Posts tagged with "relationships"

Zac Stern Official app founder photo via Jonathan Stinson for use by 360 MAGAZINE

Center Stage: Zac Stern

Modern dating apps are often draining, sucking the fun out of the thrilling experience that finding a partner should be. Amidst the craze of hookup culture, it’s hard for those of us looking for a real relationship to find someone that isn’t just in search of a fun night. Luckily, we’ve found the perfect app that is based all around fostering positive relationships – its not a dating app, it’s the relationship app – Official.

Make things official with Official, the app that nurtures positive relationships no matter what stage of dating you’re in. Via the app, users have the choice to swipe “Yay” or “Nay” to differing date ideas. To “match” with a partner, you both have to choose “Yay” for a specific date idea. Once matched up, you can plan a date immediately, or you can come back to your match later.

Official encompasses an array of features for partners to build and cultivate positive relationships. From well-needed daily check-ins, a personalized intimacy section, a shared notes folder, countdowns to special events and the opportunity to earn points through practicing healthy relationship habits, Official encompasses all of the tools that you need to cultivate a strong, open partnership.

Official was founded by Zac Stern, business expert and graduate from NYU’s Stern School of Business. Interning with a selection of startup companies throughout his college years, Zac knew that he was interested in this realm of business ventures. Working as a VC his senior year at Stern, he worked his way up to become an associate just in time for his graduation in 2020. Diving into other projects, Zac knew that he wanted to begin his own development in the realm of dating apps, which birthed Official.

Created to encourage healthy relationships, Zac built Official around the next-generation model of social media and apps. The app has continuously gained widespread acclaim, becoming viral on TikTok, and rising to the #5 placement atop the US on Apple’s Lifestyle Charts.

360 Magazine had the opportunity to chat with Zac regarding the app’s inspiration, its various features and why you should start dating on Official.

What inspired you to create Official app?

While working in VC, I analyzed the business models of everything from jetpacks to cancer research; dating apps somehow fall within that range. When looking at a business, you learn that you want to keep your customer. This may seem relatively obvious, but not when it comes to dating apps. Dating apps are an interesting business because they lose their customers when they do their job correctly. But, the same thing happens when they do their job poorly, or when an outside force accomplishes their “goal.” So, from a financial perspective, I realized that it made more sense to focus on helping people stay together because the longer they are together, the longer they want to be our customers. Official switched the incentive so that when our users are happy in their relationship, we win, and if our users struggle in their relationship, we lose. 

On the personal side, I was dating someone long-distance at the beginning of 2019 while still in school and studying abroad. I was in London; she was in NYC. I met her two weeks before I left to study abroad, so we started our relationship with many calls, texts, and facetimes. To remember everything, I made a note on my phone about her, another note about her family, Instagram-saved things to do in the future, and pinned every future date spot on my phone’s map. While tedious, this was the only option I thought of. I knew there had to be an easier way. Many of my friends were in relationships, and I noticed everyone wanted to be the “perfect” couple: the couple that had the best dates, cutest photos, and best sex. All of these things happening led me to the idea of Official. 

Walk us through the different features available to the couples who join Official.

Official’s goal is to help couples through promoting self-discovery and enhancing communication between partners. We do this because we know how important it is to communicate with your partner and help you find and experience new activities. 

As Aron et al says it best in ‘The self-expansion model and optimal relationship development’, According to self-expansion theory, engaging in activities with a romantic partner that broaden one’s sense of self and perspective of the world (e.g., novel, exciting, interesting, and challenging activities) can reignite feelings of exhilaration and passion reminiscent of when couples first fell in love.” We wanted to create this sense with the Official.

Within the app, we allow couples to check in with each other in multiple ways that promote conversation both on and off the app. We let our users tell their partner how they are feeling, guess how their partner is feeling, and tell their partner they are in the mood. 

Official also allows you to discover more things around you to try with your partner from a literal sense like restaurants, concerts, or events, but also at home dates or things to try in the bedroom. We let our couples swipe left for no, right for yes, or up in the intimacy section for maybe, and this creates an opt-in process to indicate what each person wants to do. While it’s simple, it lets couples discover new things that they both want to do. 

We also let couples share their dates and experiences privately or publicly. Users post memories within the app to remember what they do with their partner.  By posting publicly, couples can show off that crazy exciting or unique date that they did. Official is a community of people who love love; we want to encourage everyone to have the best relationship. 

One of the most important things is that we don’t try to make couples feel like they can only communicate on the app. I firmly believe that Official can be an excellent catalyst for communication, but should not be the only way you communicate. 

Is there any exclusivity on the app for members? Such as first access to tickets/events/reservations?

We partner with some of the best companies in the world that provide incredible experiences anywhere. We let our users access exclusive discounts on events and experiences near them. We also allow them to 50% off almost any sex toy from our partners. We believe in creating value for each user, which we will continue to do. 

What is your biggest tip for couples to stay consistent on the app, planning dates, etc.?  

The biggest tip I have is to complete the Daily Question every day. It’s a quick feature, but the value it brings to relationships is massive. We ask you and your partner a new question every day, and if you both answer it, you can see each other’s answers. Our goal is to spark new conversations and let you discover something new about your partner or yourself that you may not have thought to bring up. 

I highly recommend the Intimacy Section to have the most fun and check out the craziest sex positions you will ever see… I am still baffled at how some of these are possible.

Do you plan on adding any additional features to the app?

I probably come up with a new feature a week, much to my team’s dismay. There are so many things to come on Official. Our random date generator will plan a date for you using machine learning to understand preferences. We are still in prototype, but I cannot wait until it’s ready for release. 

Do you have any tips for readers who may be interested in your app now that they’ve heard of it but are new to this type of app?  

Dive in; it’s easy. On Official, you can do anything, but you don’t have to do everything. Use what you think is interesting, and ignore what you don’t. We understand that people communicate in different ways, and that’s why we have an eclectic mix of features to suit any communication style or relationship. I don’t expect every user to use every feature; I just want every user to find value on Official. 

What is your favorite feature on the app?

Most likely, it would have to be the In the Mood feature. It is such a unique feature that when I first told people about the idea, they thought I was crazy. We refer to it internally as the “I’m horny button.” The button allows a user to say that they are in the mood, and if their partner hits the button within 12 hours, we send them a notification and let them do whatever their hearts desire. If one hits it and the other doesn’t, we say nothing because we want to promote double opt-in. 

What’s next for Official?

This is perhaps my favorite question because I don’t fully know. I have many ideas and ways to take the company, but we will follow what our users want. 

I always like to say that we are the first relationship media company. Our focus is couples, but many divergent markets touch relationships, creating the opportunity for Official to expand. My goal is to grow Official to help any relationship you have, whether it’s with your partner, family, friends, or even yourself; Official will be the defacto platform for any relationship in five years. I have a few ideas on how to get there, but I can’t give it all away just yet.

Twelve Tips for Making New Friends

Meeting new people is more challenging for some people. You may get nervous about starting a conversation or wonder where to find friends outside of your daily routine. If you’re looking to cultivate personal relationships, check out these tips for making new friends that anyone can use to create a social circle.

1. Open Your Heart

Connecting with someone requires opening your heart and becoming vulnerable. You won’t make those essential connections with people if you’re holding back your true self. It can be scary to think about, but it’s a risk worth taking.

Keep your mind open to this vulnerability, and you’ll find yourself getting along with people even if they’re different than your other friends. You can always head home to spend time by yourself and recharge your social batteries after opening your heart to a new companion.

2. Join a Club

You might picture grade school or college organizations for young people when you think of a club. They also exist for adults who aren’t in school, so think about your hobbies. There are always local groups for people who love to do things like reading, knitting, gardening, drawing and other commonly shared activities. A quick internet search will reveal different ones based on your interests.

3. Add Volunteering to Your Schedule

Finding people who care about the same issues as you is one of the best ways to make new friends. You’ll share core values that stand the test of time, so meet people at volunteer events. Consider how you want to put your skills to use and if your community has any pressing needs. You’ll find people ready to help who will likely form friendships over your shared experience and passions.

4. Find an Accountability Partner

Friendships also form when people bond over goals. Anyone recovering from addiction can find an accountability partner to share and strengthen their recovery journey. This type of friendship will provide solace, motivation and encouragement when you’re experiencing something other friends may not understand. You’ll make this type of connection through support groups, either in person or online.

5. Take Your Dog Out

Pet parents have a unique opportunity to meet friends at the dog park. Grab a Frisbee or tennis ball and head to a local park this weekend. You’ll find other dog owners and have an instant ice breaker subject to talk about. It’s a stress-free way to create bonds without struggling to find something to discuss or a shared interest.

6. Remember to Stay in Touch

Once you meet someone new and want them to stay in your life, remember to stay in touch. Communication works both ways. If they give you their number or connect with you on social media, they shouldn’t be the only person in the relationship to reach out with a quick text or direct message. Anyone who struggles with maintaining friendships can set up reminder notifications once a day to stay in touch and avoid accidental lapses in communication.

7. Get Involved With School Groups

College students and parents with grade school kids can get involved with school groups to meet friends. Parent-teacher associations and clubs will expand your social circle right away. You’ll also gain long-term connections because the school that’s the center of your daily routine is also a significant part of your friends’ lives.

8. Practice Your Listening Skills

Relationships fall apart when people don’t listen to each other and hear what the other person is saying. Practice your listening skills with family members or loved ones while you’re making new friends. Empathizing and never interrupting are significant steps you can take to strengthen any new friendships and make them last a lifetime.

9. Say Yes to Hanging Out

Social anxiety might make it challenging for you to agree to activities with friends. Unless there’s a legitimate reason to stay home by yourself, push yourself out of your comfort zone by saying yes to invitations more often. Even if you only agree to a quick phone call or video chat, you’ll become more comfortable in social situations by practicing saying yes to your friends.

10. Make a New Profile

Sometimes people feel uncomfortable making new friends because they lack self-confidence. You can meet friends even if you don’t want to put yourself out there by creating a new profile on a social media site. A blog or other account that doesn’t have your full name or photo may give you the confidence to chat with others based on your shared interests. You can choose to open up at your own pace as you get to know them.

11. Take the Initiative

No one forms friendships if they wait for people to approach them first. You’ll have to take the initiative to start conversations or create opportunities to get to know others. Ask a co-worker to join you for lunch sometime or make a spontaneous phone call to someone you miss. If they value your relationship or want to develop your friendship, they’ll respond positively because you show how much you care.

12. Avoid Creating a Timeline

Healthy friendships take time. Friends that start with love bombing and intense connections usually burn out because it’s not a manageable emotional state for either person involved. Avoid pressuring yourself to reach certain relationship milestones on a deadline as you meet potential friends.

You won’t have a best friend after hanging out a few times. People need time and shared experiences to foster lifelong relationships. As long as you enjoy chatting with someone and feel valued without overextending yourself, your bond will last the test of time.

Making New Friends Is Easy

Now that you’ve read these tips for making new friends, start meeting people this week. Whether you eat lunch with a new co-worker or strike up a conversation with a stranger at a volunteer event, you’ll connect with others who have shared interests or life experiences. It’s all you need to spark fantastic friendships that can last a lifetime.

Gobble’s Valentine’s Day Meals and Desserts 

Cacio e Pepe Pasta with Scallops & Asparagus

Cacio e pepe is a delicious, elegant dish that couldn’t be simpler. Our fresh spaghetti is tossed in a savory pan sauce of grated Italian cheese and Parmesan butter and topped with pan-seared scallops, asparagus, and sweet peas. Cracked black pepper and fresh arugula are the finishing touches on this satisfying gourmet meal.

Ingredients

■      Dry Scallops

■      Fresh Spaghetti

■      Garlic Parmesan butter

■      Peas

■      Asparagus

■      Italian cheese blend

■      Arugula

Seared Duck Breast in Cherry Port Wine Sauce with White Cheddar Grits

You’ll want to eat these creamy, savory grits with everything, but they’re especially good with our juicy pan-seared duck breast in a tangy cherry port wine sauce. A sautéed hash of Brussels sprouts and garlic complete this gourmet Southern dish. 

Ingredients

■      Duck breasts

■      White cheddar grits

■      Rosemary thyme butter

■      Dried cherries

■      Sweet tangy sauce

■      Brussels sprouts

■      Shallots

■      Garlic cloves

■      White cheddar cheese

■      Port wine

Garlic Pesto Sirloin Steak with Rosemary Mashed Potatoes & Sautéed Spinach

Become a dinner hero with a gourmet dish, made simple! Tender sirloin steaks are seared, crusted with a roasted garlic pesto, and finished in the oven. Serve it alongside creamy rosemary mashed potatoes and our butter-sautéed spinach, guaranteed to leave you licking your plate!

Ingredients

■      Top sirloin steaks

■      Roasted garlic pesto

■      Spinach

■      Mashed potatoes

■      Rosemary sprigs

■      Butter

Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake with Sour Cherry Compote

A 4-ounce mini cheesecake is the perfect way to end an excellent meal. This rich and creamy chocolate truffle cheesecake is a chocolate lover’s dream come true. It’s topped with a sweet and sour cherry compote. Live life without regrets — order dessert!

Valrhona Chocolate Lava Cake

Treat yourself to this gourmet chocolate lava cake prepared with Valrhona Tainori dark chocolate from the Dominican Republic. These delectable single-serving cakes need only a quick trip in your microwave or oven and can be topped with your favorite ice cream or fruit syrup.

For additional information visit site HERE.

Headphones graphic via Heather Skovlund for use by 360 Magazine

Joy Crookes Announces US Tour

British singer/songwriter Joy Crookes announces her very first headlining United States tour with performances spanning coast to coast. The tour commences April 2 in Los Angeles at The Roxy, making stops in Boston, Philadelphia, New York and Washington, DC. Exclusive pre-sale for the show begins February 10 at 10 AM PST, with tickets becoming available on-sale February 11 at 10 AM PST.

Catch the full tour schedule below and visit www.joycrookes.com to snatch up your own tickets!

Crookes’ first headlining US tour comes following her newly issued debut album, Skin. The album itself released in October of 2021 gaining widespread attention, landing at #5 on the official UK album charts. Accredited as an executive on the album by the side of Blue Mary, Skin is an intimate and transforming piece of work imagined out of Crookes’ fresh, personal point of view.

Showcasing a variety of hits that Crookes created leading into her early twenties, the album covers themes including mental health, relationships and politics, all touched with her personal vibe. Skin has swiftly picked up critical honor from The New York Times, NPR, Vogue, ELLE and Harper’s Bazaar.

Stream Skin HERE.

Crookes recently shared the music video for her current single, ‘19th Floor,’ which comes from her album Skin. She speaks on the inspiration for the video, stating, “We wanted to create visuals that were reflective of the complexity and beauty of community, especially the immigrant community within London. The song is a recognition of all the obstacles immigrants have to overcome to build a life in somewhere like the UK, an acknowledgment of the journey that my Grandmother for example had to face to get to the 19th floor of a South London tower block and the heights that she has managed to reach.”

Watch the official video for ‘19th Floor’ HERE.

About Joy Crookes

South London singer/songwriter Joy Crookes has notarized herself in the music industry as a Brit nominated sensational artist. Fans take to her out-of-the-box point of storytelling showcased through her music. In each piece of her own work, she is able to articulate her own esteemed sense of creativity that she possesses at the mere age of 22. Accumulating a mass hundreds of millions of streams, she has named herself a staple in upcoming British music.

JOY CROOKES U.S TOUR DATES:

Apr 02 2022 – Los, Angeles, CA @ The Roxy

Apr 05 2022 – Boston, MA @ The Sinclair

Apr 06 2022 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Foundry

Apr 07 2022 – New York, NY @ Gramercy Theatre

Apr 08 2022 – Washington, DC @ Union Stage

pulp EP cover artwork via Kirsten Mikkelson for use by 360 MAGAZINE

Winnetka Bowling League – pulp

Winnetka Bowling League debuted their hot fourth EP pulp via RCA Records on Friday February 4. The EP consists of new track fiimy (fuck it, i misss you) with Demi Lovato, as well as a few separate pre-released tracks. Listen and stream pulp HERE, and catch the full tracklist below.

Both Winnetka Bowling League and Demi Lovato came together when Demi got into touch with head singer Matthew Koma. He posted a short video of the track onto the popular platform of TikTok, where Demi was drawn to the song.

Matthew raves about the inspiration behind fiimy (fuck it, i misss you), saying ““fiimy” is about running into an ex for the first time since a break up and the rush of mixed feelings that ad target you. There’s wondering if you even know that person anymore and there’s reckoning with your own “did i fuck up a good thing”. When Demi heard the lyrics, I think they reminded them of their own version of that experience…so it was really cool to hear them come with a verse framing how that story was told in their world. It takes dismissing a lot of pride to admit to yourself you miss someone.”

Demi spoke on their collaboration on the track, stating, “Winnetka Bowling League has such a unique sound, and I am excited to be on this record with them. If these times taught us anything it’s the power of human connection and missing someone, and I think this song speaks to that in a very honest and relevant way.”

The new EP pulp was written and produced by Matthew, and comes after their accomplished 2020 EP Congratulations.

Matthew talks about pulp, asserting, “Writing songs feels nauseatingly self-important and talking about writing songs is worse than a writer’s camp. But alas, I wrote most of the songs for the new EP in New York and felt panicked for 2 months that I was only capable of pure shit. I grew up in NY but I’ve spent the last 11 years in Los Angeles and sometimes the mentality here makes you forget about doing stuff you actually love. Being back in New York sort of sparked all these memories of being a kid recording terrible demos on ACID (the recording program, not the drug, unfortunately). And that headspace got me thinking about things and people I haven’t thought about for a long time. Usually I’m arm wrestling myself to write something about my current circumstance that’s relatable to more than my three friends who like quarantine as much as I do. But there was this shift in NY and I started writing about people and feelings I hadn’t visited in a while. Time grants you kinder eyes and with songs like ”barcelona” and “fiimy” I got to re-explore those relationships from a helicopter’s view and see it a little differently. “pulp” was about this really odd memory that came back to me one day when I walked by Port Authority and smelled hot pretzels. It made sense to call the EP “pulp” because every song was born from some specific snapshot detail that wasn’t at all the main juice (lol). I usually like my own music for 2-3 months after making it then I’m paralyzingly humiliated. I wrote this on 4/22/21 – use that information accordingly.”

This spring we see Winnetka Bowling League heading out on a series of shows while backing CHVRCHES on their practically sold-out UK Screen Violence Tour. To access more information on the tour and to get your own tickets in Newcastle and Birmingham, visit HERE. See tour dates below.

About Matthew Koma and Winnetka Bowling League

Head artist in charge, Matthew Koma was raised in New Jersey and became a critically acclaimed performer, songwriter and producer who has worked for the likes of Britney Spears, Demi Lovato, Keith Urban, Shania Twain and Kelly Clarkson. The beginnings of Winnetka Bowling League came in 2018 when Matthew, his brother Kris Mazzarisi and Sam Beresford joined him to release their self-titled EP. They soon released two more Eps, Cloudy with a Chance of Sun in 2019 and Congratulations in 2020, all showcasing impeccable songwriting paired with memorable lyrics. V Magazine proclaimed, “Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Matthew Koma…[as] raw and honest, possessing a dry sense of humor that is reflected in both his songs and his mannerisms…[Winnetka Bowling League is] the perfect pairing of deep lyrical content and alternative rock melodies.”

pulp EP track listing:

1. “pulp” 

2. “fiimy (fuck it, i miss you)” with Demi Lovato

3. “barcelona” with Sasha Alex Sloan 

4. “dandelion”

5. “emotionalporn”

CHVRCHES x Winnetka Bowling League tour dates

March 14th – Edinburgh UK – O2 Academy (SOLD OUT)

March 15th – Newcastle, UK – O2 City Hall

March 16th – London, UK – O2 Academy Brixton (SOLD OUT)

March 18th – Birmingham, UK – O2 Academy 

March 19th – Manchester, UK – O2 Apollo (SOLD OUT)

iann dior "On To Better Things" album cover art via Kristin Somin/ The Oriel for use by 360 MAGAZINE

iann dior – On To Better Things

Today, the multi-platinum selling, chart-stealing artist iann dior released his album, On To Better Things. See the official tracklist below, and click HERE to stream/download the album.

Throughout his new album, iann showcases an alt-pop/rock flare, while keeping to his identity as a rapper on trap tracks like “i might,” and “v12,” ft. Lil Uzi Vert. On To Better Things discusses the topics of love, relationships and loyalty, with the common message of moving on to a bigger and better future. The remarkable album sees the likes of Machine Gun Kelly, Lil Uzi Vert and Travis Barker, including production from Travis Barker, Taz Taylor, Omer Fedi, Cirkut and Cashmere Cat.

You can catch iann on Jimmy Kimmel Live! next Wednesday, January 26, where he will debut “thought it was” ft. Machine Gun Kelly and Travis Barker for the first time.

As if the release of his new album wasn’t enough, iann, too, was declared the face of the Germany luxury fashion house MCM’s 2022 Spring/ Summer collection. The campaign can be described as “an interdimensional journey into utopian paradise.” The MCM’s 2022 Spring/ Summer campaign was shot virtually and IRL, mesmerizing viewers with a vivacious world, highlighting an upcoming perspective on 2022, paired with the musical styling of iann dior. The collection is available both in-store and online now at mcmworldwide.com.

ABOUT IANN DIOR

Puerto Rican-born, Corpus Christi-raised celebrated artist iann dior is known as one of the industry’s fastest growing artists in modern time. With the release of his first song that he wrote, his career took off. The song gained traction after iann posted the track to SoundCloud, quickly obtaining over 10,000 plays in its first week, catching the eyes of Internet Money founder Taz Taylor. Taylor and iann then got together to work on music, and shortly after he landed a deal with Elliot Grainge’s label 10k Projects in April 2019, releasing his project Industry Plant.

In 2020, we saw the true rise of iann when he was featured on the Billboard Hot 100 #1 hit “Mood,” with 24KGoldn, that is now certified 4x platinum. “Mood” stayed atop the Top 10 to 10 weeks. Together, the duo traveled and performed on The Voice, American Music Awards, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and were nominated for 2 VMAS, 3 Billboard Music Awards, 1 AMA and 1 iHeart Radio Music Award following the achievement of “Mood.” Since then, iann has collaborated with artists such as Lil Baby, Machine Gun Kelly, Travis Barker, Clean Bandit and Trippie Redd. Renowned for his captivating music in the genres of alternative, pop, rap and electronic/dance, iann is a truly diverse artist that captivates millions of people with his distinctive and charming point-of-view.

On To Better Things Tracklist

  1. is it you
  2. complicate it
  3. v12 (ft. Lil Uzi Vert)
  4. i might
  5. heavy
  6. dark angel interlude
  7. obvious (ft. Travis Barker)
  8. heartbreak3r
  9. options
  10. regret
  11. thought it was (ft. Machine Gun Kelly & Travis Barker)
  12. sinking interlude
  13. let you
  14. fallin
  15. hopeless romantic (ft. Travis Barker)
Flo Ngala for use by 360 Magazine

Tierra Whack × Pop?

Grammy-nominated rapper, singer, songwriter and poet Tierra Whack has just released her second EP, Pop?. Pop? comes only one week after the release of Tierra’s first EP of 2021, Rap?. Tierra also debuted the new music video for “Body of Water,” which comes exclusively from the new EP Pop?. The music video was directed by the award-winning Cat Solen, who has directed the videos of Tierra’s other hits “Link” and “Unemployed.”

Watch the video for “Body of WaterHERE.

Pop? showcases production from one of Tierra’s regular collaborators J Melodic. As a pair, Tierra and J Melodic were recently profiled in NPR for “The Formula.” Sierra’s three-song EP showcases her witty and captivating personality as she navigates through love and relationships. The Pop? EP comes just one week following its sister EP, Rap?. Rap? has gained the attention of such outlets, with the Rolling Stone commemorating the “succinct distillation of Tierra Whack’s hypercompetitive spirit, enriched by some smart, introspective gems.” Consequence even named “Stand Up” their “Rap Song of the Week.” With such commotion surrounding Tierra’s work, the sky is the limit for her future pieces.

Tierra has, too, just launched a collaboration with the one and only Vans on December 3. Tierra and her stylist Shirley Kurata set out to create a 1980s-inspired collection that encapsulated Tierra’s unique attitude and style that she carries with her in all her endeavors. The collab is depicted as a “mélange of colors, shapes, patterns, and phrases that explores limitless creativity.”

Pop? Tracklist

  1. “Body of Water”
  2. “Dolly”
  3. “Lazy”
Rarin - credit Marcello Peschiera from James Steers, Press Here Publicity for use by 360 Magazine

Rarin Q×A – Toxic Ends

By: Ally Brewster

Fast-rising artist Rarin has released his liberating, pop-rap debut mixtape Toxic Ends. An aspirational, ambition-fueled introduction which champions human connection and self-growth, inspiring listeners to be themselves free of insecurity, Toxic Ends unites Rarin’s recent string of hard-hitting singles and adds six new tracks to his prolific catalogue.

Originally recording music for fun and continuing to create in his bedroom despite his success, Rarin has racked up over 75 million global streams with his string of viral singles including “GTA” and “YESSIR!” which topped Spotify’s viral charts and trended on YouTube. Adding to his hot streak, and distilling rap, pop, and relatable storytelling into his own unique sound, Toxic Ends will follow his recently released singles: deceptive flex anthems that speak to what is achievable in life if you free yourself from insecurity. “Toxics Ends” imagines what life would be like if we let go of the negative thoughts that hold us back, while Rarin “levels up” to become the most polished version of himself on “Big Spendin’,” a version without heartbreak or self-consciousness, that is excited for the future. “SO WHAT! ft. Brxkenbxy” speaks to brushing off minor issues to find value in mistakes without letting them derail you from seizing big opportunities.

“I think we’re all destined for something greater than our expectations. We just have to let go of what’s holding us back,” says Rarin on the inspiration for the mixtape. “This project is mainly about letting go of our ‘toxic ends.’ People are tempted to commit themselves to things they cannot obtain, especially in relationships, leading their emotions to consume them. Just because you want something, doesn’t mean you need it.”

We had the opportunity to ask Rarin about his career, Toxic Ends, and what’s next for the artist:

How did you get your start into music? When did you know if it was something you wanted to pursue?

I originally got into music because of my parents. They had me learn to play the piano because they wanted me to try out new things when I was younger. I think that really gave me an ear for making music and it helped a lot. Singing and rapping came many years later and that really started out of boredom. Later, with time, I found myself enjoying recording music more and more and eventually I recognized music as something I wanted to pursue professionally.

Who were your biggest inspirations for going into the music industry? How has their careers inspired/impacted your own decisions and direction for your music?

My biggest inspirations are Lil Peep, Travis Scott, and Billie Eilish. The career of Lil Peep has made me see how important fan interaction is, and how being close with your fans can bring a really special connection. I also love Travis Scott’s live performances and seeing him perform made me realize that your fans and listeners will reflect your energy, so you need to show your enthusiasm in everything you do. Billie Eilish inspires me to go out of my comfort zone and to be more confident. In one interview she had said that you should embrace your mistakes in your music and keep them because that’s what makes it unique. That saying has stuck with me for the entirety of my career and has really given me motivation.

How does your new work compare to your other works you’ve done in the past in terms of process, production and message? Do you notice differences in creating singles versus mixtapes?

Overall, the production has gotten much better, but I also have more purpose when I record and write music. Currently, I tend to make faster and happier songs compared to my past music.

What was it like when you realized that your work was connecting with people? Was there a specific moment you remember realizing how your music impacted others?

It was honestly very motivating. I’ve had fans tell me that my music has helped them stay mentally strong in their hardest times, and that really means the world to me. I use music to help myself feel better so being able to provide that for others makes me really happy.

Were you surprised that your work became popular in gaming communities? What has that experience been like as you watched you work be appreciated by many different communities?

I never really expected my songs to blow up through video games. I used to edit gaming montages so it’s crazy to me that my music is being used in videos similar to what I used to edit.

Toxic Ends is a mixtape with “deceptive flex anthems that speak to what is achievable in life if you free yourself from insecurity.” What inspired you to make a mixtape that is vulnerable and honest about overcoming insecurity? Is there anything you hope fans take away from the mixtape?

My life inspires my music and, in my life, I’ve found myself unable to rid myself of toxic relationships and situations because I thought those situations were normal and that I didn’t deserve better. After listening, I hope my fans recognize the importance of loving yourself and what you do. I think it is the key to being successful and happy in life and I wish that upon everyone.

What are you most excited for next once your new mixtape is out?

I’m most excited to start doing live shows and possibly touring.

Toxic Ends Track List

Toxic Ends

Love Fix

Ashes

Had Enough

SO WHAT! (ft. Brxkenbxy)

Skipping Stones

Cash Out (ft. Darius King)

2 Seater

Big Spendin’

See Rarin’s mixtape music videos below:

Toxic Ends album visualizer here.

“Toxic Ends” music video here.

“Big Spendin’” music video here.

Check out Rarin’s debut mix, and keep a look out for what’s next!

Nechelle Vanias Headshot 2021 via Jonathan Stinson at freedomunitedsocial for use by 360 Magazine

Nechelle Vanias Six Degrees of Influence Q×A

Nechelle Vanias is Chief Strategic Officer of the full-service digital marketing and talent agency, Six Degrees of Influence (SDI). Spearheading the agency, Nechelle looks to elevate professionally managed content. Through SDI’s three curated influencer content houses – The Vault, La Casita, and Twin Flames – the agency looks to offer a unique opportunity to both brands and content creators. 360 Magazine spoke with Nechelle about SDI’s approach to creating viral content, brand campaigns, Gen Z/Millennial trends, and more.

What void do the The Vault, La Casita, and Twin Flames houses fill in the professionally managed content collaboration house industry? 

Six Degrees of Influence (SDI) sought to create long lasting brands when developing The Vault, La Casita, and Twin Flames, not just an influencer hang out or Airbnb. SDI likens this approach some of the popular TV shows, like Love Island and Big Brother, where the audience falls in love with the show platform and may have their favorite contestants each season, but still come back to engage with the next season. In fact, SDI runs each of their content houses like a TV show production set replete with the same operations, including call sheets and writers’ room. This ensures a predictable, consistent and timely amount of content is produced for both the house social media channels and brand partners.

Six Degrees of Influence (SDI) uses a multi-channel content approach. What different channels do you use to promote content?

SDI employs social and live channels to promote the house’s content.  This includes live streaming fan events and on-site brand activations at the houses. The content houses’ reach is amplified beyond the house channels by hosting daily collaboration days with their influencer and Young Hollywood friends. [These collaborations] then create exposure for the guests’ audiences as well.

Is there a specific media channel that SDI influencers are currently focusing on the most? 

SDI knows that content creators can still earn more money that is relative to their follower count and engagement on Instagram and YouTube, than on TikTok. This is because Instagram and YouTube are established platforms from which brands have been able to experience quantitative conversion results over long periods of time.  Brands are still figuring out how to best use TikTok, thus while their marketing spends are increasing for TikTok. [However,] you can still earn more on the other platforms with less followers.  We have a creator with six five thousand followers on Instagram and earns $1,500 on average for one Instagram post, whereas her following of three hundred and fifty thousand followers on TikTok earns her $750 on average. Now, add in the fact that SDI has never seen followers move to other platforms in the way TikTokers are able to move their followers. Therefore, TikTok is still a large focus as it serves as an advertising tool to drive the growth of Instagram and YouTube. For these reasons, SDI focuses on Instagram and YouTube growth for the housemates, but certainly keeps TikTok front of mind.

What benefits does living in a content house offer influencers, as opposed to more traditional housing arrangements?

Collaboration amongst all creative types is a tried-and-true method of growing and being inspired.  Living in a content house offers influencers a tribe to go to for content ideas, support and camaraderie.  When run by SDI, that [support] comes with mental health check ins and encouragement. [Encouragement] is very necessary for influencers who are under an immense amount of pressure to maintain their brand. SDI also provides insight on platform growth, relationships with the platforms for exclusive campaign, and event opportunities, and secures brand deals for the housemates. Overall, in SDI’s houses housemates receive the support, resources and tools to grow their social platforms, increase their revenue potential and get a “masters” in the business of content creators.

Is there a formula/process that SDI follows when attempting to create viral content? 

In order to achieve viral content you have to put out A LOT of content. It is foremost a numbers game – the more content you deploy the more you increase your chances of going viral. The second most important process of creating viral content is to study data, so that you are putting out a lot of purposeful content with the intent to speak to a generation. Have your content resonate with [viewers] and have them respond with affirmation through their views, likes, shares and comments. SDI is a very data driven agency, so we are looking at what the data is telling us, what the comments of the fans telling us, what is trending in pop culture, what do we hear the talent talking most about, what is getting the views.  Once SDI has the “what”, we start looking at the “why” so that we can determine how to leverage the data to create viral content.

SDI creates custom designed campaigns for individual brands. How does SDI go about customizing these campaigns for each brand? 

We curate campaigns for brands that align with their overall marketing goals and what we know will be embraced by the creators. We speak the brands language, but live in the creator’s world, so we know how to create a win-win collaboration. We also leverage the unique setting of a content house in our campaigns.  Most specifically, the ability to do on-site branded activations and signage at the houses themselves.  For example, if it is a beverage brand, we might recommend a branded glass front refrigerator by the pool. If it is a clothing brand, we might recommend a branded master closet with signage that is full of the brand’s clothing. If it were a cereal brand, we might recommend a cereal bar in the kitchen.  All of these concepts would include intentional branded content created by the housemates, but also a more subliminal exposure in the background of content. [This subliminal exposure] has proven to be successful in traditional product placement [methods] used in TV and film. The possibilities are endless, and we look to get as creative as we can. [SDI] pushes the envelope [with] of out of the box ideas that deliver conversations and increase brand awareness.   

Who are some of the most popular content creators that SDI represents?

SDI works with many creators, and the most popular doesn’t always mean the most follower count.

Rave Vanias with 350k is a brand favorite, doing campaigns for brands such as Cinnamon Toast Crunch, HP and Fenty Skin. She also pulls thousands of views when she goes live on her social channels. Her confident personality and accessibility make her a favorite all around.

Alessya Farrugia has strong numbers on all channels (2M on TikTok, 391k on Instagram, 176k on YouTube) and is another talent. [Alessya is also] a brand favorite for campaign activations on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube.  She also is one of the few creators that appear on the gossip sites for her great looks, and not for drama.

Joshua Suarez, with almost 13 million followers on TikTok, is one of our largest creators. [He has] has great chemistry with his girlfriend, Star Abelar, who herself has almost 10 million followers on TikTok.

So many influencers audition to join content houses. What qualities does SDI specifically look for when finding influencers to represent your full-service digital marketing and talent agency? 

SDI is looking for creators that have a great work ethic and want to be great. If someone is doing this as a hobby, they are not a fit for the agency. SDI is looking to go on a journey with talent that are looking to take their careers to the next level, reach their full potential, and aren’t afraid to do the work that is needed to be great!  SDI doesn’t just sign talent with large followings, because we know that doesn’t necessarily translate into big money or meaningful careers. SDI is looking for creators that are coachable and passionate about their art because those are the ones that have the greatest potential impact on the industry!

SDI mentioned that their demographic mainly caters to Gen Z and Millennial fans. Which Gen Z/Millennial trends are SDI influencers currently creating content about? 

The Gen Z and Millennial generations are very confident in their self-expression, and SDI looks to amplify those voices. Relationships and connections are a main theme in the content we create – whether that be romantic, casual, family or friendly interactions. These generations are more connected [to each other than ever before] in history, thanks to technology and social media. So, [these elements] play a large part in their lives and create a universal theme with which they can relate and engage.  

Is SDI looking to create any more content houses in the future? 

SDI does indeed have two more houses in development for 2021, with plans for international expansion in 2022. SDI wants to create an international network of content houses that can incubate future leaders and give brands a platform to weave into the fabric of their customers’ lives.

Divorce and marriage illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 MAGAZINE

Wedding Must-Haves

Happy wedding season! Let’s look into some marital must-haves to make your special day perfect.

  • DJ/Band

This is an absolute must-have, of course. Music plays such an important role in having a romantic, enjoyable, and memorable celebration. Finding a DJ isn’t super hard, and their services can vary in price. A band, on the other hand, can be a little more difficult. However, bands provide a different atmosphere to add to the day that the guests can look forward to.  Music keeps things lively and energetic, and is sure to get everyone dancing.

  • Barda

Whether guests pay for drinks or you provide an open tab, having a bar is very necessary. Having both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks for guests during the reception is a great party idea.

  • Photographer/Videographer

Photographers have always been a necessity for weddings. They capture beautiful moments to always look back on to remember the wonderful day. Something that this generation has made more popular for weddings is videographers. Personally, looking back at videos is one of the best ways to relive a memory. Videographers not only film, but also put together a romantic short films to re-watch the most precious moments.

  • All You Can Eat Appetizers

Who wants to celebrate when everyone is hangry? Having consistent appetizers is so important to keep guests happy. Sometimes, people don’t love sitting down for a huge meal–especially when drinking and dancing. Having small bites will keep everyone happy.

  • A Playlist

Make sure you have an idea of what songs you do and don’t want to play. Don’t stress about it on the day of!

  • Wedding Direction Signs

Not every wedding needs direction signs, and honestly, sometimes guests don’t even bother looking. However, providing directions to parking, restrooms, reception, food, ceremony and other wedding venue locations could be beneficial for guests.

  • Wedding Menu

If you choose to have a buffet or serve the same meal to every guest, the wedding menu is not needed. However, wedding menus can be beneficial and guests will appreciate having dish options.

  • Sparklers

Sparklers are usually used for the bride and groom’s grand exit. They add a beautiful and spectacular touch to moments, photos and videos.

  • Plan For Inclement Weather

If the wedding is planned for outdoors, it’s always important to think of a plan B, just in case the weather changes. Coming up with a backup plan will save you the stress.

  • Just Relax

Forgetting about materialistic things for a moment. Remember to enjoy every step of the wedding planning journey and your special day. Everything happens for a reason and will fall into place, no matter how stressful it seems at the time.