ChriStylezz Speaks on How He Got Started in Event Hosting, The Effectiveness of Social Media, The D’usse Palooza Family, What’s Keeping Him Motivated and More.

There are many words, phrases, and titles that have been getting tossed around very loosely the last couple of years and I’m more than positive I’m not the only person who thought it was weird. Words like “curator” and “vibes” were not words that people were using but ever since the major shift in how our culture is perceived as well as the major shift in how social media has changed the world and the way we view things, some people have created a whole new wave while others just continue to just ride that wave. More specifically, professions like an event host was not a “bread and butter” grind that many thought would make a lot of people rich and/or famous but in 2018, the event host is the new face of any party and/or function. Much like the DJ, today’s event host has the full-on responsibility of carrying the party and making sure that the entire ship runs as smoothly as possible while also doing little things to keep the attendees in tune and more importantly, keeping them entertained. I’ve come across a lot of event hosts but the name ChriStylezz has become synonymous with fun, entertainment and good times.

By using his energy, outgoing personality, comedic humor amongst other things, ChriStylezz has shown how one can emerge from hosting parties for his alma mater, Old Westbury to becoming one of the most highly recommended hosts out there. But, in doing so, emphasizing the fact that you can do it just by being yourself 100% of the time. From hosting Palooza parties alongside acts like Nipsey Hussle, YG, Wale, Swizz Beatz, Chance The Rapper, Cam’ron, Ja Rule and more, the young phenom continues to embody what it means to work hard, work smart, and dedicate yourself by constantly learning and growing your passion.

I had the chance to talk to ChriStylezz about his hosting come up, why he decided to get into event hosting, his popular Trappin Anonymous Podcast, working with the D’usse Palooza family, his current motivational factors and much more in our full interview below.

1 – How did you get started in event hosting?

Well, with the hosting it started off through my fraternity. I had my own PR company when I was college as well. The first thing I told people when I crossed was I was going to travel. I told them I was gonna get up, go out and meet people. I wanted to network. I wanted to see what was really good out here. I wanted to know my network. I wanted to know who else was in the fraternity that I could bounce ideas off of and just make shit happen. That was the first thing I did and from there I was just road tripping. I remember calling this dude I was like “Yo, my name is Chris. I just crossed over at Old Westbury. I’m coming to your campus and I want to see if this frat is what everybody says it is.” He was telling me not to worry about it. I never met this kid a day in my life. Some chick was telling me that this dude was running the campus. This dude didn’t know me from a hole in the wall and he just embraced me. We went out and we was just kicking it. From there we came up with this lil event where we would go up and down the east coast and just throw events and host them. We was the Kappas shimmying in the parties. I was telling him we gotta do more. We can’t just be the Kappas shimmying, I wanted a tangible talent. We had DJ’s and promoters and all these people built around us but what is it that we do? I had asked a DJ at one of our events like “Yo, you think I could fuck with this mic shit real quick?” He was like yeah. He checked the levels and shit and told me I could feel it out and see if I like it. When I was talking to the crowd they was responding and I was like “Oh, shit!”

2 – It seems like you’ve always had a knack for making people laugh. I thought you were a social media personality. Do you consider yourself that as well?

I always been the kind of dude that walked in the room and by the time I left everybody was like “Yo, who was that kid?” I’ve always been that guy. My personality has always been that electric when it came to entering different rooms. I actually want to do comedy one day. I wanna get on a fucking stage and tell jokes. I wanna do that before I die. I’ve always been this type of charismatic person, you know. I never considered myself like “Instagram” funny. I’m in-person funny. Like, if you’re around me I can definitely make you laugh. I don’t know if I can sit there and create skits and shit all day long. That’s not really where my knack is. Not to limit myself and say I can’t but I don’t know if that’s what I want to do. I’m more about cultivating my talent and craft as an event host and just finding a space within that. But, I’ve always been lively. I’ve always had mad jokes. I was the kid that was cutting niggas ass and getting niggas in they feelings. I was mad problematic. I always knew how to get under people skin and always knew what to say. It just translates well on social media. I wouldn’t even consider myself a social media personality per say just because it’s not something I work at. When funny things come up I might post that or if I get a funny idea I may post that.

3 – In your opinion, what makes a great event host?

Originality, man. Just being able to be innovative. Being able to capture the crowd and capture the moments that don’t seem typical or things that people aren’t expecting. Being able to do those things are what make a great host. Pretty much not sticking to the script and not doing a bunch of shit that you see everybody else do. To me, there was no formula of how to be a host. It was just a formula of how to be Chris. So, I’ve always been me on that stage and me being me just translated well on the stage. I’m really that hype person and that dancing person. I think that’s the best part of it because it doesn’t look like I’m trying or forcing it. It doesn’t look like I’m trying to be in a space where i don’t belong. Having those ways to be you and still stick to the job, still make people laugh and have fun, interacting with the crowd and so on. All of those things are intertwined.

4 – I remember listening to your podcast Trappin Anonymous when you first introduced it. The inspiration behind it seems pretty evident but talk about that a little bit. What made you want to showcase these stories?

Well, Trappin Anonymous is like my baby. That’s my life’s work. Trapping Anonymous is just gonna live on forever because it’s just good work. It’s very natural. It’s very hands on. It’s at the very ground level of the culture. It’s not a bunch of celebrities on there. It’s not about me seeing if I could get a wild moment out of somebody else. This is just someone’s story coming from everyday people. Everyone has a story. This is me getting their story and having those conversations. To be honest, people are interesting and at some point, everyone wants to tell some part of their story. I don’t care who you are. I was kind of forced into this space to create something that was my own. I didn’t just want to be the Palooza host or just the guy dancing on stage. I wanted to be known for something else that I can create. I’m a creative. I create shit. That’s always been me. Just the circle that I’m around, it’s like a hub for talent. We got people that do video, people that take great pictures, we got people that are on tv, one doing radio and so on. It’s like what else do you do my man? So, I had to create something more. They say you hang around 8 millionaires you’ll be the 9th one because by mistake my ambition is gonna rub off on you. That drive and that want to become better is gonna rub off on you and that’s exactly what happened. I didn’t even know if I wanted to host anymore. I just wanted to become more and become better. But, I’ve always been fascinated with the underworld. I love scam, I love crime, I love people stealing and shit. I’m fascinated with people who live or have lived that type of lifestyle.

5 – The podcast world seems somewhat competitive cause everyone is doing one. Why do you believe Trappin Anonymous received the recognition and high praise that it did upon the launch of it?

It’s something that no one has ever done within the podcast world. It’s like people are doing some of the same things like current events, hip-hop media, some talk about other topics like relationships and sex and a bunch of shit. Everyone has a podcast. Trappin Anonymous is episodic. It’s not like every week you’re gonna get a new episode. It’s like this is gonna come out and when it does it’s gonna be very different and very fresh. It was intended to be something that you’ve never heard before. At first, people were like they were gonna listen to it cause the idea was so fire and then it turned into oh shit, this is actually good. It’s starting conversations and it’s becoming something more. The mystery of it was dope but then to top it off the content was actually good. 200,000 to 300,000 plays later it’s something that people can always come back to.

6 – You use social media as your own personal playground. Multiple photos and videos of you have gone viral. In your opinion, why do you think it’s important for one to utilize social media to build their brand?

Well, first things first it’s me being me. Like I said before, when I’m creating content or when I post shit it’s not like “Yo, I’m a do this skit and post it on social media.” All of this shit you see is really my life. I don’t be at parties like “Hey, let’s dance and post it on social media to see how many likes we can get.” People are catching me in real life moments and I think that’s why those things go viral. It’s pure fun and it feels good. When people look at me or think about me, I want them to feel that good time or good vibe. It’s the same thing as hosting. I’m not reading off of a script. I’m being me. You’ll like me for it, you’ll love me for it or you’ll hate me for it but where you are with it, it’s fine. But, at the core of it, this is ChriStylezz. This is who I am. On social media people just eat it up. People wanna laugh and have a good time. It’s super important for my personal brand cause I wanna do shows, I want people to book me and do other things. The more attention that I can get the more room that I have to do those creative things.

Why did y'all do this to me?!?! 😭😭😭 #christylezzwiththedancemoves #christylezz

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7 – It’s safe to say that at this point a lot of people know you from the Paloozas. But, how did you manage to get link up with Kam?

Well, here’s the thing with Kam… I don’t know if it was more about what he saw in me or him trying to get me to see something within myself. He said “Yo, you’re saying you can do this, that and this. You’re saying you want to transform this, that and this. Come to me with a plan and verbalize it. If it’s in the capacity for me to do it then I’ll do whatever in my power to make it happen. If I can’t then I can’t.” Then, I came to him with a plan. It just happens that we were able to execute it well but it was like, it was very honest conversation that we would always have. I remember one of the Henny Palooza’s I was suppose to be hosting and I was like “Ight, when’s my turn. Let me get on” He’s telling me five more minutes and he got me. Five minutes pass. I’m asking if it’s my time yet. He keep telling me he got me. It got to the point where I didn’t even feel I was getting on and I’m sitting there like yo, what the fuck. We had a conversation but at the end of the day, what you gonna do? You gotta earn your space, bro. You gotta earn that light, bro. There are so many people are out there and I can’t even remember they names. You know why? Cause they not here, bro. I say that to say it’s not about what he seen in me. I had to see it in myself. I had to get there but I still had to carve a path once I got there. It wasn’t just like “Ok, here it is.” When i got the point of ok, here it is… that’s when the real work began. I had to really find that fire within me so that I can create a lane within this on my own. Kam was just like “Ight, I opened the door. Go ahead.” Shit felt like post-grad like “Ok, here’s the real world.” haha.

8 – You guys have done so many parties in other cities, states and even islands. In your opinion, what makes a great event? Secondly, how does one stand out amongst a group of amazing talents such as the D’usse Palooza family?

What makes a good event really comes down to what makes a good host. It’s really the originality, bro. It’s bringing something fresh and new. It’s challenging the norm. You really gotta go against that. Take D’usse Palooza for example. We eliminated the V.I.P. You can’t go in there and have a bottle. you can’t go in there and have a section. You can’t go in there and feel like you’re above anyone else. You gotta go in there and feel like you’re on the same level as everyone else. That went against party culture in the city. The city is known for the bottles, the sections, the lights and all that shit. The dressing up and the heels and all that shit. People come through in sweats, jeans, sneakers on some hanging out shit. It completely went against the grain. Why was Trappin Anonymous so big? Cause it talked about those things. It challenged what podcasts really were at that time. There was no real storytelling. It was just banter. But again, a great event is something that challenges the norm. The DJ is the most important part to any party. They carry it out and make sure the music is good and the party is flowing. That has to be coupled with the good idea. Now, you see these themed parties and you see these people are doing this type of party which is great cause they’re trying to find their way in the mix as well. But, there’s gonna come a time when this becomes the saturated place. Then, people are going to have to find something else. People are always going to be forced to challenge the norm and create. As for me standing out in my family, it comes to me being the best at what I do. To me, it’s not hard because this is like a place where only the best survive. I’m not here by mistake or here to be someone else. I think Karl is the best videographer in the city. I think Peej makes the best graphics and flyers. I think Ravie B takes the best pictures. I humbly believe that these people are the best in the business. They way you stay afloat is by constantly reinventing yourself and becoming better. I be up there DJ’ing sometimes. I’m pushing the envelop. I’m learning new crafts that I didn’t even know I would have the skills to cultivate. You gotta stay hungry, bro. You gotta always know that you could never get to a point where you can just stop and become lazy or creating or pushing the envelop.

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9 – From all the parties that the team has done, is there one that comes to mind that didn’t turn out the way you guys thought it would? Which party would you say was the best? Why?

Of course, bro. There are some parties that have happened where I say to myself this shit was terrible or a bunch of things that could’ve been done better. Maybe more planning. Just a ton of shit. There are times where we’ve sat around after the party was over and said to one another “This shit was not it.” But, with every party, we’re constantly reminded of why we’re in the space that we’re in. Then, you’ll have these great moments like the party in L.A. or the one in NYC when we’re all just like wow, we can do this shit forever. I know niggas be watching like “Damn when these niggas gonna fail?” I probably would feel the same way. But, we not here by mistake, bro. This shit wasn’t no lotto ticket. We are literally the best at what we do. This is the only space for us.

10 – In your opinion, why do you think D’usse Palooza has become so important to the party/event space in today’s culture?

Every era has that “thing.” Our parents had like The Tunnel, you hear Funk Flex and Mister Cee and Clark Kent talk about all the time. Like, every era had something that people would be like “yo, this is the shit!” You think about Elks, Empire and so on. Every era has that thing and as of now, we’re blessed to be that thing for our era. Not to mention, every party feels new. We stay on our toes and we try to think of ways to make it better, you know. And sometimes simplicity is just it. It’s not about going all out for no reason. It’s mostly about keeping it right where it’s at for a good time, bro. Niggas ain’t in there tryna fight or shoot the shit up. You can’t put a price on that I don’t care how much the ticket cost. It’s just a really good time. Everybody coming through to vibe. It really was a social media event. It’s probably one of the only parties you’ve seen grow over time because of social media.

11 – I’ve been following you for a while and over the years you’ve gotten better and better at your craft. What keeps you motivated to keep going?

Well, one is the team. Just watching the team and watching everybody win makes you want to win. Also, becoming content. Not wanting more. The feeling of not wanting to do something extraordinary. The idea of more, more, more creates a very unhappy place because now that more becomes your validation. That more becomes you saying “I’m gonna be happy when x,y,z happens.” That pretty much suggests that you’re not happy now and we can’t have that. So, now we’re putting pressure on ourselves to constantly create and constantly do this, that and the third and we’re sad. But then it always turns out to be like “Yo, when I get this I’m a be good.” No, because when you finally get that, it’s going to be something else that you gotta get. That’s part of the problem. For me, it’s like if that “if” never happens or that “when” never comes, what happens now? That something that you place validation over your happiness for now consoles whether you’re happy or not. What if you never reach that point? What if takes 2-3 years? So, now you gotta live depressed cause you wasn’t able to reach that? Nah. What we gotta do is learn how to be happy through growth and we gonna enjoy that space that we’re in right now. We gonna celebrate those wins right now. Then, we gonna continue to get to it. But, we’re not gonna focus on or put all of our emphasis on where we gotta be because that can’t continue to control our emotions and our present state.

12 – What’s the biggest piece of advice anyone has ever given you?

Don’t care. My first show at Old Westbury. I asked the guy backstage who was hosting before me like “how do you do this shit?!” Public speaking is already trash. That shit is mad scary. He dead ass told me like “yo, Stylezz you can’t care.” I said what? He said “you can’t care, bro.” Now, I’m thinking if I trip and I run backstage I’m a laughing stock but if I trip and say some shit like “yo, what the hell is wrong with these floors? Somebody come fix this shit” it becomes a joke. I am in control the entire time. I’m so worried about whatever everybody else is thinking that I’m unable to do whatI’m called here to do. Why am I caring? People don’t even care that much. As much as everybody think they got haters and people hating, people don’t give a damn. Something gonna happen to you, the timeline gonna talk about it for a couple hours and then something gonna happen to somebody else, bro. How can I let your opinion control everything that I’m doing? How? How can I do that to myself? I don’t care bro. When you see me post stuff it’s because I watched it 50 times and I laughed 50 times because i think it’s funny. I think it’s hilarious. People probably sit up there like this nigga is corny. Bro, it’s not about you. People will love you for it though because they’re honestly afraid to be themselves. I just don’t care, bro.

13 – What’s next for ChriStylezz? What can your fans expect from you for 2018?

We talking equity now. We talking more ownership. Whether that’s living, events and so on. You can’t just pay me to be a host anymore. How can I get equity in your event? You can’t just give me a check to go do something. How can I become a part of whatever it is you’re doing and see the money that you’re making? That’s the mind-boggling thing. I’m not gonna keep doing this and hosting and you got people DJ’ing events… the real question is how much money are you making to where you can pay out this amount of money? You would never ever go back to that side of the business. So, now we’re talking about making money off the backend and the front end. We need both bags. It’s creating more content but aligning myself with bigger platforms so we can make shit bigger and reach more people. We still staying on top of the content we’re putting out and building up the social media. Still hosting, doing the most’n and just enjoying myself bro. I’m just gonna continue to have fun in the space that I’ve earned and busted my ass for.

Clarissa Forde Speaks on Her Fashion Inspirations, The Growth of Her Rising Brand TMM.Life, How She Got Into Fashion Styling and More.

Streetwear is something that’s continuing to dominate the fashion world everyday. With so many brands that are currently flourishing all at once, it’s hard to ignore the fact that these brands are popping up all over the place. Not to mention a lot of these streetwear and/or contemporary brands are beginning to collaborate with high fashion labels which ultimately helps expand their name even wider. As someone who knows a bit about fashion, whether full streetwear or contemporary, I’ve yet to come across a woman who knows more about it than Clarissa Forde a.k.a The Mixed Mannequin. Using her unique sense of style and extensive knowledge in both streetwear and high fashion, Clarissa has been able to build up a brand and an audience that not only consists of today’s hypebeasts but also those who appreciate the evolution of one of the biggest growing businesses in the world.

I had the opportunity to chop it with with Clarissa and she talked about her inspirations, why she decided to get involved in fashion, her reason behind becoming a stylist, her TMM.Life brand and much more in our full interview below.

1 – How did you get involved in streetwear fashion?

Honestly, I’ve always been a lover of streetwear fashion but in 2014 I found a new type of love for it. I started interning at a showroom that carried some of my fave well-known streetwear brands like Crooks & Castles, Married To The Mob, Hellz Bellz and there I was able to see a different side of the streetwear world. Sales wasn’t for me but I think I respected the game a little more after seeing how hard people worked behind the scenes.

2 – What was your inspiration for getting into fashion?

I got into fashion because I think about it 24/7. I wake up and think about it, work and think about it, and before I knock out guess what I’m doing? I couldn’t ignore that. My love for fashion runs so deep that I can’t imagine myself working in any other industry.

3 – You’re a woman “who can do both” as social media would say. Which one do you enjoy more – heels or sneakers? Why?

Between heels and sneakers, sneakers will always win for me. I do love both but I’m all about feeling comfortable and I feel so much better when I don’t have to worry about my feet hurting haha. Plus, sneakers go with everything for me. I could throw kicks on with a dress and feel as good as I would with heels!

4 – What was it about streetwear fashion that attracted you?

I think it was the “swagginess” that comes with it. The dudes into streetwear are usually super fly and the ladies into it are super dope. I love that. Fly people excite me. I needed in on all the fun

5 – As someone who has a great sense of style, how would you rate your personal style?

Between 1-10 I would rate my personal style as a 10. Not because I think I’m the flyest, but because I know my style is my own. I put things together based on mood and for that, I have to give myself a pat on the back. I don’t look at what everybody else is rocking, I always do my own thing.

6 – What’s your favorite streetwear brand currently? Why?

This is a hard question, honestly. Because streetwear isn’t how streetwear used to be. Now the lines are blurred between streetwear and high fashion and there’s a new middle lane with high streetwear. I have to say Visionary Society is my favorite brand right now. My homie Dio puts out heat after heat and does it on his own time whenever he feels like it’s time to drop some ish. Every piece is better than the last and I can’t think of any brand that’s killing it like that!

7 – Talk a little bit about your brand, TMM.Life.

TMM.Life is my own little world created just for TomboyChic women. It is a place where dope women could get their outfit inspiration and learn about other dope TomboyChic women on TomboyChic Thursdays. I’m definitely taking it to the next level in a few months and I can’t say much yet, but just know things are about to get crazy!

8 – What was the inspiration behind creating TomBoy Chic, TomBoy Chic Thursdays and highlighting women in the streetwear culture?

I created TomboyChic Thursday because I felt like we weren’t getting enough shine. I feel like a lot of women look and dress a certain way nowadays and I wanted to highlight the ladies that still kill it in kicks. I wanted to remind the ladies that dress like me that it’s still okay to be a tomboy regardless of what’s “in”. You don’t have to dress like Kim K to be cool or attractive. I also created it because I love supporting other women. If you’re fly and doing something amazing with your life, you deserve to be recognized and celebrated!

9 – You’re also a stylist. How did you get involved in that?

The more I think about it, the more I realize the early signs. I was styling before I even knew what that was. My dad has been letting me pick out his ties for work since I was old enough to talk. I really just jumped into it. I started planning my own shoots and picking up internships whenever I could.

10 – Do you have any favorite styling moments? If so, which project was it?

 My favorite styling moment was meeting well-known stylist Katie Mossman and helping with a recent shoot with major lingerie company La Senza. I’m an intern under her studio and meeting her first time while on set for a major styling job was the coolest feeling ever.

11 – In your opinion, how has social media impacted your career path?

 I think social media made it easier for me to find other women like me. That helps with curating the posts that go up on TMM.Life and figuring out who I should interview next.

12 – What advice would you give to the aspiring fashionista and/or aspiring stylist?

Be true to yourself. Always. If fashion is truly your passion and you live and breathe it, listen to your heart. A lot of people don’t think fashion is a real industry to really work in but they are totally wrong! There is definitely a lane for you and if you love it go for it! I would also say pick up internships! It’ll help you figure out which lane is right for you.

13 – What valuable piece of advice was given to you in regards to your craft?

I was told that if I do what I truly love to do, I will never feel like I’m working. That really stuck with me. That was life-changing advice.

14 – What’s next for Clarissa Forde and The Mixed Mannequin brand?

Bigger and better things! More shoots, more features, a few events maybe haha. Just know more dope stuff is on the way this year!

Julius Stukes Jr. Speaks on Being Multi-Talented, Current Creative Inspirations, His Series ‘Hello, White People’, The Growth of Visual Content and More.

Having a variety of different talents can be a handful and time-consuming. When you combine that with the fast pace social media era it feels like you’re constantly working and trying to find another way to entice your following. Sometimes it’s not as fun as it seems but Julius has been able to make it work and as always, he is keeping his fans intrigued and entertained. It seems like there’s nothing he can’t do. From podcasting to acting to directing to even creating widespread memes, Mr. Stukes is solidifying his name in pretty much any lane he can maneuver himself into.

I had the opportunity to catch up with Julius to talk about his creative inspirations, the success of his viral memes, his newly launched Hello, White People series, and much more in our interview below.

1 – You wear a lot of hats such as comedian, photographer, film editor, director, podcaster, actor and so on. What inspired you to be this creative?

I get bored. I love challenging myself to do different things I see as fun and interesting. I also love having power and I believe that the more power you have as a creative, the more you are valued as a creative.

2 – How did you get your start in the industry?

I did everything for free. People love free. I started out shooting live events and music videos for my best friend, ReQ Cartier, but then I fell into a depression because I didn’t like my work so I stopped. I then started creating graphics, picked photography back up, started hosting events, creating events and so on and so on.

3 – Did you always see yourself being multi-talented and having your hand in everything?

NOPE. I left NYC to attend college, Shaw University, in Raleigh, NC to pursue a degree in Education. Even when I was a photographer in school, I only saw photography as my only talent.

4 – You do involve yourself in a lot so I know it’s probably hard to focus on one thing. Which one of your talents are you looking to expand for this year?

I would love to expand my writing. Everybody knows me as the guy for visuals, events, and memes. I have a fear being boxed in.

5 – I know it may be hard for people to focus on the brand of Julius being that it’s so extensive. How would you explain the brand?

Fun and for the people.

6 – You recently started a series called Hello, White People. How did you manage to come up with that?

White people have been embarrassing us black folk on TV since the beginning of the thought of TV. I want to fix that. My goal is to embarrass every white person in America and then the world, while they do my job for me. They created blackface; I have created Hello, White People.

7 – You’re about to start a new series in May called Rappity Rap Raps. Without giving too much away, explain what the basics of this series is about?

Rappers showing off.

8 – In your opinion, why do you think visual content has become so important today?

People love seeing things, more than hearing about it. To see it is to believe it. Listening to your favorite rapper give an interview is cool, but seeing them on a visual screen is even cooler. That is why The Breakfast Club is doing so well.

 

9 – What is your creative process like when putting together a new series or shooting something like your previous 31 Days of Appreciation series? In other words, what’s that initial first step?

Everyone is different. Me? I thrive off of recreating things from white folk, but I add seasoning to it. I come up with a title while doing the graphics and then I use my resources. I learned a lot of the cultural appropriators. To be as rich as the enemy, you must learn from the enemy.

10 – A lot of the memes that you created went viral on social media and we still see people using them today. Which meme went viral first and which one is your personal favorite?

The meme of me in the grey sweatsuit with my hands on my hips went viral first. It was very funny because prior to it going viral, I had that pic for a year. I have a favorite but it will be released later this year. I don’t want to say too much.

11 – In a world where visual content is constantly flowing, how do you manage to stay inspired? Where are you currently drawing your inspiration from?

I am inspired by Elvis, Gucci, Urban Outfitters, Kardashians, Miley Cyrus, White gays and other white folk/organizations that have stolen from my culture. The difference between me and them? I add seasoning to it, with my own original style. The real inspiration comes from Jameer Pond, Cleverly Chloe, Combat Jack, DJ Miss Milan, Issa Rae, Junae Brown and much more!

12 – You mentioned the part of your brand that you’ll be expanding for 2018 but which one these talents do you actually enjoy doing the most. Why?

Every year is different. Last year, I loved creating events and hosting them. This year, I love producing content. It’s a big power thrill. I love power. “Unlimited power” – Emperor  Palpatine.

13 – What were some struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to really get your name out there as this multi-talented person?

People believing in me and giving me a chance. Nobody wanted to work with me or give me a chance. Even to this day. People would know who I am but not what I do. They would say “I am proud of you” and “keep grinding”. They don’t even know what I do. They can SMD (I’ll keep it PG). That “keep grinding” sh*t is annoying.

14 – You’ve been a part of so many different projects. Which one would you say is your favorite? Why? What did you learn from it?

So far this year, it’s been #ReekRants. I have an opportunity to give someone a platform. Someone not popular and someone not named me. My net worth lies in my network. People would rather move up the ladder with a big name rather the person who supports you. I hate them *insert very bad word*.

15 – What’s the biggest piece of advice anyone has given to you about life or your craft?

“It’s bigger than you”

16 – Any big plans for 2018?

Not be depressed.

 

 

Christian Royce Speaks on Photography/Videography Inspirations, Working and Touring with Dej Loaf, The Launch of His New Brand ‘JETLAG’D’ and More.

It takes a lot of work to be a photographer, videographer, and/or director. Not only can it be it be extremely time consuming but you also have to have an amazing eye for capturing moments. Although every photographer, videographer, and/or director have their own way of capturing moments, the quality of the visual has to have a distinct meaning behind it. Like the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Using his family, work ethic, and a strong connection to one of music’s dopest acts as his inspiration, Christian Royce has been able to expand his talents in the visual department and grow his name to become one of the best-emerging visualizers in the tri-state area.

I caught up with Christian to talk about his grind in becoming one of the best at what he does, the pros and cons of being in the industry, connecting and traveling with Dej Loaf, the launch of his new company and more.

1 – How did you get into doing photography/videography?

I got into photography and videography at a very young age because of my grandfather. He taught me the ins and outs of cameras and how to work them. Ever since then I combined my love of photography and videography with my love for music and it’s been history ever since.

2 – Growing up, what did you use as your source of inspiration?

My source of inspiration comes from my father. He always seemed to make something out of nothing. Growing up and seeing that showed me that anything we want in life is obtainable and nothing is impossible. I took that lesson and used it in my creative process, I feel any vision a creative has can come to fruition through hard work and self-discipline.

3 – At what point did you realize that doing photography/videography is something you wanted to pursue?

I always knew from the first time I picked up a camera it would be a hobby of mine for the rest of my life. But it was my freshman year of college at Central Connecticut State University that I realized I wanted it to be more than just a hobby. I met somebody who I would call a mentor named Anthony Valentine and he basically told me “if your going to do something then do it, but just don’t do it because you like it. Do it to be the best that ever did it.” From that point on I started taking my craft very seriously and come my sophomore year I dropped out of college to pursue my career as a director and videographer.

4 – What was the first paid photography/videography gig you did?

My first paid job was in high school I’ll never forget it. I made $150 for a music video. To me at the time, it was the best thing ever. Now, I’m making fairly way more but to always think that’s where I started always humbles me and makes me thankful for the road I’ve taken to get to where I am now.

5 – I did an interview with Brea Simone recently. She mentioned that getting ahead of the curve on social media is was helped her get her name out there despite the misconception of Connecticut. What was your strategy in the early stages of building your name?

I always felt like people connect better with someone’s work when they can connect to the person as an individual. So I made sure I always showed my personality through social media because when people see the real you, it builds their interest and makes somebody that more excited to want to see the work you put out.

6 – For someone like yourself who constantly has to provide visual content, did you think it was challenging to stay ahead of the photography curve as far as emerging photographers in the tri-state?

To be honest, I always believed in quality over quantity. So I never felt the need to flood my page with any kind of content to make sure I posted every day. I more so made sure I was at the right events capturing the right people and giving people something to look at that they wouldn’t necessarily see every day.

7 – In your opinion, what are some pros and cons of doing photography? What about directing and videography?

When it comes to photography the only con I can say is that when you’re upcoming, if you haven’t built your name up or you don’t have a relationship with the person your working with it’s sometimes hard to receive credit on your own work. As for videography and directing it’s easier to get your credit but sometimes depending on the work you produce or the field you are in, it is harder to get jobs.

8 – Over the course of 2017 you did a lot of traveling and catching shots of everyone and everything while on the road. One person that comes to mind is Def Loaf. How did that link up happen?

So I met Dej Loaf at an event in Connecticut called HOT JAM, hosted by our local radio station Hot 93.7. I was there working with a very talented artist named ANoyd who was an opener that day for the concert and I had noticed Dej did not have a cameraman. So, me being the outgoing person I am haha I just went up to her road manager showed him some of my work and was like do you mind if I shoot a recap video for Dej Loaf, and he said: “yeah go for it.” So after the show, I went home edited her recap video and sent it in that night. Then about 2 weeks later they asked me to film her in NYC at a genius event, remind you all of this was last minute but when u want something in life you gotta go get it because life waits on no one. But all I can say is I went to NYC did my thing and then next thing I know I’m catching flights state to state traveling in sprinters day to day doing what I love and getting paid for it.

9 – What was the experience like of being on the road and traveling with a mainstream artist?

The experience at first is definitely surreal, it’s a different lifestyle something I wish everyone could experience at some point in their lives.  It’s very fast pace but relaxed at the same time, you really don’t have to worry about much and the vibes are amazing. I tend to stay to myself even on the road because I hate the spotlight but it almost seems like you have a small portion of the world in the palm of your hands. The only thing is that it does get very tiring with the traveling and all but it’s worth it for sure.

10 – You recently launched your media platform, Jet Lag’d. You stated on your Instagram post that you came up with the name because you travel and work a lot. Explain some of the basics of the brand. What are you looking to achieve with it?

I’m not gonna really go into detail on my brand JETLAG’D just because I’m still building it up, but I eventually want to be able to break new musical artist and other creatives through this platform and build a team of dope visionaries around it. I also want to provide dope content all done in house by the JETLAG’D team.

11 – You’ve done so much over the course of the last 12 months. Which project and/or person did you enjoy working with the most? What did you learn from it?

Dej has really played a huge role in my life as far as showing me how the industry works. But I’ve also been working with a lot of upcoming artist like Leeky Bandz, Rayla, Deeno Ape, Trauma, David Lee and others, and they are my favorite to work with. I know a lot of people would love to work with a mainstream artist but being able to work with an upcoming artist who you truly believe in and help them build their brand and image is one of the best feelings I could ever feel.

12 – What’s next for Christian Royce?

The world will have to wait and see! Just be ready and know I won’t disappoint.

I Told You Tour – Irving Plaza, NYC

Irving Plaza was a madhouse Friday Dec 9th for the I Told You Tour. Fans lined up to see Jacquees and Tory Lanez, the versatile artist who brings more than enough energy and enthusiasm to his performances. I got a chance to kick it backstage with Jacquees before he came out for his set. I was able to snap a few pictures of him solo and one with Shaggy. Shortly after, he hit the stage to perform some of his well know records such as “B.E.D.”, “Bounce”, “Hot Girl” , “New Wave” and “Body Right”. He kept the crowd entertained with his singing and dancing and then concluded his set with “Persian Rugs” and “Set It Off”

Tory Lanez then made his way to the stage and opened up his set with “Makaveli”, his intro from his mixtape The New Toronto. The rapper/singer continued to showcase an intense level of energy by jumping over the front bannister and crowd surfing. His set played on as he performed his “Controlla” remix, “Say It” which is the first single from his debut album and “Lord Knows.” In true Tory Lanez fashion, he climbed up the balcony bannister and entertained the crowd while hanging upside down. He used this to close out his show in which he performed “Diego” and “Litty.”

This was my first time ever seeing Tory Lanez perform. He performed at Made In America but i missed him. He performed too early, i think me and my girl were still be sleep. I can say that he is extremely energetic and enthusiastic. He was on 100 his entire set and that right there is always a plus. His crowd involvement as far as the crowd surfing and climbing up the balcony is insane. I’ve seen a lot of great shows and performers/performances this year and i think Tory Lanez is definitely up there on my list as far as great shows go.

Check out some of the pictures and videos below.

Video cred : @IrvingPlaza and @Tati_Kalaha

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Who needs a stage, tbh? @torylanez

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Todd Patrick : Sip & Shop NYC

Last night in NYC Desyree Nicole, creative director of the luxury menswear line Todd Patrick, put together an amazing Sip & Shop event for the new influencers and those who love fashion. It was my first time ever meeting Desyree and from what I saw she’s a very energetic and enthusiastic person. She seems to feed off of great vibes and conversational people. More importantly she’s in love with fashion. It shows in her work. I had the opportunity to briefly speak with Desyree and I asked her how did she come up with the name Todd Patrick. She answered by saying “Todd Patrick is my little brothers name. The brand is inspired by him.”

Those who attended this Sip & Shop event had the pleasure of enjoying an open bar, a great crowd and a few racks where the new Todd Patrick collection hung. All of the attendees also had the opportunity to purchase any of the products from the new Todd Patrick collection. This collection consisted of some great contemporary Fall/Winter pieces. Fall really came faster than we thought and after last nights weather, Todd Patrick’s new bomber coats, hoodies and denim jackets will definitely be worth a pick up!

Congrats to Desyree and the entire Todd Patrick team! May you continue to flourish.

Check out the Todd Patrick website and make sure to pick up some pieces! ToddPatrick.us

 

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SET L.E.S

For the past few months my girlfriend and I have been trying to use Sunday’s as our day to research new places to have brunch. That’s when I came across an interesting post via Twitter. It was a picture of a waffle and chicken skewer. It was screen shot picture from Instagram and whoever took the pic put the location on so you were able to see where they were. The location said SET L.E.S. That waffle and chicken skewer looked delicious so I had to look this place up! The menu looked amazing and the location seemed as if it was very chill. If you’ve ever been to the Lower East Side then you know what I mean. That particular area of the city is very laid back with a good variety of clubs for having fun. It also has this slight artsy side to it. SET L.E.S is right in the middle of that off the F/M train on Ludlow.

The first thing we noticed the moment we got there is the “suicide windows”. For those who don’t know what I mean just think of a Rolls Royce and how the doors open outward opposite each other. The ambiance of the restaurant was calm with dim lighting and the playlist consisted of nothing but Future and Drake. When 1PM came around that’s when you noticed the change. SET L.E.S. then became an environment for raving fantasy football fans.

After I ordered my Corona and my girl ordered her mimosa, we decided it was time to eat. Their specials menu included some great choices of food. She ordered the Aged Angus Sliders with Bacon and Caramelized Onions and a side of Waffle Fries. I ordered the Breakfast Tacos with Scrambled Eggs, Italian Sausage, Bacon Bits, Tater Tots, Cheese and Chipotle Mayo. Those breakfast tacos were honestly the best breakfast tacos I’ve ever had considering the fact that this was my first time actually eating a breakfast taco (haha).

All in all, everything about SET L.E.S. was amazing. I’ll definitely recommend this spot to anyone who considers themselves a foodie.

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Saint Pablo Tour : MSG Night 2

If you’ve never been to a Kanye West show then you are definitely missing out! Last night in NYC at Madison Square Garden which was night 2 of his MSG show, he did one hell of a job. This was my first time seeing him in concert and after all of the tours he had in the past, I’m highly upset that I have never been to one. The Saint Pablo Tour was one of the most if not the most entertaining show I’ve seen from any artist in music today. As simple as it may have seemed from videos and pictures, it was very original and of course very “Kanye” like.

He harnesses himself to a mini stage as it hangs and hovers above the crowd of fans. The stage also moves back and forth above the crowd with a dozen flashing lights underneath it looking like some sort of UFO. If you are not a Kanye fan then this show definitely wasn’t for you. There were no guest appearances and no breaks. Just Kanye rocking out for 1 hour and 30mins straight. The energy was at a ridiculously high level. Aside from other celebs like Drake and Future who obviously have a firm chokehold on the music industry, Kanye has and still will continue to prove that he has this generation of hypebeasts by the reins.

Check out some of my pics below.

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