hush is for men only so you don’t have to feel like you are using a female spa and you can be free to relax comfortably.

There are three spa rooms where massages, body scrubs, hair removal (sugaring and waxing), and facials are done and there is one bathroom with a full shower so you can leave all fresh and clean.

The staff is completely professional, friendly, knowledgable, and amazing at what they do. I tend to ask lots of questions when I’m trying new places but they have been more than accommodating in answering and teaching me a few things.

I’ve had massages, eyebrow shaping, and facials from Julio who seems to always know what I need before I ask. I tend to carry my stress in my neck and shoulders but when I leave there, I’m good until I go to work again haha. During my facials, I always ask about what is being used, what I should use, and how I should use the products suggested. Julio is always willing to answer, offer advice, and discuss. He even suggested coloring my eyebrows and lashes since they tend to get so lightened from the sun. I’m totally taking him up on that very soon before one of my upcoming events. Guys, when was the last time you spent a full hour cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing your face? When was the last time you used steam on your skin? Trust me, do it!

I’ve also received massages and body scrubs from Louis, who really takes massages to another level because he has definitely mastered the art of energy work. If you are aware of energy, you will feel it for sure. I’m telling you, there are times where he just puts his hands over a spot that is troubling you and without physical contact, you FEEL the pulse of energy working through your muscles. If you’ve never experienced it, it may be hard to imagine but trust me, it is powerful. He also has this habit of infusing good energy into you all through the massage so you leave feeling extra good and ready to tackle anything. And of course, the body scrubs are so soothing, plus so good for your skin. We don’t usually pay enough attention to the skin on our body like we do to our face and hands. It feels good to let someone else do that for you. He’s also so good at answering any questions you have and since he’s a wiz with the energy, he tends to know what’s up even when you don’t remember to tell him.

No matter what service you get, you always leave feeling better. It’s so important to take that time for yourself and so often, we don’t even realize how long it’s been since we allowed ourselves to just chill. You don’t have to book a big trip to do that if you live in NYC, just head to their website and book a treatment or call! If you’re planning a trip to NYC, make sure to make this spa a part of your itinerary. You will thank me for it!

 

Eli Brown is doing his best to Shine the Light On Mental Health Issues

I was recently introduced to a company and movement I immediately clicked with called Shine the Light On. Shine the Light On is on a mission to bring a voice to mental health issues impacting youth. I’ve had a few phone conversations with the charismatic founder, Eli Brown, who has impressed me even more! You should head over to the website and check out the Our Story video to see him in action speaking on stage and giving away t-shirts like a rock star! But, it’s not all fun and games, on the homepage you can view a video explaining more about the company and the Our Cause page tells you that “with every purchase, STLO donates one educational program to advance mental health in youth.”

The facts may be a bit shocking to some but “1 in 3 youth from all walks of life suffer from mental health related issues. Two out of three suffer in silence due to fear of rejection and alienation.”

From the first moment I spoke to Eli, I felt like I knew him and his own struggles. His battle with his issues began after he was sexually assaulted at a young age. The shame and difficulties navigating his feelings were familiar to me in my own experiences and struggles as a youth. I know his story will resonate with many young people and adults and his advice is important.

As with all Social Good issues, the most important part is that WE CAN HELP others in what may seem like a small way. Buying a shirt or a few shirts may not seem like much but once you see what they are doing you realize that collectively, it will help a great many people. After you read our little chat, be sure to head to Shine The Light On to check out the merchandise for yourself.

Q: For those who aren’t familiar, tell us a little about you and how Shine the Light On came about?

Eli Brown: Shine the Light On is a clothing company that uses thought provoking designs to let people suffering from mental illness know they aren’t alone. People wear the clothes and become billboards, carrying the message with them. We work with non profits to partner and send this message throughout the communities who need to hear/see it.

We want to shift the conversation from reducing the stigma to acceptance and for every purchase we donate one educational program to help advance mental health in youth.

Q: As you have said, when we suffer certain traumas in our lives or carry certain secrets, we tend to feel we can’t talk to anyone about it because they won’t understand. Looking back, do you think now that you could have come forward earlier?

Eli Brown: Looking back now, having gone through sexual abuse I think I could have said something earlier and gotten help. It can be embarassing and difficult. As far as sexual abuse, there is a lot of shame and embarrassment. I was pretty uneducated on the symptoms of depression and anxiety so I thought it was normal freshman college issues. I went through sexual abuse at the age of 14 and kept it inside for years. At 18, 19, I turned to drugs and alcohol to cope. That caused the mental struggles to grow.

Q: What advice would you give to anyone who is suffering in silence or struggling with their mental health?

Eli Brown: The best advice: Find a support network that will help you get assistance. Guidance counselor, teacher, health professional. Reach out so you can start to receive help. Telling one person or two people creates a support group of your own and will give you the courage to go forward to seek out professionals. A friend or family member, talking it out with them helps you to get guided and ready to talk to professionals.

Q: Movements like Shine the Light do help to erase some of the stigma that surrounds mental health issues but there is still lots of work to do. What would you say to loved ones of anyone who is struggling?

Eli Brown: The stigma around mental health is definitely decreasing. I can say that when it comes to the people who reach out to me, I can only listen with no judgement. Hear their pain and their story, and then help them to seek professional help. Validation and support are key.

Q: You’ve been open and honest about your own struggles and the things you have done to self medicate. We see so often that individuals get to the point of overdose and many times it ends tragically. Are there certain signs we can look for in the ones we love that could prevent things from going so far? There is a difference between experimenting as we grow up and abusing to escape. Is it a difference that can be caught in time?

Eli Brown: I do think it’s something that can be caught. It depends on whether people want to act upon it. Weight loss, sleeping in, suddenly pale complexion. There are tons of signs but sometimes it’s difficult to confront someone about it. I went from being a high performance athlete, playing tennis, getting up early, eating healthy  to not working out, not eating healthy… you may notice changes.

Q: I know you have some exciting things going on and coming up, can you tell us some of your future plans for Shine the Light On?

Eli Brown: One exciting thing is that we are going to start donating a significant part of proceeds to affordable housing for people who struggle with mental health and addiction. We have found that being able to afford a place to live can be difficult for those you are dealing with these issues and trying to seek help.

Another thing is that we will be launching in Europe. Mental health awareness is different in each city in the states and each country in Europe. The Royal family in the UK is on the leading edge in that. They are doing some ground breaking things for the people there and they have been open to doing what it takes to help.

Q: I ask this of everyone, What is one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you wish we could all live without?

Eli Brown: One thing I can’t live without is this little book I carry with me where I write daily activities, phone numbers, notes. I love writing stuff down. I keep all of my notes and numbers in there. And ice cream! I love ice cream so I’d definitely say that.

I wish that at meals people could live without their phones. I don’t what it is, it really bugs me. People are out on dates or together in groups and are on their phones instead of paying attention to each other. People should pay less attention to technology during intimate dinners or gatherings and more attention to the people who are present there in the moment.

Q: Since you are so open about your own story and have spoken about it at events, do you have any particular stories that have touched you in surprising or memorable ways?

Eli Brown: I think one of the main things that surprised me is how many people there are that are impacted by mental health. When I was going through it, I felt like I was alone and I’ve found out so many others are going through it. So many of the stories I hear are impactful. Always very, very impactful stories after I speak somewhere or meet people through my work.

Q: I LOVE the partnership of Social Good and fashion, would you consider doing clothing for other causes?

Eli Brown: Yeah, when we initially started that is something we discussed. I think as we go on we will continue to Shine the Light on other social causes that impact youth.

Q: Where can we find you and Shine the Light online to learn more and to order some items so we can proudly and stylishly support?

You can go to our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and visit the Website for more info on us, to find out where I’ll be speaking, where we will be featured, and of course to order our clothing.

Q: Since you are someone who had a vision and made a success of it, what advice would you give to those who have passions, dreams, and visions but are having a difficult time getting stared or haven’t been able to overcome certain fears that come along with pursuing them?

Eli Brown: One of the most difficult things to do is to stay focused and to stay tight on your vision.

There was too much feedback on what I was trying to do. I was getting sidetracked listening to eveyone else.

My biggest piece of advice is once you have that vision established, stay on that course until you start to see the vision becoming a reality.

Tommy: I want to thank Eli for sitting down with me for this interview and I definitely look forward to working with him more. I’m proud to be one of the brand ambassadors for Shine the Light On and would love to do something possibly for the LGBT community with them at some point in the future.

 

Charles D Clark is building an Empire of Inspiration

I was recently blessed by being introduced to Charles D Clark via mutual Twitter friends and was so impressed by his kindness and his story that I had to get him for an interview. You may know Charles from his role on Empire on Fox or his role on Greenleaf on OWN TV. You may have been lucky enough to hear him speak and hopefully have been motivated and inspired by him as well.

Charles is not afraid to talk about his past, the path he has been on (including the wrong turns), and his hopes. It’s refreshing to see someone with a dream who also knows he has responsibilities along the way that he cannot ignore. I hope we see lots more of him on the small screen, the big screen, and at his speaking gigs!

Q: From looking at your resume, clearly you have so much to be thankful for. From looking at your website and social media, clearly you know how to show your gratitude. As we go into a new year, what are some of the things you are most grateful for from 2017?

Charles D Clark: I truly am grateful for life itself. One must have life to live to do great things. I’m grateful for my family, friends and my social media fan base because as we know social media is very, very important in marketing and branding.

Q: Speaking of the new year, what are you most looking forward to in 2018?

Charles D Clark: Where do I start lol?! I just want to become the next greatest actor. In that transition I want to also not just inspire, but to continue to change lives through my platform as a professional actor and speaker. I simply want everyone to win.

Q: I see one of your buddies is someone I admire greatly as well, Devon Franklin. How did you guys connect and what is the best advice he’s given you?

Charles D Clark: I meet Devon by entering one of his contests that was partnered with an AT&T social media movement called Inspired Mobility. Devon chose 4 winners who created the most inspired impactful quote. I was blessed to be one of the winners. From there I was honored that Devon became my mentor and friend. Both Devon and Meagan are truly a blessing to my life. Their commitment to spreading God’s love & wisdom through books, films and global events is phenomenal.

Q: You are on two shows I enjoy, ‘Empire’ on Fox and ‘Greenleaf’ on OWN TV. Can you tell us a little about your experiences working on both?

Charles D Clark: Well, let me start with Green Leaf first because I was just on there as a featured extra once. However, the experience was amazing meeting the main cast and Kirk Franklin who was a special in the episode. To be on an OWN Network set, and mind you I’m an Owner so I’m part of the family, lol, it was a great experience.

On the other hand, Empire was the highlight of my acting career that opened up so many doors ! To start as background driving 13 hours from VA to Chicago approximately 7 times under 2 months is nothing but superb dedication and crazy faith! I didn’t complain and I put a lot of work into it because even as a background the Empire cast and production treated me like family. Now I have a ( Director’s Pick Recurring Role ) as one of Shyne’s main goons/enforcers. To be officially part of a prime time hit show is a dream come true. Xzibit is phenomenal and always gives me great wisdom. The entire Lyons family is simply amazing and down to earth. Terrence and Taraji are just gifts to this world.

Q: As someone who has been chasing his dreams and living them, what advice would you give to others out there who are in the beginning stages of doing so or who are struggling with it all?

Charles D Clark: Simple..Listen to God and not people!

Q: How did you get involved in motivational speaking and what drew you to it?

Charles D Clark: Motivational speaking came natural for me. First you have to have a testimony. My father died when I was 6. In my late teens I got involved with drug dealing and gang banging. When I was about to turn 22 I was arrested and served nearly 8 years in Federal Prison. Then I got I started sharing my story to churches, schools, events, boys homes, and any other place that God sent me. My name started spreading and I won 5 awards as a speaker and through my advocacy I won another AT&T contest as the grand prize winner called ” 28 Days Moments That Matter “. This contest was during Black History month, which is 28 days in February. AT&T wanted to recognize the newest leaders in this time. Because of my work and advocacy during the Baltimore Riot in bringing peace and love along with my volunteering work, AT&T chose me.

Q: If you weren’t an actor, what other fields would you see yourself in?

Charles D Clark: Well, I majored in psychology and I was working with individuals with mental & physical disabilities, so it would in that field. I love helping people and supporting those who feel like there is no hope.

Q: Where can people find you and keep up with you online?

Facebook: Charles D. Clark

Twitter: @cclarkinspire7 IG: @cclarkinspire IMDB: http://m.imdb.com/name/nm5645633/

Q: What is one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you wish we could all live without?

Charles D Clark: I cannot live without God, my mother and my beautiful 7 year old daughter Cynne’ Clark. I wish we could all live without hate. I’m totally against racism and even though I’m not gay I will not hate anyone because of their sexuality. I love all people because only God can judge. All love and no hate is what I stand for!

Q: What’s up next for Charles D. Clark?

Charles D Clark: There,s so much, especially since I’m a SAG actor now! God gets the Glory! Expect to see me in even bigger roles and on the big screen. The main thing is not just stardom, but just being a part of making this world a better place. I can’t do it by myself but I can be apart of the process.

Jaret Martino wants to remind us that we are Stronger Than Pretty

Sometimes, we need a reminder of how strong we are because we begin to see ourselves through the eyes of people who want to keep us down, hold us back, or worse. It’s such a common issue and I think one we have seen with the revelations of the #MeToo and now the #TimesUp movements. We may think we are stuck in a situation because that is what we are being conditioned to think. It’s something that the film, ‘Stronger Than Pretty‘ explores and something my friend Jaret Martino is advocating for with this project, which has inspired so many people.

As you all know, I tend to make new friends via social media and in the case of Jaret, we were introduced by a common follower/social friend. It turned out I was already familiar with his project AND friends with one of his cousins. As we already know, social media makes the world a much smaller place! I was so impressed with ‘Stronger Than Pretty‘, Jaret, and the work he’s doing, including ‘Inner Warrior‘ (I suggest you check that out too because everyone needs to connect with their own inner warrior, to know they aren’t alone, and to be able to express themselves when it comes to the things we deal with in life).

As I got to know even more about the film, his projects, and Jaret, I wanted to be able to sit down and do an interview to share with everyone. Please check him out on Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, and wherever you may be online! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did and it inspires you!

Q: Your resume is quite extensive, can you tell us a little about some of your favorite projects/roles?

Jaret Martino: I started acting as a child in New York theatre. The excitement of live theatre is such a fun memory. Everyone on the set of ABC’s The Middle were a dream to work with. I love character work as an actor. I spent an entire month researching a role for a film once. There’s so many layers required when taking on a role that is unlike yourself and that’s what I find most fascinating.

Q: How did you get interested in acting? Was it a desire you were born with or were you inspired by someone/something at some point?

Jaret Martino: It was the greatest escape. Many actors/artists are empathic old souls. The desire to bring people together and share something amazing is really compelling.

Q: You seem drawn to what some of us would call “Social Good” projects. What draws you to that sort of work?

Jaret Martino: Creating awareness for subjects deserving attention is something i’ve always been drawn to. I’m a truth seeker and believe deeply that starting conversation is the only way we heal. Perfection doesn’t exist and learning to navigate in a world that’s unpredictable takes guts. Stories based in reality and struggle, defying the odds, and turning negative into a positive is what we go to the theatre for. I’ve dedicated my life to helping other’s and i’m grateful to say I’ve met some of the strongest, inspiring and magical people along this journey.

Q: ‘Stronger Than Pretty’ is one such project but it also has a very personal element to it. Can you talk a bit about that?

Jaret Martino: It’s time that women are celebrated for playing mother and father and kept at the center of their own story. I’ve been determined to share this message unapologetically and like never before. The world is ready to hear the truth!

Q: Was it difficult for your mom to let her story be told?

Jaret Martino: My mom’s a silent force. I’ve watched her accomplish some incredible things despite being against the odds. It’s been freeing for her to share her voice and the best pay off of all is that Stronger Than Pretty has become a tool that is inspiring other’s to tap into their inner warrior and live their best life.

Q: The film is getting so much acclaim already. How does that feel?

Jaret Martino: Incredible! I’m so grateful to the cast and crew and all the film festivals that have supported this timely message of empowerment. I’ve always been relentless when I feel passionate about something so i’m now looking forward to moving into production for the feature film this April 2018!

Q: Is there anything else we all can do to help with ‘Stronger Than Pretty’?

Jaret Martino: Yes! We’re looking to connect to everyone that wants to be involved. This is a period film and we’re looking to get the community involved. Production will be in Long Island and Brooklyn New York. Anyone interested in film, local talent, or if you own props, cars, or costumes please email us at StrongerThanPretty@gmail.com 424-279-4802

Q: Do you think the landscape of entertianment has lead us to a place we can finally be open about the true things women still face, as in the #MeToo movement and films like ‘Stronger Than Pretty’?

Jaret Martino: Yes for sure. Years of suppression has led us to this point, and i believe this is just the tip of the iceberg for the changes and conversations that will happen. It’s time for some serious change.

Q: What is one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you with we could all live without?

Jaret Martino: Love. At the end of the day we all want to be heard and we all want to feel loved.

Q: How can we find you and your work online?

Jaret Martino: www.StrongerThanPretty.com All of my social media is linked below and every handle is @JaretMartino

Q: What’s up next for Jaret Martino?

Jaret Martino: Following Stronger Than Pretty we move right into a feature that raises awareness about a solution to the heroin/opioid epidemic. In this docu feature a prominent New York psychiatrist will give us all the details on his 40+ years in the business and his upcoming book.

Here is the trailer for ‘Stronger Than Pretty’ so you can check it out and then you may want to get involved or support in some way!