Interview With Legendary Artist Dionne Warwick!

Dionne-White TopDionne Warwick embodies staying power. The legendary songstress, philanthropist, author, and entrepreneur has been active in her career for 56+ years. Yes, you read that correctly. She has 56 Billboard hits to her name and has sold beyond 100 million records. The Recording Academy recently awarded her with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Special Merit Awards, which precedes the Grammys. Did we mention Ms. Warwick has 5 Grammys to her name? With nearly 40 studio albums, she will release her newest one, She’s Back, this Spring.

“I’m in love with it, I really am,” Ms. Warwick shared with So Booking Cool about She’s Back, which is produced by her son, longtime producer and singer, Damon Elliot. “I’ve said that about maybe four or five of my projects, and I’ve done many. But this one is very, very special.” The “Walk on By Singer” added that she had a wonderful time recording the LP in the studio and was delighted to collaborate with some of current R&B’s favorites, Musiq Soulchild and Kenny Lattimore.

The lead single from She’s Back is a remake of her classic record “What the World Needs Now is Love,” which will release March 1. Listen to the interview to hear about Ms. Warwick’s motivation for the single; her forthcoming biopic; her thoughts on awards or “rewards” (her terminology); whether she’ll’ write another book; her perspective on artists getting a degree in music, and more! For more information visit Ms. Warwick’s official website.

DIONNE BOOKS
Ms. Warwick’s books

Bonus quote from our interview with Ms. Warwick.

 “I don’t call them awards, I call them rewards. It’s what you receive for doing something that merits it. I think anyone who receives an accolade, especially from their peers, it’s a very, very important reward for doing something good.”

Until “What the World Needs Now is Love” is released, enjoy Ms. Warwick performing some of her hits.

Interview With Brent Kinetz and Terence Mickey, the Co-Directors of “1 Billion Orgasms”!

1 billion

1 Billion Orgasms is more than a documentary about sexual intercourse. It is about one following one’s dream, entrepreneurship, and perseverance among other things.  “What Aaron’s story really represents is to some extent, is a reflection for all of us to think about what are our hopes and dreams? What do they mean to us and why are we really pursuing them?” co-director Brent Kinetz said when he and co-director Terence Mickey appeared on So Booking Cool. “We [Brent and Terence] weren’t looking to make a movie about a squirt watch as Aaron calls it or about female ejaculation; we were really just intrigued by: how does one individual become so singularly committed to bringing this out into the world?”

BRENT AND TERENCE
From left to right, Brent Kinetz and Terence Mickey

The movie follows Aaron Headley, a middle-aged engineer who invents and patents a product to fulfill his obsession and overall self-worth. The invention? A watch that triggers female ejaculation, in which Headley hopes will make him responsible for one billion orgasms. Check out the interview to learn more about the film, what entrepreneurs can learn from watching it, what they learned about making their first feature film, how the movie connects to the #MeToo movement and politics, and more! For more information, visit the documentary’s official website.

Interview With “Maki” filmmaker Naghmeh Shirkhan!

NaghmehOut of all male nominees, Naghmeh Shirkhan won Best Director for her feature film Maki at this past week’s Chelsea Film Festival, a victory that both surprises but makes sense to the filmmaker. “It’s been such a long road for me, and I have kept at it. To me, it should not matter whether you’re male or female, the work should stand on its own,” Shirkhan told So Booking Cool.

Maki, which took 18 days to shoot, captures the story of a New York-based young Japanese woman’s coming-of-age. The film explores the themes of love and loss, power and manipulation.

Film_coverShirkhan, an Iran native, knew she wanted to work in film when she was in high school. She worked at a video store throughout her teens and early twenties in her hometown of Boston, and then attended film school. Once she graduated, she stayed committed to her passion and moved to New York where she worked in advertising and editing on the production side. While she knew she wanted to be an independent filmmaker, she lacked connections in the industry. But Shirkhan held onto her vision and eventually made her debut, critically-acclaimed film, The Neighbor.

Listen to the full interview to learn more about Shirkhan’s journey to filmmaking; Maki; what she thinks can be done to increase the amount of women filmmakers; the advantages that aspiring directors have today; her views on making movies on phones and casting; her love for books and how novels influence her; and more! For more information, visit http://maki-film.com/ and follow Shirkhan on Instagram.

Interview With Allen Maldonado and Kellon Akeem About Their New Film “A Father’s Love”!

 

So Booking Cool recently had the pleasure of discussing storytelling in the form of film with Allen Maldonado and Kellon Akeem who premiered their new movie, A Father’s Love, at the American Black Film Festival (ABFF). The short film, which centers on a teenage couple dealing with intense circumstances, was met with positive reception at the 22nd annual event. “What we want people to take away, without giving the movie away, is that there are all types of fathers out there and all types of situations that go on in people’s homes that you just may never know about….we want to make people aware of everybody’s surroundings,” Akeem said.

A FATHER'S LOVEA Father’s Love is the debut from Mansa Productions, a new film company launched in January by Akeem and actor Jessie T. Usher. The business partners worked with seasoned talent, such as RonReaco Lee and Tichina Arnold, which helped ease the process of producing their first movie.

When chatting with Akeem and Maldonado, it is clear both are excited for what the future holds and are passionate about their craft. In fact, Maldonado, a serial entrepreneur, founded the app, EverybodyDigital to serve as a platform for short-films. He noticed the need when he realized many short-filmmakers feel lost after the film festival circuit ends. The aim is to help creators extend the life of their projects. Similarly, Akeem says he and Jessie are also looking for talent to join Mansa Productions.

Listen to the full interview to learn more about filmmaking, film festivals, Maldonado and Akeem’s big upcoming projects, their advice for aspiring writers, producers, etc., and more! For more information visit Mansa Productions and EverybodyDigital.

Interview With Deborah Gregory, Author of The Cheetah Girls!

DeborahGregoryHeadshotAs a child, Deborah Gregory‘s life circumstances required her to utilize her reading and writing skills for the benefit of her illiterate foster mother. It is the reason she says she became a writer and author. “If she had told me ‘make me laugh,’ I’d be a comedian. There’s no question about it. She controlled my every thought and movement,” she told So Booking Cool. This is just one of the compelling realities of The Cheetah Girls creator’s life. She revealed that she discovered the details about her paternal side, which included learning that she has a half-sister who resides in New York like herself. What’s more is she searched for her mother for 20 years.

The Cheetah Girls, a story that follows the lives of a young, ambitious girl group who also happen to be close friends, is close to Gregory’s heart. “I’ve never had a circle of friends, and that’s what these girls were to me,” she said. As a child she fantasized about being in a singing group, though she says she wouldn’t have pursued it because she can’t sing. She may not have boasted a talent in music, but even prior to having a bestselling series, she found success as a runway model, fashion designer, entrepreneur (she owned two boutiques in New York City) and award-winning journalist. Each of these areas of business proved instrumental in the development The Cheetah Girls.

Gregory knew Andrea Davis Pinkney from their days of working at Essence magazine, who would acquire and edit The Cheetah Girls, which would expand into a beloved franchise (three high-rated films, soundtracks, sold-out tours, dolls, etc.) Gregory’s success naturally resulted in her writing another book, Catwalk.

Listen to the complete interview to learn more about Gregory, foster care, therapy, how Destiny’s Child helped influence The Cheetah Girls, the girls who covered the original books, including former girl group, Before Dark, her thoughts on the film adaptation’s Hollywood casting, advice for authors, her upcoming projects and a lot more! For more information visit her website or Twitter .