Interview With Artist and M.O.U.N. Records CEO Chas Bronxson!

chas bronxsonWith recent biopics such as The New Edition Story and The Bobby Brown Story and documentaries like Unsung, many have come to understand the unfairness that can come with being a music artist, and M.O.U.N. Records founder and CEO, Chas Bronxson is no exception. In fact, it was the infamous shady contracts that he was offered as a teen that would eventually motivate him to take the independent route. “…I couldn’t get a decent record deal with a major record label, and even independent record label because they always offered a contract that just didn’t seem right,” he told So Booking Cool.

What also fueled him to take matters into his own hands was his protégé, Haley Williams, who he was eager to introduce to the world.  The hard work and determination would pay off. Williams’ heartfelt single “I Miss My Daddy” placed number 14 on the Digital Radio Track’s top 150 this past summer.

In addition to producing talent, M.O.U.N. Records, which is an acronym for Makings Of Unforgettable New Records, is launching a nonprofit organization for youth to learn about and use music and poetry as creative outlets. Bronxson also aims for the program to discuss serious topics such as the importance of fatherhood. “We want to make things really good for the kids coming up, so they’ll have something to look to, an outlet to uplift and express whatever it is that they are dealing with in life, to make things better and get the idea to do their own thing.”

Listen to the full interview, to learn more about Bronxson including the inspiration behind the stage name; his creative approach to his craft; his thoughts on internships; his thoughts on the technological benefits for artists and book lovers; when artists should and should not address rumors; the books and authors who have inspired him; his own forthcoming books; his perspective on singing competition shows, the powerful message of his song “When They’re Gone (An Ode to Michael Jackson)” and its controversial video, and a lot more! For more information, visit https://www.mounrecords.com.

Interview With Zachary S. Williams of “I Am Frankie”!

Zachary SBCFor something that was initially a hobby, young actor and musician Zachary S. Williams has serious goals for his career in entertainment. In addition to his aspiration to become a director, the Nickelodeon star also hopes to launch an organization that will connect children to the arts.

“Art, in general, is an important field that I think most people need to experience, and the younger, the better,” the 18-year-old told, So Booking Cool. “I think the younger you are, the more excited you would be to try new things.”

Williams, who has been active in show business for a decade, started in theater (he would love to act on Broadway someday), appeared in commercials, modeled in print ads, and even co-hosted the show Rays Rookies.  Later, he would land a role in the debut season of the hit series, Greenleaf, where he worked alongside Oprah Winfrey—probably the “most amazing experience” Williams says he could have.

He would then star on the popular series I Am Frankie, which tells the story of a teen girl living the double life of an android acting as a human in a risky attempt to preserve her safety.  While the show is meant to be entertaining, specifically for children, Williams believes the series also upholds the message that there are issues that can come with being different.

What is his advice for young people looking to break into the industry?

“Everything happens for a reason,” the Orlando, Florida native said. “And what’s meant for you will not pass you by.”

Listen to the full interview to learn more about Williams, including the career he thought he wanted to have, as well as how he studies his craft, what one can expecting from acting classes, his favorite book on acting, philanthropy, and more! For more information, visit Williams on social media.

Interview With Tom Wascoe, Author of “Child of the Dust”!

tom wascoe.pngThere are two things Tom Wascoe wants readers to take away from his book Child of the Dust: love conquers all and the importance of the Vietnam War. The story is inspired by Wascoe’s service in the army as well as his Corporate Officer career at a Fortune 100 company. He once told someone that he would write a book about the war, and accomplished his goal forty years later.

Child of the Dust tells the story of a soldier, Richie, who falls in love and procreates with a native, though he is forbidden to marry her. Richie is obligated to leave the army and returns to life in America. Two decades later, however, they reunite, along with his son.

“The whole Vietnam experience was very important to me, the struggles and the people that we left behind,” the author told So Booking Cool.

Child of the Dust coverPrior to penning Child of the Dust, Wascoe was not a reader of romance—he typically reads historical fiction. But when chatting with him, his passion for the story’s message that “love is overriding” is palpable. Listen to the full interview to learn more about the Chicago resident.

We discuss his thoughts on a film or television adaptation of Child of the Dust; his perspective on book reviews; how many books he reads a year; his debut book, Backseat, which is also partly derived from a personal event in his life; his experience with Bookstand Publishing; and his upcoming work. For more information, visit Wascoe’s official website.

Interview With Mathew Knowles About “The Emancipation of Slaves Through Music” and more!

mathew knowlesFront-Cover-Emancipation1800Mr. Mathew Knowles, entrepreneur, record label executive, music mogul, professor, speaker, and bestselling author, recently visited So Booking Cool in support of his new book The Emancipation of Slaves Through Music. While we had the pleasure of gaining some insight about the book months earlier when Mr. Knowles first chatted with us in promotion of his memoir Racism From the Eyes of a Child, our conversation with him this time around reached greater levels.

Our discussion extended beyond how slaves shaped music and vice versa and the compelling research Mr. Knowles and his students found when co-writing The Emancipation of Slaves Through Music; we discussed images in music, particularly pertaining to female artists, in which Mr. Knowles notes that this does not occur in gospel music; who ultimately decides the concepts for artist’s music videos; why Mr. Knowles believes music will become increasingly and entirely visual;  the diversity of the Music World brand; his plans to tell his life story on the screen, as well as his approach to Destiny’s Child: The Untold Story, in which the mogul asserts that no one really knows what went into the music group; his interesting take on “culture vultures”; his public relations book; and a lot more!

Listen to the full interview below and check out the time stamps for select portions. For more information, visit Mr. Knowles’ official website.

Interview With Literary Agent, Mollie Glick!

mollie glick photoThe love for writing and business is what Mollie Glick cherishes about being an agent. “You know if you’re gonna be an agent if you love the stories, you love the words, and then you also love the entrepreneurial business-building side,” the Creative Artists Agency (CAA) agent told So Booking Cool. Glick, who has adored books since childhood, started out as a literary scout fresh out of college. While the job served its purpose, she ultimately knew she wanted to work directly with writers. Following her tenure at Crown Publishing (Penguin Random House) as an editor, the Brown University graduate eventually transitioned into agenting.

Subtle Art CoverHer seasoned career has seen the success of Mark Manson‘s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, which is still sitting comfortably in the top two of the New York Times bestsellers list two years later (90 weeks to be exact); former Vice President Joe Biden‘s memoir, Promise Me, Dad; Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood; and Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone by ocean scientist, Julie Berwald.

Senator Kamala Harris and Valerie Jarrett, former government official, and New York Times bestselling author Ali Benjamin (The Thing About Jellyfish) are among the forthcoming projects Glick is excited about. Listen to the full interview to learn more about these upcoming books, as well as Glick’s insights about publishing, especially agenting and editing, whether or not publishers or agents make more money, more about Manson, her favorite way to discuss new projects, and juicy tidbits!

Interview With “Renaissance Man: The Lin Manuel Miranda Story” Author, Marc Shapiro!

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While New York Times bestselling author Marc Shapiro likens the life of a writer to that of a roller coaster, he also believes that as a creative, the psychological benefits of the craft are high. He would know. Shapiro has written everything from articles, horoscopes, short stories, poems, to approximately 80 celebrity biographies, including the bestseller, J. K. Rowling: The Wizard Behind Harry Potter. Lin Manuel Miranda (check out our review here on Renaissance Man: The Lin Manuel Miranda Story, An Unauthorized Biography)Mary Tyler Moore, George Harrison, Justin Bieber, Lindsay Lohan, Adele, and Fifty Shades of Grey author, E.L. James are among the high-profile lives he’s penned. He even wrote one about the hit rock song “Hey Joe.” Recently, he revealed that he finished writing the late Senator John McCain‘s life story (this interview was done prior to the senator’s death).  Shapiro, who says he’s always been attracted to creative people, is also interested in finding out what makes them tick.

“Some days it’s a pain in the butt to make a living doing this, but more often than not, it’s fun. You’re doing what you love to do and making a living, and getting paid for it,” he said.

Listen to the full interview to learn more about Shapiro’s projects, both past and present, including the recent release of his debut short story collection, Short Story Collection: Stories of High Strangeness, the execution of Renaissance Man, his insights on being an author, and journalist, and the time he had three weeks to write the LA Times bestseller, Total Titanic: The Most Up-to-Date Guide to the Disaster of the Century, and more!

Interview With Angelo Ellerbee, PR Guru & Author of “The Sense of Success”!

Ang Sweater2Public relations expert Angelo Ellerbee recently visited So Booking Cool in support of his new book The Sense of Success and candle line, Scent of Success, both of which champion the omnipresent phrase: I’m living my best life. “The acceptance of you is success. The movement of you is success. You have to find it in yourself. And sometimes you need to be instructed about how to find the sense of success,” he said.

The Sense of Success is the sophomore release to his debut, Ask Angelo: An Inside Look at the Entertainment Industry From a PR Guru. Though both are self-help books, the heart of the former is for the disadvantaged, especially youth, while the latter angles on artists and performers.

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Throughout his career of nearly 50 years, Ellerbee has  represented and/or managed the likes of Michael Jackson, James Mtume, Dionne Warick, Shabba Ranks, Mary J. Blige, DMX, and Alicia Keys just to name a few. He also served as the Senior Vice President of Publicity at Island Def Jam Records. His company Double XXposure Media Relations was the first and probably only black-owned public relations firm to be located in Midtown Manhattan. Dubbed the “Henry Higgins of Hip Hop” by the New York Times, Double XXposure remains a respected company for talent, not just regarding publicity, but in artist development as well.

Also a community activist, another reason Ellerbee wrote and published The Sense of Success because he feels strongly about guiding people of color. “I just believe that my people deserve to have the right to understand that they are successful. I just need for them to open their eyes and dig deep down inside and find out where their success is. And if I have to be that person that shines that candle so they can see, and feel, and understand where the sense of the fragrance of success is coming from internally, let it be,” the New Jersey native said.

Listen to the full interview to learn more about Ellerbee, his activism, the film-adaptation of his compelling life story, his views on navigating publicity for troubled clients, his humble beginnings, his wisdom, his upcoming college tour dates, and more! Fore more information visit the following websites: http://www.dxxnyc.com/home and https://www.ellerbeeelegance.com/home.

Interview With Markette Sheppard, Author of “What is Light?”!

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Emmy award-winning television journalist and entrepreneur Markette Sheppard was inspired to write her first book, What is Light? after becoming a stay-at-home mother for a year to her then newborn son. The book, in which Sheppard describes as a “love letter” to children, soared to number one on Amazon‘s Children’s Sense & Sensation list. Parents of all backgrounds have expressed appreciation for Sheppard’s children’s book. “I think people are fatigued by seeing one type of version of African American people, and so this is something new, something different, and it’s something you can feel good about,” she told So Booking Cool. “No one’s going to feel bad by the end of this book– whatever part they play in the story that is our human family’s history.”

What is Light? is the board book debut from Denene Millner Books (Agate Publishing) and is illustrated by award-winner, Cathy Ann Johnson. Sheppard has nothing but positive things to say about her first publishing experience. Like many debut authors, the former Essence magazine writer researched what entailed writing a book and getting it published. While she didn’t have the connections, she believed in her work. Today she remains in awe over the fact that something she wrote in her notebook is now available to the world. “I’m just so proud that my words are in print. I feel like there’s a lasting legacy in this book that hopefully people will keep and share with their family members for many, many generations to come, like Goodnight Moon.”

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Listen to the full interview to learn more about Sheppard, her advice for children’s book authors, including the advice she received from a New York Times bestselling author, her childhood exposure to reading, her next book, and more! For more information, visit Sheppard’s official website.

Review: Renaissance Man: The Lin Manuel Miranda Story, An Unauthorized Biography By Marc Shapiro

marc shapiroRENAISSANCE MAN: THE LIN MANUEL STORY, AN UNAUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY, Marc Shapiro. Riverdale Avenue Books, $18.01 (200p) ISBN-13: 978-1626014480
Publication date: May 10, 2018

From the New York Times bestselling author and veteran entertainment journalist, Marc Shapiro, comes his newest biography of a high-profile talent: the self-made Lin Manuel Miranda’s story. Unlike some unauthorized biographies, Renaissance Man is anything but salacious and scandalous. Shapiro doesn’t go for the cheap. He has instead chosen to tell the compelling journey of the Hamilton frontman that will leave readers feeling inspired and motivated. Ever the page-turner and crisply written, this book is just as pleasurable for the celebrity memoir and/or “tea” enthusiast as it is for the go-getter crowd. When absorbing Miranda’s story, the takeaway extends beyond the fact that Miranda was a man who went after his dreams steadfast. The real message here is the level of discipline one should probably have for pursuing and maintaining a passion.

Prior to the groundbreaking success of Hamilton, there was Miranda’s first major theater production, In the Heights, which dealt with cultural themes significant and personal to Miranda, who was bred in a predominately Latino community in Inwood, New York City. Shapiro highlights the tireless work ethic Miranda dedicated to his play as a college student, as well as his determination—there is a moment when Miranda meets with a potential investor who wanted Miranda to trade the loss of a scholarship storyline for one about drugs and/or a teen pregnancy. In short, the investor opted for a stereotypical scenario and showed he didn’t get the heart of the project. Miranda stuck to his guns, and the play eventually soared past his college campus and onto Broadway. Each new opportunity that arose to elevate his work, whether it be in the form of a national tour or any new stage in general, raised the stakes for Miranda; he did not allow the praise to make him comfortable or complacent.

Miranda was introduced to Alexander Hamilton in school for an assignment. And while he possessed a keen interest in literature early on (he’d read to the other kids in daycare, kind of like a teacher, in which he would eventually become) as well as in musicals and hip hop, the Puerto Rican visionary never imagined he would one day create a play in the late president’s honor.

Call it fate, nevertheless, Miranda worked hard for his success. He had talent, recognized his talents, and made the choice to hone them (even if there were on-and-off-again periods and other obstacles he had to overcome). He didn’t ask for handouts and didn’t need to. Shapiro shows how Miranda got to the point where his work spoke and continues to speak for itself.

Rating: Excellent

Rating Scale

Cool: Decent

So Cool: Good

Booking Cool: Excellent

So Booking Cool: Masterpiece

Interview With Curtis Bunn, Essence’s Bestselling Author and Founder of the National Book Club Conference!

19999Curtis Bunn founded the National Book Club Conference (NBCC) so readers could have the opportunity to interact with their favorite authors and/or writers. The idea was conceived after he attended country-wide book club meetings for his debut novel, Baggage Check, which became the first Essence magazine bestseller by a black author, with a black editor and agent, a black cover designer, a black distributor, and a black publisher. The NBCC’s 16th annual Literary Bliss weekend, which celebrates African American literature, will begin August 3rd in Atlanta at the InterContinental hotel.

Alice Walker (The Color Purple, among many), Terry McMillan (Waiting to Exhale, among many), Jenifer Lewis (blackish star and author of her memoir, Mother of Black Hollywood), Tayari Jones (An American Marriage, the Oprah’s book club pick), Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy), and Carl Weber (The Man in 3B) are among the 30 authors of this year’s lineup. While Bunn is glad to have the support of renowned attendees, he is especially excited about the new talent.

“I need the majors, and I love having them because they’re amazing. We need them to attract the readers, but when they come, I always challenge the readers to stretch themselves. Go see someone you’ve never heard of. And almost in every case they’ve done that, they say they’re glad they went there…for me, that’s the mission of the conference, to expose readers to authors they may not have otherwise known about or read.”

Press play to hear how Bunn started the NBCC, his approach to his craft, including how the setting/location in a story is a “character” itself, the developing film adaptations of two of his nine novels, The Old Man in the Club and The Truth is in The Wine, the up-and-coming authors to be featured at Literary Bliss this weekend that he’s excited about, and more! For more information visit Bunn’s official website as well as the official NBCC website.