Cleverly Chloe Speaks on the Importance of Building a Social Presence, The Creation of ‘Clever in the City’ and the ‘Clever Coins’ Podcast, Her New Lane as a Creative Director and More.

In most cases, it’s hard to focus on multiple things at one time. When you’re busy focusing on one aspect of your life and trying to perfect it, you completely neglect another part and/or a particular craft. It’s rare when you can find the connection or similarities in the different dreams you’re pursuing and tie them together but that’s exactly what Chloe did. The young creative from the Bronx took everything that she knew best and used them to her advantage to build a foundation based on things she was talented in. Using her inspirations from her childhood to then building her own inspirations as life continued on, Chloe constructed a large following from the ground up based on her talents as a podcast host, short films/webs series actor, social media personality, event host, and so on.

I was able to catch up with Chloe in our interview below to talk about her life inspirations, what pushes her to constantly be creative, the importance of building a presence for yourself on social media, her strong connection to Dinner Land Network and more.

1 – When did you have that realization that you wanted to be a creator?

If I’m being honest, I can’t say I ever had the eureka moment where I woke up and decided; hey this is what I want to do. It sort of developed over time. Being a creative takes time. You have to try your hand at so many different things to figure out what it is you’re good at. For me, I’m talented or I’m blessed enough to say that I am talented in multiple areas and I was able to find a way to meld all the things that I love together.

2 – Coming up, what was your sense of inspiration for your creativity?

My mother was very creative. She was a collector of things. She collected magazines with so many timeless black women. I grew up with looking at them on the covers. I saw black faces constantly. I saw women in power, women in the theater, tv, dance and more. My mother was a big reason in me finding out and discovering all of my talents as she rolled me into the dance theater of Harlem at the age of three to study ballet, modern and Jazz until I was 16 years old.  She recorded every television award show from MTV VMAs, the Billboard Awards, and the AMA’s. I also watched the NAACP Image Awards, the Essence Awards, and the Source Awards. She was a big film buff. I watched black and white film at a young age. I knew every actress and every actor from the 19050s up until the 1990s. I was able to sit and watch every televised music award show there was. We would even record them. I was engulfed in entertainment and I think that fueled my desire and my passion to want to further express myself.

I was a child model. I was going to acting auditions and go-sees. I was a very talented child but I was a timid child until I grew older. I was able to release my creativity and it was a great expression for me. I was also a sketcher. I could design and draw. I knew how to do so many things and I just wanted to be able to do them all at once.

3 – When did you get your first shot at showcasing your creativity to the public?

That’s so hard to say. I think for those who’ve known me intimately, they could tell you that I’ve always been creative. From being a child in school, I was expressing myself through acting or design. I could make clothes as well but I guess to the public it would be through my blog, cleverlychloe.Tumblr.com. That’s where a lot of people saw that I was a talented writer and it wasn’t just about being obnoxious on social media.

I wrote an article that summarized the latest episode (at the time) of Tax Season from my friend, Taxstone, featuring my friends Ravie B. and the late Combat Jack. In the episode, Combat challenged the music and hip-hop industry as well as the personalities. We wanted the large platforms to do better as far as pushing the culture forward and the things we’ve done for the culture lately. I think that grabbed a lot of peoples attention who didn’t think I had much to say.

4 – You invest a lot of time into social media but it’s all apart of your image and your brand. In your opinion, how important do you think social media is for young creatives? How important is it for emerging brands?

If it wasn’t for social media, Cleverly Chloe and the brand wouldn’t exist. It sounds cliché to say but I think social media gets a bad rap. You can literally use multiple free platforms to make money and get your voice or message heard. I think people have to be smart about how they use their platform. If you have 1,000 followers that means you have a network to reach 1,000 people. Don’t waste it.

Repetition is key. Symbolism is key. Alliteration and being redundant is key when it comes to building your brand notoriety. A lot of people remember me and it’s not because of my face but because of my name, it’s easy to remember. I did that on purpose. Everything  I do has a purpose. I’ve never just jumped into something because I was afraid to miss an opportunity. My social media brand is a reflection of that.

5 – Was there any particular moment that you can remember where you noticed that your name and what you do began to catch on to people? How did that moment feel?

Oh yes, I remember that moment all too well. I think it was after Clever in the City was featured in REVOLT as one of the top five web series to look out for in 2017. I was exceedingly humbled and after that article, I started seeing projects for work that I had inspired which is humbling and flattering. But, you definitely take notice of what you do and how it affects or inspires people.

After that, I was being asked my opinion on things and that even started after my website and my blog took off. I saw that people cared about my opinion. That’s an honor and also an incredibly heavy weight to bear because now you have to be careful. It’s about what you say and how you say it to people because now you’re trying not to offend anyone. Your main goal is to inspire people to want to do better.  It can be a little overwhelming.

6 – In a world where content is constantly flowing, it’s hard to sometimes create an idea that belongs to you? Where do you currently pull your inspiration from? Has it become difficult for you and your team to brainstorm ideas?

I love classic sh*t. In my new lane as a creative director and a person who is trying to produce original visual content, my job to research things as well as put a new spin on what our generation finds appealing. I know my main purpose so my direction is always clear. To promote and inspire new talent to the masses, that’s always my goal.

I pull inspiration from old movies or books that I’ve read. I also get inspired by New York itself. My web series is dedicated to my city where I’m from. There’s a lot of inspiration to pull from. Even walking around and seeing people, I’m a studier of human nature and consumer behavior. I’ve pulled from everything which probably hurts me more than it does help me because I’m somewhat of a perfectionist. I don’t want to put out anything that sub-par. But, I get a lot of inspiration just from everyday life.

7 – You’re the creator of two well-known platforms. One being Clever in the City and the other being Cleverly Coins the podcast. What was the process of putting these two ideas together?

This was probably the most fun I’ve ever had in creating a project that I knew made sense. Clever in the City is obviously inspired by Sex and the City. I have always felt connected to the characters on there as young women going through life. Now, being a creative working in New York and living here I can relate to so much. I wanted to do a unique spin in which I was able to showcase my friends in the industry that I work with that are also doing the same thing as me. It’s very tough to be a creative here and I wanted to showcase the people that were successful and how you can be when you really stick to it. I also wanted to show how influential the city is to that culture.

I literally isolate myself from people while creating. I delved into all the seasons of Sex and the City and watched every episode. So, every episode of Clever has infusions of that series just to kinda tieback a correlation.

The Clever Coins podcast was great fun to do because I have a history of podcasting and people wanted to hear me again. I also wanted to extend the conversations from each episode so they came together quite seamlessly. I had a lot of fun involving everyone that I’ve had for the first season and it was just such a magical moment that I hope to be able to re-create in the future.

8 – You played in a web series called Appropriate Culture. How did you manage to get into that? For those who don’t know, what was the series based on?

So, the great thing about Appropriate Culture is that it’s written, directed and stars its creator, Julian Stephen. One day Julian called me and told me he had a script and he wrote a character with me in mind and asked if I would be willing to read the script and see if I would be interested in joining the project. Above all, I was flattered but I was a little hesitant. I wasn’t sure how ready I was to get back into acting. It had been a while but I knew I needed to start. I read the script and I thought it was really funny, really smart and knew there weren’t that many young black comedies. I felt that we could do something really unique and different. The rest is pretty much history.

The show is based on two brothers living in New York trying to figure out and balance dating friendships. They have a dad who gives them all sorts of crazy advice but it really showcases how young people have to adapt into young adulting. As cliché as that may sound, Julian did a great job with picking a diverse enough cast to where everyone can bring something different, watch the show, and recognize somebody in a character that they see.

9 – How did you link up with Dinner Land?

When my manager and I first got together, she asked me what I wanted to do and I mentioned that I wanted to relaunch a web series. She asked if I knew of any production people are videographers and I told her no. She immediately thought of Dinner Land. We already knew them from working with Taxstone and Combat Jack. I was familiar with their production value and some of their contact and I was interested in seeing if they would be able to bring this vision I had to life. We had a sit down with Shake, the producer of my web series, and the rest is history. We were able to really create a great synergy and he really helped me in bringing Clever in the City to fruition.

10 – I recently interviewed Yan, one of your colleagues from Dinner Land. She shed a lot of light on the brand as a whole. In your opinion, why do you think Dinner Land has become so important to our culture and to the emerging creative?

It’s quality over quantity over there. They don’t just take on any assignment just say they did it. They actually want to see unique ideas push the forefront. I am so humbled and appreciative that they took a chance on Clever because I knew I wasn’t trying to waste anyone’s time with bullsh*t content. Doing safe sh*t is easy but it’s also boring and Dinner Land is willing to go outside the lines if it means producing original work that has value. I love Dinner!

11 – With everything that you’ve involved yourself in throughout the last few years, what do you think the most important and memorable moment was? How did that moment help contribute to who you are today?

I don’t think I can chuck it up to just one moment. I had so much fun in 2017. I experienced extreme highs and extreme lows from hosting in front of thousands of people and coming out of my acting shell again and being on the web series in front of the camera. There’s so much that pushes me. I think to be able to force myself out of my comfort zone as far as entertaining. that’s what I love. I love to live in those moments. I think we are often chasing that high and I’m blessed enough to be able to experience multiple highs.

12 – Who are some women in the industry that you admire? Why?

I have a great circle and network of women that I get to watch and that I respect. From my friend Raven a.k.a. Ravie B. to Nina Parker. There is another friend of mine by the name of Bridget Kelly and Karen Civil has been a constant inspiration for me. Women in film and television like Shonda Rimes, Mara Brock Akil and Lena White. I have seen my friend Scottie Beam do amazing things these past few months since leaving Hot 97. I look at my friends and my support system around me. I have so many women that I watch. Gia Peppers is another one who I think is awesome. Yara Shahidi I think is the voice of the black women in the generation coming behind me and I can’t wait to see what she does in the future. There are so many people that I constantly watch and I can’t wait to work with them.

13 – As a woman working in this industry, what has been the most important piece of advice given to you that you still live by today?

I remember once, Combat and I were driving in his car and I told him I was hesitant on wanting to do too many things too soon and I might want to take my time with doing some things. He told me; “Chloe, go after that shit now! You’re only young once. You’re talented, you’re smart, you got the drive do it now before it’s too late because there’s always going to be somebody behind you trying to do it better.”  He was always helpful and constantly inspiring me. whenever I felt down he told me so many inspirational things. He believed in me so much. I’ll remember everything he ever told me. But, it definitely will help me in not being afraid to release my projects and my work.

14 – What’s next for Chloe and her team? What can your fans expect from you in 2018?  

More Clever in the City and more Clever Coins podcast. I’m going to be helping with other peoples projects right now and doing a lot as far as creative direction. You’ll be seeing my name in credits if you pay attention.  I’m looking to grow as an actor and on-camera personality.  I’m trying to delve into multiple arenas so right now I’m perfecting my craft during this hibernation mode.  However, I’m looking to emerge for spring and summer 2018 on top!

Tatiana “Yan” Snead Speaks On Music Aspirations, Women Working Behind the Scenes in the Entertainment Industry, Dinner Land Network, Tips for the Rising Artist and More.

To celebrate Women’s History Month, I wanted to highlight some talented women who lend a hand in helping drive and push every aspect of our culture to the next level. Although there are so many women in the entertainment industry who constantly get overlooked based on their gender, I’ve come across a vast amount of knowledgeable women who not only know their craft like the back of their hand but can and have outworked any man that they’re put up against.

With so many extraordinary women in the world today, I decided to start this interview series off with one that I’ve known for a little over a year and her name is Yan. Using social media tactics as well as digital marketing strategies as her way of strong engagement, Yan has been able to build up a dedicated and loyal fan base and continues to do so by feeding her target audience what they’re relentlessly in search of. These things can range from her putting out a playlist that consists of emerging artists, visual treatments, collaborative projects with like-minded influencers, critiques and/or op-ed writing pieces and much more.

I had the chance to catch up with Yan to talk about a few things that made her the multi-talented woman she is today. Check it out below.

1 – You pursued music throughout college but how did your love for music start?

I can’t remember too much of anything earlier than 3-years-old, however, I do distinctly remember walking up to this colossal stone home on Clinton Ave., Trenton, NJ, hand in hand with my father. We walked inside and were greeted by this slender middle-aged woman with long blonde hair — now looking back on it, she very much reminded me of a hippie — along with this older woman, who I remember not being too fond of due to her habit of pressing my fingers down on keys. There I would spend my first few years learning to play the piano, the instrument I would go on to love and play for years. This home is where my love for music began, and I am forever grateful to my father for introducing us.

During that period of my life, I was also put in Watson-Johnson Dance Theater in Trenton, NJ, where I would perform ballet, tap, and jazz until I was about 10-years-old. Surprisingly, dance was ACTUALLY the love of my life for years after stopping, however, I was never re-enrolled in dance school after my father removed me from it due to the poor conditions of the studio at the time.

By 4th grade, I took up the violin, completely hated it (which is ironic now, over 15 years later, wishing I could play a string instrument). In 2007, I entered Ewing High School and joined the marching band. These are probably my best memories with music, being that I had to attend band camp during the summer so that the music and formations would be mastered in time for the upcoming football games. What most don’t know is, I did not play piano during this year in band… I played the bass and snare drums. So imagine me, 5’1, a GIRL (the only girl on the drumline) with that goofy ass uniform on with the big feathered hat, trying to march that huge drum around a hot ass field. “It’s gonna be a no from me dawg.” I ended up quitting the band. I also joined the Shiloh Baptist Church Youth Choir and the Mercer County Community College Jazz band (Senior Year) which is where I found my love for singing.

2 – At what point did you realize creating music wasn’t your passion anymore?

When I graduated high school, I moved down south to Fayetteville, North Carolina to attend Fayetteville State as a Music Major. I ended up transferring to Kean University in the Fall of 2012 after being accepted into their classical voice program.

My first and last two years spent as a music major at Kean really brought to light a few things for me that I am blessed and thankful for having realized so early on. Although performing arts instilled a sense of passion in me, a degree in music would have cost me five years of undergraduate study and over $100K of debt.

Secondly, through performing during those 2 years, I learned of my severe case of stage fright. With this in mind, I questioned my passion for performing arts and whether or not a degree was even required in order to become a famous musician. I studied the success of other mainstream artists and recognized how much dedication, work, and luck it took to actually make it as a performer, and that just was not something I could see myself being devoted. Not to mention, no one ever needed a degree to be able to sing or play the piano well. Furthermore, in 2014 I switched my major to communications with a minor in music and deaded the idea of creating music for a living.

3 – Was the music/entertainment industry something you always saw yourself being apart of?

Absolutely, although my desire to become a musician faded, that never changed my general passion for music. After all, it literally was my life for over 15 years. It’s hard to part ways with a love that deep.

4 – How did you manage to get into the on-air personality/podcast world?

In 2011 I ran an art/music submission blog, and one of the Jersey artists that submitted to me became a really good friend of mine. When I got back to Jersey, he introduced me to Jamar Dickson, who was looking for a female personality on his then radio show. We linked up and clicked really well, so everything was a go from there. We rebranded around the newer ideas we brainstormed for the show, and then boom, Podcast About Nothing.

5 – You’re a natural writer due to the fact that you wrote music. Did you ever think it would come to a point where you would be writing about and critiquing other peoples music?

When Tumblr became a popular platform in 2010 I knew I would end up writing about and critiquing other people’s music. I enjoyed blogging, so it only made sense that I combined my musical ear and background with music blogging. What I didn’t foresee was that I’d get bored with it. When you produce so many write-ups on a frequent basis, it begins to all look the same if journalism isn’t truly your forte.

However, critiquing is definitely a forte of mine; I always knew I’d be pretty solid with music critiquing. I’ve studied voice, instruments and music theory for years. It’s really second nature for me to know when something sounds off, what harmony would sound better in a specific place within a record, what type of energy you should bring to a song, what instruments would sound best with an artist’s voice… you know, things of that nature.

6 – You’re one of the women that comes to mind when it comes to advocating for independence and not relying on the major co-signs. In your opinion, why do you think rising music artists, entrepreneurs, etc constantly look for that major backing rather than making things work themselves?

I think artists desire the major backing simply because of instant gratification. You hop on the internet and all you really see is people seemingly popping up and getting famous. It’s really cliche, but this is exactly what it is. The prevalence of the internet has made it extremely easy for artists to quickly garner attention and become stars, so we lose that appreciation for “the process.” Nobody wants to do the local shows, everyone wants to hit the big stages immediately because they believe that’s the quickest way to get noticed. Many artists have become extremely lazy when it comes to marketing themselves and building an audience, not realizing that those fans you build are the people that help you to see longevity in this game. Those fans are the ones that’ll show you love time and time again because they’ve become a fan of YOU, the artist. Those artists that are in and out of the game don’t last because the listeners are a fan of the song. Once the song is no longer a popular hit, the audience is looking for the next hit. You HAVE to put the work in if you really want more out of this game beyond a payoff or two.

7 – What is it about an artist that draws you in?

Overall quality and attention to detail draw me in the most. When an artist approaches me with more than just a link to their work, it displays that they care about their craft. How is the graphic work looking? How well is the social media account put together as far as content? How well are the songs engineered? Do they perform well, and do they perform well even when there’s barely an audience? Did the artist check to see if his/her record matched the vibe of my playlist before he/she submitted it to me? Details are so important. An artist that cares about minor details, is an artist that really loves this shit. THAT’s the artist that gets my attention.

8 – How do you feel when it comes to women in the entertainment industry? Not those that are necessarily in the spotlight but for the women who are behind the scenes more like yourself – do you feel they get enough credit?

Within Drake’s record, Trophies — he said: “Stay committed, fuck the credit” and as simple as it is, that line played one of the most pivotal roles in changing the way I viewed receiving credit. I can understand the frustration women feel when we don’t get the credit we deserve, however it’s a catch 22. We are behind-the-scenes… not in front of, so make moves and build your name, the credit will come. We get so caught up in wanting credit for things, that we stop working to our full potential because not receiving credit can become extremely disheartening. You just have to work so hard that you can’t be denied your credit. People see you working, believe that.

9 – What’s it like working with a rising company like Dinner Land?

Dinner Land was the greatest calculated risk I ever took. Dinner Land taught me that everything isn’t about money when you truly love it. Much like credit, the money will come eventually. There’s more value in the connections you build and solid collaborations. There’s more value in building a solid reputation, than looking just to get paid for something.

Dinner Land is the circle of friends I always needed but could never find — they motivate me, they check me when I’m wrong, they provide guidance, we laugh together, we build together and most of all they provide love. In your lifetime, most of the people you work with are not going to give a f*ck about you, just what you can do for them, so when you meet people like Shake, Blue, and Sunny who care about you as a person just as much as you as a business partner, you have to cherish that.

Dinner Land forced me to be daring with my endeavors, to stop being so insecure about releasing content. They taught me not to be intimidated by my blessings. They also taught me to recognize my value and influence, so expect to see me maximize those things going forward.

10 – How did you land the Editor-In-Chief role?

In December 2016 Shake dropped a graphic on the Dinner Land account looking for people that wanted to contribute to Dinner Land. At the time I was a media personality on a podcast and a vlog, both of which I knew didn’t fit the Dinner Land aesthetic, however, I knew I wanted to somehow become involved. I reached out to Shake, we got on a really long, insightful phone call, and I came out to link with the team in Long Island. After a few weeks of solid social media management, Shake called me one day and was like, “Dinner Land is no longer going to be Dinner-land.com, it’s going to be Dinnerland.tv and it’s going to be run like a Network. I’m emailing you the login, and it’s all yours. Do your thing.” We built trust between each other, and I delivered in the ways I promised I would. I honestly came at exactly the right time, I landed EIC by the grace of God.

11 – Why do you think Dinner Land has been able to build up such a great reputation when it comes to independent creatives?

Dinner Land has been able to build up that reputation because we place emphasis on showing love to those that don’t normally get it. If you want to find new music from celebrities and whoever’s already buzzing, you can easily hit Complex, HotNewHipHop or The Fader. What purpose does producing the same content that is already widely available across countless platforms serve? When you think of Dinner Land we want you to think of innovation, and there’s nothing innovative about building content around artists we see up and down the timeline on an everyday basis. That method is not progressive in the slightest.

12 – You’re heavily involved in the new generation of rising rappers/singers and you showcase a lot of that on your ‘Whip Sessions’ music playlist. What does it take to get a feature on that playlist and what are some general tips you give out to rising musicians on getting their music picked up or noticed by music writers?

As far as getting featured on my playlists, I go by the same things I mentioned regarding what about an artist draws me in. The most important thing for playlist selection is sound quality. I don’t care how popular an artist or song is, I really just look for sound quality that matches the vibe of the playlist.

As far as tips on getting your music noticed, #1 make sure your branding is solid. There’s nothing enticing about a social media account full of selfies and memes. Make sure your album artwork looks good because many will skip over your record because the presentation is poor. #2 BUILD YOUR FAN BASE. When you see sites like Pigeons and Planes who get thousands of submissions post their “who should we listen to?” tweets, your fans are the ones that’ll keep tweeting your name to these platforms — create a demand for your music.

13 – What should the people following Yan expect from her as we continue on with 2018?

Expect a Late Rides Mix from me and DJ Miss Milan every month, a solid #MusicMonday campaign via Dinner Land Network in collaboration with Crystal Caines and Manhattan Beach Recordings who will be providing studio sessions to artists who win weekly polls, solid playlists, a few more episodes of #RhymeClub Cypher Series, and genuine love. Honestly, that’s really all I’m here for outside of digital marketing — showing love and connecting underdogs with an audience.