Q&A Feature: Klazik

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I met this next artist at a talent competition for local hip-hop artists around the surrounding areas in Dubuque, Iowa. We connected on our similar backgrounds, prior to our civilian purpose as artists. Now I sit down and converse with another veteran turned artist about his music, his philosophy with art and life, and how the military shaped him as an artist.

You have an astounding resume prior to your music career. Care to tell the readers about your background?

Klazik: Sure, I’m originally from East Cleveland, Ohio. I joined the Navy in 2003 and did nine years active duty. After going through training in Great Lakes, Illinois, I was a Tomahawk missile technician on board the USS Mason DDG 87 in Norfolk, Virginia. I did three deployments from ’05-’09, and went on to be an Instructor in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Now I live in Marion, Iowa.

First and foremost, thank you for serving our country. As a fellow veteran for the armed forces, do you feel art is therapy or an essential outlet for people like us? Why or why not?

K: Some type of healthy release is definitely necessary, everyone isn’t artistic, but alcoholism is heavily encouraged in military culture. I’ve never smoked anything and have only taken a handful of drinks in my life. Making music is an escape for me, all creative expression. I’m confident in my music and comfortable on stage, it’s fun.

During your time in the armed forces, has your service strengthen your philosophy with life or had it evolved during those years?

K: It shaped my philosophy on leadership, because I saw first-hand the type of leader I don’t want to be. The nature of military leadership is abusive and hypocritical and there are a lot of people that meet qualifications for positions of authority that don’t deserve to lead.

Have you ever found a time where it has weakened your beliefs? If so, how did you overcome those moments?

K: Something that really affects me is when people that I have committed myself to show me they don’t care about me. I don’t like being taken advantage of or manipulated because its something that I have had happen to me from people that I trusted. Times like that can make you bitter if you allow it and the way I’ve learned to deal with it is by reflecting on the situation and everyone involved once it’s over. When you look back you can gain a better understanding of who you were at the time and why you allowed those people in your life, then you can grow from that understanding.

Presently, what is your philosophy in life?

K: The law of attraction is very real to me. The things in your life are drawn to you. They echo who and what you are back.

Where did your name “Klazified Sick” aka “Klazik” originate from?

K: It actually came from a line I wrote in a verse. It was during a time where I needed to come up with a new name for myself because a name I used previously was taken. I came up with the lyrics and thought “that’s pretty clever” and ran with it.

When it comes to your music, not only are the lyrics leaning towards a spiritual deliverance, but you carry an old school vibe in the beats. Who in the old school era influenced your flow and sound?

K: My style is directly influenced by the music of the mid 1990s to early 2000s, so that includes Notorious B.I.G., whose my primary influence, as well as, Jay-Z, Bone Thugs -N- Harmony, Fabolous, Kanye West, 50 Cent, etc.

I’m also studying and learning the history of rap music and hip-hop culture, so I connect with older artists like Big Daddy Kane and Rakim. However, I don’t hate new music, that’s just my style of creation.

Is it your path in life that influences the lyrics you deliver, or do you feel the influence from within?

K: I guess it’s from within because I don’t think about it, I just let it come to me. I haven’t written a verse down in over ten years.

Music isn’t your only creative outlet. You are also an amazing photographer. Is that another career move you have considered in the past or currently? Or is it just a hobby of yours?

K: Well thank you! It’s just a hobby now. I’m not as confident in it as I am with my music. I got into photography, because I wanted to learn to shoot videos. My thinking is, since video is just a series of pictures and if I can take a good picture that would help my videography. I am going take a more professional step forward with pictures this year though.
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In 2018, you dropped six singles for your fans. What should we expect from Klazik in 2019? Can we expect any music videos from you?

K: I like to release music in small doses, so its either a single or a three to five song project. I have a single that I just need to get mixed and get cover art for and Ill put that out in the first quarter of 2019. Also, I want to book some more live performances this year.

Is there anything in life that you haven’t done yet, that might be on your bucket or goal list?

K: The biggest goal I want to accomplish is to be able to make enough money from my music or any work that’s music related to fully support my family, and I’d like to make a song with Big Daddy Kane.

You can find Klazik’s music on Spotify, ITunes, or check out his website by simply clicking on http://smarturl.it/KLAZIK

Q&A Feature: Shannon Ahn

ShannonI met this author a year ago at the La Femme Nikita Reunion Convention in Toronto, Ontario. A friendship blossomed through similar articulate discoveries inspired by the one show we all are known to love. I want to take a moment, put a spotlight on, and get to know this up and coming author.

Right off the bat, can you give the audience an elevator speech to sell them on who Shannon Ahn is?

Shannon Ahn: I’m a genre-blending author who combines science fiction, action, romance, and mystery in my books to create entertaining stories that readers can get sucked into and escape reality for a little while.

Can you tell us the synopsis of your Crossing Realms series?

SA: Crossing Realms is about Nina Adler, a young woman who discovers that her dreams are a window to another world. When Nina begins to have intense, action-packed dreams about being an FBI agent, she dismisses them as nothing more than fun distractions from her mundane life, but when she falls in love with a man in her dreams and he appears in her real life, she finds out that her dreams contain deeper meaning than she first thought and that she possesses incredible powers.Crossing Realms Part One Amazon Cover

*ALERT ALERT* You can download Crossing Realms – Part One from Amazon for FREE from July 2 to July 6, 2018myBook.to/CrossingRealmsPartOne

What inspired you to become a writer in the first place?

SA: My dad was a writer. He was a journalist for many years, and he also wrote a novel that won an award in South Korea. He told me his dream was to write a memoir, but unfortunately he passed away before he could do that. So I’ve always thought maybe I should be a writer too, but I never considered it seriously until a few years ago when I was at a crossroads in my life and had the opportunity to pursue my interests.

What is your favorite genre to write?

SA: Apparently I can’t decide because I mix different genres!

One advice out there is that to be a great writer, you need to be an avid re

ader. Are you an avid reader when you aren’t writing, or are there other interests that spark your writing and creativity?

SA: I’m an introvert, so I love being alone and lost in a good book or a TV show. I’m definitely a bingereader/watcher. I try to read as much as I can, but when I’m in a writing phase such as when I’m working on a first draft, I tend to focus more on watching things because I get inspired by visuals. Before I write anything, I have to see it in my head first like a scene in a movie. A cool song can also help me come up with characters and scenes.

What is your go-to genre to read when you aren’t in a writing spell?

SA: If I can pick any kind of book to read just for fun, I’d go for chick lit, something light and funny.

LFN TRIBUTEAs I started reading the first part of Crossing Realms, I immediately noticed how “Nikita-esq” the details are. Has the show inspired you to write this particular story?

SA: Some parts of Crossing Realms were definitely inspired by La Femme Nikita, one of my favorite shows of all time. In fact, there is an Easter egg for La Femme Nikita fans in all three parts of Crossing Realms. But the original inspiration for my series was my dreams. I’ve had many dreams where I fell madly in love with a man and became completely immersed in another world, and when I woke up, I was disoriented because the dream and my emotions in it felt absolutely real. So when I decided to try writing fiction, I wanted to write a story about a woman who finds out that her dreams are special. What if your dreams are more than just dreams?

You just published the third installment for Crossing Realms. Will there be a fourth part? How many parts total do you have in the works before this story-line is complete?

SA: Crossing Realms has three parts total. Later this summer I’ll be publishing a “box set” of the complete trilogy as one eBook and also a paperback which I’m really excited about. I’ll finally get to hold my book in my hands! There will be a sequel to Crossing Realms that continues Nina’s story, but I’m going to expand the scope of the story and tell it from multiple characters’ points of view. After that, I don’t know if there will be another book in this series. I’m going to see where the story takes me and stay true to the characters.

Are you working on any other stories, or just focused on the series you currently have?

SA: My main focus is writing my current series, but I’m also interested in writing short stories. I plan to take some time this year to learn more about writing short stories and maybe enter a short story contest.

What’s something you would like to share about the writer’s life that many probably wouldn’t know in general?

SA: Hmm… Well, I used to think of being a writer as something romantic and kind of glamorous, like an interesting and intelligent person sitting in a chic café typing away on their sleek laptop and effortlessly coming up with gorgeous sentences that magically flow together to create a moving story that changes people’s live, or something like that. But that’s not how it is for me at all. I write at home because I wouldn’t be able to concentrate anywhere else. I write very slowly and agonize over every sentence. And rewrites… There are so. many. rewrites. I didn’t know before writing my books just how much editing and proofreading need to be done before publishing.

Can you share the most highlighted moment in your life currently?

SA: My husband and I recently booked a trip to Paris for September to celebrate our 10-year wedding anniversary! It might seem kind of cliché, but Paris has a special meaning for me. I went there in the summer of 2006 with a friend. I’d been dating my now-husband for about two years, and I was trying to decide if I should continue our relationship because it was getting serious and I wasn’t sure if I was ready for that. But when I went to Paris and saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time, all I could think was how much I wished he was there with me. That was when I realized how important he is to me and that I want to spend the rest of my life with him and see the world together. So I’ve been dreaming about going back to Paris with him since then, and it’s going to happen this year!

Outside of writing stories, what are your other interests and hobbies that you invest your time in?

SA: I love traveling, so I’m constantly researching or watching videos about different places I want to visit someday and foods I want to try.

Do you have a visual of where you see yourself in five years? How about ten years?

SA: Professionally, I’m really enjoying writing, even with all the challenges that come with it. For the first time in my life, I’ve found something that just feels right to me. So I hope I’ll still be writing in the next five and ten years, learning more about the craft and improving my skills along the way. On a more personal level, I feel extremely grateful for the life I have, and I look forward to finding out what the universe has in store for me in the future. Hopefully more trips abroad, new adventures, exciting plot
twists, and lots and lots of yummy food.

Thank you Shannon for taking the time for this interview. I really enjoyed my time with you. Don’t forget, readers, you can check out and download Crossing Realms – Part One from Amazon for FREE from July 2 to July 6, 2018.

Follow the link–>> myBook.to/CrossingRealmsPartOne

Also you can check her out at her website, shannonahn.com.

Q&A Feature: Mike E. Winfield

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Photo Courtesy of http://www.mikewinfield.com

This comedian has been on the Arsenio Hall Show, NBC’s The Office, and even got his debut on The Late Show with David Letterman. He’s now breaking barriers now by teaming up with one of the top country stars, Brad Paisley, on a Netflix special, Brad Paisley’s Comedy Rodeo, currently streaming, as well as, having a new film project called PIMP with the rapper and actor, DMX.

However, what is Mike E. Winfield about? Who is he really? What gets him going on his craft? I recently had the privilege to take a minute with Mike E. to ask some of these questions and more. Let’s see who he is behind his jokes and art. But before we do that, check out his newest trailer for his most recent comedy special, My Side of the Story.

Thank you for taken some time to answer some questions, Mike. Let’s get right to it now. In your own words, who is Mike E. Winfield?

MIKE E WINFIELD: I’m just a guy who started from the bottom. Now I’m here.

Is there a certain event or experience in life that influenced you to go the comedy and/or acting route? Could you take a moment and share your story?

MEW: Through the course of my life, I’ve always considered myself a funny person. The reason I decided I should share it with the world is, because of all the moments I spent with some of my closet friends. We spent a number of nights going to clubs, hanging out at parties, laughing and joking, and creating quality efforts to make each other laugh. After a while it becomes a skill. The combination of that and my college speech class equipped me with the tools to take it to the stage.

Do you consider comedy a form of art, or just strictly entertainment?

MEW: Comedy is definitely art. I pride myself on being an artist first. My favorite thing is spending many days and nights in a room, with coffee, and creating content that I can take to the stage. It’s really only art to me. The entertainment aspect comes from those who decided to stand around me and enjoy it.

Which comedians and/or actors influence your work and/or performances?

MEW: I think influence is huge. I’m a fan of several comedians, but not one of them has influenced my work. My material is raw, unique, and not stolen. I don’t think I can say that one has influenced me. What I will say is, I’m influenced by the grind in hip-hop, and how many artists’ goals are to rise to the top. That fires me up!

When did you realize that comedy would be your career route? What were you doing before acting and comedy?

MEW: I used to work at a grocery store. I hated it. I worked in the self-checkout lane, so I would watch people steal all day. When I started comedy, it was hard to maintain the two. I had this co-worker who hated me. She thought she was the boss, but she wasn’t the real boss. She was one of the little people, but with a key. When I called in, this lady would check my social media to verify that I was really sick. If I wasn’t sick, she would tell the real boss that I actually had a show that night. It was impossible that I was suffering from pneumonia. I eventually decided it was time to pursue comedy full-time.

You did a comedy special with Brad Paisley last summer. What is the story behind this opportunity? How did you get involved? Was there some kind of audition for comedians for this special?

MEW: I actually got booked to work with Brad a year prior to the comedy special. I performed with him in Nashville, and took one of his songs called “I’m Gonna Miss Her” (the song was about him choosing to go fishing, instead of spending time with his lady), and I made a joke about how that exact same scenario would go down in my life. Let’s just say it went over well. He loved the joke! That is how I got the booking for the Comedy Rodeo special.

What was it like teaming up with one of country music’s top celebrities?

MEW: It’s fun to find out that a celebrity is just a real person behind the glitz and glamour. He’s just a down to earth kind of guy that loves what he does. That’s something I can really cling on to.

Did Reba ever find out what happened to her horses?

MEW: (Laughing). I need to follow up on that, and get back to you.

Brad Paisley’s Comedy Rodeo is a Netflix Original currently streaming right now. Do you feel the expansion of the streaming services, and their ability to produce their own material, have opened more doors for artists/actors/etc. in general?

MEW: Absolutely, all it takes is a video to go viral and you’re famous. That’s the era we live in now. People have their phones accessible at all times. You don’t have to leave the house to support someone’s live show. All it takes is a watch and a like. I’m such a fan of streaming that I added that feature on my website for my newly released standup comedy special.

Currently you are touring around the States. Which cities have been your favorite to experience?

MEW: I’ve been touring a bunch and that question is so tough, because everywhere I go people show me so much love. I did a Facebook live video, and so many people tuned in; a fight started about which city loved me more. If I had to choose though, I’d say New York City. I’m a fan of so many great artists that came out from there. 

You have a new comedy special coming out soon. When and where it will be released for your fans?

MEW: It’s available now on MikeWinfield.com. It’s called My Side of the Story.

Can you tell us a bit about it?

MEW: It’s easily going to be the most world changing special in the 2000’s. It’s based off of my life experiences. I’m married to an older woman, and I give my take on how it is being with an older woman who treats you like a kid. To be honest, I’m actually surprised how fast it’s selling. It’s great to see so many people interested. I mean, I believed in it, but to see others believe in it, it’s an amazing feeling.

What is your long-term goals for your craft in the entertainment industry?

MEW: I just want to create more television, movies, and stand-up comedy.

Is there anybody in the industry you haven’t worked with yet that is on your list of people you would like to work with, whether it be a comedy segment or a film?

MEW: I want to play opposite of Wood Harris in a crime drama.

What’s next for Mike E. Winfield after your tour?

MEW: (Laughing) There’s no ‘after’ the tour.

Thank you for your time, Mike E. For comedy fans, please take a moment to head over to Mike’s web site and check out his most current comedy special now available for streaming!!! I hope he truly does follow-up with the Reba’s horse incident.