Posts tagged with "Q&A"

Reebok Athletes UNLOCKED

Reebok will host a live talent Q&A titled Reebok Athletes UNLOCKED: A Panel Discussion on Fitness, Training, and Performance, which will feature fitness trainer Jess Sims, elite athlete Annie Thorisdottir, long distance-runner, Justyn Knight. The panel will take place tonight, 6 pm EST on Tues, Oct 12, and all you have to do to join is sign up with your email for Reebok UNLOCKED, the brand’s loyalty program. Join the panel HERE.

The athlete panel is a part of Reebok UNLOCKED Week, a week-long virtual event from October 13-19, open to all members of Reebok UNLOCKED, the brand’s free loyalty program that allows consumers to earn points by buying and reviewing items. Reebok UNLOCKED Week is the brand’s first-ever member celebration rewarding its loyal customers, playing host to the brand’s biggest names, collaborations, and exclusive drops.

A host of exclusive experiences and products will be made available to members throughout Reebok UNLOCKED Week, including:

10/12: Reebok Athletes UNLOCKED: A Panel Discussion on Fitness, Training, and Performance featuring fitness trainer Jess Sims, elite athlete Annie Thorisdottir, long-distance runner, Justyn Knight professional basketball player, Tamara Young.

10/13: Reebok x Ghostbusters Collection (Adult shoes and hoodies and Kids’ shoes)

10/15: Reebok x Peppa Pig collection (Kids’ lifestyle shoes)

10/17: Archive Collection (An assortment of the best of Reebok’s collaborations brought back for a limited time including the Iverson collections, Jurassic Park, and Victoria Beckham Drop 5, among others)

10/18: Nano X1 Adventure (Men’s & Women’s cross-training shoes)

Spotlight on Art Block

By: Vaughn Lowery

As of late, we had the opportunity to speak with a Londoner artist, Art Block. His project has been supported by producer Ian Barter (Paloma Faith, Allman Brown, Hannah Grace) who recently worked on an album with British fashionista and singer Gabrielle.

What inspires your music?

I am inspired by the spiritual and emotional. Sometimes I feel my music is coming to me from a higher place and I try to draw upon that. It’s almost as if I’m just a channel for creativity. A few of my songs have been inspired by the memory of my mother who passed away many years ago. I would like my music to heal others.

And this new project?

The songs on Extended Play were written during lockdown when the whole world just stopped. It was a worrying time but also a time for reflection and appreciating beauty. The songs are some of my most personal yet, delving into dark aspects of my childhood, exploring my love of London where I was born, then returning to other themes of introspection and love. Love hopefully is the most powerful emotion radiating through the songs.

What’s next for you?

I am hoping to collaborate with some new musicians, remix songs and write something new. I’m constantly writing these days as if I’m on the cusp of a creative wave. I’m looking forward to playing live more too.

If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?

I admire Marcus Hamblett’s work as a session musician and artist. Also Jay Chakravorty with his electronic and strings compositions which mold the old with the new.

Do you write all of your lyrics? if so, can you elaborate on your creative process?

Yes, I do. I think I have already touched upon it above. I hear melodies first and try to find the best words to match them. Sometimes it takes several drafts before finding the right words for a song. Experience also has a transformative creative power.

Describe your sound and genre? List your top five influences and song?

My sound is in the alt-folk and classic alt-rock category. Some have compared my music to Thom Yorke or Nick Drake, which is a huge compliment! 

I don’t really have a top five influence, I listen to everything from Wu Tang Clan to Rachmaninoff and everything in between! I suppose Pink Floyd have been an influential band over the years and more recently Bear’s Den or Ben Howard. I’m also a Depeche Mode fan, which probably explains my electronic influences.

How do you feel about the music industry overall? Do you think artists should still sign with major labels?

The music industry is very fickle and focused too much on commercial products rather than nurturing talent. There are too many people doing the same thing and the market is over saturated. People have low attention spans leading to two and a half minute songs designed to please Spotify’s algorithm.

Whether artists should join a major label is up to them. They can provide more bandwidth and resources than doing it by yourself. But as I say above many of these companies focus solely on making a profit. It might be better in the short term to remain an independent artist where you keep most of any revenues you are able to generate. Labels are also known for dropping artists quickly who don’t sell enough records.

Is there any advice that you could offer to aspiring recording artists?

Write as much as possible and listen to the best in your genre and watch what they do. 

Are you aligned with any humanitarian endeavors or organizations?

Not formally but as I mentioned above I would like my music to heal. There’s a lot of pain in the world, mostly caused by ourselves, which music can help to alleviate. There are circumstances beyond our control. But at the same time there’s so much we can do as individuals to bring positive change in the world. 

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Oscar Stone illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Oscar Stone LTD

By: Emily Bunn x Vaughn Lowery

Oscar Stone LTD is a family-owned jewelry firm based in the Bronx, New York. Oscar Stone sells timeless jewelry, including customizable earrings, watches, bracelets, pendants, chains, and mouth grillz, which are all created from the beginning to the end internally. Oscar’s most popular article, baguette diamond earrings, dazzle his clients with their blinding beauty. Oscar Stone recognizes the value of using durable diamonds and jewelry from the Bronx community.

While lockdown created a lull for other companies, Oscar used the downtime to bolster his burgeoning business. His reach on social media via Instagram featured Oscar to many celebrity customers, including Jojo Simmons, Young Dirty Bastard, and Kid Capri, among others. Oscar Stone‘s jewelry exudes a true dedication to his craft, which is why his extensive list of clients keeps expanding.

The last authentic district of New York, the Bronx, houses the next largest jeweler in New York. Oscar Stone LTD stands apart from other jewelers such as Jacob the Jeweler, Greenwich Street Jewelers, and Martin Busch Jewelers because of its innovative approach to bespoke jewelry and sustainable practices and inspirational dedication to their craft. Oscar’s relentless pursuit of fine diamonds and customer satisfaction during the pandemic has allowed his business to flourish more than ever. Looking to the future, Oscar aims to continue creating custom designs for his customers and grow his business to become a familiar name.

We talked with Oscar about his background in gemology, his favorite custom orders, and his business expansion plans in the Bronx.

How did you get started in making jewelry and performing gemology for Oscar Stone?

I’m a G.I.A. accredited gemologist. Basically, growing up my whole life, [my] family– aunts, uncles, cousins– we all just did jewelry. So getting the jewelry was the easy part. It’s a family trade, really; it’s one of our best-kept secrets.

How did you build your clientele when you began in the jewelry business?

I knew about jewelry; gold wasn’t something crazy new to me. It’s like all your aunts and uncles own auto repair shops–you fix a couple of the tires, do a couple of oil changes, and you just kind of figure it out by yourself. When I had my own spot, building my clientele did really start from scratch. I didn’t have any celebrities or influencers, so I just had to open up shop and see what I could do. Before I did that, I actually did go to GIA (Gemological Institute of America) diamond school. I knew that GIA offered courses for this type of stuff. I spent a couple of months educating myself–[even] just [concerning] diamonds; there’s so many things about diamonds.

Once I finished the education, I decided to really bring in some clients. I was in business for about three years, and then I just started going heavy on social media. Once I started publishing my work on social media, the followers started coming. You know, not[hing] crazy yet, but I started getting a couple thousand [followers]. That’s when the business started taking off. I started hiring friends of mine and a lot of people, [and] my staff grew from four or five people to like twenty-five people. Business exploded when I started getting people who were verified on Instagram and had 300–400,000 followers. Once I started getting those clientele, the ball really started rolling. And that’s where we are now, about a year later.

What celebrities/notable clients have you done jewelry work for?

I would say the biggest guy that I’ve done work for would be, Jojo Simmons from RUN–D.M.C. I’ve done work for Young Dirty Bastard, who is the son of Old Dirty Bastard from the Wu Tang Clan. [Regarding] household names, I’ve done guys as big as Tonio Skits and Darius D.K. [Also,] I’ve done work for [Kid] Capri.

How do you source the best diamonds/gems for jeweling?

I don’t always get the same diamonds from the same supplier. The reason is, once you start working with somebody for diamonds and you guys get comfortable, then they start sending you lesser quality parcels. A parcel is basically like a bag of diamonds, [which come in] a lot of different sizes. They should all be the same clarity, and you sort through them to see that the quality is consistent.

I can buy 50 carats of diamonds this month [or] this week, and then I’ll run out by making all the jewelry. And so, I need to reorder. If the quality starts to become inconsistent with the price that I’m paying, I’ll switch over to another diamond supplier. Most of my diamond suppliers are in India, so I’ve had to fly out there a few times and look at some parcels, look at some factories, and see how they’re all doing it.

[Or, for example,] if I have to build a watch and do it three weeks, and [clients] don’t give me enough time, I have to get [diamonds] local[ly].

What is your favorite jewelry design you sell?

My favorite designs [are] always the custom pieces I make. I always love doing custom work, I just love like how intricate they are. I just did a piece for a client of mine–it’s this huge custom piece that spins when you spin it. I’ve had the most fun working on it, that’s my favorite piece right now. I’m working on another one that might top it, but we’re gonna keep it under wraps for now.

What is your jewelry specialty?

My signature I would say is the baguette earrings, that’s what most people know me for. Out of all my followers, I would say 20,000 of them might have been from the baguette earrings.

I do really, really good with the baguette diamond earrings that are on my website. I could sell as many as 20 pairs a day. A lot of people [who] are from out of state buy that. A lot of people [come] in store as well. The baguette diamonds are just such a popular thing for me right now. I have to make hundreds and hundreds of pairs just to keep up with demand.

What is the most popular order you receive from clients?

The baguette diamonds are just like something you really don’t see out of New York. And so, people love them. It’s also my bread and butter…It’s gonna go, it’s gonna sell, and sell classic.

What’s next for you?

I’m going to be moving to another location on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx–I’m true to the Bronx, I don’t wanna leave the Bronx. So, I’m moving to a store that is down the block from me. It has three times the retail space, and a basement attached to it. I’ll be able to really put a factory down there. As long as the people keep loving my jewelry and what I do, I’m going to keep delivering the best I can. To do that, and to give the best prices, you need to do things in-house. I’m going to have a 1500 sq ft basement where I’ll be able to put ten diamond setters down there and set diamonds all day. The second floor will be an office to do all the online [work]. On the floor-level will be retail and the showroom, so people who want to see things in-person, I can show them right there. That is my short-term goal in the next one or two years. Long term, I want to be a household name, but one thing at a time.

Photo Credit:  Anthony Duque

Oscar Stone LTD Baguette Diamond Earrings

Eamonn Burke illustrates a rock music video article for 360 MAGAZINE

Shenandoah × Sessions Live – Livestream Performance

GRAMMY®, ACM and CMA winning Shenandoah, in partnership with Sessions Live, will be performing their first-ever live stream from the historic Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The event will take place Monday, June 21 at 7 p.m. CT in celebration of live performances gearing back up and the band’s greatest hits over the last three decades.

“I’m thrilled to invite our fans to our special livestream performance at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals. It will be great to bring a little piece of history to everyone’s living room,” shared front man Marty Raybon.

The livestream will be followed by a VIP encore set and a Q&A session. General admission tickets are $12.00. VIP tickets are also still available, which include a limited edition t-shirt and signed 8×10 picture.

To purchase tickets, click here.

The Every Road Tour Dates:

May 28 – Jimmy Doyle’s Country Club – Little Rock, Ark.
May 29 – JL Bar and Ranch – Sonora, Texas
May 30 – Freiheit Country Store – New Braunfels, Texas
June 11 – Memorial Rod, Run & BBQ – Flemingsburg, Ky.
June 18 – Ford County Fairgrounds – Melvin, Ill.
June 19 – Virginia/Kentucky Fair – Wise, Va.
June 21 – Live Streaming Event
June 24 – Arena Theatre – Houston, Texas
June 25 – Billy Bob’s – Ft. Worth, Texas
June 26 – Buck’s Backyard – Buda, Texas
June 30 – Marion County Fair Grounds – Indianapolis, Ind.
July 2 – Wild West Festival – Hays, Kan.
July 3 – Ross Co. Fair – Chillicothe, Ohio
July 9 – Huntley Homestead – Huntley, Mont.
July 15 – Gardiner Farms – Tuscumbia, Ala.
July 17 – Country Jam USA – Eau Claire, Wis.
July 22 – Marshall County Fair Campground – Warren, Minn.
July 29 – Jackson County Junior Fair – Cottageville, W.Va.
July 30 – Country Tonite Theatre – Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
July 31 – Warren Sewell Field – Woodland, Ala.
Aug. 5 – Grays Harbor County Fairgrounds – Elma, Wash.
Aug. 7 – Crook County Fairgrounds – Prineville, Ore.
Aug. 14 – River Fest – Watertown, Wis.
Aug. 17 – State Fair of West Virginia – Lewisburg, W.Va.
Aug. 21 – Winstock Country Music Festival – Winsted, Minn.
Aug. 26 – Minnesota State Fair – St. Paul, Minn.
Aug. 27 – Minnesota State Fair – St. Paul, Minn.
Aug. 28 – Callaway 200 Bicentennial Bash – Fulton, Mo.
Sept. 2 – Hempstead Hall – Hope, Ark.
Sept. 3 – Eoff Ranch – Clinton, Ark.
Sept. 5 – Rolling Hills Casino – Corning, Calif.
Sept. 6 – Adelanto Stadium – Adelanto, Calif.
Sept. 10 – Crossties – Texarkana, Ark.
Sept. 11 – Mo’s Place – Katy, Texas
Sept. 17 – Roanoke Rapids Theatre – Roanoke Rapids, N.C.
Sept. 18 – Great Frederick Fair – Frederick, Md.
Sept. 19 – Sidney High School Auditorium – Sidney, Ohio
Sept. 24 – Showplace Theatre at Riverwind Casino – Norman, Okla.
Sept. 28 – Brown County Fair – Georgetown, Ohio
Oct. 15 – Watson Lake Park – Prescott, Ariz.
Oct. 16 – Heber Valley Fest – Heber City, Utah
Oct. 22 – Hancock County Arena – Kiln, Miss.
Oct. 23 – Brazos Valley Fair & Rodeo – Bryan, Texas
Oct. 24 – Barge 295 – Seabrook, Texas
Oct. 29 – Cotton Club – Granger, Texas
Oct. 30 – Live Oak County Fair Grounds & Coliseum – George West, Texas
Nov. 5 – Harrah’s Lake Tahoe – Stateline, Nev.
Nov. 11 – Cherokee Casino – Catoosa, Okla.
Nov. 12 – Cherokee Casino – W. Siloam Springs, Okla.
Nov. 13 – Hard Rock Casino – Roland, Okla.
Nov. 18 – The Ritz Theatre – Greenville, Ala.
Nov. 19 – Walhalla PAC – Walhalla, S.C.
Nov. 26 – Greek Bros Oyster Bar – El Campo, Texas
Nov. 27 – Waller Co. Fairgrounds – Hempstead, Texas

For real-time updates on Every Road, visit their website.

Follow Shenandoah on InstagramTwitterFacebook and YouTube.

About Shenandoah:

GRAMMY®, CMA and ACM-winning hitmakers Shenandoah, fueled by Marty Raybon’s distinctive vocals and the band’s skilled musicianship, are celebrated for delivering such hits as “Two Dozen Roses”, “Church on Cumberland Road” and “Next to You, Next to Me” as well as such achingly beautiful classics as “I Want to be Loved Like That” and the GRAMMY® winning “Somewhere in the Vicinity of the Heart” duet with Alison Krauss. Today that legacy continues as original members Marty Raybon and Mike McGuire launch a new chapter in Shenandoah’s storied career with their new record Every Road. Raybon and McGuire formed Shenandoah in 1984 in Muscle Shoals, Alabama with bassist Ralph Ezell, keyboardist Stan Thorn and guitarist Jim Seales. Shenandoah inked a deal with Columbia Records and began establishing a national fan base with their self-titled debut in 1987. However, it was the band’s sophomore effort, The Road Not Taken, that spawned their first top ten hits—“She Doesn’t Cry Anymore” and “Mama Knows.” Shenandoah followed with three consecutive No. 1 hits—“Church on Cumberland Road,” “Sunday in the South” and “Two Dozen Roses.” “The Church on Cumberland Road” spent two weeks at the top of the chart and made country music history as it marked the first time that a country band’s first No. 1 single spent more than one week at the summit. It also helped propel sales of the album to more than half a million units thus giving Shenandoah their first gold album. Shenandoah became known for delivering songs that celebrated the importance of faith and family while reveling in the joys of small town life. “Next to You, Next to Me” topped the charts for three weeks and “Somewhere in the Vicinity of the Heart,” a beautiful duet with Alison Krauss, won a Country Music Association Award for Vocal Event of the year and a GRAMMY® for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. Shenandoah also won the Academy of Country Music’s Vocal Group of the Year in 1991.

Cybersecurity illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Amazon × MGM Studios Merger

Amazon announced that it will be acquiring MGM Studios for $8.45 billion, in an effort to bolster the already growing Amazon studios and making it the second largest acquisition on Amazon’s part, following its $13.7 purchase of Whole Foods in 2017.

According to cybersecurity expert Mark Stamford, CEO of OccamSec, a deal of this scale will require a complete review of its cybersecurity infrastructure, as the process of fully merging these entities are rarely completed in the expected timescale.

Mark continues:

  • The standard “merger” due-diligence template goes into great detail looking at financial & legal status issues, but rarely seems to consider the potential liability associated with linking into an organization with a seriously compromised infrastructure. 
  • Trying to coherently map risks or produce an enterprise security plan for this type of environment is incredibly challenging, when multiple systems are coming together
  • With such notable deals, most attackers reside within the organization’s network for over 100 days before discovery, so there is a very real risk of starting work on merging infrastructure, whilst being observed by an interested resident attacker, who will be keenly looking out for an opportunity to vector into the core organization’s networks

Mark says, “Exercising strategic due-diligence during a merger or acquisition, is the most effective what for any organization, like Amazon, to protect itself from cyber threats.”

We had the opportunity to ask Mark Stamford some questions as far as the merger and his expert opinion(s):

Q: What changes can be expected with a merger like the Amazon/MGM Studio merger?

MS: The merging of two different cultures always prompts a lot of changes. In this case, MGM is going to become more like Amazon than the other way round.

Q: Do the benefits outweigh the risks with this type of merger?

MS: Yes, I assume so, from a cyber perspective, the main risk is joining two networks together that have different structures, and probably issues. So, for example I was called in to help with some M&A work once, the new network was plugged in…and brought a heap of malware with it which quickly spread into the acquirers’ network.  It later transpired that some of the IP, which was the very reason for the merger, had been stolen.

Q: What challenges is Amazon, an online retailer, facing when merging with MGM Studio?

MS: Both operate in different ways. The majority of movie making companies seem to follow the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mantra. So, technology tends to be a hodge podge, along with processes etc.… Amazon meanwhile is a tech company, and while primarily known as a retailer, has considerable presence in the cloud (with AWS) so has a lot of cutting-edge technology at its disposal.

Q: What are some ways to help the process move along with ease?

MS: Again, in a cyber perspective there needs to be due diligence done on the MGM environment. At the same time, since both organizations probably have a range of security tools, seeing who has the best tool for the job can save money in the long term.

Also, not to be discounted is the human element in cyber security – any merger results in layoffs. So, the potential for a “disgruntled insider” increases. The way to help with that is communication – not more monitoring.

Q: How can Amazon prevent cyber-attacks during the process of the merger?

MS: MGM makes a nice target right now, since at some point their technology will be integrated into Amazon, and if I was a bad guy, I would assume they are the softer target of the two. Amazon should work with MGM to ensure their security is at a “good” level, and work on the integration aspects – two distinct cyber security teams need to become one, quickly.

Q: In your opinion, does Amazon face cyber risks from vendors or third parties with the onset of the merger?

MS: I think amazon always faces this risk, as does everyone. Since the organization is increasing in size, the “attack surface increases” so yes, they do face risks.

Q: What are the biggest cybersecurity threats at the moment?

MS: Motivated attackers, be that nation states, criminal groups, hacktavists, or others. Ransomware is getting a lot of press right now. However, I think the biggest threat is the endless cost spiral companies are trapped in trying to deal with this.

Q: What are some ways to ensure that the infrastructure is not compromised?

MS: Defense in depth continues to be the key. Layers of security, which work together, and consider the context of the organization (how it makes money or delivers its service) in order to support that mission.  I assume Amazon will expand their cyber security program across MGM fairly quickly, which checks a number of boxes and provides a good starting point.

One issue may be that a movie studio faces different kinds of attackers than Amazon. Movie studios are primarily about their IP, everything else always seemed to be secondary to that. Stealing a movie is a different attack then ransomware, which we have seen borne out in practice (various insider attacks to steal content for example).

Q: What are your certifications in the cybersecurity field?

MS: I have been involved in cybersecurity since I was 11. Was senior penetration tester for a global consulting company, ran a security program at a global investment bank, and have been running a security company for 10 years.

Q: What does effective cybersecurity look like to you?

MS: Cost effective, business aware, and layered.

Page Kennedy illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Q×A with Page Kennedy

ACTOR & RAPPER PAGE KENNEDY JOINS 360 MAGAZINE FOR SOME Q&A

By: Heather Skovlund-Reibsamen

Page Kennedy is well known as a rapper and actor within our entertainment industry. Kennedy’s recent acting skills brought him to play “Duck” on Netflix’s “The Upshaws”, one of their newest series to hit streaming platforms starring alongside Kim Fields (Regina Upshaw), Mike Epps (Bennie Upshaw), and Wanda Skyes (Lucretia). He is also known for his roles in “Blue Mountain State”, “Weeds” and his comedic genius skits shared on Instagram and TikTok.

Kennedy’s self-titled album ‘Page’ was released in February 2021 featuring heavyweight rappers Xzibit and Method Man is available now on all streaming platforms – make sure you go check it out!

360 Magazine had the pleasure of interviewing Page Kennedy where we discussed “The Upshaws”, his character ‘Duck’, music, and his fitness journey. We had an amazing conversation about his media roles, the love for Eminem, and also found out that we both favor Cardi B because of the way she represents herself: “Cardi B makes me feel like I know her”, said Kennedy.

Read on to hear about our conversation with Page!

Your Netflix series, “The Upshaws”, came out today- how do you feel about working with it?

PK: I love it, you know I was a part of it, and I still watch the series multiple times. I can’t get tired of it. I can just go to any episode and watch it- it has so many great jokes and the characters are diverse, and they bring their own style, energy and creativity. I think it’s the funniest show on TV.

How is it working with the cast?

PK: Working with the cast is great. You know, you got legends there. You’ve got Kim Fields, the ultimate foremost legend, Mike Epps who is a comic genius, Wanda Skyes- comic genius. They are good people, and everybody is happy to be here, so it makes it fun.

Do you feel that you have any similar traits to your character Duck within yourself?

PK: I’ve been asked that question and, let me see, I look at Duck as a different character than what I typically play. The only similarity that I see between me and Duck is his loyalty. He is loyal to a fault. You know, he spent 7-10 years in jail where he could have gotten less time where he could have ratted out his friend who could have been his co-defendant, but he just took it. I think I have a loyalty like Duck. Other than that, he’s a little different than me.

Let’s talk about your latest album. How did you feel about the creative direction within the videos for “Fear” and “Safe”? How did you work through the process of such a real and raw album?

PK: I wanted to make use of all of my talents to create an art- that was my goal. My goal was to take the amalgamation of talents that I have to coalesce to create art that could be ubiquitous forever. You know, that’s what I feel I accomplished because things are great 20 years from now and it’s still going to be great. You can still listen to Biggie because it’s incredible, it’s timeless and that’s what I wanted to do. I feel like I accomplished that.

Can you tell us about the song “Shine”?

PK: I think that the album needed some respite because it’s very heavy and after you listen to Fear and Safe, it’s so cumbersome that you need some respite. And so that’s what Shine provides. It still takes a look at how difficult 2019 was personally for me and then 2020 was for everyone. The face of darkness, there is light after, and I wanted to show that the Devil will not take that light away. We will shine.

Can you tell us about your album cover?

PK: The cover of the album is confluence of tragic incident of black Americans who have had their lives taken from them at the hands of police brutality. That confluence is to show that they are me. You know, they all make up me; I am the same as them and so I wanted to, through me, show them. Wait until you get to the song “Flowers”, that is my favorite song on the album.

At the end of some of your videos, there is mention of voting- what are you trying to show viewers?

PK: So, creating Fear was so I could galvanize the troops to go vote because we can’t just yell from the rafters “We are being disrespected”, “We are being overlooked”. We have to actually get in the dirt and, you know, do things that cause change. Our biggest voice was our vote. The virality of those videos was to have the embolism of to vote throughout the video. To help people want to get out and vote after they see the deleterious effects of what fear can do on both sides so that’s why you see that throughout the videos.

Let’s talk about your fitness journey. What motivated you to get started?

PK: I got tired of looking at myself in movies and TV fat as hell and I was more attractive in my head than I was externally, so I wanted to match that.

So, there’s a lot of excuses that I think many people use such as “I can’t afford to go to the gym” or “I hurt too much to do this”. How did you push past your own excuses?

PK: I have an additive personality so once I get into something, I’m locked in and I got my mind right and ready. I had help, a tool to help me out with the point of why I was overweight which was my addiction to food. And so, I got gastro sleeve surgery which made my stomach smaller so that I couldn’t overeat. That helped. That was like the catalyst to help me and the working out thing- I already had that down. I had challenges where I would workout 100 straight days and another challenge where I went a straight year of working out without missing any days. My mind was already set to go to the gym, I just needed to get the food stuff right.

Do you still workout consistently?

PK: Yep, I’m still in it. Even when the gyms were closed, I found a way to get the workout in.

What advice would you offer somebody as far as starting out on their journey? If they were with you and undecided about their journey because of lack of motivation.

PK: I would say to make it something that is a part of your daily life that you don’t have a choice of. You don’t have a choice if you need to go to the bathroom or not, you don’t have a choice whether you like eating or not. These are things that must happen regardless of what you want or not. So, if you make the gym or workout a part of that, you take the lack of motivation away. We can have things taken away for us and see how resilient we could be. If you’re in jail or in a weight loss camp or anywhere that caused your free will to be taken away and you are forced to do something, you can do it because you have to. So why have to be in a situation where some other exterior force forces you to when you have a mind and brain that is going to be the thing to make you do it anyway.

Do you have a specific meal plan?

PK: Sometimes, yes. I go in spurts. Some weeks I have no carbs and no sugar. Then some weeks I am a little looser. I just try to be moderate because I could easily go really far one way or really far the other way. It’s not until I’m actually preparing for something that I go super crazy. Other than that, I just try and stay in striking range.

Do you allow yourself to have treats?

PK: Yep, probably more than I should.

What kind of workouts do you do?

PK: Well, when I get off the phone with you, I have a trainer, so I am going to the gym. Wednesday is leg day, which sucks. I work out with a trainer 3-4 days a week and then two other days I have an Oculus virtual reality thing that I do a supernatural workout on or I ride my bike for 20 miles to the beach on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Is there anything else that you’d like to talk about or anything that you’d like to share with our readers?

PK: I just want them to the importance of the album “Page” and how it’s important to everyone in the world right to be aware of everything that happening right now and everything that’s going on. And that if this album was released by a bigger artist, it would be a Grammy-nominated type of album – that’s how important this album is. I just implore everyone to continue to listen to it and check it out because I think it’s necessary. That’s the main thing that I want- and watch “The Upshaws” on Netflix streaming now.

The Gnarled Branch illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Q×A with The Gnarled Branch

Q&A with David Irvine from The Gnarled Branch

David Irvine is the multi-talented artist behind the Gnarled Branch. He is known for his imaginative ‘Re-Directed Paintings’, whimsical furniture, original paintings, painted burnt out light bulb ornaments, salvaged record paintings, and so much more. You can visit his Etsy shop here! You can see throughout his work that there is an interest with popular characters which brings life to the rural paintings he often re-directs. Irvine will match the original artist’s style within the painting or counter it intentionally, but he always leaves the original signature clear to see. There’s a story behind each of his works, including the painting “The Last Trick or Treater” which is one of Irvine’s favorites. Read on to learn more about David’s work, inspiration, and so much more.

What is your background – in addition, did your upbringing prompt a specific reference point within your work? Is your work informed by certain concepts or themes from your childhood, background, socioeconomic status, where you lived or were raised?

DI: I was fortunate to be raised by parents who appreciated all the arts. Going to see theatre shows, music performances, and gallery exhibits were always exciting. I was encouraged to develop with the visual arts and musically as well with regular music lessons and art lessons. They were at first concerned when I decided to pursue a career in the visual arts, as they knew it can be a real struggle – but were fully supportive and excited that I was accepted into art college to study illustration.

How does this impact how you see the world and create art?

DI: It’s no secret the art world can be very snooty, takes itself far too seriously and that is a real shame. In a lot of the genres that I do- I am always considering humor and fun as elements in a piece. Especially during these difficult pandemic times, art needs to uplift and provide smiles and not be staunch, same old -same old themes that have been done over and over.

Do you have an educational background or experiences that have contributed to your evolution as an artist?

DI: I studied illustration at Sheridan College, and throughout my childhood would occasionally take art lessons. The rest was experimenting and being self-taught with various mediums and medium combinations. I taught visual art to a wide range of ages through community night school and was an art tutor to a terrific student with special needs. Those were very memorable years.

What does your work aim to say?

DI: I do so many different genres of art, I think there’s a spectrum of what I want to communicate…. from making people laugh and feel good — to the darker, macabre work to scare and bring the viewer into a world that they may not feel comfortable being in… I guess I make art to get a reaction… not just creating something for its sole purpose is to look pretty and match the sofa.

Is there a particular artist that inspired you to pursue art?

DI: My grandfather was an accomplished amateur painter and I’d watch him work and see the pieces he did… maybe that was the first seed…Other than that I would always sign out art books from the library and soak in everything from master painters to illustrators and cartoonists who worked presently.

Whose techniques do you study or admire?

DI: There are so many — but in high school, I always enjoyed Ralph Steadman ink illustrations, Van Gogh for his boldness, Rene Magritte for the unique and surreal visuals … Currently I’ll search through websites like Tumblr or magazines like Juxtapoz and discover artists both old and new who mix unusual mediums or have their own unique style.

How do you cultivate a collector base?

DI: When I first started as a fine artist, I didn’t have a computer- the internet wasn’t a thing yet, so I was reliant on physically going to galleries and public places to show my work. From little gift or record shops to restaurants and cafes. Now with technology, it’s just a matter of updating and refreshing social media, submitting articles to websites, or being lucky and being featured by a blog, website, or podcast…it all helps and a lot more convenient to be able to post an instructional video from home, or post new work in progress photos to a website, than to lug workaround or mail promo packages out to land a show. Once a collector is on board, having top-notch customer service skills and excellent communication is key…

What inspires you to paint?

DI: I’ll have a lot of eureka moments as I’m sketching or planning out new works or series….and I have to then see that eureka image come to fruition. It would drive me bananas having a good idea sitting there on a page and going nowhere. As well it is my chosen job- so those bills must get paid.

How do you look for new ways to challenge yourself?

DI: I get bored very easily… so challenges are always put in place to not get bored. Every artist has a spectrum of color they usually gravitate to when creating a piece…I like to switch things up and use the colors I don’t normally use or come up with different color combinations/ mixing. I’ll even wear tinted sunglasses so the colors I think I’m using wind up making happy accidents when I look at the piece without the sunglasses. Using oil pastels with acrylic paint… various types of inks and papers …are many variables that can be used to break away from regular tendencies when approaching a piece.

Do you have a favorite painting that you have completed? If so, can you tell us the story behind it?

DI: I did a solo show a few years ago with Halloween as the main theme. A few favorite paintings came out of that show including one called the Last Trick or Treater. It showed a bird’s eye view looking down onto an old tyme small hamlet, and one child in a ghost costume running down a street with a lantern. I think I captured the quiet of the night, and the bit of panic the boy was having as he was quickly trying to get home.

What inspired Re-Directed painting for you?

DI: When I first started as a fine artist, I had very little money and art supplies and framing was expensive. I would frequent yard sales and thrift shops to purchase old frames, lithographs on board, and existing canvas prints to paint over and frame. Around 2009 I started to paint weird imagery in an existing piece and then later one piece my Mom was getting rid of was a seascape -where I had the immediate vision of two reapers playing with a beachball. I painted them in, shared them on social media and things snowballed rather quickly from there. I came up with the term re-directed as I used that as a tag and hoped people would begin to associate it with me…and it worked! Other people now use that term – which is fine… I prefer that to ‘Improved Painting’…as I never meant to demean the original artist. All these redirected pieces were salvaged and unwanted and quite likely wind up as landfill. I hate waste and seeing potential thrown away. This was just another method to upcycle. I’ll spend considerable time touching up the piece from scratches, buffs or sun/ water damage then I’ll add in my own visions. ..never covering the signature of the original artist. Research is always done prior to any painting to insure it’s not of significant value. I rarely work on originals, always lithographs, canvas prints, or anonymous paint by numbers.

Is there anything that you would like to add?

DI: Even though most know my work through my ongoing Re-Directed thrift art series, I look forward to continuing my upcycling work (hand-painted ornaments using salvaged burnt-out light bulbs, pop art paintings on discarded, damaged vinyl records, beer cap pins, and redoing/painting discarded wooden furniture…) and preventing landfill.

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Photo Credit: David Irvine
Photo Credit: David Irvine
Photo Credit: David Irvine
Photo Credit: David Irvine
Passport illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Tim Hentschel × HotelPlanner

By: HotelPlanner.com Co-Founder/CEO Tim Hentschel

We all welcomed the news of vaccine rollouts that started in January this year, but what does this specifically mean for the travel and hospitality industry? How do vaccine passports work? And are they ethical?

Experts agree that we will start to see real progress against the spread of Covid once 70 percent of a country’s population is vaccinated. We’re already hearing more optimistic sentiments from many governments, travel organizations and businesses as countries reach 30% to 50% vaccination levels. Still, the rate of vaccinations varies greatly per country, and this is causing daily changes to the do-not-fly list, which makes it extremely challenging to reliably plan international travel.

That said, there is great optimism in our industry. For example, the International Air Transport Association Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac was quoted in March that “personal and leisure travel will return from the 2H2021. ″

Tim Hentschel, CEO and co-founder of HotelPlanner, we are developing the tools to travel safely in Covid, with vaccines on a worldwide rollout, he discusses how this will affect tourism and hospitality locally and across the world.

Vaccine passports become essential

The European Commission has been the latest body to propose vaccine passports. While there are concerns about discrimination against the unvaccinated, an internationally recognized official certification for vaccinated travelers would help to lift quarantine restrictions and ease the processes of entering other countries.

In fact, Singapore Airlines began piloting a digital vaccine passport in December 2020 and has plans to integrate it into their mobile app by mid-2021.

During the pandemic, travel operators have acted quickly to label hotels that have complied with Covid-19 countermeasures and get the word out to their customers.

In the coming months, we expect operators to start implementing new measures based on vaccine passports that will be in line with government regulations. The simplest way is to have travelers include a vaccine certification as part of their personal details for bookings. These details could then be shared with partner airlines and hotels to facilitate a smoother, less restricted travel experience. 

Of note, it’s important to distinguish the vaccine passport initiatives individual countries or international bodies are pursuing versus what some private sector venues are piloting.  For example, the Biden Administration clarified recently that they would not be sponsoring or mandating a country-wide vaccine passport and that any related projects would be up to the private sector. Florida’s Governor also recently banned the use of vaccine passports in the state entirely, which could trend in other states. To date, New York is one of the few states that has piloted what they’re calling an Excelsior Pass to verify vaccine status before entering venues like Madison Square Garden or Barclays Center.

Green lanes and travel bubbles will revive suffering travel destinations in the short term 

Governments should speed up establishing green lanes or travel bubbles with ‘safe’ countries, where travelers are exempt from quarantine. These partnerships will be critical for bringing life back to economies that rely on service-based and labor-based industries.

Thailand, for instance, has seen an 83 percent drop in foreign tourists. This is a devastating blow that contributed to the Thai economy falling by 6.1 percent in 2020, its worst performance since the 1997 Asia financial crisis.

The Thai Hotels Association estimates at least a million workers have been laid off from its hospitality sector as hundreds of hotels have closed. Domestic tourism and the implementation of special tourist visas for long stays have done little to reverse the pandemic’s impact on the industry.

Thailand’s special tourist visa permits foreign visitors to stay up to 90 days, including 14 days of quarantine, with the option for two extensions. It has attracted only a fraction of the expected 1,200 monthly visitors since its launch in October 2020, likely due to the lengthy quarantine requirement.

India is now experiencing a huge spike in Covid infections, and the USA has added them to the list of over 100 countries that US citizens cannot fly to. As India is one of the US’s largest trading partners, this will hurt both countries with similar effect to the tourism devastation in Thailand.

As we look to the future, there is a golden opportunity for the USA and other developed nations of the world, which have successfully implemented vaccine rollouts, to continue to help countries that are still challenged. This will help the USA, EU, and UN reestablish themselves as global leaders. If all goes well, we could be celebrating a return to near normal by the Tokyo Olympics this summer.

Calvyn Cass illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Calvyn Cass

Q & A with Calvyn Cass

Singer-songwriter, Calvyn Cass, has begun dominating the music song with lyrical tunes to the beat of self-love and acceptance.  The hit single, “Me, Myself, & I”, explores complicated relationships and self-acceptance winning over insecurities.

Here at 360 Magazine, we had the chance to have a Q&A with Calvyn. Read on to learn more about Calvyn Cass and his upcoming new music, WHITE FLAG.

Q- Could you tell us about the creative direction behind ME, Myself & I?

CC- ME, MYSELF & I was one of the first few songs; the third to be exact. It starts with the hook, but it definitely brought up old feelings. I started writing about feeling hurt by someone I loved, and it ended in being def reflection story. The video shows that with me performing to myself in all my different layers. It’s probably the fastest I ever wrote and recorded a song. From starting to put pen to paper with the first line to finishing recording the demo was probably an hour.

Q- What would you like fans to take away from ME, Myself & I along with the video?

CC-I think the main narrative is that is ok to embrace all feelings but not let them define you. You can look at yourself and be like, “it’s not all about you” and own the way you were but move on from it. On the flip side my new song coming out April 28th is WHITE FLAG and that’s about identifying navigating how to be there for others in the way they need you. It’s a song about someone I love having an internal battle that made them reactive to me. In that moment I felt that I could either be reactive myself in response or step back, realize this is not about me and just give love. Sometimes it’s hard to watch someone you love to behave in a destructive way, but you can’t force someone to see something they aren’t ready to see. You just gotta let them know you come in peace and that you’re there when they are ready to let you in.

Q- Who was your biggest musical inspiration in writing ME, Myself & I?

CC- I have to admit I struggled with this in the beginning. I have always had this immense pressure to associate myself with other artists in order to justify my music. When I wrote that record, I kept thinking of Beyoncé and her record from her first album. I have always been a Destiny’s Child fan and I loved her record, but I know it’s been done. More than trying to find inspiration I found myself avoiding doing what’s been done. She’s an icon and I think what got her there is doing her thing and owning it. I think I look to artists like Bey who have paved their own musical lane as career inspiration. I’m just gonna keep doing my thing. Some people will love it, but others won’t, and I’m cool with that now.

Q- Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?

CC- So many artists for so many different reasons. I love Lil Nas X because he represents what I am hoping to achieve as an artist. I think we would make insane music together. Miley is a powerhouse and if I could be on a record with her, it would be a wet dream. Demi is having this journey unfold before us all. There are so many parts of that journey that are familiar in one way or another and the message is something I would be honored to be a part of. Olly Alexander who recently starred in “It’s A Sin” is seemingly embarking on the next chapter of his career embracing his identity more. If I could be apart of any of these artistic moments that I believe will help change and shape the world I would count myself lucky as hell.

Q- Did your move from South Africa to Canada influence your music at all?

CC- I see the cultural shift I experienced at a young age as a stage in my life that shaped me. It was probably my least favorite time of my life. I was this small, effeminate boy when I moved. In South Africa I struggled fitting in with the hyper masculine molding boys are expected to be. In Canada I saw it as a chance to start over without anyone knowing my past struggles. That didn’t go as planned because I was then the weird immigrant who spoke differently and had a very different perception of the world. In each circumstance I tried fitting in and when it didn’t work out, I had to step back and try figure out why. I didn’t when I was young, but I see it now. It complex to break down in a short interview but now every time I write and record, I tap into the cultural difference and similarities. I want to be able to speak to as many people and be as relatable as possible. Everyone is navigating this complicated journey called life. The best we can do is try being empathetic and honest.

Q- What advice could you offer others as far as embracing the true way they see themselves?

CC- It’s no one else’s job to make you comfortable in your own skin. You will definitely feel like a victim of persecution because that’s a part of life; others will always try cut you down, so they stand taller. Appeasing others by changing who you are to make them comfortable will only hinder you on your path. It’s terrifying to stand in your truth and face scrutiny because it might cut deeper but I promise you, it did the opposite for me. When I let go of trying to impress everyone else was the first time, I felt like I could truly breathe. I released the vizard and accepted myself to find the pressure put on me was put on me by myself. I set the insane standards for myself from what I thought the people around me would feel more comfortable with. Here I am in my adult life realizing that if I had honored myself, I would have avoided a lot of sadness.

Q- Who are your musical inspirations?

CC- I’m inspired less by artists and more by the songs themselves. I love finding out who wrote a song and who produced it. Of course, the voice on a record can give me chills and bring me to tears. The way that voice shines come from all these other peoples’ talents and contributions to the music. That’s what inspires me. Paying attention to how sounds were created, layered and pieced together.

Q- You are co-founder of BRUSH Salon – do you plan to continue to pursue your career as a master stylist alongside your music career?

CC- I am. When I was in high school, I fully intended to pursue music. The world was different then and I let the people around me tell me that a gay boy with feminine features would never succeed in music. I always loved playing with my sisters hair when we watched movies. She hated it but let me anyways because it meant she could choose the movie. So, I am now at the top and have achieved so many of my goals in hair. I love it but I’ve felt like this part of me has been stuck in limbo. I can’t ignore it anymore and I want to pursue music. The world allows people to be more than one thing and I’m going to ride that wave.

Q- Outside of music and styling, what are your passions?

CC- Depends on the season. I love being outside in spring and summer. I’m one those dog lovers that sees my boys as my children, so I dedicate a lot of time to them. I love cooking and find it therapeutic to cook for my family and friends. I love being active, but my ultimate reset is to just spend a winter day in bed with snack watching movies or maybe an entire series… haha

Q- Looking ahead, what plans do you have in store for the remainder of 2021?

CC- Lots of music. I want to bring new music as much as it possible. I want to perform when I’m allowed to and introduce my music to more and more people. I’d love to collaborate with other artists when we are restricted from doing so.

FF Rarri illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Q × A with Rarri Dream

Q&A WITH RARRI DREAM

Rarri Dream’s album, Foreign the Speed, is getting a lot of traffic after he dropped it in August of 2020. He has artist’s Lil Jah and Hoodrich Pablo Juan featured on Foreign the Speed. The production on the album is amazing with the likes of Black Mayo, Chiveer, and Solo Cam. Songs like Televise, Get Paid and Keep it Going put you in a joyful mood with its melodic sounds. Rarri has just now gained recognition but he has been rapping ever since he was 14 in his home studio. 2021 he is planning to take over the rap game and make music with other mainstream artists. He shot the music video for the song Get Paid on the album last year in October. Everyone should be on the lookout for Rarri to do some big things soon.

Q- Can you tell us about your upbringing and how it influenced your sound? Siblings?

RD -My upbringing was cool growing up in Lithonia 
In the early part of my life, I was influenced by Mike Jones T.I and Lil Wayne. My sibling is just my lil sister she’s the only one.

Q -What inspired your latest song? 

FR -My latest single is called “Show it” featuring Yung Bino what inspired it was when he sent the hook back and I see he was talking about strippers and money so, I just thought to go crazy on it cause that’s my vibe.

Q- If you had an opportunity to work with a major label, would you ink the deal? Why?

RD -I would take the deal because if you think about it major labels give you so many opportunities that being independent doesn’t and, people don’t understand that

Q- How would you best describe your style? Favorite designers? 

RD- Very colorful but sometimes dark because I like wearing leather jeans on some rockstar shit, but really, I just like any designer brands with quality.

Q- Do you consider yourself a sneakerhead? If so, what’s your go to pair?

RD- Kinda I mostly wear designer shoes though my go to is the balenciaga track shoes. I also sometimes wear Air Force 1’s.

Q- Can you describe your writing process?

RD- I don’t write I just freestyle I been recording so long that I’m just used to it coming off the top of my head.

Q- What’s the number one thing people notice about you when you enter a room?

RD- My style people often ask what’s that you’re wearing? Or damn bro, you dripping lol.

Q- If you were on a deserted island, what would you bring?

RD- I would bring like 3 of my favorite outfits a bunch of food I like, a weapon to protect myself and a bad ass girl.

Q- Are you involved in your community? Can you elaborate on your last philanthropic endeavor?

RD- Not at the moment, I’m still fairly young so I’m not really into that yet, but I will soon though.

Q- If you could offer someone advice trying to break into music industry, what would say?

RD- I would say invest in yourself because the more you put in, the more you’re going to get back from it.

Q- Dream collaboration? Hobbies?

RD- Some of my dream collaborations would be with Lil Wayne, Young Thug, and Drake to name a few. My hobbies are when I’m not recording, I like to play video games or go shopping.