My Creative Process…

So, what is my process for creating, curating, and developing content? It starts with listening and watching. I’m always looking for ways to learn as much about someone or something as I possibly can. Therefore, I’m always on FacebookInstagramTwitterSoundCloudYouTube, etc to immerse myself in the stories that allow me to gain a deeper understanding of the driving factors behind people who are doing amazing work.

As I came across Diamonde Williamson‘s interview with the founders of The Startup VanMark McDonagh and Graham Hussey, Diamonde touched on a few topics which inspired me to publish this quick post.

Here are some points she mentioned in the video while discussing her work with Blossom:

+ “How do you scale your team but also manage your team to scale with you?” – DW

+ “Start with the community and get them involved.” – DW

+ “In terms of media, we want to dominate and disrupt that space in terms of how we are represented.” – DW

+ “As long as we keep going and surrounding ourselves with people that remind us that it’s okay, we are going to make it!” – DW

Enjoy the video!!!

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking brand strategist, curator, and educator. As the Founder of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group, he specializes in identifying talent and creating opportunities for brand development and social impact. Aquaus has worked with companies and organizations such as Behind The Hustle, Cornerstone Agency, City Year Miami, and W Hotels. He is extremely passionate about bridging the gap and building value between brands, communities, and culture. 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.

Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter | SoundCloud | YouTube

Where’s The R+D for Better Schools?

As I’m going through the process of taking an assessment as a means of gaining a greater sense of the potential challenges my students may face, I thought of how we might go about applying research and development within our schools and classrooms. As a result, I decided to search the phrase, “Research and development in schools” on YouTube. After doing so, I came across Jim Shelton‘s TEDx talk entitled, “Where’s the R&D for better schools?”

In this video, Jim mentions, “We have more capabilities than ever before. Imagine networks and centers across the world inside and outside of our schools that are cross-functional between designers, educators, entrepreneurs, and researchers coming up with solutions to some of educations most persistent challenges?”

I’ve personally been dreaming and imagining of how our institutions should reflect what was mentioned by Jim for quite some time now. In a world where we have the opportunity to be so connected, why do we continue to operate in silos? As David Leser once said in an interview with Rakhal Ebeli of Newsmodo, “We need more bridge builders!” I couldn’t agree more. In fact, we all play a pertinent role as the bridge builders of society at large!

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking brand strategist, curator, and educator. As the Founder of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group, he specializes in identifying talent and creating opportunities for brand development and social impact. Aquaus has worked with companies and organizations such as Behind The Hustle, Cornerstone Agency, City Year Miami, and W Hotels. He is extremely passionate about bridging the gap and building value between brands, communities, and culture. 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.

Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter | SoundCloud | YouTube

What Do We Look For In Emerging Artists?

artists-on-rise

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)

jain-grungecake-thumbnail

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)

kali-u

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

kehlani

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.

iPad Mini Courtesy of Tai Lopez

Earlier today, I received a notification from Tai Lopez’s YouTube channel in regards to his latest video upload entitled, “5 Ways Personal Branding Can Increase Trust and Credibility.” An hour or two later, I made some time to check out the video while cooking dinner and washing the dishes. To my surprise, the video was actually a live stream. I had no idea how long the stream would last. Nonetheless, I did know that whatever information was being offered, it would be extremely valuable.

I learned a lot to say the least. It also happened that one of the members on Tai’s team, Andrew Copp is from Staten Island, NY just like myself. Considering the level of admiration I have for Tai Lopez, I definitely found Andrew’s story to be very inspiring to say the least. Towards the end of the live stream, Tai and his team always run contests to give listeners and watchers opportunities to win prizes via multiple social media platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Peeriscope. I have never been a huge fan of contests. However, because I just spent the last 2 hours listening and paying attention to the live stream, I thought that I might actually have a pretty solid chance at coming away with something in addition to all of the wonderful gems I had just learned.

Prior to me even knowing that there was going to be a contest taking place, I did my usual due diligence…RESEARCH. I like to get familiar with the people who I am listening to when it comes to  learning new information. When I checked out Andrew, I already knew that he was from Staten Island. I was curious to learn more. I looked into his LinkedIn and Twitter profiles and a few minutes later Andrew asked the following questions for the contest to win an iPad Mini:

  1. What was the name of the agency that I worked for when I dropped out of college?
  2. What was the first and last name of the person who hired me?

I already knew that I was equipped with everything that I needed to answer both of these questions. Sometimes it’s not about how much we know but rather it’s where we need to go to get the right information. Hence, because I just finished checking out Andrew’s LinkedIn, I had the answers right there in front of me (Answers: 1. MicroFame Media, 2. Michael Shein). Talk about taking notes! I spent 2 hours of my time investing in a free education and I also ended up coming away with an iPad Mini. Not a bad ROI. I owe it all to activating prior knowledge (research), paying attention to details (listening), and knowing how to properly utilize resources (LinkedIn).

Lesson learned? These are skills that could and should be applied to our everyday lives. Knowledge is key, knowledge is power. Let’s take action in applying and investing in the steps aimed towards helping us to achieve success. #ALOVERSAmbition

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking Brand Strategist, Educator, and Music Publisher. 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.

Resources We Love: 10 Ways To Amplify Your Blog

A week or so ago I came across Michael Hyatt’s weekly podcast dedicated to intentional leadership entitled, “This Is Your Life with Michael Hyatt.” The first episode that I checked out was his interview with his co-host, Michele Cushatt entitled, “Blow Up Your Blog!” For anyone looking to start a blog or a website, this is a must watch.

Here are 10 Ways To Amplify Your Blog according to Michael Hyatt:

1. Create Content Worth Sharing:

As an owner of a blog, we are 100% in control of our content. The best way to create content worth sharing is to focus on quality material. Hyatt mentions, “Create content that’s so good that people are willing to share it with other people.”

2. Adhere to a Consistent Schedule:

“Consistency is far more important than frequency” says Hyatt. No matter how many times of week we create content, we must be consistent. Hyatt also mentions, “Trust is a necessity. The best way to build trust is to show up on a consistent basis.” Don’t overwhelm yourself. If you overwhelm yourself, you may be overwhelming your audience.

3. Get a Domain Name:

Create your own domain name. Stay away from name.tumblr.com or name.wordpress.com. It’s bad branding and shows that you are an amateur who does not take their work seriously. Once you create your own domain name, you can then link it to your Tumblr or WordPress blog.

4. Promote Your Website:

Do your best to promote your website. Whenever you get the opportunity to promote your work, the first thing that you want to share with people is your website address. If your website is set up correctly with the right contact and social media information, people will find out whatever they need to find out about you on your website.

For example, let’s examine Facebook and Youtube. Every time someone shares a piece of content that originates from either Facebook or Youtube, the names of those websites are being promoted as well. When you create content that is worth sharing, the name of your website begins to spread along with the content.

5. Make it Easy To Subscribe:

Have an option on your website that allows people to subscribe to updates. However, don’t ask for too much information. Why? According to Hyatt, “The more information you ask for, the more it diminishes your conversion rate.” People don’t want to give out all of their personal information. It is only necessary to collect a potential subscribers first name and email address.

6. Optimize Your Posts For SEO:

SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization.” What search engine optimization does is populate your posts so that search engines can catalog them appropriately and boost your rankings on Google. If you’re on WordPress, check out the “All In One SEO” plug-in.

7. Utilize Social Media:

Use social media as an outpost to direct people back to the content on your website.

8. Engage in Conversation:

Certain content elicits certain conversations. It’s important to engage in conversations. Make sure to answer questions, thank people for comments, etc.

9. Comment on Other Websites:

It’s important to contribute and add meaningful value to other online communities. By doing this, it helps to increase your brand visibility  and awareness when someone takes an interest in something that you shared. When people like what you share, they want to keep up with what you’re doing. Thus, they become another supporter of your content.

10. Write Guest Posts:

Through writing guest posts on other platforms, people find you by linking back to your website.

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking Brand Strategist, Educator, and Music Publisher. 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.

Zeitgeist Minds Presents: Bryan Stevenson

I initially came across this video not too long after it was posted on YouTube’s Zeitgeist Minds channel back in October of 2015. I’ve been meaning to post this video since then but I just couldn’t make the time to do so due to the intensity of my schedule. Thankfully, I was recently able to make some time to revisit this clip and extract all of the meaningful bits of insight and wisdom shared by the very inspiring, Bryan Stevenson.

In this video, Bryan discusses 4 things we can do to change the world and create better relationships, more justice, more compassion, and less poverty. Hope you enjoy!

1. Proximity (2:53)

We can’t be responsible influencers until we understand the importance of getting proximate to the problems in our world. Proximity teaches us things that we cannot learn from a distance. When we get proximate to problems we see things and hear nuances and details that we cannot see from a distance. In order to solve problems and create breakthroughs, we must get very close and inside of the problems that we intend to solve. Proximity is essential if we want to change the world.

2. Change The Narrative (10:05)

Anger and fear as a narrative is the cause of many human rights issues such as inequality, genocide, and oppression just to name a few. The narrative of anger and fear must change. We need truth and reconciliation. Changing the narrative is important if we want to change the world.

3. Protect Our Hopefulness (15:45)

Injustice prevails where hopelessness persists. Hopelessness is the enemy of justice. As long as we continue to think that we cannot do anything, we will not make any progress. It’s important that we protect our hopefulness. Increasing our hope is essential to changing our world.

4. Do Uncomfortable Things (22:09)

Justice cannot be created through only doing what is comfortable and convenient. We have to do uncomfortable things. We will not succeed until we do what’s uncomfortable. It is the uncomfortable things that we do in service of justice that ultimately honor us as a human race and community of people who are committed to changing the world.

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking Brand Strategist, Educator, and Music Publisher. 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. 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.

Empowered: The Story of MankoFit

Earlier today, I was talking to a friend of mine about fitness, health, and wellness. She asked me if I knew of someone by the name of Massiel “MankoFit” Arias. Although the name sounded slightly familiar, it still didn’t quite ring a bell. A few seconds later, I asked to see her Instagram. After a few quick glances, I knew that I had seen her somewhere before. I sent out a quick text to one of my close childhood friends, Thomas Johnson. I wanted to see if he was familiar with her. 5 minutes later…he replied, “Yes, I am.”

Thomas is a Health and Fitness Coach and also the CEO of GetUpNGetFit. GetUpNGetFit is a health & fitness company that helps clients learn how to implement healthy and safe lifestyle habits that will allow them to live an optimum lifestyle. This past weekend, Thomas, my brother, and I all went out to celebrate my brothers birthday and the release of one of my other friends mobile app. When we returned from the city, Thomas shared with me some insight on MankoFit. He told me how she is very well known within the world of fitness and how she is doing a great job at making a positive name for herself.

Hearing about someone once might gain my acknowledgement. Hearing about someone twice definitely gains my attention. It was finally time to hit that search button. As expected, I did all of my preliminary searching via Google. I also checked out her Twitter, Youtube, and website. I liked what I had seen. I could tell that she is very passionate about her work. She has the drive of someone who is out here fighting to prove something. The ambition of someone fighting for a specific cause. What really caught my attention however is her mini-documentary above. ‘Empowered – The Story of MankoFit’, does a great job at portraying how Massy utilized fitness as a medium to overcome her depression.

We all know that life is full of obstacles, hardships, and setbacks. How we choose to overcome the challenges that stand in our way is ultimately what helps to build our character and craft our own unique story. Ask yourself, what are you doing today to make your journey more fulfilling tomorrow?

This video (which is very well shot), was directed by Eliu Cornielle of EC Media Studio. It’s super empowering, inspiring, and motivating…Enjoy!

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking Brand Strategist, Educator, and Music Publisher. 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.

New Balance x Marseille- Cassis 20K Race

15,000 strong powered by New Balance! #ALOVERSAmbition

How To Build Meaningful Relationships (Via Behind The Hustle)

It’s no secret that networking plays a very essential role when working to advance in the career of your choice. No matter the field you pursue, most likely you will have to master the art of interacting. Here, we offer … Continue reading