From Aris with Love, Music, and Film

Losing a loved one is unthinkable. Knowing it could have been prevented makes it even more horrific. The people responsible not taking responsibly is unacceptable. There are no words to comfort someone who has suffered such a loss, there are no actions that can bring a loved one back but there are ways we can help to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else. If you don’t already know him, I want to introduce you to my friend, Aris Ziagos, and I would like to share his story and the story of his mother, Virginia.

I met Aris after the loss of his mother and from what he has told me of her, I’m sorry I never got to meet her. She was an interesting, kind, loving soul and someone I would have LOVED to interview! I know she was amazing because she raised one amazing son. I’m so proud of him for taking on this latest project and I want to help him to make the film a reality.

In his words:

“On October 29th 2012 Bellevue Hospital was crippled and left without power in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy. My mother was a patient in the ICU, and died in the aftermath of the storm. In the midst of the worst tragedy that has struck my family, the biggest storm ever to hit NYC changed our lives forever and revealed cracks in our emergency management and health care systems. This documentary is so important, for learning from the lessons of these events, for grieving and healing.”

You all know I have always felt entertainment and social media are best when we are telling stories that help others and this is definitely the case here. Please enjoy our interview and visit the fundraising page if you can help. Even one dollar can assist and hopefully prevent this tragedy from happening to others.

Q: Your project, From Virginia With Love: A Documentary, is a labor of love and the story of your mother. Can you tell us a little about your mom?

Aris Ziagos: Yes, thank you! My mother was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and travelled around the country a lot in her youth as the daughter of an army family. In her 20′s and 30′s she toured as a belly dancer across America, finding a home in New York City. It amazes me that an Irish American girl from Ohio taught herself Greek, how to dance and sew, and made a career out of it. As she approached 40, she went on to real estate work and had me. I grew up around all these amazing photos of her from her belly dancing career, and it definitely influenced and inspired me to find my own way to the stage. When I made this choice and at every step along the way afterwards, my mother was my biggest fan, attending every show and offering any help she could.

Q: You suffered such tragedy during hurricane Sandy, and it seems like it could have been avoided if the hospital was better equipped to deal with natural disaster. Is part of the motivation behind the film to try and correct this for others going forward?

Aris Ziagos: Yes, that’s exactly what sparked my desire to make this film. The hospital (Bellevue Hospital) where my mother was an ICU patient did not make the necessary modifications to their emergency power systems or infrastructure for a tropical storm or hurricane in preparation for Hurricane Sandy. Worse yet, because the hospital is run by a corporation and the city, they worked in lock step to keep their failing infrastructure out of the news, until the entire hospital was unable to function with doctors unable to wash their hands, medication not reaching patients, toilets not being able to be flushed, no food for anyone. It was an absolute nightmare. We can’t change the past but we can learn from our mistakes by addressing exactly what happened and what could and should be done differently going forward. Anyone who lives in a coastal area should be thinking about ensuring the safety of the vulnerable in emergencies like this.

Q: We hear so often that “it gets better” but that surely doesn’t happen all on it’s own. Where did you find the strength to go on after all of this? What advice would you give to people who are grieving right now?

Aris Ziagos: My biggest motivation has been living in a way that would make my mother proud, and also finding a way to transcend the tragedy and find a way to honor my mother’s legacy of love. Her passing was so tragic, and I got stuck in that for a while in deep depression as could be expected. A big motivator for my life moving forward from that was to make sure my mother was remembered by her amazing spirit, not just by her passing. That’s been the inspiration for a lot of my music, and definitely for bringing this film to the world. The arch of tragedy to grieving to healing to finding purpose is one everyone can take something away from, and it’s one that plays out during the documentary.

Q: Since you have gone public with the story, what responses have you been getting from fans and friends?

Aris Ziagos: Everyone has been very supportive, encouraging and sympathetic. A lot of people were surprised to hear about the events surrounding my mother’s passing, because very little of the information made it to mainstream news. It was a week before the 2012 Presidential elections, local elections, and the entities that hold New York City together were very careful to present the story in a way that would not cause public outrage.

Q: Has anyone from the hospital contacted you since you started the campaign?

Aris Ziagos: No, not a peep. The hospital’s official story is they triumphed through the disaster with no loss of life. In spite of a great deal of independent reporting, and some good mainstream reporting exposing the hospital’s faults, there has been no accountability for the choices made. They have made some improvements to their infrastructure as defense against a future Hurricane Sandy, but we’ll have to see how thorough those defenses are in a future hurricane.

Q: How can people help you to get this story told?

Aris Ziagos: I’m raising funds for the documentary on IndieGogo:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/from-virginia-with-love-a-documentary/x/260537

I’m offering some really cool merch, like vintage photos of my mom’s belly dancing years, original music, tickets to advanced screenings and fun experiences, as well as pre-selling the documentary.

Q: What are some of the greatest lessons your mom taught you that you can share with us all?

Aris Ziagos: So many things! Love can move mountains. Never stop believing in yourself. You can achieve anything if you keep trying and learn from failure. Be of service to others and give back often in different ways.

Q: I know you have other projects you are working on as well. Can you tell us about some of those?

Aris Ziagos: I’m finishing up work on a few new songs and remixes which I’ll be releasing on the deluxe edition of my album “Pulse” in a few months. I’m also excited to finally release my collaboration with Paula Cole as a single in 2018.  It will be a year that will also see me focused on completing this film, and some new music to accompany it. I have a lot of other songs in the works for future releases, so there’s a lot on the horizon for the next 24 months.

Q: Where can we find you, your music, and your projects online?

Aris Ziagos: You can find me on my official site at http://aris.fm

and on social media at -

http://twitter.com/arisziagos

http://youtube.com/arisziagos

http://instagram.com/arisziagos

http://facebook.com/arismusic

Q: Do you think you will be doing more film work in the future? Would you stick to the social good theme or perhaps branch out into other genres?

Aris Ziagos: I can definitely see exploring film more in the future, a short film, more documentary work. I tend to put my heart into things that inspire me that I can get fully passionate about, who knows what the future will bring?

Q: I always ask people to give me one thing they absolutely cannot live without and one thing they wish we could all live without.

Aris Ziagos: CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT IT: MUSIC!

WISH WE COULD LIVE WITHOUT IT: TRUMP!

Q: What’s up next for Aris the artist?

Aris Ziagos: Next up is the deluxe edition of my album “Pulse” and some new singles in 2018!

I want to thank Aris for taking time to talk to me and for being a part of my NYC family. Take my word for it, he’s one of the good ones. Here is the Indiegogo page if you can make a donation:

And, for your enjoyment, here is the video for his song ‘The Music’:

Check out Kenyth Mogan’s latest “Real Me”

POP ARTIST, KENYTH MOGAN, RELEASES NEW SINGLE “REAL ME.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Los Angeles, CA) Los Angeles based singer – songwriter Kenyth Mogan, announces the release of his new single “Real Me.” The song is being used in Del Shore’s newest film A Very Sordid Wedding which has its world premiere March 10, followed by an exclusive two-week theatrical release at Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs, CA.

Since releasing his first EP in 2013, Mogan has been finding his place within a burgeoning music scene amongst other out artists such as Steve Grand, Troye Sivan, and Olly Alexander. His debut music video, Unlock Your Heart, staring my amazing friend Ronnie Kroell  continues to gain popularity having just passed one million views on YouTube. He is currently working on his third EP.

A collaboration with producer Wild, “Real Me” has already garnered praise from DNA Magazine who stated, “It echoes the best of Lady Gaga.” The song will be released on March 6 via all online retailers.

Be sure to follow Kenyth for even more:

Facebook

Twitter 

Instagram

Soundcloud:

With Tony Luu Consistency Is Key

Tony Luu is one of YouTube’s most talented artists and for obvious reasons. When I listen to his music, I can hear a soul much older than he is in years. I can hear his music being played on top 40 radio stations and with his personality, I can see how he has amassed such a loyal fan base.
Tony has been busy not only starting a career in music but with creating a brand for himself. I’ve said it before and I whole-heartedly believe each of us is a brand. There is an art to building one, which Tony seems to have a handle on. I must say, I was quite impressed with him, his philosophy, his work ethic, and his authenticity.
We could learn a bit from Tony Luu by listening to his music, visiting his website and heading to his social media pages. I’m also proud to say, I believe we can learn a bit from his interview as well:
Q: Tell me a little about your childhood. Was music always a part of your life? 
Tony Luu: Ever since Elementary school I’ve always had a passion for music. My favorite subjects in my childhood school years were music and art. Every Monday morning we would spend an hour class singing in the auditorium with the piano teacher. That was most definitely my favorite part of the school week.
Q: What does music and being a musician mean to you?
TL: Music is an expression of character for me. I enjoy singing and building my brand as a musician. My message to the world is “You can do anything you choose to do”
Q: Who are some artists you admired growing up?
TL: When I was about 12 years old is when I started to listen to a variety of music. One artist/performer who really inspired me was Chris Brown. I’ve been watching his moves since he was only 16 years old.
Q: What writers and performers would you like to work with?
TL: There are so many different professionals I’d love to work with in the near future. My favorite artists of lately have been Chris Brown, Ty Dolla $ign, and The Weeknd.
Q: If you weren’t in the music business, what other fields interest you?
TL: Music will always be my number one passion, but I am also very fascinated by the business world. In the past year of 2015 I have spent a lot of my time traveling being able to meet highly successful business owners & real estate investors. That specific lane is definitely one that interests me.
Q: What is one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you wish we could all live without?
TL: I can absolutely not live without my family and close friends. They are the fuel behind my success. They are the reason why I continue to achieve the goals that I set. One thing I wish we could all live without is hatred, envy, and greed. There is too much love to spread around for people to focus on the negative. Love is what should ultimately overcome. That’s one important way we can make the world a better place.
Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever received and from who?
TL: The best advice I’ve received was from my manager Reggie Batts. He is a successful worldwide speaker and business coach. One of the subjects he speaks upon is “overcoming fear”. Fear is all made up in your mind, so if you believe you can achieve…just go for it! It’s better to take a chance, rather than regretting you didn’t take the chance later on.
Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever given? Do you normally take your own advice?
TL: “Consistency is key”
In any industry there will always be countless numbers of competition. The way to beat the competition is to be consistent with your brand, and have a strategy behind achieving your goals.
Q: What are some family traditions you look forward to with the holidays right around the corner?
TL: My birthday is December 27th, so every year that I am in town with my family we have a huge Christmas & Birthday party. It’s my favorite part of the year because that’s when my whole family gets together to enjoy our time and love for each other.
Q: What are some of your goals for the coming year?
TL: In 2016 one of my goals is to gain the fullest possible momentum in my music career, and keep at the consistent fast pace of releasing music & visuals.
Another goal of mine is to touch base in the real estate & business world.
Q: Do you have a wish for us all as a race as we enter a new year?
TL: I wish for everyone to have the best year of their lives in 2016. That includes financials, relationships, careers, health, and more! I believe it’s very important to hold your head high with confidence, believing you can do anything you set yourself out to do! A little work today brings greater rewards tomorrow.

Derek Bishop is Blending up Some truly Diverse Melodies

I have interviewed Derek Bishop a few times now and I always enjoy checking in with him. I have had the pleasure of seeing him perform live and am very happy to call him a friend. His music has always reminded me of a mixture of Donna Summer mixed with a little Liza Minnelli. He is a true showman so his live performances are always a treat. His new album was done the old fashioned way and I think he may be on to something! I hope you enjoy the interview and encourage you to check out his all of his music- new and old. If you live in the New York area, be sure to check him out live if you can too!

Q: Your sound is such a combination of styles that it is actually quite unique. It’s been described as bubbly, fun, electro, pop, blues, and more. How would YOU describe it?

Derek Bishop: I haven’t really found the perfect description. For me, the goal was to take everything I loved about the music I grew up with and toss it all into a blender and then pour that into some highly-caffeinated, über-catchy beverage and share it with the world. I think it’s fun for someone to listen to the tunes and hear things that are a subtle flashback to the past. Yet the influences are extremely diverse: 70s Disco, The Muppet show, Broadway musicals, the Partridge Family, and of course, the best of 80s synthpop.  I want the songs to be a feast for the ears, and I want the listener to walk away really feeling like they just been treated something fun and unique.

Q: With the new album, I know you took it back a bit & used some retro techniques. How was that for you?

DB: That was really thrilling and quite the exercise.  We recorded the album LIVE and to tape, which was so old-school. This meant we all had to be on our game musically because each song was done in one take.  I used a ton of very vintage keyboards as the base of the album’s sound.  I think it gave it a wonderfully fresh sound combining the retro with the added bonus of today’s technology.

Q: We have a few mutual friends in the business and one of them, Brett Gleason, has played with you in the past and at your album release show. In an industry that can be quite competitive, it must be refreshing to be able to work with friends live and on albums and know them for so long. What’s your take on that?

DB: All the people that worked on the album were either old dear friends, or people that I felt an immediate trust with.  That’s REALLY important in collaboration.  Otherwise, you end up trying micromanage everything and that’s exhausting.  True collaboration in my mind is trusting someone to take your songs and bring the best of their talents and skills into the mix.  In doing so, they take your music to a whole new place — and that’s extremely rewarding to be a part of!

Q: If you could have lived in any other time, which would you have liked to experience as an artist?

DB: Between the music, all the great instruments and the fashions, I would have been in my perfect element in the 70s. Loving that era is probably why I continually try to recreate it with my music.  I find it such a creative time and so musically diverse too. That was before technology really took over.  Back then you still needed talent and skill, nowadays, you can get by with just a laptop and some photoshop.

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

DB: The one thing I can’t live without is a piano!  (or some sort of keyboard.) Playing and rehearing is the best de-stressor I’ve ever found. I’m in my own little heaving when I’m at the piano.  The thing I’d like to do away with is texts. I really despise text messages.  I do not enjoy all those bings, and chimes letting you know you are continually tethered to everyone.  There’s a sense of “answer me now” that comes along with text messaging – and I’m not a fan of that.  I’d rather talk to you on the phone – or even better: in person!

Q: What’s up next for Derek Bishop?

DB: I’ve got several shows throughout the summer.  I’ll be playing in DC, July 18th at Tree House Lounge; NYC’s Rockwood Music Hall, Friday, August 7th at 8pm; my first ever “hometown” show, August 18th at the Rives Theatre in Martinsville, VA; and then in Wilmington, NC at the Calico Room on Aug 20th.  Along with those shows, I also have a brand new music video coming out for “Shutting Down” in a couple weeks.

Q: Where can we go to find you online and get your music?

DB: It’s everywhere!  Amazon, itunes, Google… Here are some shortcuts:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/bicycling-in-quicksand/id963256008

http://www.amazon.com/Bicycling-Quicksand-Derek-Bishop/dp/B00SW67LR4/

https://derekbishopmusic.bandcamp.com/album/bicycling-in-quicksand

or at my website: http://derekbishop.net/store.html

Q: Do you have a favorite song on this album and a favorite to perform live from all of your work?

DB: My favorite song on the album is called “AUTOMATIC.”  It’s the song that really captures the sonic wackiness, the fun we had making the album, as well as the serious & sweet message.  That song has it all.  Plus, we mushed up so much of the 70s and 80s into that song.  It really reflects some lovely vintage sounds.  When we are playing the songs live, I really do enjoy “BAGGAGE” – as it just gets everyone up and dancing.  Plus, it’s fun (and technically difficult) to play well, so I love that challenge!

Q: What would you say to other artists who are out there struggling to juggle their craft and doing what they have to do to sustain themselves? How do you balance and juggle? Any helpful tips or advice.

DB: Stay focused and don’t give up.  If you believe in your talent, then just keep making product — and do what you do best.  Practice and get better.  Work on your skill sets and do your best to network with everyone.  It can take a long time and it’s easy to loose your drive — but don’t stop the determination.  If it’s something you really want to do, give up your leisure time, work those daytime jobs to help supplement the income, and become your best cheerleader.  You have to believe in yourself…and get used to not sleeping much!

Be sure to follow Derek EVERYWHERE to keep up with all he is doing:

www.derekbishop.net

https://www.facebook.com/DerekBishopMusic

https://twitter.com/MrDerekBishop

http://instagram.com/derekbishopmusic

https://www.youtube.com/user/DerekBishopMusic/videos

Kenyth Mogan Wants you to “Unlock Your Heart”

I was introduced to Kenyth Mogan and his music through my friend Ronnie Kroell and Friend Movement. Ronnie appears in Kenyth’s “Unlock Your Heart” video as the Tin Man. It’s such a great song with a fantastic message that also fit into the work Friend Movement does to combat bullying and encourage friendship, love, and self acceptance.
The thing that really attracts me to “Unlock Your Heart”, in addition to the message, is the beat. It has hints of country mixed with dance and pop and I think that appeals to so many sides of my own taste. Just like the song, Kenyth is multi-faceted and that definitely contributes to making me a fan!
We recently had a phone chat that lasted over an hour where we talked about everything from music, to Los Angeles, to growing up, and the many personalities we come across within the business. We found out that we have a few people in common and that we both have similar views of the entertainment world. I really enjoyed speaking to him and I do hope you all enjoy our interview. Be sure to check Kenyth out on social media, share his video, and just say hello. I know he’d love that!
Q: You grew up in a small town in Montana. What were some of the advantages to starting out like that? Disadvantages?
Kenyth Mogan: One of the best advantages of growing up in a small town was that I was very very close with a lot of people. My neighbors and the friends of my parents had just as much of a hand in raising me as my family did. I had a lot of support and encouragement when I started out singing in church and school programs. This was also one of the disadvantages because if I screwed up, which did happen, everyone I knew saw it. But even when I did screw up, everyone rallied around me in comfort and support. It was wonderful.
Q: What would you say to other young artists who are living in small rural areas and are a bit scared to make the jump to big city life? Or even to those who already live in big cities but are scared to pursue their dreams? 
KM: Twenty years from now the biggest regrets you will have are not for the things you did but for the things you didn’t. Not everything you do is going to work out the way you hoped, but that’s the beauty of life, every experience we have, good or bad shapes us into we are. There’s a whole wide world of opportunity waiting, all you gotta do, is jump.
Q: Do you see yourself as a role model for other LGBT youth and artists? Who were some of your role models growing up and even now?
KM: I would love to be a role model. I grew up listening to people like Tiffany and Tommy Page, two artists I still listen to to this day. Chad Allen was really one of the first role models I can remember having who also happened to be gay. Now we’re everywhere, Steve Grand, Robbie Rogers, Russell Tovey. It’s amazing.
Q: The song “Unlock your Heart” has garnered world-wide recognition. It has also become part of Friend Movement, an organization that promotes friendship and understanding rather than bullying and judgment. Did you intend for the song to be part of that or did the message just naturally fit?  
KM: Once I started speaking with Ronnie my team and I discovered that the song just naturally fit. The whole point of the song is about unlocking your heart and opening it up to love.
Q: Tell me a little about your involvement in Friend Movement. What does it mean to you to be a Friend?

KM: I got involved after asking Ronnie Kroell to be a part of the Unlock Your Heart music video.  Friendship is something very important to me. Growing up the “gay kid” in northeastern Montana would’ve been a lot different if I didn’t have the friends I had.
Q: What mistakes do you see other LGBT artists or any up-and-coming artists make that you try to avoid?

KM: I wouldn’t say I’ve noticed other artist making mistakes, but what I’m trying to do differently is focus on the actual music. So many singers in the LGBT community, especially men, focus heavily on sex to sell their music that’s not me – mainly because at the present time, I’m not sexy enough to sell sex – I try and it kind of comes off sad and pathetic.
Q: What would you say to those out there who are being bullied and/or feel they just don’t fit in because of pressures from peers and society?

KM: Difference is a good thing. How boring would a symphony be if there was only one note? Don’t be afraid to be yourself because, every color in the rainbow is important. Those who say otherwise don’t understand your beauty.
Q: What is one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you wish we could all live without?
KM: I couldn’t live without music. The one and only time I was grounded by my parents they took away my music. After a few days I literally started to go through withdrawals. Also, the world would be a very dark place without the beauty that is Charlie Cox and Russell Tovey.
The one thing I think we all could do with out is cruelty… and anchovies.
Q: What’s up next for Kenyth Mogan? 

KM: I’m back in the studio working on the next EP. I’ve been writing a lot with my friend Phil Evans (School Boy Humor, The Roads Below) and some really great producers including Gabe Lopez who’s worked with everyone from New Kids on the Block and Chris Salvatore. I’m also getting the chance to work with some amazing songwriters I’ve admired since I was child. I’m really excited to show everyone the new stuff.
Q: How can we find you online and on Social Media?