Sunday, April 19, 2015

Interview with Isley Reust

Isley Reust is a transgender artist who just moved to Silver Lake, CA from SF. She plays in a band called Spectacular Spectacular. Their debut album comes out in June followed by a U.S & Canada tour. We have conducted a short interview with her.

How has music been an impact on you from the beginning til today being the Isley Reust as you are?
Music has always played a significant role in my life starting with my adolescence. The first artist I ever felt I had a real connection with was Nirvana and Shirley Manson from Garbage when I was about 12 years old. When I was 14 I discovered my what would be all time influential guitar player to date who played a major impact on my life and developing my style John Frusciante. I remember being 18 years old when I had my first run in with John Frusciante. I ended up at the Troubadour randomly one evening to catch a set from am amazing band called Autolux. Later that night John Frusciante, Giovanni Ribsi and I ended talking and having a great discussion about music and life. Inside I was obviously freaking out but I kept that excitement inside. Over the years artist like Cat Power, CocoRosie and Sigur Ros would heavily influence my music and passions. I love when you discover an artist in your adolescence and then 10 years later you can listen to them again and put together what you were feeling at that point in your past. My favorite part of that is the scents that were around, weather and personal feelings.

When is your band debuting your album? Which is your favourite song in that album and why?
Spectacular Spectacular's debut album comes out in June. That's a tough question, but I'd have to say my favorite song on the record would be "Wake Me Up" it's going to be the open song on the album. That song is just so diverse and different, you think you're going on one journey or direction and then it abruptly changes course and takes you in a completely different direction. my favorite song that we recorded on the album would be "Blur". It was such a intimate recording, Jessica and I recorded it live together in the same room. We had a bunch candles all over the studio, the lights were out and it was probably 4am and the feelings we were all going through that particular night were so magical.

Are you also working on a film? Which is your role or character in the film, what are your personal expectation of this production?
I am indeed. The film is based on the life and journey of a transgender woman. She is trying to figure her life out and overcomes many hurdles and obstacles over the course of many years that life has thrown at her. The direction of the film is very fairytalish and whimsical. So far we've shot in various beautiful locations across the pacific northwest. This is a project that is dear to me so we're trying to do it right. Tony Minas is the director and a very talented individual.

What is the most challenging aspect for you and your band in the music industry today?
I think the most challenging aspect is just staying true to ourselves as artist and what we believe in. I feel if you're true to that then people will respect that and be drawn to you and what you're creating.

In the near future (5 years), what do you hope to achieve in the creative music field?
I'd like to win a Grammy and just have this be my life, tour the world and create music.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Interview with Leandra Williams

Leandra Williams is an entrepreneur from Michigan. She owns a business advisory firm and co-owns a graphic design studio and works exclusively with business owners and fellow entrepreneurs to assist them with growing their businesses by providing strategic planning assistance, branding solutions, marketing services and more. We have conducted a short interview with her.

What benefits does your advisory firm provides?
Stingray Advisory Group provides one-on-one advising services to our clients. We work exclusively with small-to-medium sized businesses (SMB) as well as start-up entrepreneurs. Our purpose is to create dynamic customized solutions for business growth. The main areas we focus on are: strategic planning, marketing concept development & implementation (including social media management), website development and fraud prevention training. Since we do work hand-in-hand with our clients and really invest in their success, we are able to create long-term relationships and partnerships with them.

In your opinion, how important is the role of branding for a small business owner?
Branding is crucial for any size business. Your brand defines who you are and allows you to be easily identified. Most people are familiar with popular apparel brands, shoe companies, restaurant chains, why? Because they have distinct, recognizable and memorable branding. At Gold Leaf Designs we love working with clients to help determine what their brand is and creating their logos and marketing materials to communicate and accentuate their brand.

What kind of results have you generated that causes an impact for your clients?
Our clients, both within the advisory group and our design firm, really value our commitment to them and their organizations. We are your advisors and advocates. Whether it is providing our expertise from a marketing and branding perspective and helping a client identify who they are and how they go to market, or developing a plan to help a company take their operations to the next level, we are involved in some of the most important aspects of business development. We are able to help streamline operations, improve efficiency, develop or improve marketing strategies and conceptualize and launch brands.

How much should a small business owner prepare, or with what kind of readiness, before he/she engage your services?
The most important aspect for our prospective clients is to have a sense of direction when they reach out to us. What are you trying to accomplish? Do you want to branch out into social media? Is your company looking to rebrand? Would you like to help mitigate the potential for fraud within your organization? If a client can come to us with a basic framework for what they’re looking to do, we are able to work together to develop a strategy for how to accomplish it.

What is your unique selling proposition as compare to your competitors?
In addition to our focus on exception service and quality solutions, there are three main areas that set us apart. First, we love technology and help our clients bridge the digital gap. That can be seen through communication with clients traveling or outside of our areas-we are available and accessible through Skype, iMessage, Google Hangouts, whatever works for our client. Additionally, we keep on top of technology within our workplace so we can continually provide the best of the best. Second, we communicate with our clients in a way that is easy to understand. We don’t need to bombard them with jargon or technical terminology. We know the how and the why of the solutions we offer; our clients care about the impact on them. We want them to be on the same page with us, not afraid to ask questions and comfortable with the plan and process. As business owners ourselves, we provide a unique perspective when engaging with fellow business owners and entrepreneurs. It’s more than just having a sense or general understanding of what they’re going through, we have and are living it. Finally, we make business easy. We know what we expect of the professionals we engage with and we know our clients are busy. They want to focus on what they’re passionate about, not day-to-day operational and marketing needs. That’s what we’re passionate about! We make it simple for them to refocus on their business so we can help theirs grow.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


Belitsoft is an outsource software development company from Belarus, Minsk. Since 2004 they provide software development services for start-ups and large-scale companies all over the world. We have conducted a short interview with them.

Why so many people prefer to outsource their projects to Belarus?
That’s an interesting and very positive question. In my opinion many things have changed lately and people started to look at Eastern Europe. This region was always famous for its experts in IT sphere and recently Forbes confirmed – «Belarus is a perfect place for making business with Minsk IT Companies». That’s why Belitsoft and many other Belarusian companies can be distinguished by its professional approach and expertise.

How do you describe Belitsoft's key services and what is unique about your solutions?
Belitsoft key service is custom development for middle size (500-1500 estimated hours) projects such as ERP, CRM, social communities and mobile projects. We also have very solid expertise (8 years) on developing custom e-learning projects for educational and corporate sectors. One of our advantage is creating offshore development center for overseas clients on long term basis. We know how to organize it proper way to prevent some obstacles connected with distance, time zone differences and different cultures issues.

What is the Belitsoft's individual approach to every client?
Our management staff is stable (the average period for line manager on working in Belitsoft is 5 -7 years). It means that all expertise how to work successfully with clients is accumulating inside Belitsoft. Each of our client has special dedicated account manager (as additional option for our technical staff) which try to help as overall and justice control for some situations. Also we have our internal quality standards which we try to use in any situations. In two words it looks like this: In spite of the fact that situations with clients and projects can be different (sometimes there is no success) try to do the best as you can, and you will surprise that this bad situation will work for you, because you did everything to solve the issue.

What kind of business and domain expertise and strengths does your team possess?
We can be called as stable! Since 2004 we are working in software development field and now we are able to prove our expertise in PHP development, developing of ERP systems and Microsoft Products. So we are experienced in these fields and definitely feel our strength in it. Besides that we can use any other platform, mentioned on the website. We’ll be happy to discuss it in more details and we are always opened for any cooperation.

Which is/are the most impressive and challenging amongst the 40+ project cases which Belitsoft has undertaken so far?

We are always here to provide you with better solutions. Feel free to visit our website and headquarters in Minsk.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

pd brody

Pd brody, son of Hoboken musician Don Brody and 2013 Jersey Acoustic Music (JAM) Award nominee, has played shows with Greg Lemaire, Rachel Miller, Spots, and The Racer among others.

Based out of Union, New Jersey, pd brody has been making a name for himself playing clubs and restaurant venues across the area. His sets include original songs as well as cover tunes and some of his Dad's work, providing an eclectic mix of emotional lyrics and arrangements. 

His songs speak to a wide range of audiences and universal themes. Onstage, pd brody engages the audience, providing background to his songs and hopes to inspire listeners to see themselves in his writing. 

In his own words, pd brody says, “I want my music to mean something...I want people to feel what I feel when I’m singing, and be humming the hooks when they leave...because that’s what it’s them something they can hold on to.”

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