Category Archives: musicians

Spotlight on Talent: DH DaHitWryter, Wordsmith and Host with the Most.

Dionne  Halsey is a song writer, event host and mental health/self care advocate. She’s also the co-founder of Heal Baltimore and Creativity and Conscious Sippin, Dionne currently co-creates events that bring people together to support art and to give back to their communities. Dionne also hosts a popular variety show in Baltimore called #ThursdayNightRealness and facilitates workshops that focus on mental health and self care. Let’s take a  minute to  get to  know her a little better.

DaHitWryter
DaHitWryter

Sapphire: I was initially drawn to you because of your drive. I first noticed you as an event hostess. I was pleasantly surprised to find out you had much more to offer. In three sentences or less, how would you pitch yourself. Who are you?

DaHitWryter: First let me thank you for this interview. Alright so, I’m a motivator, team player and creator. I build, create and work with others to do the things that align with my purpose, and provide positive change.

Sapphire: You’re so diverse and I love it. You originally got your start in music. How did you get into song writing? Was writing always a hobby or passion for you?

DaHitWryter: Writing is so therapeutic for me. I wrote my first song for church when I was about 9. Then I got consumed with my first love, basketball. So I actually started writing consistently again when I was in high school. I actually would write for my peers and hang on my front porch and write and spit verses with the guys in my neighborhood.

 

Dionne

Sapphire: You been lucky enough to work inside the music industry as well learning more about the industry. These days you even guest host and interview some cool people. What have you learned from working inside the music industry?

DaHitWryter: Working in the music industry, I learned about the business and most importantly I learned a lot about what’s for me, and what’s not for me. It’s important to be self aware when you are constantly around others and exchanging energy.

Sapphire: Do you prefer to be in the spotlight or more behind the scenes? Why

DaHitWryter:  I actually prefer to be behind scenes because I love supporting others and seeing other people take my words and give them life when I write a song or some other piece for them.

Ressurecting Queens
Resurrecting Queens

Sapphire: You have many artistic talents, I love that you nurture them. How long have you been doing graphic arts? Was it hard to learn the craft?

I’ve been doing graphic arts, without realizing it, for over 10 years. I’ve always been the type to play around with gadgets and take things apart and put them together so once I taught myself the program, making flyers and all that, became easy. It definitely saves and creates additional income for me.

Sapphire: You are co-creator of Heal Baltimore and Creativity and Conscious Sippin, what can you tell us about these organizations and how you became involved?

DaHitWryter: Heal Baltimore came about after the riots that took place in Baltimore. It was actually an uprising as well. I kept saying the affirmation Heal Batimore so I reached out to my business partners and said, hey, would you be interested in putting together events that support and give back to our communities? And they were all in. We have artistic events, and we put together drives to collect things for those who need them. CCS is a mobile paint and sip company. We bring the sip and paint to your home, office, bar or wherever we are needed. Another business partner of mine was looking for ways to incorporate her artwork into her brand. So we did research and reached out to a company for her to work with. At the time they didn’t have any openings so I encouraged her to start her own company and ended up becoming a business partner. We also put together artistic events for the public too.

Sapphire: As someone diagnosed with mental illness Myself, I was extremely drawn to your need to share your story of battling depression. I’m glad that you got the help you needed. How has battling depression affected your life?

DaHitWryter: Battling depression would always have an effect on me being consistent with my career. There were times where I just wanted to sleep all day and let life pass by.

Sapphire: In the Black community, mental illness is generally overlooked or downplayed. We are told to            Suck it up, pray and the like. How supportive was your family and inner circle when they found out You were battling with mental illness?

DaHitWryter: My inner circle really stepped up once I revealed that I was feeling depressed and suicidal. At the time, I had a partner who went to the end of the world for me, and I cherish her for that. My family didn’t really know because I shutdown after coming to a family member about it and it not being taken serious. That family member was depressed too.

Sapphire:  What’s up next for you? What can fans expect to see from DaHitWryter?

DaHitWryter: Fans can expect more hosting, workshops about mental health and self care, motivational speaking, and new music! More businesses and merchandise too.

Sapphire:  How can people keep up with your work? Drop them links on us.

DaHitWryter: I’m big on hashtags so if you’re on Twitter, IG or Facebook it’s @DH_DaHitwryter or just plug in #TheDHExperience. To hear music from me as a lyricist and also a songwriter, check me out at www.soundcloud.com/dhdahitwryter. My website will be returning soon. Thanks again Queen and to all those supporting.

new music
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Spotlight On Talent: Nafrini

Nafrini is a Conscious Hip Hop artist hailing from the Midwest, on a mission to bring back authentic storytelling and substance to the art form of Hip Hop. In the spring of 2015 she released ‘All Day (Promo)’, a freestyle over Kanye West’s track of the same name where she addressed the braggadocio nature of rap music. She followed that up in the winter of 2015 with her first official single ‘In My Hands’—a laid back hip hop record detailing the obstacles of her spiritual journey followed by the release of the ‘In My Hands’ music video in the spring of 2016.

Nafrini 1
Nafrini 1


In the Fall of 2016 she released her second single ‘Lovin’ Him (That Was That Bullshit)’ detailing a past relationship that ended in regret. 2017 promises the next chapter in that tale with new music & visuals, live performances and as always, a focus on telling true-to-life stories.

Nafrini
Nafrini
Sapphire: You’re  extremely multi talented, model, musician, actress, is there any talent you wish you had but don’t? If you had to pick one of you talents to focus on for the next 5 years, which would it be?
Nafrini: Thank you. I really wish I knew how to play the guitar. It’s my favorite instrument next to the drums to hear on a track, but I cannot play lol. If I had to pick 1 talent to focus on for the next 5 years it would be music hands down! It’s one of my first loves next to writing and now that things are moving in that area I’d prefer to put more energy that way.


Sapphire: Your  music,  while giving the hip hop crowd what it wants, also manages to tell deep stories of love, growth, pain, and betrayal. Where  do you come up with the inspiration for your songs? Which of your  current songs do you  enjoy performing most in front of a live audience?

Nafrini: My lyrics stem from personal life experiences mainly. I come up with concepts before I hear the beat as what I want to speak about at that time determines the type of beat I search for. I enjoy performing ‘Do You Love Yourself’ which will be released officially very soon! I’ve been performing that live and it gets a great response each time. I enjoy it mainly as it speaks on the vanity of humans and how that can take ones life down the wrong path to where they eventually get lost in all of the illusions of life.

Sapphire: Why  do you  bill yourself as a “conscious” hip hop artist? What  makes your music  different  from  the norm?

Nafrini: I’m young but I grew up with an older brother who always played pure Hip Hop in the house from Too Short to Pac and some Do or Die out of Chicago so I grew up listening to pure storytellers. I think that’s an element that is missing in today’s music. It’s been resurrected with J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar, two of my favorites by the way. I’m not the kind of artist who will do a bunch of songs about how good her sex is, how dope her body is etc. I naturally tell life stories when I write. While I don’t knock any other artist who’s about pure entertainment as there’s a place for that I am here to keep the storytelling going how Tupac and those before used to do with their music.
Nafrini 2
Nafrini 2


Sapphire: Your  portfolio on Model Mayhem is stunning. Each photo more mesmerizing. I see you’ve been modeling  for 11 years, what  got you started in the modeling industry and how hard was it to find your niche?


Nafrini: Thank you for the compliment. I actually began modeling by mistake believe it or not. I’m a short girl standing 5’0 and very curvy so I never saw myself as model material. I was actually searching for a photographer to take some actor headshots for me as I was doing local theater and some short films locally and he put me on to sites like Model Mayhem and I took the photos from that shoot and opened a portfolio account to mainly network with other actors, casting directors on there. I began to get approached by photographers who loved my look and began to do photoshoot that way and it just led to more and more shoots as well as other acting projects. I knew right away that I would not qualify for top casting agencies due to my height and then I learned about different avenues of modeling and I love being sexy so I began to do more lingerie, implied nudes to full on nude work. Glamour pays good and fits perfectly for me. I view myself as a vixen, sex kitten with a Goddess flare so I ran with it.
Sapphire: What can you tell us  about “Blood of Bad Men”? You look  kinda  mean with a  gun in your hand, will this  be your  first movie?
Nafrini: Blood of Bad Men just wrapped in 2016 and is currently in post production. It’s about a group of ladies who are pretty much call girls with a Madame lol, and they get wrapped up in some petty crime outside of pleasing customers that leads to some messy blood shed. Anyone who knows me knows I’m slightly obsessed with Pam Grier as she represents strength and sex appeal with you look at her catalog of work so I love portraying that image as well. This will be my second film to make the cut and be released as the first is called ‘Petty Cash: The Movie’ and that was several years ago. I’ve done a few other projects but they have not seen the light of day. 

Sapphire: I see we share a hobby, I’ve noticed you keep a book nearby. I’m an avid reader as well. What are your  favorite genres? What book can you read over and over?
Nafrini: Nice! Yes, I am a bookworm for sure and have been one since I was a little girl with my first set of books being Dr. Suess ordered by my mom lol. I LOVE fiction novels though I’ve been more into non-fiction, self help books. I have been dying to reread the Little Black Girl Lost series by Keith Lee Johnson. I made it to the third book and saw there are more so I need to start over and catch up lol. The story of Johnnie Wise was compelling for me when I first started reading that series.
Nafrini 3
Nafrini 3

Sapphire: I know hearts are going to break here but you’re happily in love. Is it hard being a nude model and entertainer and having a stable relationship? Is you boo supportive of your career?

Nafrini: You know I’ve definitely experienced in a past relationship that not every man can handle his woman being seen by so many men in the nude. It’s really a security issue because these also tend to be the same men who follow you so they know your work and like your pictures but will tell you they don’t date “those kind of women” so in the past I compromised who I am which is a fucking nudist hippie LOL. I’m comfortable in my skin and love showing off my sex appeal but when I tried playing the conservative role I became miserable as I realized that isn’t me and any man who steps to me has to roll with me or keep it moving. I have seen with my partner that not every man has an issue with it! Hell, if porn stars can have full on husbands and children why can’t a chick who just likes to be nude have the same, right? I feel no pressure now as I can be myself and that’s the dopest feeling as his only concern is being committed to him which is NO issue for me! I’m traditional in a lot of ways believe it or not.

Sapphire: Your body is  sick, I see you be up in Planet Fitness. Do you have a strict work out regimen? Do you diet?
Nafrini: Well thank you. I aim to hit the gym 3-4 times a week to maintain and sculpt my physique and honestly nutrition wasn’t my thing before as I’m such a foodie! Yet now I’ve realized how that plays a huge part in fitness so I aim to have a cleaner diet with more fruits, vegetables and natural products. I no longer eat fried foods except for on a cheat day. 

Sapphire: You’ve shot in some beautiful locations. If you had to pick a top two  locations, which would you say you enjoyed the most?

Nafrini: Definitely West Hollywood is now a favorite and I love Chicago as there are so many dope places to shoot outdoors when the weather is beautiful.
Nafrini 4
Nafrini 4

Sapphire: How  can people keep up with your music, modeling and acting work. Drop those links girl.
Nafrini: People can follow me on Instagram at www.instagram.com/NatashaNafrini and like my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TheNafrini as well as Twitter www.twitter.com/NatashaNafrini to keep up with my projects as I post and network often. Don’t forget to  swing by  my website http://www.Nafrini.com
Thank you once again for this interview.
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Open Casting Call For Disney’s Frozen – LA & Chicago

Disney’s Frozen is headed to  Broadway. Open  casting calls for dancers and  singers will be held in both Chicago and Los Angeles

frozen-cast
frozen-cast

Expected to hit the  stage in spring 2018,  Tony  Award-winning scenic and costume designer Christopher Oram along with  Tony Award-winning director Michael Grandage will both be working on the show.

Disney is  looking  for  experienced dancers over the age of 18 to audition in either  LA or Chicago January 12-14. Disney released the following statement

This Broadway-bound Frozen, a full-length stage work told in two acts, is the first and only incarnation of the tale that expands upon and deepens its indelible plot and themes through new songs and story material from the film’s creators. Like the Disney Theatrical Broadway musicals that have come before it, it is a full evening of theatre and is expected to run two and a half hours.

Written by a trio of Oscar® winners, Frozen features music and lyrics by the creators of the film score Kristen Anderson-Lopez (In Transit, Up Here) and EGOT-winner Robert Lopez (Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon, Up Here) and a book by Jennifer Lee (Wreck-It Ralph), the film’s screenwriter and director (with Chris Buck). Frozen won 2014 Oscars for Best Song (“Let It Go”) and Best Animated Feature.

Frozen’s director is Michael Grandage, a Tony Award® winner (Red) and director of three Olivier Award-winning Outstanding Musicals (Merrily We Roll Along, Grand Hotel and Guys & Dolls), and Tony winner Christopher Gattelli (Newsies, South Pacific, The King and I) is choreographer.

frozen-LA
frozen-LA
frozen-chicago
frozen-chicago

Don’t miss out on this  opportunity  of the lifetime to work with  such an  acclaimed director and costume designer as you travel the world with this amazing  show. Grab your resume, sheet music, dance shoes and  get your  butt in gear to head to one of these open calls.

Nervous? As the  words to the popular  song from  Frozen  goes, “let it go.” Go get that  part.

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Spotlight On Talent: Mercedy, Actress, Model, Singer & More.

Mercady 1
Mercady 1

1.) You’re so multi-talented, a skilled model, dancer, singer, photographer and actress. How  do you  find balance and the time to pursue  your passions?

Well as you may know that acting, modelling and singing is my main… rest are hobbies. However a lot of my focus goes in acting.. so when that’s  gone a bit quiet, I then do more modelling and photography.. in between that I may have the odd singing or dance project to do or a film… Singing however has been on hold for a few months with me on the lookout for a producer.. So I started writing songs with my writer friend, Danny Wheelhouse, who also checks my film scripts etc as well. Since I’ve found producers so will be working with them very soon for my singing.

They maybe times where I’m doing a lot of one thing like for example filming and not much time to do others.. But I have a diary that helps me keep track when it gets crazy lol.

2.) You started your film career in 2011 and  to date have appeared in over 20 short films, movies and video projects. Where  do you see your  acting career  in 5 years. What is your  ultimate goal   as an actress?

I started out just doing short films and networking and slowly built up… It’s been tough years, on and off. However I like to think in 5 years time I’ll be more further than I am now.. with far more acting credits and TV credits to show that will eventually create into show reel and doing what I love.

My aim goal as an actress is to show people what I’m made of, work hard and constantly progress to active where I’d like to be. Working with talented people and being part of amazing features and TV programmes, that to me would be amazing.. I just work hard and see what comes out of it.. I can’t honestly say where I’ll be, only where I’d like to be. But whatever happens ill always work hard to get there in doing what I love.

3.) Can you tell is about  appearing at Dance  Academy?

When I was younger I joined a dance class Academy spent about 5/6 years there… Learning different dance styles.. such as street dance, hip-hop, cheerleading, break-dance, bit of salsa, contemporary and more etc..  the last two years of my dancing there… I was then in a team called ‘Villians’ doing dance competitions came 3rd place once. I then got more older moved onto a group called ‘Fusion’ (adult team) Doing competitions, competition against other teams coming 3rd the first time and 2nd on a different occasion and 5th solo, earning medals and group trophy’s.. also did live shows to where we performed dances we learnt each year… then things moved on I went college which then had not a lot of time to do it anymore there.

4.) You’ve  done  a lot of musical  theater. Tell us about your training and if you can remember, what  performance  was the most significant to  you?

I studied Musical Theatre level 3 at college and did two main musical shows… one being  ‘A slice of a Saturday Night’ & ‘Our House’  and other musical shows at college.. The main one for me that I really loved and most challenging was ‘Our House’ The dancing was fast and energetic all way through, none stop. found it the hardest I’ve done as well, but loved it and the music. outside of college I did ‘grease’ play when I was younger at school and started be in ‘Mamma Mia’ musical when I was attending Dance Academy.

Mercady 2
Mercady 2

5.) You have an affinity  for horror movies  and had makeup done for  that  genre as well. How did your love  for horror movies come about? What horror  projects have you worked on ?

I’ve always been an huge fan of horror, I find a lot of work goes into them, love all the SFX makeup too.. I remember watching a film Called ‘The Ring’ that set my love of, since I’ve been constantly watching them… I’ve learnt a lot from them as well. Most recent horror features I’ve done where: ‘Lead me to the Dark, under my skin’ .

6.) Giving  back is beautiful. I loved finding out that  you  work  with a  company  to help  youth develop their creative talents. Tell us about that.

I spent few years in youth work sessions, volunteering, Its great experience helping young people, gain a better future by inspiring them to do well in what they love to do. doing activities with them and passing on what I know onto them in projects, youth  was really awarding and enjoyed my time there, I’ve also presented award on awards night for some of the young people. I did youth work course level 2 and passed just before I left the groups.

7.) What is it about modelling that  interests you? How did you start modelling?

When I was younger I could never see myself modelling, down to low confidence about myself, however I did a one off shoot, I really enjoyed it, after that I had six months out and I then saw a casting of a group shoot, I went to it and it kicked off from there. Think most thing I love about modelling is seeing what different looks I can pull off trying different themes, I can’t stick to one theme I get bored, Like to experience different styles far more fun and interesting, plus makes your portfolio more versatile. I also love modelling because I’ve meet some amazing talented photographers, models and Artists and pleasure working with different people… one the reasons I carried on in modelling was to improve my confidence as an actress too.  

Mercady 3
Mercady 3

8.) Do you do photo shoots only or  are you a runway model  as well? What’s your dream modelling  gig?

I’m however under the height limit for cat walking, but it’s never been style I really wanted to be honest. I would love to aim doing international modelling, featuring on stuff, commercials, Beauty looks, photo shoots, Magazines and Catalogues etc mainly what I’m interested in as a model.

9.) Being so multi-talented and diverse I have to ask, if you could narrow it down to just one of your  talents, which one would you focus on?

As much as I love Singing and Modelling and the rest, for me has to be acting, I love being on set and escaping into different characters… I find it more challenging and awarding. My acting really grow in passion once I started getting into the odd features, was great experience.

Mercady 4
Mercady 4

10.) Where can people  find out more about you?

They can find me by my website, Purple port, Facebook Pages, Casting Networks ,Mercedy on  IMDb, Twitter, Instagram etc..

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I’ve Partnered With An International Magazine To Give You Even More Exposure

tearsheet - My interview with brandee baboski for london leblanc
tearsheet – My interview with brandee baboski for london leblanc

So I’m working hard to  continue to  build this site. We just celebrated our one year anniversary and while it’s not quite where I want it to be it’s getting there. I’m happy to announce  that I’ve partnered with an international magazine, London LeBlanc Magazine to offer you even more exposure.

kareem ali and ambush tear sheet
kareem ali and ambush tear sheet

I am steadily looking for people to interview for this site  but now once a month I can also highlight 2 individuals or groups in an international print and digital magazine. The first issue with My writing and interviews in it came out yesterday.  Check it out https://www.joomag.com/magazine/london-leblanc-magazine-volume-12/0313334001450038793

London LeBlanc Magazine Volume 12
London LeBlanc Magazine Volume 12

I interviewed a plus sized model/designer from Ohio and a Emcee/Producer group from Baltimore. They came out  great. If you’re interested in being featured here on the site or possibly in the magazine feel free to email Me at sapphirespotlightontalent@gmail.com or sapphirethesexyone@gmail.com

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