Mayara De Assis
Birthday: February 18
❝Be the change you wish to see in the world❞
❝The mind has no answers and the heart has no questions.❞
In this case, I will let the photos do most of the talking. Mayara is a fast rising talent in Miami Florida. Keep your eyes open for this Brazilian Beauty because she is definitely someone worth watching.
Zambi Swim Wear
Nine5Four Fashion: Chandra Maharaj: Zambi Swim Wear
Jason “Prince of the city” Prince
Photos: Robin V Photography
Model: Mayara De Asis
Nine5Four Magazine is always trying to stay on the pulse of what’s new and innovative to the culture. We like to feature upcoming artist that have a unique gift. This Month we Focus on up and coming fashion designer Chandra Maharaj. Chandra is the creator of Miami based “Zambi “swim wear line.
Let our readers know who you are? My name is Chandra Maharaj, and I am a fashion designer, with specific focus on swimwear for the moment.
Tell us about your Line? My line is called "Zambi" and it was inspired by a recent back packing trip I took through South East Africa. It's my interpretation of Africa's beauty through my swimwear :) >
What inspired you to get into the fashion industry? I have always been very a very creative soul, I enjoy creating and I enjoy fashion, so i combined the two and became a fashion designer.
Who were some of your inspirations in the fashion industry? I have always loved the classic works of Valentino and Carolina Herrera, but to be quite frank I am more inspired by the average, strong beautiful woman.
What made you want to go the swimwear route? I have always lived close to the ocean, and I have always been passionate about swimwear, so it was just seemed the most logical way for me to start my career.
What do you think sets your brand a part from the rest of the pack? I design with a lot of love, and take all women into consideration.
I know that you recently had a fashion show for your line in New York. How was that event? The event was amazing, the support was beyond anything I ever imagined and many amazing doors have opened for me. I am very grateful.
I know that you are currently based in Miami. How has your clothing line been received there? Miami has shown me a lot of love, the diversity here makes it the ideal client base.
Do you have plans on getting your line in boutiques or department stores? Yes, absolutely! I am currently in negotiations with a few stores, hopefully you will see my line at a store near you soon :)
Are you hands on with the production and designs of your collection? Most definitely! I am extremely hands on with the designing, I make all patterns, and cut a lot of fabrics myself while in Brazil. Once I am back here, then my production team there takes over.
I know that you have quite a unique background with Brazilian and Trinidadian influence. Do you incorporate these styles your swimwear? Yes!!! I always put all of myself into all of my designs and I can't ever get away without putting that Brazilian-Trinidadian flavor into it. It has become a bit of a signature of me i suppose :)
What is the ultimate goal for your collection? My ultimate goal is to have a successful collection, so that my client base, and brand recognition grows which would all contribute towards making my next collection even more amazing :)
You have any fashion shows or events coming up in the future? I have been invited to be part of quite a few shows, but I have a lot going on right now, so I have to weigh out my options, I do plan on doing a show in Trinidad soon though.
How can consumers purchase your swimwear? Consumers can purchase my swimwear at www.chandramaharajswimwear.com and you can follow me on twitter @chandramaharaj and on facebook/chandramharajswimwear for updates.
Miami based model Claudia Sampedro is quickly becoming one of the premiere names in the modeling industry. In less than three years Ms. Sampedro has set the internet on fire with her sexy figure and seductive looks. At a quick glance you would think you are looking at Kim K, but as you look a bit longer you will quickly realize that Kim K doesn’t have Curves like this. She has been in several music videos and has even graced a few movie screens. If you are looking for this Latin bombshell to slow down her hustle, you will be waiting a long time.
By: J. "Prince of the City" prince
stylist: Gipsy Diaz
hair & make-up: Nadia Nassar
photos: D. Francis PhotoImagery
No matter if you know him as Dukwon the rapper or as DCAP of DCAP GRFX his name is always on your mind if you live in the South. Dukwon the rapper is one of most anticipated young artist coming up from the South. He has delivered a string of hit singles, dropped several critically mixtapes, and opened up for some of your favorite artist. There is also Dcap, Dcap is the CEO of DCAP GRFX in Jacksonville Florida. If you have seen a mixtape or club Flyer in Atlanta, the Carolinas or Florida then 9 times out of 10 he designed it. If you don’t know one but you know the other chances are you will know both in just a matter of time. I was able to sit down with the busy entrepreneur and find out how he is able to stay so consistent with his hustle.
Let our readers now who you are? I’m artist first, rapper second, creative person all around and what to make change in the world. I go by the name DuKwon (which is my birth name) and it simple as to why i chose that to be my name because I DO ME DAILY...Du Kwon pronouced do-quan!
How long have you been rapping? Serious 10 years
What made you want to pick up the Mic? I grew up in the industry, my dad was real cool with Run DMC’s dj JMJ and just being around that made me curious to want to do it cause i was always around it. Then as I got older it was a way for me to express myself.
Who were some of your early influences growing up? 50 cent (his grind), Wu Tang (unity), Nas (word play), Mase (Swag).
How did you get your first break? I was in a talent show hosted by alicia keys . I didnt win it but I came second and her now my manager dj walton scooped me up.
You have been on some major tours early in you career. Tell our readers about that? I was on all of Bow Wow tours (wanted tour & price of fame tour), T.I. king of the South tour and Young Jeezy street dreams tour. Those tours were kinda like practice to get me right for the tours I did after which are my biggest tour to date. Those tours were St Maarten Summer Fest in St. Maarten with Fabolous and Fat Joe and Mountain Dew’s Ball 4 Real tour which was the new And1 Tour with all the hottest And1 Players. I co-head lined that one while the Shop boyz head lined it. We did every arena from New Orleans Super Dome to New York’s Madison Square Garden.
I know that you are originally from North Carolina and Moved to Jacksonville at a Young age. How would you describe the Jacksonville Music scene? Up and Coming. Everybody starting to get there shit together and treat this really as a business. Everyone got there images together, graphics done and most importantly music mastered! We the next movement!!!
You have worked with some big name artist in the game, such as KillerMike, Diamond, 2 pistols ,young cash, and DJ Smallz. How are you able to make such great connections? Grinding. Keeping it real with them and being regular cause at the end of the day they just like me and you...just popular.
Your presentation is always on point from flyers, mixtapes, and marketing. How important is it for an independent artist to be on point? Very important because besides money that the only thing that separate jay-z from me and them, is how he’s marketed. How you look is just as important as the music. So if you got both...you on!
How would you describe your rap style? Like a southern Nas with a LL appeal to the ladies!
Who usually produces your tracks? I don’t really have just one....but so far M. Geezy been doing most of my Hit Singles with features.
What is your writing process like when you are in the studio? When I play a beat, if words/concepts just dont come...i dont fuck with it. Because music suppose to flow and just come through being creative and once you start forcing it then you defeat the purpose of doing the record cause if it dont vibe...its not gonna work.
I know that you have recently started your own imprint label called DCMG music group. Tell us about that? I just got on my ludacris shit and signed myself. It don’t make sense if im spend my money on my music not to completely own me. Also I have a young artist named Kyshae (rapper/singer) 12 years that i signed that building a buzz with her record “Bump It Up”. We about Capitalizing on everything, that what it stands for The Capitalize Music Group.
Aside rapping I know that you have one of the most successful graphics companies in the South East? Yeah DCAP GRFX aka www.numberoneflyers.com, we doing numbers. Its funny cause it just happened through me doing my own graphics and people want to know who did it.
How do you balance everything with such a hectic schedule? Staying focus....I dont have alot of free time. If it not about music it about approving graphics the rest of my time is spent with my son.
You are constantly feeding the streets with new material and mixtapes. How have you been able to stay so consistent? G.U.T.S.S. Grindn Uncontrollably to Stand Strong!.... that’s my moto
When can we expect an album? June 11th Im dropping an Album through Datpiff.com titled G.U.T.S.S. (Grindn Uncontrollably to Stand Strong!). Its for everyone that has the odds against them and really feel that got what it takes to do whatever it is their wanting to do. Which is everybody, rich and poor. Russell Simmons acted of his G.U.T.S.S. when he left college to start def jam so did tom cruise and brad pit when they went to hollywood with no money, connections, just a dream and passion.
You recently released a song with Diamond called Fly Girl. How has the single doing? Great. Every Fly Girls anthem! Still growing on radio and through the social media.
I know that you have a relationship with Alicia keys and that whole camp. Tell us about that whole affiliation? well as i explained i got discovered at a talent show she was hosting by her now manager dj walton. so my affiliation with him is how i have a relationship with the whole AK World Wide movement.
Jermaine Paul just won this season of the voice, how did you feel about that? Words can’t explain how i feel cause he been through alot and has been grind off the gut feeling since the start and it means more because i experience some of his grind with him. It almost like i know anybody can make it to that ideal level now with talent, prayer, grind and G.U.T.S.S.
What inspired you to write the song champion that features Jermaine Paul? Bad Life experiences and wanting to over come them!
If you could work with any artist dead or alive who would it be? Michael Jackson
Who are your Top 5 rappers of all time? If I went off lyrics I would say.... 50 cent, biggie, Canibus, Nas, Eminem
What can we expect from Dukwon in the future? G.U.T.S.S. (Grindn Uncontrollably to Stand Strong!) ep. Im doing a video for every song on the album!
What do you hope to accomplish in music? I hope to reach a point where I can change lives through my music
A Few Months back popular Miami DJ Stevie j had a four-day birthday celebration fit for a king. The Grand finally of the birthday week was at the fountain Bleu hotel at club Liv. You would have thought there was an award show with the amount of celebrities that were in attendance. The Guest included Lil Wayne , Fabolous, Neyo, Wiz khalifa, Dr Dre, Amber rose, Mac Maine, Lil twist, DJ Clue and tony rock. Not a bad turn out for a DJ, I was able to sit down with the popular DJ to hear his story and his plans for the future.
Let the readers know who Stevie J Is? A hustler from NYC that made music part of my life and career.
How long have you been DJing? I been DJ’ing for about 7 years
When did you know that you want to get into DJ’ing? I would always go to some clubs out in Miami. Sometimes I felt there was something the DJ was missing. I then told myself I want to DJ, and then next day I woke up and that was my mission.
What DJS Did you look up to while coming up? To tell you the truth I didn’t really know of a lot of DJs, because I never knew I was going to be one. Everything just happened so fast... But while going through my stages as a DJ, I can say I paid attention to DJ Khaled & DJ Irie... They had my attention
When did you get you first break in the business? I got my first break when I started working with HMG (headliner market group).... They (my team) throw the best parties in Miami, like for example LIV ON SUNDAY (best party in the world) I’m sure y’all heard about that party, and yes I’m the headliner DJ lol
What do you think separates you from other DJs in the business? What separates me from other DJs is just my style. I just don’t DJ, I interact with the crowd; I create a crazy energy in the room, sometimes I perform with big name artist, and I just don’t let them perform. (Plus I been performing in front of people since I was about 15 years old), I market myself, I stay in shape (image is key in this game), all that matters ... And that’s why I’m different ...
I know that you are the official DJ for Headliner Marketing group, tell us about that? Basically HMG gave me my stage when I first started DJ’ing, They Gave me an opportunity to show my talent and I been riding with them ever since till now.
You had that whole who is Stevie J campaign going, what inspired that? The whole ‘who is Stevie j’ campaign was just something I came up with because I just came out of nowhere and, I was DJ’ing the hottest parties in Miami. The people didn’t really know of me, so I came up with my ‘who is Stevie j’ campaign, and it help take my DJ career to another level. I feel that Branding is very important!
What is your favorite Era of Music? I’m really a hip-hop dude, but I like all types of music from Rock, pop, jazz, etc. I got an ear for music so I like all types.
What had been the best City you got a chance to spin in? Coming from NY I Neva got a chance to DJ there, so when I did DJ there for the first time it was a good feeling, plus they showed me luv!
Would you consider yourself a record Breaker? I’m definitely a record breaker; there are a lot of records that I was first to play, Like “Hustle Hard” by Ace Hood, which was one of the biggest records out when it dropped. There are a couple more records that I broke as well.
What can people expect from a headliner party when Stevie J Is on the Tables? The people can expect energy, lots of energy! But good energy, Good music of course ... The vibe is right, everything makes sense!
You recently joined YMCMB. How did that come about? I believe it came from the vibe that me and Wayne had when Eva we hit the stage at Liv On Sunday and would put on a show for the audience ... Also I believe they like my style , they way I entertain the crowd when I’m deejaying .. They see the way I brand myself as well... Etc ... With all that said they see the grind.
How has that announcement changed things? Are the haters becoming groupies? To be honest I haven’t really witness that type of situation ... Yet ... Lol
What projects can we expect from you and YMCMB? Well I just dropped a mixtape For memorial day weekend which is featuring a lot of the YMCMB roster ... Plus you know YMCMB is just gonna keep feeding the people wit excellent music & entertainment ... My album soon to come out to ... We workin!
How important are Mixtapes to you? The mixtapes are something I put out to show appreciation to the people Mixtapes also keeps my name buzzing in the streets. I think every DJ should do mixtapes; It’s part of being a DJ
What do you want to accomplish in the business? I don’t just want to be a DJ, But to be the best in all aspects. DJ’ing is not just about DJ’ing. It helps you start other good opportunities for yourself.
What is the best advice that you have received in this business? What you want in this type of business won’t just come to you, you gotta go get it and stay humble.
What advice would you give to upcoming DJS? If this is really your passion, you can make it happen, and always remember its not all about DJ’ing You got to do what the other DJ’s aren’t doing.
You recently celebrated your second annual Birthday Bash, what inspired you to start this 4-day bash? Yea I Just got threw a 2nd annual 4 day successful birthday weekend. I started that last year because I Neva really celebrated my birthday growing up as a kid, so I finally wanted to do something different for myself on my Birthday. Last year I didn’t know it was going to as big and successful as it was, so I had to do it again! Thi year was even bigger! So now we got a DJ Stevie J holiday, Next year will be bigger than bigger (pause)
You had some industry heavy weights come out and support you, How does it make you feel to get that love? Honestly it makes me feel appreciated, and makes me feel that I’m doing something right. I need to keep pushing and keep grinding. To have Dr Dre, Lil Wayne, Neyo, Fabolous, Trey Songz , Wiz Kahlifa perform at my birthday party on one stage together! Worlds can’t define that moment Dre don’t go out to clubs! So when he came on that stage wit me and performed, shit was crazy!
What’s Next For Stevie J? Next for Stevie j is what I been doing, Plus more hard work. I also want to drop my own album, and most importantly have my own radio show. I got some other things I want to do to but those are on top of my list
How Can People get in contact with you? You can contact me on my twitter @whoissteviej or my site WhoIsStevieJ.com
Final Thoughts? First I want to thank you for taking the time to interview me, Thank you to all my supporters. Shout out Mike Gardner and Headliner Marketing Group team. Shout out Chandra, D! All luv!!!!
William Boston has quickly become one of the most successful fashion designers in the South East. You cannot go anywhere in the South without seeing that unique WB logo on peoples clothing. Since the release of his apparel line his clothing can be found in over 300 locations. You would think that he has a big corporate machine behind him, but truthfully his team consists of himself and a small collective group. Boston’s independent grind has allowed him to make major moves in this industry. I sat down with the young fashion mogul to see his vision and what his next steps will be.
Let the people know who you are and where you from? To da world, they know me as William Boston young entrepreneur form Miami, Fl...But to friends and family, they call me Travis (my middle name); you can call me either or, just call me when check right.
You been grinding a long time on the urban fashion scene. When did You get in the game? Yeah, it’s been a while...still grinding too! But as far as the fashion thing goes, I got real deep with it in 2002
What made you want to get into the fashion game? I got into the fashion game, from a friend who went to college with me, named Terrence Snelling aka Sapp, because we thought he looked like former NFL player Warren Sapp. He used to paint shoes in school, one day we linked up started painting the shoes together, but then I needed clothes to match the crazy colors we were making, and I couldn’t find them in the stores so I started making my own.
When did you know that you could make Money off your skills? I think the first time I knew I could really turn this into a business, was one day at a football game, I had my gear on with the colorful shoes, and a guy asked me how much would I charge him to make a fit like mines, made my first dollar from doing something I liked and from there it was on
Who were some of your fashion influences growing up? Fashion influences growing up were all the young black guys doing it, like karl kani, Fubu, and Sean john. They really made me believe it was possible, because I was able to relate to them and their style more than I could with a Tommy Hilfiger or Polo
There have been a lot of clothing lines that have come and gone, how has your brand been able to stay relevant in the streets? You aint lying, some of these lines be dropping out the game like flies at a bug light, my line has been able to still be relevant because I put God first. Fashion is not a fad to me; I truly have a passion for this. People come up with one design print it on t-shirts and say “Check out my clothing line” Not thinking about what they going do once that design gets old. I understand the game and know what people like, and I take that and mix it with my touch and have been able to still be relevant to this day because of that.
I know that you independently manufacture your own clothes. What Would you say the Pros and cons of that is? Yep, everything we do is made in house by hand and other machinery, the pro about that is that I get to see everything that goes out, there is no group of people just making designs and tagging my label on shit. I see every piece of clothing before it hits the streets. The con is that I have to work longer hours because we don’t have a huge manufacture, but its equivalent to being an independent artist. If you’re successful moving units on a independent scale, the only thing you need a big manufacture for is to help you move more Units faster, but until then We independently getting ours.
How would you describe your line? Our tag line is “The art of fashion” because we bring urban couture art to the fashion world, when you mix the two together you end up getting William Boston Apparel.
What makes your line stand out? Our line stands out and is unique because there are two parts to it, you have the hand painted abstract side, where we have one of a kind hand painted apparel, and then you have the signature collection, a more conservative swagphisticated style of apparel. That way, we’re able to hit the urban and hip-suburban sides of the clothing industry.
What is the process like when you create your clothing? Man, sometimes it can be from a song, the day, something I experienced last week, it just varies. That’s why we’re different because a lot of emotion and passion goes into our clothes
If you could choose any celebrity to endorse your line who would you choose and why? Barack Obama! lol, that would be dope to see the president in my shit tho, But if I really had to choose I would say somebody like Andre 3000. I think that he understands fashion; he knows you don’t have to match from head to toe and shit. You always want TO see what the hell Andre gonna where when he in public.
I see that you are very active on social media. How has twitter and Facebook helped your business? I fucking love facebook and twitter, because it allows you to interact with people that never ever met you before, and the minute that they feel like they are connected to you, or know you a lil bit due to your updates or tweets, It pretty much helps you and your business. Because now you’re not just on the net advertising your business all damn day, your actually giving them a piece of you as well, which make them want to be associated with whatever your associated with.
People on Facebook always look forward to your True Talk Tuesdays. What made you come up with that? Lol, man True Talk Tuesday started one Tuesday afternoon when I was just asking random debatable questions, the shit went ham, every post had over a hundred comments, then one of my FB friends in boxed me and said man you should do this every week and call it “True Talk Tuesday” and that was two years ago, we been doing it every Tuesday @9pm ever since. That shit is damn near like a Tv show, I wish Mtv, vh1, bet, tv one or some damn body would cut da check and help me make this shit world wide
You seem to have your hands in other things besides Fashion. Let our readers know what else you got going on? Trrrruuu, I’m just a hustler. Why get paid only one way?, when you can have them checks coming in from every angle. But I have a youtube show called “Round table With the Buffet Boys” which is like a comedy talk show, I got the music thing I do with and artist named Dukwon, I’m more of a hype man and business partner with him, I also co-own the website mediarundown.com, so I’m just stretched all over the place, just trying to make it happen from every angle.
I know that you have your own shop in the Jacksonville area. How has that been working out? The shop here has been great, we’re in the process of getting a bigger spot, so by the time this drops we’ve probably have moved, but customers can always reach us at 904-257-5654
What is the ultimate goal and vision for the WB Brand? The ultimate goal for my brand and line is to have it in stores across the world, such as Macy’s, Belks, sears, and things of that nature, we’re really trying to go nationwide and WE WILL, I GUARANTEE!!
You recently just had a huge Fashion show. How was that? Yeah, that fashion show was a blessing, it was my first time doing a solo fashion show we’re I only displayed my clothes, usually I’m apart of everyone else’s shows and I get a little 10 minute segment, but we did a 2 hour show, displaying the spring, summer and fall collection and it was a packed house, not enough seats for people to sit, we had a little over 300 people at my first show. The feeling was amazing, to see so many people come out to support something that started on a dorm room floor in 2002. But the show was great, shout out to all the models, all the performers, skyline sports bar for letting me have the event there and to all the supporters, couldn’t have been a success without them.
What can we expect from you in the future? The future looks brighter than ever for my line, I know we’re planning the fall fashion show now, call F.A.M.E (fashion art music and entertainment) I believe it’s going to be a big one thanks to the one we just did, hopefully things go our way and we make an introduction on this year’s BET’s rip the runway, we’re also opening up a store in Atlanta, a nice boutique style store, and just grinding our way to the top
Where can people purchase WB apparel? They can purchase 24/7 at www.williambostonapparel.com or if you’re in Jacksonville, Fl stop by our shop at 5757 Arlington rd, for more info call 904-257-5654
How can fans get in contact with you? Lol, fans? I aint got no fans... I just got real supporters, but any supporters that want to holla @ the kid, hit me on facebook @ facebook.com/iamwilliamboston or twitter @william_boston I would give ya’ll my myspace but hell, I forgot that shit, I’m sure you don’t know yours either
Do you have any final thoughts? Yeah, I just want to tell everybody who believes in me and my brand THANK YOU! I truly appreciate the support, thank you Nine5Four magazine and thank YOU for taking time to read this!
By J. “Prince of the city” Prince
Makeup: Keema Leyakatalie Chang and Nadia Nassar
Hair: Terri Comrie - Glam hunters Image Consulting
Stylist: Gipsy Diaz
Location: CareFree LifeStyle
Wardrobe: Hot Miami Styles & ANgel Brinks Fashion
Photos: D. Francis PhotoImagery
Webster’s dictionary defines misunderstood as “failure to interpret or understand the words or actions of (someone) correctly” this definition describes Erica Mena to a tee. Erica is widely known for her successful modeling career and her involvement in the hit reality show “Love and Hip Hop”. The feisty Bronx native is not on a mission to be understood, Erica feels to know her is to love her. Coming into the interview I had a million thoughts running through my head, Is this girl like she is on TV? Is this girl going to be a diva? But after minutes of meeting Erica Mena she put all the rumors and speculation in my mind to rest. She is one of the most genuine and down to earth people I have ever met. I was able to sit down with Erica to find out her past, present and Future. If you are looking to read another fluff model interview then please turn page now! If you want to know the background and growth of Erica Mena the person then sit back relax and let’s take this journey!
For the people that live under a rock or don’t have cable let the world know who you are? I’m Erica Mena and I love doing it all. Modeling, acting, designing, being an artist, etc. My career is one big gumbo! LOL
Where are you from? I’m a True Boogie Down Bronx Girl
You have a very exotic look what is your nationality? My mother is Puerto Rican and My Father is Dominican.
How long have you been modeling? My first modeling job was at 14 years old for a Sears catalog. I’m 24 now, so.. a total of 10 years.
When was it that you realize you can actually make modeling a career? When I landed a major hair advertising campaign. I was making more money than most men at 16. LOL.
When did you get your first break in the industry? I’ve done a lot at a young age, but my break was after I won a ‘MTV/Jennifer Lopez Look-A-Like/Dance Performance’ contest. After that aired I was getting requests to do music videos, magazines and appearances.
How do you think the industry has changed from the time you came in? Its changed a lot. The good ‘ol days when the budget for the models has gone – also videos are not as realistic nowadays. When it was about quality not quantity. Its wasn’t all about The T & A mascots. Who’s fake booty is bigger ect.
Last season you joined the cast of Love and Hip Hop. How did that opportunity come about? I’ve been in this game for a long time. The producers knew my career story – a little about my life and asked me to join the show.
What are the pros and cons of being a reality star? For me, the pros have been all about bettering my career. The cons are that people who don’t know you (only from what they see) will judge you. Plus, rumors can be created just so people can feel better about themselves.I’m built for it so I only learn and get better from it all.
How has TV fame changed your personal life? Do random people come up to you in the street now lol? I definitely get recognized more, whether if its from a person who has liked me off the show or from other sides of my career.
The Blog sites tend to write some pretty bogus stuff about you, but what is the wildest rumor you have heard? I’ve heard it all. Let’s just say 9 out of 10 rumors out there about me are all bullshit. But where most people get upset, I get checks. No matter what rumors they make up as soon as they gather steam, I get booking requests. No stress over here.
It’s no secret that you ooze sex appeal. What is the craziest pick up lines that you have heard in the club or on twitter lol? ON twitter, I get the most! LOL. This one tweet said - “I love you, my life would be complete if you follow me. I’m crying just knowing you reading my tweet.” LOL but I love LOVE. So its all good.
You are very comfortable with your sex appeal and sexuality. Do you enjoy torturing guys with that seductive smile lol? Torturing?! That’s harsh LOL But yes, it is fun knowing you have what a man want. That is the best part of being a woman I say.
In your opinion what is you best body part? I Love My Legs. Long Legs go a LONG Way!
What is the sexiest body part on men to you? He has to have a great smile and I love a man’s chest. LOL Go figure!
What do you look for in a Guy? What is Erica Mena’s Type? He has to be family oriented, a hard worker, ROMANTIC, spontaneous and dress good.
People really respect how real you are. How does that make you feel? I’ve always been out spoken and I’ve always known what I wanted out of life. It’s always a good feeling to know people respect that.
Has the praise been over shadowing the hate? You can be America’s sweet heart and you will always get 50/50 of both. As long as I learn from the hate and only give love no matter what end I receive, I can sleep comfortably at night.
Do you feel that you are misunderstood? I am, but then again, people don’t know me....... Yet. I’m not phased by it. This is me - Fuck ups and all. I know me! Truth is that most folks don’t know themselves. I will never let that get to me. I’m happy. At 24 years old, I’ve already lived out most of my dreams. I’m blessed. I’m not perfect but I’m learning and living life. All my intentions come from a great place.
You have a very strong grind and work ethic. Where does that determination come from? My Mother! She is the one who taught us the power and importance of hard work. She is so smart when it comes to the grind and getting it.
What is the best advice that you have gotten while in the business? To never let it change you! As Long as you know who you really are - Nothing else matters.
You are women of many hustles. How are you able to balance everything? You always have to keep priorities first. Use time very wisely! And always stay focused.
I know that you do music as well. What kind of music do you write? That crazy, sexy, Kool vibe....... Sort of like me! Haha.
What do you bring different to the music game? Overall, I want people to see for themselves when its time. It’s definitely the type of music that will make you feel good inside.
If you could have dream collaboration with any artist dead or Alive who would it be? That’s a good one. Big Pun, Celiz Cruz, Jennifer Lopez, and a dope track with Cory Gunz and French Montana.
Where do you feel most comfortable, behind the photo lenses, behind the TV Camera, or behind the Mic? I feel at home behind it all. I’m passionate about what I do. I believe in my capabilities and deliverance more than anything.
What is your ultimate goal in the business? I want to become an overall performer, entertainer, and thriving business woman.
When its all said and done, how do you want the world to remember Erica Mena? As someone who’s not afraid to be herself, Someone who lived life and went out for it all - someone who sets out and gets it done.
What advice would you give to young women coming up? Know what you want, do your home work, and be smart about how you go about getting it. Never settle.
What up coming projects can we expect in the near future? I have so much going on. My book, my music, my clothing line, and of course - more items for my online store -www.ericamena.spreadshirt.com.
Final thoughts... I Am Erica Mena XO
South Beach is known for having the best nightclubs in the country, Millions of tourist pour in just to get a taste of the fast paced Miami life. The beaches and beautiful weather are a huge sell for out of towner’s, but it’s the nightlife of the magic city that has people coming back for more and more. When it comes to Hosting and Promoting the best parties on South Beach no one has more knowledge then Lisa Mion. Lisa Mion idoes PR and Marketing for the opium Group which is one of the largest Entertainment companies in The World. Mion Has Organized parties for all the Industries Heavy weights from Diddy to Rick Ross. Nine5four Magazine was able to sit down with Lisa to find out how she has managed to remain consistent on the party scene for such a long time.
N54: Let The Nine5four Readers know your Name and what you do? My name is Lisa Italia Mion I work for the Opium Group as VIP server and Main Promoter @Cameo for Lapdance Tuesdays
N54: When did you get you first start in the club industry? Well i grew up in Italy then moved to NYC, but really started the whole nightclub scene when i moved here to Miami, I worked at a club called Bar None as a bartender at the time it was the Hottest Spot! and from there i moved from hot spot to hot spot working at Liquid where i worked as a bottle server then vip Director...then opened up the hip hop room at the old space then went on to Level which is now mansion and so on...
N54: I know that you were working clubs In New York. What was the club scene like in the North East? I worked in trendy restaurants and bars in NYC and that scene is completely different than the magnitude of what Miami nightclubs are, there really isnt a comparison.
N54: What made you want to bring your talents to Southbeach? Well after living in NYC with all the highrises around me i decided i needed a change of scenery, i felt like i hadnt breathed fresh air or looked at the sky in years lol so Miami was my first choice being that it was starting to boom and had the beaches and the great weather! it was the perfect place! i was born in august! i needed the sun back in my life lol
N54: If you had to compare the party scene in Florida and In New York, what is the main difference? In my experience, here we still do things with a way over the top attitude and successfully! In NYC, the style is more low key which is still great! but Miami still kicks everyone out the park! :) we know how to throw a party!
N54: I know that you have had quite a run in the club industry. How have you been able to stay so consistent? If I told you, I’d have to kill you..LOL. But seriously, i always give my 100% when im working and customer service is key, people like to feel specialand I always treat customers as such.
N54: Do you find it challenging to be a female in such a male dominated industry? Not at all, I believe women are what keeps the industry sexy and exciting... they only ones doing the dominating are us.
N54: Has the recession affected the party scene in any way? This industry has its ups and downs but from where I’m standing, excess still exists.
N54: I know that you hear so much music on a nightly basis. What is your favorite type of music? I love R&B slow jams! thats numb 1! reggae, latin music, old school house! and of course hip hop but thats a given :)
N54: What would you say the most memorable moment has been for you while working the club scene? So many incredible moments, I’ve met so many celebrities, athletes, Moguls and i am friends with many still to this day i feel Blessed that ive made so many great connections But one experience that stands out from the rest is an night that Michael Jordan came by and hung out at one of my venues.
N54: What is the craziest thing that you have witnessed in the clubs? You know, people get busy in dark and discreet places in clubs but when you witness a couple rehearse a porn on the bar, now that’s probably the craziest of things that ive seen! lol
N54: What is a misconception that people may have about you? That I’m rich!!! LOL I’m looking for a sugar daddy, any takers??? ;-) no but ive heard that im intimidating, i get that from men a lot but i am the complete opposite
N54: What do you say to the people that think throwing events are easy? It took me a long time working in this business in order to create a clientele b4 i even decided to throw an event. its not just open the doors and pp come NO! u have to have a the right venue, book the right artist have the right dj’s and staff and being connected to the Opium Group gave me the opportunity and backing so unless you have all of that! i say start as a sub promoter and work your way up.
N54: I know a lot of hours are spent working and planning, do you ever get a chance to vacation and unwind? Of course, I try go home to italy at least twice a year and i mean working 3-4 nights a week still allows me the flexibility to get away for some R&R as long as i have my macbook :)
N54: Most people get burned out from the night life, is there anything else that you see yourself transitioning to once you walk away? The night life is my life... so I could see myself heading a club consulting service one day
N54: If you could throw a dream party with a celebrity or artist dead or alive… What artist would you bring to your event? Wow thats a tough one but id def say JAY Z would be amazing to have, TUPAC i love or BIGGIE...theres so many really
N54: What advice would you give to upcoming promoters trying to break in the Industry? They’ll have to make an appt, we’ll discuss details...;)
N54: I know that you work with the Opium Group and they have set the standard for how parties should be done, why do u feel that you guys are always a step ahead? Because we ARE the Opium Group, we have the most well-known nightclubs in the world and we pride ourselves on keeping the best reputation.
N54: Any Final Thoughts? I'll leave you with my motto: live, love and laugh for 2day! 2morrow is not promised :) thanx J! xo ♦
The Hip hop Genre has seen many successful duos that have all brought different styles to the culture. When it comes to groups each member must bring a unique dynamic that creates the perfect chemistry. The Oddballaz are no strangers to originality and plan to add their own Stamp on the game. The group has been making noise in the independent music scene for years now, whether it’s their creative videos or infectious melodies the Oddballaz are quietly cementing their legacies to become household names. I was able to catch up with the talented duo to see where they are coming from and where they plan to go.
N54: Let the world Know who the Oddballaz are? Two young souls flowed together by the sounds of soul, phunk, and bass laced with ghetto music.We dont just offer words and beat. We offer music. Before there were words and beat there was music.
N54: What are the Oddballaz? Good question. Just listen and let the music speak for itself. We’re Big Mike and Olo, just so you know, bro.
N54: How did you guys get the name the Oddballaz? We’re Different. We fuse different styles of music together creating our own genre which is where the ODD comes in. We were always the odd ball in the crowd. Our uniqueness always set us apart from the rest. Were bboys at heart, thats breakdancing in case you dunno. We made our name, our name didnt make us.
N54: How long have you guys been making Music together? Weve been working together since freshman year, but we’ve been friends since our early teens.
N54: What would you say the strengths are that each member brings to the table? Mike brings that real southern slang with his deep voice and definitive swag. Olo has the higher voice. He has crazy word play and good vocal control. Together our voices blend so well that sometimes we dont even need a beat behind us. The beat is just the icing on the cake.
N54: I know that you guys have had some radio success with the Dj Laz Track “She can get it”? You call that success? Hahahahahahah we call it stress, bc it was. It did get on the radio which was a plus but let’s just say the music industry can be very shady. Shoutout to Blackout and Laz for giving us the opportunity! Love!
N54: How did that Laz collaboration come about? We were in the studio working on “Peter Pan” with Blackout Movement. He told us he was working on a track but needed a hook for it. We came up with one and the rest is history!! It actually moved really fast.
N54: I know that you guys have had some other singles and compilations...what were they? Honestly, there are a lot!!! Our latest releases Feel Good, Crushin, Misbehave, and Happy have moving really fast. The feedback we get from our fans has been amazing.
N54: The independent grind can be filled with several pitfalls and false starts. How have you guys been so focused and consistent throughout the bullshit? Keeping in mind that it IS exactly that. Bullshit! Music to us is about artistic expression. Music in the industry is about gimmicks and hookups. Label reps would rather push a mediocre artist with money backing them rather then a talented artist who has no money, We dont listen to what the labels want to hear. We give OUR fans what they expect from us. An original and polished sound. Since we dont feed into the bullshit they get to hear the real US.
N54: You guys have a very unique sound. Its kind of like Outkast fused with lmfao. How did you guys develop such a unique sound? Were silly people!! We have fun on a track. Were always clownin even when were serious. We also respect eachothers craft. Our sound came when we found ourselves. Lots of artists struggle to find themselves on the mic. What you hear in the studio is different from what you hear live. We try to bridge that gap so we practice our verses til they sound good live and then we record them so we can be playful with our style.
N54: Who were some of your musical influences coming up? Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Busta Rhymes, Eric B and Rakim, Boyz II Men, Metallica. There are just so many. We started playing in band together so we have love for all types of music.
N54: It seems like the Duo concept has died out in the Music Industry. What made you guys want to be a group and not be solo artist? Oddballaz is and has always been both of us. We vibe off each other. It just works that way, and very well! We are lucky to be on this journey together and would not wanna reach success without each other. We consider each other family!
N54: You guys have a quite a large following to be independent artist, your YouTube videos get quite allot of hits? We are so blessed to have such dedicated fans. At first we just thought it was our friends showing love and support but then the hits kept rising. We treat every one of our fans like friends not fans. Were constantly on our youtube answering fan questions and keeping everyone updated. Its the fans that have made us feel so successful.
N54: How has social media helped the music industry? Facebook is HUGE! But youtube is even bigger. Its because of youtube that we found a fan base without a budget. The youtube fans are relentless. They will tell you how it is, Love or hate it they are honest. We love that! Youtube is our music hub. Its our way of getting out there to thousands of people without using thousands of dollars.
N54: If you guys could collaborate with any artist or producer dead or alive. Who would it be? Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Aaliyah, there are just so many. The world lost some amazing artists but honestly we’d be happy to collab with anyone with the same love for music that we have.
N54: What is the writing and production process like when you guys are in the studio? Drink this, smoke that, laugh and put it in writing. We bot make beats and play instruments. We feed off each other. Mike will come up with a beat pattern, Olo will lay the pianos down, Mike will add guitars in, Olo will tweak the arrangement... its like a musical stew. Theres a lot of ingredients but the end result is delicious.
N54: I know that you guys can write and Produce, have you guys been doing any ghost writing or producing for other artist? Yeah were currently investing time into developing young artists. We also have a huge catalog of ideas that we pitch. Some were picked up and some we hold onto. Overall we are always workin on something new.
N54: What is the ultimate goal for the oddballaz? Are you guys looking to get signed to a major label? Being signed to a label would be nice although weve been there and done that with Sony. It doesnt always work out. The labels vision for you, does not always coincide with what you envisioned doing. So our ultimate goal is to stay real for our fans and to continue to breathe life into hip hop.
N54: What Projects are you guys working on now? Just finished our newest video “Horrible Bosses- The Work Anthem” Its a blend of doo wop and hip-hop. If you love your job, this song is NOT for you. This is for the people who work like dogs, but get paid like pups.
N54: How can fans get in touch with you? Our youtube page is: oddballaz.net (it will always be linked to our newest video) our facebook is facebook.com/oddballaz and please add us on twitter @oddballaz
N54: Any final thoughts? We’d like to thank J. Prince and Nine5Four The Magazine for supporting independent artists. Its people like yall that keep the IV in Hip-Hop. Long live our culture. Special shoutout to our friends and family who have always supported us on this crazy ride.
There are many people in the Industry that use the term “Director” very loosely. It takes more than shooting a cheap viral with a Flip cam and throwing it on You tube. I feel the art of symbolism and picture painting is gone in today’s video industry. The Hype Williams and the Benny Booms of yest er year seem to have faded for the you tube trend.
Today’s “Director” doesn’t even know what a treatment is let alone how to create one.
I was able to sit down with a Visionary that embodies the passion and dedication that Directors before him had. His name is Donald Noble and better known by his peers as million dollar scheme or scheme Spielberg.
Noble has crafted his own lane in his cluttered video industry, In less than 3 years Noble has Directed over 20 music videos, edited videos for ciroc, Fabolous and Fubu, and is currently in the works of finishing up his 6th short film. Noble took time out of his hectic schedule to share his vision and plans for the future.
N54: How Did You get the nicknames million dollar scheme and scheme Spielberg? Got both names from clients. I usually incorporate movie treatments whenever I can in my projects and shoot it in filmgrade 17mm 85mm.
N54: I see you been getting your Tyler perry on. you directing, Producing, and editing all your stuff. Does that get hectic? Yeah man, you already know. Easiest way to explain it is rolling credits. At the end of the movie, outside of the actors and actresses, if you were to play it in slo-mo, you’d see the amount of people/functions it takes to put a decent video project together, keeping in mind these professionals are experts in their field. When you’re on a shoe-string budget you don’t have that luxury, you gotta try to wear as much hats as possible to see the project through to the end. The advantage though is a crash course and immediate insight into the challenges of the professionals I’ll be working with in the future
N54: How are your treatments made. do you create a specific treatment tailored for that specific artist or brand? Of course, you have to tailor the treatment. Audio is the most important component in video production is because the mood of any particular video project is carried and initiated in it’s sound waves. Hence, my philosophy is video follows sound, with an additional layer of sound over the completed video to tie the initial audio and video composition together. So if audio compositions are like finger prints, no 2 are exactly alike, same should be true of video treatments.
N54: How have you been able to make such a Big impact in the game in such a short amount of time? Well, I’ll always be the first to tell you that I have a looooong way to go (pause), but I believe the key to my growth thus far is observation and networking. Meet new people outside your immediate circle or even your profession and study how they approach meeting the requirements for success in their own lives everyday. If we take the time each day to measure ourselves against greatness it will always yield some form of growth when you apply what you’ve learned. A famous architect once said ‘God is in the details’, he was right... all the way down to it’s atomic composition. Hahaha, but that’s too deep, for now I’ll just leave it at that.
N54: Do you have formal education in film production or is everything self taught? Self taught, hats off to everyone who could afford that because formal education usually accelerates the learning curve in any field. It doesn’t replace natural born talent but it certainly helps. I believe in the end though, the better photographer is usually the one that takes the most pics and video is still photography by other means.
N54: I understand you do photography as well. how is that transition been? Photography is pure art. It’s an efficient comparison to painting. In painting you have more control of expressing time in the individual components of the composition through shading, color selection, brush strokes, etc. But the art of photography is to capture the individual components (background, subject, lighting, shadows, etc) synced at that perfect millisecond using the right shutter speed, correct lens millimeter aspect ratio and optimal focal length. Way more complex than recording motion in my opinion. When the principles of photography are applied to video it greatly increases the impact of the rendered video.
N54: How did you get your start in the business? A plan, hard work, a string of failures and networking.
N54: What was the best advice you have received since you been in the game? Can’t say what the best advice was, I try to incorporate and take in as much constructive advise and criticism as I can get from everyone who takes the time to respond to a project I’ve put out there. However, my best advise to any upcoming film producers ad/or directors is : See it before you shoot it. Literally and figuratively examine your subject, background and location in as much detail possible before saying ‘action’.
N54: Who was your favorite artist or project to shoot? That’s a tough one. Every artist on every project yields a different egg, so it’s hard to lock in a favorite. Honestly I think my favorite project has yet to come. I suppose it’ll be the one that most incorporates everything I’ve learned and best compels people to change their decision making for the better.
N54: Who are some Directors that you look up to? Hahahaha, Spielberg. George Lucas , Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, and James Cameron.
N54: What projects are you currently working on? Right now, any and everything. Short films, music videos, commercial ads, documentaries and marketing campaigns for clothing lines. Building a diversied production portfolio
N54: When its all said and done. how do you want your work to be remembered? Hmmm. I guess like all other great works, dynamic in and for it’s time.