Discover NOW: Alex Harris

#DiscoverNOW is our curatorial series aimed at creating awareness for emerging culture, lifestyle, and talent. Today, we are excited to profile Alex Harris. Alex is an emerging recording artist and MC who is currently based in Dallas, Texas. We came across Alex while watching Gary Vaynerchuk’s Daily Vee (EP. 180). After hearing his song “Sheets“, we were highly compelled to learn more about his brand, music, and movement. Needless to say, he didn’t let us down!

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With a vision bigger than music, Alex is part of a multi-faceted creative collective entitled, 3:AM Ugly. In an interview with Field Report Collective in June of 2016, Alex mentions that 3:AM Ugly consists of friends within his circle which he has known for over a decade. Some of his friends include, Nate Coop, De Marquis McDaniels, Eric Lawrence, Nick Gower, Barret Huie, and Amir Rofoogar. As a collective, their talents include production, fashion, film, media, photography and skateboarding.

If you’re interested in learning more about Alex, please check out his interview below with COSIGN magazine where he discusses his journey in music, finding his sound, and how traveling has influenced his creative process. We’re sure that there will be a lot more to come from Alex as he continues to build his brand and share his story with the world!

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A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group is a brand development agency that specializes in creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. With an emphasis on culture and lifestyle, the primary focus of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group is to help companies adapt to culture and build value between brands and their consumers centered around love. Our social mission is to leverage the influence of popular culture to create social change and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership. We are driven by AMBITION, fueled by PASSION, inspired by INNOVATION, and suckers for STRATEGY!

The Compassionate New Yorker: jeffstaple

jeffstaple

Photo via stoked.org.

On Saturday February 4, 2017, I happened to interrupt my morning routine in an effort to catch up on some Instagram stories. While perusing through my stories, I happened to come across the feed of jeffstaple. As I made time to scroll through Jeff’s stories, I witnessed something that not only caught my attention, but very quickly caught my heart.

At around 1 am that Saturday morning, Jeff happened to observe someone waiting in the frigid cold temperature at a bus stop in his neighborhood in New York City. Thanks to his compassion, empathy, and mindfulness, Jeff decided to help out his fellow companion by calling them a ride to take them wherever they may have needed to go.

Photo via jeffstaple.

Photo via jeffstaple.

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Photo via jeffstaple.

I find this story to be super inspiring as well as a great act of random kindness (please check out kindness.org). As a native New Yorker (I now reside in New Jersey), I often understand why we get bashed for our fast-paced, care-free lifestyle. We see so much happening in our day to day environment that it’s easy to feel as though in order to survive and not be taken advantage of, we must close our eyes and cover our ears to the realities and overstimulating demands of our environment. As a result, we often become numb to the need for compassion and taking care of others.

The reason why I decided to share this story is because I personally believe that we need to see more stories like this in our headlines. Amidst the over saturation of negativity which will often find a way to dominate our timelines and social media feeds, we need to expose ourselves to stories which help to promote positivity and inspire our communities. Regardless of whatever region of the world we may currently live in, we can all make a small choice and take a small action which can help to make a HUGE difference in the life of someone else. Let’s ask ourselves, what will our world look like when compassion becomes contagious? How can we spread a positive social contagion?

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Photo via Jordan Cuellar.

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking Brand Strategist, Cultural Curator, and Educator. As the Founder of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group, he specializes in identifying talent and creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. Aquaus has worked with companies and organizations such as Cornerstone Agency, City Year Miami, Universal Music Group, and W Hotels. He is extremely passionate about helping companies adapt to culture and building value between brands and their consumers centered around love. His ultimate mission is to use his influence to project positivity across the globe and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership.

Discover NOW: Jorge F. Muñiz

Photo via Jorge F. Muñiz.

#DiscoverNOW is our curatorial series aimed at creating awareness for emerging culture, lifestyle, and talent. Today, we are excited to profile Jorge F. Muñiz. Jorge is a talented photographer based in the Bay Area. With 1,394 Instagram followers to date, Jorge will only continue to grow his following as he steadily increases his vibrant volume of work.

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Screenshot via Instagram.

At the current age of 25, a majority of Jorge’s portraits portray a great sense of feminine focused energy and style. As we made time to peruse through all 682 of his posts, we were greeted with many photos that remind us of something we would find being featured in the looks of popular brands such as Forever 21, Madewell, Refinery 29, and PacSun. We’re looking forward to seeing what’s to come for Jorge in the future as he continues to expand his brand and master his craft as a photographer!

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Photos via Jorge F. Muñiz.

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A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group is a brand development agency that specializes in creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. With an emphasis on culture and lifestyle, the primary focus of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group is to help companies adapt to culture and build value between brands and their consumers centered around love. Our social mission is to leverage the influence of popular culture to create social change and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership. We are driven by AMBITION, fueled by PASSION, inspired by INNOVATION, and suckers for STRATEGY!

Loving It: The LIFT Project!

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Photo via The LIFT Project.

We came across The LIFT Project on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 after checking out the hashtag for one of our brands, #WeLOVEHubCity. After checking out a few posts within our community, we came across Michelle Perez (thanks for supporting the hashtag). Not only is Michelle one of the co-leaders of the The LIFT Project, she is also a wedding planner based right here in New Brunswick, New Jersey!

 

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Photo via The LIFT Project.

Upon looking further into The LIFT Project, we were really intrigued by both the aesthetic and style in which their message was presented. We initially came across their flyer for their 1 year anniversary conference entitled, “For The Culture” which will be taking place this Saturday, February 25, 2017 from 10 am – 3 pm at 95 Cambridge Drive in Aberdeen, NJ 07747. It definitely looks exciting!

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Photo via Michelle Perez.

Why Do We Love The LIFT Project?

We absolutely admire and love how a group of young adults are giving themselves permission to create a community based on faith and good intentions. At The LIFT Project, they seek to inspire and provoke change. In addition, they also support the journey of one another through sharing both personal experiences and aspirations. This in itself is what we would identify as the true essence of building meaningful relationships.

We’re definitely looking forward to hearing and learning more about The LIFT Project as they continue to expand their brand in an effort to spread their message of strength, love, joy, and purpose. This is a message that we all certainly align with here at A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group. As a result, we know that with movements such as The LIFT Project, the world will continue to remain in great hands regardless of any turmoil we may have to endure. As long as we are in God’s hands, we are in great hands!

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A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group is a brand development agency that specializes in creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. With an emphasis on culture and lifestyle, the primary focus of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group is to help companies adapt to culture and build value between brands and their consumers centered around love. Our social mission is to leverage the influence of popular culture to create social change and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership. We are driven by AMBITION, fueled by PASSION, inspired by INNOVATION, and suckers for STRATEGY!

What Is Our Definition of Work?

Earlier this evening, after checking my notifications on Twitter, I decided to check out the profile of someone I recently interacted with after she tweeted a quote by a women named Myleik Teele. The quote that she tweeted courtesy of Myleik stated the following, “You can’t be on year 2 expecting 10 year results.”

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Screenshot via Twitter.

Interestingly enough, I interviewed Myleik for behindthehustle.com back in 2015 for one of our “3 Lessons Learned” articles. In other words, I know her hustle! Speaking of hustle, I also know that when I share a common interest and philosophy with someone else, the least I can do is check out their profile to see what it is they do for work. In this case, I decided to check out the profile of @Reality_Check5. After checking out her profile and seeing that she is the DC Membership Manager for Women of Color in Communications, I decided to check out her company’s Twitter handle, @ColorCommntwk. It was here that I saw the following tweet to an article by Kayla Matthews via Inc. magazine about research saying that “40 hours Is Too Long Of A Work Week.” This really caught my attention and interest.

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Screenshot via Twitter.

As a result of this tweet, I was compelled to reply that our view and perspective of “work” will often determine whether or not we feel as though 40 hours is too long of a work week. I believe that when we do what we love, we’re more committed and devoted toward living and working with a greater sense of purpose. Thus, the energy that we are fueled with through passion and purpose will allow us to put in the adequate amount of hours required to achieve our goals. Most of the time, this will far exceed 40 hours!

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Screenshot via Twitter.

This thought is essentially what led me to the following question, “Are we really working too long…or maybe, are we really working too wrong?”

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Photo via Twitter.

What Is Our Definition of Work?

Are we allowing our “work” to occupy our time or optimize our time? Are we working towards meaning, significance, and purpose or towards making ends meet? Let’s take the money out of the equation and ask ourselves, “Why are we working?” More importantly, why are we working 40 hours? What are we working 40 hours on? Would we be doing what we are doing if we were not paid to do it?

After a while, I believe that there comes a point and time where we must truly assess what we are doing and why. As Michael Jr. Comedy once said, “When we know our why, our what has more impact because we are walking in or towards our purpose.” This is often what differentiates those of us who live life on purpose from those of us who unfortunately fall into the dangerous time warp of society. Let’s ask ourselves, “How might we discover our purpose?” As a result, I’m sure this will eventually help to alleviate the pain of both working extra long and extra wrong.

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking Brand Strategist, Cultural Curator, and Educator. As the Founder of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group, he specializes in identifying talent and creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. Aquaus has worked with companies and organizations such as Cornerstone Agency, City Year Miami, Universal Music Group, and W Hotels. He is extremely passionate about helping companies adapt to culture and building value between brands and their consumers centered around love. His ultimate mission is to use his influence to project positivity across the globe and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership.

VEVO DSCVR Live: Kiah Victoria

Photo via Kiah Victoria. Styled by Mona B.

We are happy to have been following the career of Kiah Victoria for over 3 years now. Since we initially discovered her music courtesy of her “Look Up EP”, Kiah has gone on to make incremental leaps year after year. At the same time, Kiah continues to remain patient, poised, and determined to never compromise her artistry and authenticity in exchange for a quicker path to “Stardom.”

Photo via Kiah Victoria. Styled by Mona B.

On Thursday, January 19, 2017, Kiah was honored to perform as one of the headlining 2017 “Ones To Watch” artists for Vevo dscvr live at Greenpoint Terminal in Brooklyn, New York. Thanks to Vevo for capturing all of the live performances, we now have a solid piece of video content to both live with and share with everyone else. As a result, we highly encourage you to take some time out of your schedule, watch Kiah’s amazing performance, and enjoy the experience!

This video was directed by Matt Boyd and produced by Micah Bickham.

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A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group is a brand development agency that specializes in creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. With an emphasis on culture and lifestyle, the primary focus of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group is to help companies adapt to culture and build value between brands and their consumers centered around love. Our social mission is to leverage the influence of popular culture to create social change and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership. We are driven by AMBITION, fueled by PASSION, inspired by INNOVATION, and suckers for STRATEGY!

What Do We Look For In Emerging Artists?

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Photo via FACT Magazine.

Back on November 24, 2015, I had the honor of being interviewed by one of my favorite new music discovery platforms, fanum.fm. When asked the question, “What characteristics or qualities do I find attractive in new and emerging artists?” I answered as follows:

When I was an A&R and music publisher, I was often asked: “What do I look for in emerging artists?” As strange as it may sound, this was never a simple question for me. In fact, I was always looking for better ways to explain what catches my attention. Even today, when it comes to discovering new and emerging talent, there are a few elements that I find myself…well…a “sucker for” — here they are!

1. Production Quality (Songs)

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Photo via GrungeCake.

My introduction into the world of recorded music came through producing and writing songs alongside a very good friend of mine. We were HUGE fans of The Neptunes and were always intrigued by the quality of their production and how they worked with a wide variety of artists. When it comes to identifying artists who catch my attention, I’m very production driven.

Here are a few attributes which I tend to look for:

  • Good selection of sounds (electronic, live, sampled, etc).
  • Catchy melodies and chord progressions.
  • Clear and audible vocals.
  • Interesting vocal and/or instrumental arrangements.
  • Thoughtful lyrics and storytelling.

In October of 2015, I was talking to one of my friends in the lobby of my apartment building. A few minutes into our conversation, I heard an ear-catching melody underneath some foreign female vocals. I immediately had to pause the conversation to find out exactly what song was being played. Thanks to Shazam, I discovered it was “Come” by Jain – a singer/songwriter from France. Due to the flavor and quality of her production, I was positively exposed to her music. As a result, I continue to follow her work as she proceeds to build her brand.

2. Brand Potential (Cohesive Aesthetic)

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Photo via The Fader.

I firmly believe that a strong brand should entail a cohesive aesthetic across all media platforms. It’s important to avoid confusing our potential consumers and make sure that they know where and how to find us. Our website, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Soundcloud, Twitter, and Youtube all serve as primary and secondary touch-points for people to find us. They need to be in sync. A GREAT example of an emerging artist with a cohesive aesthetic is Kali Uchis:

I’ve always been a sucker for the small things that tend to add up as our careers manifest down the line. Do you notice how Kali’s quality visuals match her personality, style, and theme across all channels? Even her color scheme is a consistent baby blue and pink. Brand cohesion plays a huge role when it comes to catching and keeping our consumers attention.

3. Diligence, Honesty, and Initiative

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Photo via Google.

Practicing diligence, taking initiative, and being honest with one’s self is truly what helps to set an artist up for the long-haul in regards to defining their legacy. I believe Kehlani is a prime example of this. Her current label, Atlantic Records, considers her a “mindie” act (‘Major’ artist with ‘Indie’ bonafides), having her fan base as an independent artist before garnering the attention of the majors.

It’s apparent that her hard work is just beginning to pay off, while her more subtle honesty bleeds through her music. In an interview with The Fader, she talks about going through foster care, losing her father as a child, and her wavering sexual identity. These are all topics that many artists shy away from for fear of compromising how they are viewed in public. Kehlani is different. She realizes that to inspire others is to accept herself for exactly who she is. She is such a shining light of truthful experience and authentic artistry! For this reason, Kehlani is continuing to win over fans and supporters even through her public challenges and setbacks. Keep striving Kehlani, keep striving!

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking Brand Strategist, Cultural Curator, and Educator. As the Founder of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group, he specializes in identifying talent and creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. Aquaus has worked with companies and organizations such as Cornerstone Agency, City Year Miami, Universal Music Group, and W Hotels. He is extremely passionate about helping companies adapt to culture and building value between brands and their consumers centered around love. His ultimate mission is to use his influence to project positivity across the globe and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership.

Gary Vee: Experience Matters!

Earlier this morning, I was listening to Gary Vaynerchuk‘s “DailyVee” episode 071 while ironing my clothes and preparing for the day. 8 minutes and 45 seconds into the episode, Gary mentioned something that really caught my attention. It goes as follows, “I thought I was unstoppable and great 10 years ago. I’m just better now. Experience matters. It’s just part of the equation. When we’re 24 and we have skills, we don’t want to think so. It’s like a baseball pitcher. We throw harder when we’re young but we’re a better pitcher when we’re older.” – Gary Vaynerchuk of VaynerMedia (The By-Product of Doing | DailyVee 071; 8:45).

There are so many lessons we can learn from observing and applying how Gary Vee moves through life as well as what he has to say throughout his daily experiences. As he very frequently mentions, it’s all about the marathon. Experience matters. Emotional intelligence matters. Legacy matters. Long-term value matters. Patience matters. Self-awareness matters. Sometimes we must make time to ask ourselves, “What game are we playing?”

Why does experience matter? Experience is seasoned. Experience is crafty. Experience knows how to feel the room out. Experience knows the importance of certainty and uncertainty, discernment and discretion, nuance and subtlety. Experience knows how to rest and when to rest. Experience is the vantage point which can often fuel our competitive advantage. As long as we continue to execute, hustle, and stay hungry – EXPERIENCE ALWAYS MATTERS!!!

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking Brand Strategist, Cultural Curator, and Educator. As the Founder of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group, he specializes in identifying talent and creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. Aquaus has worked with companies and organizations such as Cornerstone Agency, City Year Miami, Universal Music Group, and W Hotels. He is extremely passionate about helping companies adapt to culture and building value between brands and their consumers centered around love. His ultimate mission is to use his influence to project positivity across the globe and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership.

The Strength of Service!

Today, as we honor the service and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., people across the world gather together in an effort to build stronger communities and create change for the better. On January 16, 2012, I had the privilege of co-hosting our City Year Miami 4th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day Opening Ceremony. This ceremony took place at Northwestern Senior High School in Miami, FL. We were honored to have hundreds of volunteers come out and show support in ways that helped to showcase the strength of service through action, commitment, and community.

As I look back and reflect on the last 5 years of my journey, I have come to realize that we all have our own unique gifts and abilities. With great endeavor, our gifts and abilities empower us to contribute to society at large in ways we may have never deemed possible. When we make time to discover our unique gifts and abilities, we can then go out into the world in an effort to create change and make better happen.

Regardless of the capacity of impact we may feel we are currently making at this moment, our mere existence is an opportunity for the world to feel both our presence and our presents. As long as we are living, as long as we are giving – we will always have an opportunity to be winning!

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking Brand Strategist, Cultural Curator, and Educator. As the Founder of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group, he specializes in identifying talent and creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. Aquaus has worked with companies and organizations such as Cornerstone Agency, City Year Miami, Universal Music Group, and W Hotels. He is extremely passionate about helping companies adapt to culture and building value between brands and their consumers centered around love. His ultimate mission is to use his influence to project positivity across the globe and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership.

The Story Behind: Speaking at Fresh Start

As we quickly march into 2017, I’m super excited to announce that I have been booked for my first official public speaking engagement at the 2017 Young Adults Fresh Start Conference. The Fresh Start conference will take place on Saturday January 14, 2017 from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm at the Harvest International Pentecostal Church of Christ in Newark, NJ. I am honored to be speaking alongside of Pastor Ryan Faison, Elder Evans Pierre, and Minister Nyle Fort.

I was invited to speak at The Fresh Start conference thanks to one of the organizers, Garmeterick Moore whom I met this past summer (2016) in Newark, NJ while driving for Uber. Who would have thought that I would end up meeting a complete “stranger” in my second summer driving for Uber who would eventually offer me my first public speaking engagement? Oddly enough, although I am super thankful, I am not quite surprised. I say this because I am a firm believer in how the magic of the universe tends to manifest answers and opportunities at just the right moments. More importantly, I believe that when we live our life on purpose, we prepare ourselves to leverage opportunities which fulfill our purpose.

Fast forward a few months and on Sunday December 18, 2016, I received the following text message which to my pleasant surprise was completely unexpected:

[Disclaimer] This screenshot was published with the permission of both participants involved in the dialogue via text message.

This goes to show, we never know the type of impact just one (sometimes short) interaction with someone else might have on their impression of us. Our reputation is our resume. Great conversations help to create great opportunities. The only limits we abide by are those which we put upon ourselves. It’s about time for us to break free and flip the narrative. We all have an experience to share. We all have a moment to share. We all have a story to share. The only thing that is stopping us from getting to where we would like to be in life is the action required to get there. So…how do we take action in an effort to discover and fulfill our purpose and vision? Stay tuned for more!!!

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking Brand Strategist, Cultural Curator, and Educator. As the Founder of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group, he specializes in identifying talent and creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. Aquaus has worked with companies and organizations such as Cornerstone Agency, City Year Miami, Universal Music Group, and W Hotels. He is extremely passionate about helping companies adapt to culture and building value between brands and their consumers centered around love. His ultimate mission is to use his influence to project positivity across the globe and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership.