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Interviews

5 Life Lessons from Fanny Axén

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We had the pleasure of interviewing Fanny Axén from Stockholm, Sweden. She is a competent, committed and very experienced PR/ Branding and Music Manager, with over 10 years of professional experience working with some of the biggest European & a few worldwide names in the music business, she has been working with and getting praised by managers, artists and producers for the likes of Stefflon Don, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, Justin Bieber, Jay-Z.

She also behind managing and building new artists on her own that caught the attention from people like the manager of superstar Steff London,Music Legend Craig Logan (managed Cher, Pink, Diana Ross, and running major record labels ) to Terral Slack, who is 1 of the guys that found and managed Drake. Capitol Records US, Atlantic Records, and Johnny Phillips at SJM Concerts ( promoter Bruno mars, Drake, Take that and more) and having her artists get interest and work with producers and songwriters as P2J, K.E, Akil King, Rymez, Chris Hanebutt, for the likes of Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, Chris Brown, Stefflon Don, Jennifer Lopez to only mention a few.

She is a builder of high-performance teams and a natural team leader, mentor, and motivator who thrives in environments requiring a high-level strategist with dedicated focus on details. Which has really put her stamp on the map when it comes to PR and Branding especially for new artists out there.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Thank You for having me. I always knew seens i was a little girl that i would be doing something with music and working with talented people.
I started of as a Stylist & Image consultant and i started my own company when i was 19 years old, working both in London and Sweden.

My music journey actually started off working for my own Idol today grammy award winner and multitimes nominated international superstar Mohombi.
He really believed in me, my drive and Passion and gave me a chance working for him, i designed his clothes and styled him to start with.But i was coming up with different ideas and campaigns and connecting him to different kind of brands like the Pharrell owned fashion brand G Star and other big profiles. He saw my potential and drive and hired me as his own PR Manager after seeing how much i got done and believed in him. Mohombi became at one point one of the biggest new artists in the world getting signed by Lady Gaga producer Red-One and with his song Bumpy Ride being nr 1 on most charts all over the world, he also getting signed with Cash Money Records, and been doing collaborations with Birdman, Shaggy, Pitbull, Akon, Nelly & Craig David and more. He also co wrote & produced the 2 biggest hits right now Jennifer lopez new single feat Dj Khaled and Cardi B and J Balvin feat Beyonce Mi gente with over 2 billion streams.

I was also asked to work with this new group called Little Great Things were two of the boys in the group is the grandchildren of Benny Andersson from Abba and their mom is one of Scandinavia’s most famous names Nanne Gronvall.
The group was entering Melodifestivalen which is the biggest music competition in Europe and i was in a situation helping this young talented guys to find their own identity through clothes and everything around competition for them to be able to be confident on stage and put on the Best show. I Spend a couple of months with them basically helping them with everything around the competition.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?

I got a few very interesting stories. But if i have to choose one i think i have to say putting together a show for Legend Ryan Leslie in Sweden.
I basically had to do everything on my own from getting the venue, selling tickets in 3 weeks, I also had my own 2 artists Jay Samson and Mikaela i managed at the time open the show for him.
Because of a lot of difficult people and situations i had to do all this without any sort of Promotion Budget, so i had to come up with Ideas using my social medias and network to make everything work, the person who booked him didn’t do it in the correct way but i had absolutely no idea planning everything around the concert and the artist showing up and i got left with everything. It was the craziest 3 days in my life but i told myself if i can do this there’s nothing i can’t do.
In the end we pulled it off with the help from my amazing friends. And not just that but i also had the whole crew of Mariah Carey coming to the show.
But i created great relationships with both Ryan and the Mariah team after seeing my hard work and not giving up so it was all worth it in the end.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Funniest mistake… I’m not sure its that funny but a big mistake i did is trying to be this person wanting to help everyone out with basically anything they needed, and that made most artists or promoters come to me me if they needed anything from booking an international artist, putting together music videos to getting sponsored by fashion brand and other brands, with artists and people i wasn’t even working with officially. I have created all my relationships completely on my own and i was there helping them out risking my own relationships and reputation with all this people for absolutely no reason, so i would more call it a stupid mistake more than funny , but i have learned so much from it and that the most important thing in this business is your relationships and your reputation.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I had one huge producer ,grammy winner that’s been working with everyone from Jay Z, Nicki Minaj to Justin Bieber asking me to represent him, after seeing what i’ve done with my own artists.
He told me that he never meet anyone with the drive and passion i have but also actually making things happen as i do.
So I think i have to say that what makes me different just be hearing what other people say about me, It would be my drive and always finding ways to get things happen.
I mostly been self employed never having to do things on my own so its 100 times harder then to work for a major label or something like that where you can make a call and because of the name you work for they will help you , no I haven’t been able to use a name to get our songs on the radio or book a show , i have to sell myself and my team.
Also Loyalty to the people i work with and i always takes risks if i believe in something i invest everything i got in it, no excuses. I see it for what it is i work with people’s Dreams and life.
I Also never want to do things the easy way instead i always think outside the box.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

A great advice i would share is try not to work too much with feelings and your heart, just see it as what it is a business. Not saying you should care about who you work with but just try to keep personal and business a bit separate, most times when you work with someone or something that you care to much about, like a family member or a really good friend, it’s always 10 times harder because you can’t always make the right decisions for their business instead you trying to protect them, and another thing is when u love something it takes more energy from u then when you only work to work if that makes sense.

I would also say make a long term plan for your Dreams, and then cut them down in shorter goals, is easier to not get stressed if you don’t look at the big dream all the time, instead seeing monthly or even a yearly plan will make you not thinking things is impossible.

And my last advice is try to focus on what you are best at, and try not to do everything on your own, create a team where everyone does what they are best at, that’s the recipe for long term success.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

There is 2 very special people , my amazing friends Anette and Jason.
Anette been there from the start even in the hardest times never let me give up on my dreams, i can definitely say that i wouldn’t be where i am today without her. The second person is my friend Jason, he was the person who made me believe that there’s nothing i can’t do and opened my eyes when it comes to working on my own brand and not just artists and other people always. He has given me an opportunity that i could never dream of and im forever grateful to have a friend like that.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I’m trying to be a good role model for young girls that wants to enter the entertainment business, everything today is about your social media and having millions of followers and the really young generation seeing this and believing that all is about that, or them saying i will do anything for my dream to come true and not understanding the sort of power a lot of this people in the business has and what they actually will ask you to do once your saying that you do anything. They are starting so early now aswell having instagram account s from ages 12 and sometimes even younger thinking it’s not about being talented or working hard to become successful anymore.

I’m trying to share my story and advice and the truth is i have actually personally worked with most of my own idols, like Mohombi, Ro James and Ryan Leslie m.m and anything i tell myself i am gonna do, i have actually accomplished so far, of course not with a few bumps along the way but i just don’t ever give up if i believe in something. I get company’s, press, fashion brands, artists and producers willing to support me in basically anything i choose to work with, not because i’m huge on social media but because they see my passion and hard work and say you don’t see good and loyal hardworking people often in this this business anymore and that’s why they support me in what i do. It really means alot to me to see messages i get from girls saying that my story inspires them and they want to go out and work for their dreams, and if i can do it they can.

Some of the best things i’ve done is also when i can make other peoples that’s not having a easy life dreams come true like i partnered up with Barncancerfonden and Fighter Hjälpen 2 Swedish companies that works with young kids with cancer and other illnesses. I arranged for around 50 kids from Astrid Lindgrens children’s hospital to come and spend a day together with their favorite group Panetoz and also being involved in there music video shoot, that’s still today one of the best days in my life seeing the smile and laughter on those kids faces meant the world, and seeing that you can really change people’s life through music, stil today i get messages from parents thanking for making their kids dreams coming true and making them smile. I also always had my artists perform at charities events to help raise money for great causes, and any chance i can to do something that makes a difference in someone’s life i will always do.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?

Treat people like you want to be treated.

I just always believed in being a good person and never trying to get back at people who done you wrong, i have had a few of those experiences where people use you and don’t even have a problem trying to ruin your name when they dont get there way anymore, But my thing is i believe in Karma and if your good, good things will come to you in the end.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

I think they same thing i said earlier about working not to much with your feelings and think of it as a business.

One example is managing your own artists it’s basically like having a kid you take care of everything around them and giving up your own life or at least that’s how i work im there 24/7 and in all aspects. And in the end they can just stop working if they want to and there’s nothing really you can do about it.

2. Another 1 is wrote about earlier stick to what your best at and let other people do the rest.

If your trying to do everything you won’t be able to do anything 100% instead everything might be 60% and you might not get the results you want.

3. Work on your own brand and name as much as the person you work with, cause if you stop working with them for some reason everything you worked for with probably don’t matter in the end and if you instead working on yourself no one can ruin it for you except you.

I learned that hard way not giving everything to someone whos not prefered to work as hard as you are.

4. Make sure you work with people that see the value in you don’t let anyone tell you your not good enough or try to change you.

They probably really want to do exactly what your doing or being involved in your projects and then when they cant deliver or doesnt work hard and get cut off they will try to ruin your name instead of working on themselves they will blame it on you.

5. I guess the last thing is something i have done as well as i wish someone might told me, but that is never ever go against you gut feeling, if you feel something will work and you are prepared to work for it it most likely it will work, and if someone tells you it won’t they are probably jealous or just wants you to give up.
So never let anyone doubt yourself.

I had a few of them experiences where iv done my work im hired to do and once i decide not to keep someone around and it could be for a lot of reasons they will do everything to try to take credit for what you done or even go as far as trying to make up lies and have people doubt you, and then if your a good person and loyal and also delivers no one will believe anything they hear about you and they will stay on your side.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If we thinking of the business scene that’s what we are talking about here. I would start a movement where all the biggest stars on social media that has over 100.000 followers would have to do or just say 1 good thing on their social medias everyday for 1 year. It could as an example be putting a video or a picture of them visiting a kid in the hospital, or giving food to a homeless, writing a positive status, giving a compliment or just supporting someone else, maybee giving away something that’s material and wouldn’t really matter to them to someone that it would change that person’s life. Really just something small but as long as its positive. I truly believe if more people could see the biggest stars do things like this regularly it would inspire others to do the same, cause the truth is in today’s society everything is about social media and the biggest instagram stars, and everyone wants to be and act exactly like they are doing and apparently they don’t realize that doing good things for their followers to see will make them follow in their footsteps and the world would have a lot less pain. In my mind this would be so obvious but it’s just not, seems they think it’s more important to show off a new car or bag then to do a good thing for someone else or actually all the millions of people that follows them that would see this and hopefully get inspired of doing them same, the world would definitely be much more happier than what it is today.

How can our readers follow you on social media?
My instagram is @Fanny.Axen, feel free to follow me on there 🙂

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Thank you !

Anthony Delgado (born February 6, 1986) is an American software developer and internet entrepreneur widely known as a professional hacker in the developer community. Anthony Delgado has won numerous hackathons sponsored by Fortune 500 tech companies like Google, IBM, Intel, Facebook and Microsoft and hosted by organizations including Rutgers University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the AT&T Developer Summit in New York City.

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Interviews

An Interview with Brooke Mason; A Pioneer for Women in the Creative Industry

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Australian-born Brooke Mason is so much more than just a photographer. Unafraid and not intimidated by change and breaking the rules, she is everything the creative industry aspires to be. Brooke prides herself on running a creative agency with a single mission: to help women succeed. Already this year, Brooke Mason Creative became a Certified Woman Owned Business.

Since being in Los Angeles, Brooke has immersed herself in the entertainment world and has photographer known artists and actors for magazines like Glamor, InStyle, and Angeleno.

We sit down with Brooke to find out a little more about how she got to where she is today, what inspires her, and what she wants to do in the future.

What inspired you to become a photographer?

I was inspired by wanting to capture my environment, the way I saw things as an artist. I started at a very young age, so at the time, it wasn’t deep thoughts of a career. In fact, my parents are professional business people and being an artist was not a career path that they supported. It was just a passion that I never gave up on and the point I was making money and didn’t need to do other things, I realised, “Hey, this is my career!”.

How did you transition from being a photographer to owning a creative agency?

As a photographer I wasn’t just capturing images. I was hired to art direct, manage projects, castings and aligning with brands. It was 15 years of background that lead to this, however I did study communication at University.

My most memorable work experience was with one of the largest advertising agencies in Sydney, Australia. I was in awe of the complexities of how it ran. I naturally hung out with the creative department more than any other, however my 15 years years of directing on set as a photographer has given me the confidence to work as a team, art direct and have a project come to life. That’s the most exciting part of my job, seeing a seed of an idea come to fruition.

What does it take to be an entrepreneur?

Dedication! A lot of this is probably a natural inclination and I find people asking me if I’m scared about not having a regular paycheck or knowing how much is going to come in. Yes, it can be daunting, however, you have to be a risk taker and most entrepreneurs thrive on that. I like the pressure it brings, I thrive on the deadline and after some time you learn to overcome your own self doubts, fears and strive for your best. There is nothing else like it. I will say, I do work much longer hours and days than most of my friends who aren’t, but the reward for me is much higher.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced on your journey so far?

There are two main challenges that I faced in the past and continue to face from time to time.

One – not knowing when the phone will ring. You can be sailing high on a bunch of jobs

and then all of a sudden it’s quiet. It’s really hard not to have a freak-out.

Two – being a younger female is a male driven business world. As much as I’d like to say this doesn’t exist anymore and as fortunate as I am to live in such an open minded town, this is still very relevant and we as women are still not seen as; intelligent, capable and successful to our male peers.

What is your ultimate goal?

I believe in striving and moving forward with continual growth. I don’t have an ultimate goal,

but I am looking forward to growing my team and bringing in bigger projects for 2019. I already feel blessed with so much we have done this past year.

What motivates you in business?

I’m motivated by creating beautiful masterpieces, even if that’s just a stunning website, it’s awesome!

What are you most passionate about?

When it comes to life; Art, aesthetics and beauty. When it’s my work; I love to see people happy, pleasing our clients is my number one driving factor.

Do you have a secret to your success?

Focusing on being the best at what you do and being honest with yourself – if it’s not your

forte, being okay with finding someone else for that task. There is no ego in my business, we all collaborate and if there’s a better idea we run with that. “Ego’s” gets in peoples way, it stiffens your creativity, your success and your opportunities.

What are your proudest achievements?

It’s always one you haven’t had yet!

What differentiates you from your business peers?

Everyone has their unique talents and I adore some of the other creative agencies who do similar work to us. I guess the main difference I see is my background is heavily in art directing and visual curation so we are heavily focused on branding and the end result. We are small, so clients get to talk with all of us and we are all very engaged in every project that happens.

Do you have a motto that you stand by?

Being authentic. I make an effort to keep strong ethics, stay honest and be as real as I can.

What are the most important qualities that have been most beneficial on your journey?

Working hard is by far the most important thing when you have your own business. Sometimes you have to say no to fabulous social events, but keeping clients happy and delivering work on time is crucial.

What is the best advice you could give to someone starting out as an entrepreneur?

It’s important to have big goals and dreams so I wouldn’t want to ever squash those for somebody starting out. Be prepared to put in the work, turn down party offers from friends, stay up late into the evening fulfilling your dreams and up early to conquer the day.

What are the biggest challenges that you have faced as a female in the business world?

Not being taken seriously. I find the main challenge as a woman in this male-centric world is

that men think we may not be as capable or as intelligent. It’s a fine balance to prove yourself without doing it in a way that is forceful and contrived. It’s important to not give up and let prejudices get in your way.

Who do you most admire and why?

I’m inspired by strong powerful women! It wasn’t until leaving Australia and crossing over

into the workforce that I really saw a difference in culture. Though I adore the US and everything it has to offer when it comes to women in the workforce, Australia definitely has superior viewpoints on women. When I see these amazing women here breaking glass ceilings and succeeding, I am in true admiration.

How many employees do you have?

My team ranges depending on the projects we are doing and how many hands we need. But, on a regular basis, we are a small group of eight. On larger projects, we sometimes have upwards of 15 people.

If you had to choose another job, what would it be and why?

I have always been impressed with Doctors and how much knowledge they have. If I was to do school again, knowing what I know now, I might consider going to medical school and doing dermatology or some sort of surgery.

How do you spend your spare time?

I adore going hiking, being in nature, fishing and exploring new terrain. I’m also always up for trying anything new. I like a good movie as much as an adventure.

Do you have a favorite movie?

I adore movies from the 90’s! A few of my old time favorites are The Professional, Casino, Practical Magic and Federico Fellini’s films for the visuals.

Tell us a little about yourself?

These days, I’m a combination of an Aussie at heart and an American day to day. I’m proud to have grown up with my roots firmly planted in Australia, you can’t have an inflated ego living there and it keeps me grounded. My family also helps with that!

When I first lived in NYC, I was in awe of what an incredible country this is, a driven country with goals of exceeding your expectations. I’m proud to be both American and Australian now.

How would you describe your style?

I adore fashion and I like to stay up to date with trends, but only if they align with my taste. I’d say I’m a combination of 70’s glam, with a hint of menswear, I’m all about duality, I love femininity mixed with the strength of a tailored jacket. I’m certainly not afraid to choose bold colors, unusual shapes and design.

Keep up with Brooke’s beautiful photographs and busy life on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/brookemasonphoto/?hl=en). 

 

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Dan “Tito” Davis connects with Dalai Lama during 7 Continent Book Tour

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World Traveler and Renowned South Dakota Bestselling Author of “Gringo: My Life on the Edge as an International Fugitive” Dan “Tito” Davis has just wrapped up his seven continent book signing tour in Antarctica. Davis has been promoting his book and his message of growth through adversity for the last 18 months after being released from prison. Before then Tito spent 13 years on the run from the US government as an international fugitive. Davis is one of the first, if not the only author, to do a book signing tour across all seven continents.

You took your bestselling book “Gringo: My Life on the Edge as an International Fugitive” around the world. How did you get the idea to do a seven-continent book signing tour?

When my book went number one on Amazon I did my first world tour in 53 days.  After that, I continued to promote my book. Recently when I was in Argentina I realized that I had done book signings on every continent other than Antarctica. At that point, I decided to knock out the seven continents, which meant heading to Antarctica.

I was in contact with John McKeon, the President of Polar Latitudes, and I let him know that my goal for this cruise was to do a book signing in a penguin colony in Antarctica.   I also let him know that this book signing would be on my seventh continent.  I would like to thank Polar Latitudes for making my adventure possible. They have a very attentive and professional staff which made this adventure extremely memorable and comfortable.

Your book is about your life on the run as a fugitive, and how you turned it all around to become a famous South Dakota writer. What was the reaction to your book while you were on tour?

Just about everyone has been extremely positive in regards to my book.   Many of them are intrigued when they meet me because they’ve never met an international fugitive, or I should say former international fugitive, before.  A few people have asked me if I’m still a fugitive.  Laugh out loud! I tell them if I was a fugitive I sure wouldn’t be out here in the front of the room promoting this book!!! I’d be back in a corner trying to slip away.

During your travels, you met the Dalai Lama and gave him a copy of your book. What was that like?

I was fortunate enough to have a private audience with his Holiness the Dalai Lama while I was in India.  At that time I believe he was 83 years old, and he looked 20 years younger. He had five rings of security around him. You could not take your own camera or phone into the temple. It was like going through airport security in the United States but you didn’t get your items back until you were leaving his temple.  Only the Dalai Lama’s official photographer was allowed to take pictures.

The Dalai Lama is definitely a professional. He was very outgoing, very kind and asked me what my book was about. I told him it was about the same thing you’re preaching Your Holiness, it is about perseverance, it is about survival, and it is about life.  He told me that those are very important qualities.  He then put his forehead to my forehead and held up my book with his free hand.

I couldn’t believe it!   My forehead is touching the Dalai Lama’s forehead and he’s holding up my book. I couldn’t have asked for a better scenario.  I had a special feeling of peace and tranquility when I was with the Dalai Lama.  It is a hard feeling to accurately describe.

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Becoming A Successful Music Artist: 5 Tips On How To Survive In The Music Industry With A Certain Energy

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Shain Romanowski, better known by stage name A Certain Energy, is a hip hop artist from Fort Wayne, Indiana and a U.S. Marine veteran. Here’s 5 Tips On How To Survive In The Music Industry he gave:

Brand yourself.

Branding yourself can take you a long ways when it comes to an image you want representing yourself. As a musical artist you would want people to know that image. Some people go about this with a logo, whereas others go with this by a tag on a beat. Think of it like this, you want something external representing you out in public that people would recognize. That they can use to differentiate yourself from the competition. This can become a long term promotional tool for you if executed properly at the same time.

Know your market.

This ties closely with branding. Once you know your brand you want to market yourself to the right demographics. For instance it wouldn’t make sense for a hip hop artist to market themselves into a alternative rock field. This just wouldn’t sell right. Lose more money that way. Come at it with a business approach. You are the product, and the product needs to connect with the people that they find more use for you with. That’s the way I see it.

Don’t burn bridges (unless it is vital).

In an industry as tough as ours we need to come at it from a team perspective. You don’t make it by yourself no matter how you “self-made” you think you are. There are connections you made that got you opportunities in the first place. The moment you burn that bridge you put a strain on the newly developed relationship you had gotten from the previous burned down bridge. I’m not saying bury your dignity away, but all it takes is a little respect towards the ones that already put their foot in the door to let you in (as long as you’re worth the time to open the door for).

Mamba Mentality.

If you know me personally I am a big advocate on basketball legend Kobe Bryant who played for the Los Angeles Lakers from 1996 to 2016. His belief was to always be better than the opponent from all angles. Always be faster than the opponent. Be more defensive. Be more aggressive. You want to want it more than the opponent in front of you. In music this is what you want to be. The more passion you have than the other guy would take you a long ways. You’re more willing to accept risks. You’re more willing to take what you can get, but strive for more in the process. This mentality is clearly an ambitious feat that not all people have. You can’t just force this onto someone. This comes from the heart within. Only you know if you truly desire the success in whichever field you strive for. In this case with musical arts.

Don’t be afraid of failure.

Failure is what either makes you or breaks you. Take failure more for advice instead of taking it to heart. I’ve seen plenty of people venture into a field expecting automatic success just because they have that As Seen On TV mindset seeing someone else accomplish something. Every story is different, so don’t come in thinking everything is going to be easy, set, and automatically golden right from the get go. Every victory you receive is earned. I would rather have it that way too since it would be a win-win either way. Why? Because you value more, and value is the most important thing in my opinion with human traits. What ever we value most to us always seems to have more leverage with any possible outcome.

 

 

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The Disrupt Podcast tells the stories of the world top entrepreneurs, developers, creators, and digital marketers and help empower them to teach others the skills they used to grow their careers, chase their passions and create financial freedom for themselves, their families, and their lives, all while living out their true purpose. We recognize the fact that most young people are opting to skip college in exchange for entrepreneurship and real life experience. This Podcast is designed to give them a taste of that.

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