Interview With Romola Hodas, Author of “The Princess of 42nd Street”!

RomolaHodasHeadshotRomola Hodas is a reminder that we should stop putting time and age limits on our aspirations. At 61-years-old, the author is working on a new business and career in public speaking, a journey she describes as “a lot,” but fun. One of her tricks is telling herself she is 21 and will live past her nineties. As you will note from our interview with Hodas, she champions having a positive outlook on life, especially as someone who’s lived a hard one, as revealed in her new memoir, The Princess of 42nd Street: Surviving My Childhood as the Daughter of Times Square’s King of Porn. Hodas’ father Marty, who passed away four years ago, had an integral part in the formation of 42nd Street, Times Square, which pioneered the American sex industry. This time period of the early 70’s is depicted on the HBO series The Deuce.

The Princess of 42nd Street - Surviving My Childh-largeHodas says the experience of watching the debut season of The Deuce was “surreal.” She’s gone on to become friends with Saul Stein, who portrays her father on the show. Writing about her life and what it was like to be the daughter of a man like Marty Hodas (and her mother) was anything but cathartic for her. She had to relive the abuse from her childhood. “I was just living in hell and it was really hard, and I certainly was drinking a little bit more than I had wanted to, knowing I’d get a handle on it, but it was really hard. I don’t really mind people knowing my story; I really wanted to show people that lots of what we go through, we have a choice,” she told So Booking Cool.

There is an appreciation many seem to have for candidness in general. Hodas is also proud that her book captures her voice, in which she credits writer, producer, and publishing consultant, Elizabeth Ridley. As for what’s next? The New Yorker is working on getting a television deal for The Princess of 42nd Street. Listen to the interview to learn more about Hodas, her upbringing, her publishing experience, her thoughts on The Deuce, child abuse, manifestation, her company Creating Harmony MM, problem drinkers vs. alcoholics, her advice for anyone who desires to start a business, and more! For more information, visit her official website.

Interview With Country Singer, Songwriter & Musician Re Mattei!

rei mattei feels like it's gonna rainCountry singer, songwriter, and musician Re Mattei’s name carries a sentimental meaning. “Re,” derived from her first name Marie, is a tribute to her late grandmother, who called the singer that before she dropped the name. “When people call me Re, it reminds me of my grandmother, so it gives me a warm place in my heart,” she shared with So Booking Cool. The New Jersey native is currently promoting her new single “Feels Like It’s Gonna Rain,” co-written by Carrie Underwood, Don Poythress, and Barry Dean.

The song, which continues to grace the Music Row Country Breakout Chart, tells the story of when one knows a relationship is on the outs but does not want to face the truth. We also discussed her single, “Bump, Bump, Bump,” which Mattei wrote about a personal experience. The song is an upbeat anthem about how music can help one overcome the pain of a breakup.

Mattei became a lover of music early in life. She was intrigued by what she heard on the radio, which led to her writing songs at nine years old and then taking on guitar lessons three years later. It didn’t take long for her to realize she wanted to study music. However, after a meeting with her then guidance counselor, she started to change her mind about her dream.

Re-Mattei-1“He [guidance counselor] made the comment, ‘well, there’s already one Beatles; you got really good grades, you need to be a lawyer or a doctor,’ ” the performer recalled. “I remember I came home that day, and my dad called and asked me how was school, and I said ‘oh fine, I’m probably going to be a doctor or a lawyer.’ ”

Fortunately, Mattei’s father reminded her of her musical aspirations and advised her to follow her heart. And she did. She enrolled at Berklee College of Music, graduated, and landed a music publishing deal to join the Top 40 all-female band, the Uptown Girls, where she traveled around the world as a lead guitarist for three years. Now, she is gearing up for her debut album, Believing and Seeing.

Listen to the interview to learn more about Mattei, her music, some of her favorite artists, what she thinks makes a good artist, Christmas, Dolly Parton, details about her next single, songwriting, her other profession, and more! Fore more information, check out Mattei on social media.

Interview With Conscious Artist and Lyricist Kyle Knight!

kyle knightConscious lyricist, rapper, producer, and businessman, Kyle Knight, is aware that art with heavy material pushes people away sometimes, however, he believes creating art that tackles serious issues is for the betterment of the masses. Knight has discussed topics involving social issues, misogyny, domestic abuse, and political corruption. “I feel that it makes us stronger as a people,” he explained to So Booking Cool. “Not only that, but it grows our consciousness level as people too. And I feel that when you have a good artist, such as myself, and you have good lyrics and good production, and you’re able to make [the social issue] as relevant as possible, then you know you’re in the winning seat.”

Knight’s musical roots played a part in his becoming active in music at the age of seven. In his family’s home recording studio, Knight’s father started him off with production, which sparked a passion for songwriting as well. When it comes to musical influences, James Mtume, Tupac, Nas, and Common are among the names he cites as artists who he believes successfully address social issues. He also admires Bruno Mars for being an artist who refuses to let himself be defined by a specific genre.

When it comes to his advice for those looking to work in the music business, Knight believes in individuality and finding ways to advance old trends. “The sky’s really your limit,” he added. “What I tell the listeners out there is to not be afraid of sacrifice, not to be scared of rejection. Understand that it is a process and you’re not gonna come out an overnight success; you are not gonna come out on Drake’s level overnight. It really takes a ladder to climb and it really takes a road to walk down. It is a marathon, not a sprint.”

Listen to the interview to learn more about Knight, The Truth Chronicles, the positive reception to his single “Hey Sister,” his love for books, music publishing, his thoughts on conscious artists getting accused of “selling out,” and more! For more information, check out Knight’s official website.

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 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 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.

Review: The Art & Science of Respect: A Memoir by James Prince

JPRINCETHE ART & SCIENCE OF RESPECT: A MEMOIR BY JAMES PRINCE, James Prince. N-The-Water Publishing, $29.99 (296p) ISBN-13: 978-0999837009
Publication date: July 6, 2018

Memoirs can be vain, exhausting, narcissistic treatises that tell you next to nothing about the subject (person); however, that is not the case for the James Prince Memoir, The Art & Science of Respect. If you read between the lines, Prince probably gives up too much information—almost to the point of incriminating himself. Written in a conversational style, it’s as if you’re having a conversation with the former street hustler turned music mogul, boxing manager, and entrepreneur.

And he doesn’t hesitate to name drop. So, you’ll hear him provide intimate anecdotes involving Drake, Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Baby & Lil Wayne (Cash Money), The Geto Boys, Sir Mixalot, Suge Knight, Master P, Biggie, Mike Tyson, Roy Jones, Andre Ward, Don King, Lou DiBella, Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff, Irv Gotti, et al.

Prince doesn’t make it a point to bash or embarrass, but he has had some “uncomfortable” moments with some of the aforementioned. Sometimes, the “disagreements” were handled amicably—and sometimes not.

Prince has more than his fair share of personal baggage as a child of Houston’s notorious Fifth Ward, and he dishes dirt on himself. By no means does he portray himself as some saint. Prince was in the streets, and he earned every bit of his reputation. His riches came with a price: death or the penitentiary. He knew it, and he got out of one game and into another. Prince used his street hustle smarts to make it big in the music industry, and then spun off into other industries.

Here is an example of his transition: “All of my life, I thought the only way to make money off grass was by selling weed—until I started selling hay.” The former illegal “grass” seller became a legal “grass seller”—and I don’t mean medical marijuana. He purchased several acres of land and made money selling hay. Exhibit A of his brilliance.

At the root of Prince’s success is—believe it or not—his spirituality. He has always incorporated it in his thinking, even during his “street” life days. Prince also has an insatiable appetite for success, a maniacal work ethic, and a keen ability to see people for who they truly are (a.k.a., a B.S. Detector). Arguably, his best attribute is his generosity, whether he is providing the “homies” with opportunities to make legal money, buying homes for family members and friends, or building a community center.

The Art & Science of Respect is a quick read that is touching, educational, and inspirational.

Rating: Booking Cool

Rating Scale

Cool: Decent

So Cool: Good

Booking Cool: Excellent

So Booking Cool: Masterpiece

Interview With Mathew Knowles, Ph.D, Author of “Racism From the Eyes of a Child”!

MNOWLESMathew Knowles, Ph.D, music mogul, professor, speaker, and author chatted with So Booking Cool about an array of topics including the parallels between music and book publishing, his thoughts on the digital age, being a writer, and his coined term “social courage,”  something he hopes readers will get out of his memoir Racism From the Eyes of a Child. He also dished on his first book, The DNA of Achievers: The 10 Traits of Highly Successful Professionals, in which he interviewed a number of accomplished individuals from various walks of life including the former L’Oréal President, Joseph Campinell, and Roy Willis, who made history by becoming the first African American graduate of the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Virginia.

“I started thinking about me and my path, and my kids’ path to success. Passion is by far the number one trait…and what co-exists with passion is work ethic,” says the professor, who is among the Board of Directors of the Make A Wish Foundation. He later recalls the time he asked for mentorship when he first started working at the Xerox Corporation prior to accomplishing his goal of becoming a top sales executive at the company.

Mr. Knowles revealed that ten of his students at Texas Southern University co-wrote his upcoming book, The Emancipation of Slaves Through Music (6/1/18), now available for pre-order, and he’s currently penning Destiny’s Child: The Untold Story. Listen to the full interview to learn more about the Alabama native, including his childhood, racism, the three biggest misconceptions about him, and the book that he keeps in his office for motivation. For more information visit his official website.

Interview With Carrie Thornton, Editorial Director of Dey Street Books!

carriethorntonEven before amassing a 20-year career in book publishing, Carrie Thornton, editorial director at Dey Street Books (HarperCollins) had a fondness for editing. The English Language and Literature graduate was a literary magazine, newspaper, and peer editor at school. “I realized I was probably a better editor than writer,” Thornton says. A part of her job, she tells So Booking Cool, is paying attention to what is going on in the world. “We [editors] have to be real students of culture and what the reading public responds to.”

While Thornton works on a variety of titles, she specializes in high profile nonfiction, many of which have been bestsellers and critically-acclaimed including We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union; Kate Hudson‘s Pretty Happy and Pretty Fun; Amy Poehler‘s Yes Please; A New Model by Ashley Graham;  Every Little Step by Bobby Brown; Meet Me in the Bathroom by Lizzy Goodman and the upcoming (and second) memoir-inspiration by Bobby BonesFail Until You Don’t: Fight Grind Repeat.

“I’m not interested when it comes to people who want to do books just because they’re famous,” Thornton says. “…The person has to have something to say or they have a story that needs to be told, and they have a great way of telling it. I respond to heart and soul, truth, and authenticity.”

Check out the full interview to learn more about editing, such as the different types of editing, how to effectively pitch as a publisher at book auctions, the art of self-generating projects, the importance of paying attention to the marketplace, and so much more!

A Review: “Perfect is Boring” by Tyra Banks and Carolyn London

TYRAAPERFECT IS BORING: 10 THINGS MY CRAZY, FIERCE MAMA TAUGHT ME ABOUT BEAUTY, BOOTY, AND BEING A BOSS, Tyra Banks and Carolyn London. TarcherPerigee, $27.00 (320p) ISBN-13: 978-014313230
Publication date: April 3, 2018

Tyra Banks and her mother, Carolyn London, have created a resonant Girl’s girl (and guys, too, they don’t discriminate) self-help memoir in Perfect is Boring: 10 Things My Crazy, Fierce Mama Taught Me About Beauty, Booty, And Being a Boss. The candid and humorous mother and daughter guide embodies the young female experience with topics from from menstruation, dating, sex, and career to (of course) beauty and body image. “I think that in the future, the most prized looks will be the flawsome ones (flaws + awesome ones), not the perfect ones,” Banks writes.

The model recalls the time she advised a fellow contestant on America’s Next Top Model to minimize her gap, a decision the executive regrets today. She also divulges her own share of criticism she’s faced throughout and even prior to her modeling career.

Surprisingly, Banks was a bully and was eventually bullied herself. Her mean-girl behavior and awkward stage were both short-lived, and helped inspire Banks to become an active supporter of other girls. Before launching her then talk show, Banks and London had a camp devoted to helping and empowering young women.

Perfect is Boring also reveals the supermodel’s self-described misguided attempt at a singing career (did you know she’s collaborated with Kobe Bryant and Pharrell Williams?) before realizing it was not her calling. Throughout the pages, Banks and London possess an entertaining and we’re-rooting-for-you way of dropping both wisdom and laugh-out-loud admissions, but the dynamic of the book that especially shines is the beautiful bond between mother and daughter.