Sunday, 14 January 2018

Living The Dream~ Born to inspire, Leah McKenzie

Leah appearing on X Factor

2018, a new year and with it I've decided to start a new series entitled, 'Living The Dream.' There are so many people who inspire us in different ways, either on a personal level within our daily lives; friends, family, colleagues etc, and then there are those we admire from a distance, appreciating their achievements. 

I'm starting 'Living The Dream,' with one of my personal highlights from 2017. I was thrilled to meet Leah McKenzie at the Thornton Heath Festival, Croydon. Leah had her first glimpse of fame when singing at the live shows during XFactor 2016; a series I followed avidly. Leah is from Croydon and I am very struck by her honest down to earth approach. When we look at inspirational people the ones who inspire us the most usually do so because they are 'real;' people we can relate to and this connection puts achievement within our grasp.

Originally I was going to share this interview shortly after the festival however instinct told me to sit on it for a while and I try to follow my instinct! This is a very short interview as it took place as  Leah left the stage after her performance, yet it teaches us some of the key elements we need to utilize if we wish to be successful. I will break these down after we have read Leah's interview.

Interview with Leah McKenzie at the Thornton Heath Festival Summer 2017

Hello Leah. Can you tell us a little bit about what you have been doing since the XFactor?
Basically I’ve gained the title, ‘Face of Croydon,’ which I’m really proud of.  I’m an artist who was born and bred in Croydon and Croydon hasn’t always had a great representation. So I thought, let’s put Croydon back on the map and show them that we’ve got a lot of cool people here. I’ve been doing gigs and getting into presenting and modelling because I’m an entertainer, not just a singer so it’s exciting times.

I really enjoyed the Reggae song you sang, ‘One Love.’ How did you come to write it?  
I was laying in the park one day thinking about Reggae as it is a large part of my heritage as I was brought up on Reggae music. I thought,’ I want to do something with Reggae, create a different vibe’- so I’m singing my own Reggae song with a British accent. When I’m writing songs it’s always about inspiring people and I’m always spreading the message of love, peace and harmony.

You were talking about your future and how you want to get to America to further your career. How strongly do you believe this will happen and why?
 I feel it’s my destiny. I’m very spiritual and I’m into astrology and that so I believe it’s written in the stars and  that I’m going to go. My intentions are right. I do music and entertain people to bring joy to them for the six or seven minutes they may be watching my show and I’m very positive and confident that I will be in Los Angeles this time next year with my own show, ‘Leah McKenzie Loves Life.’ 

There is a great deal of content in the three key questions that portray Leah's energy and enthusiasm not only with regards to her career but, importantly, her love of life. What exactly can we learn from Leah? Here is a little food for thought:

  •  I have already mentioned the need to be real and this means knowing who you are. Leah is very at home with herself and her mixed heritage.
  •  Following on from that, the ability to identify and use our talents. During this interview Leah outlines different talents all of which move her closer to her goal or dream. 
  • Sharing your dream is important. Leah did this on the XFactor and has taken it a stage further. It's up to us when we decide to do this but once you're on your way it is good to reinforce other people's belief in you. - Believing in yourself is always key but sometimes other people see more in us than we are capable of recognizing- so listen to praise, encouragement and constructive criticism. 
  • Build your public profile. Leah has done this in a way that really suits her, by becoming the 'Face of Croydon.' If you are given opportunities that support your core beliefs give them full consideration. Most people have more than one string to their bow!
  • Draw on your experiences and challenge yourself- Leah writes her own songs and creates music her way.
  • Have a clear understanding of what you are doing and why. If you work from passion, belief and talent the path will open before you.

  •  The most important thing to take away is to enjoy life. I love the show title- :Leah McKenzie Loves Life.' There's a very good reason for this. In 2012 I ran a blogathon (weekly series for the year) called 'Live Life~ Love Life.' When we make an effort to enjoy life, life becomes more enjoyable. Things start to work out for us. Leah has left the XFactor and is forging ahead enjoying all the new challenges that come her way. I am looking forward to hearing more of Leah's music and especially to the day she appears in America. 

    Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician Contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk

    Thursday, 4 January 2018

    Happy New Year... Time to re-align.


    We've all said it more than a few times so for the last time, HAPPY NEW YEAR! We're rapidly approaching the fifth day of the month so the question is, 'how are you feeling now we're settling into 2018?' Did you begin as you mean to go on or have your resolutions already fallen by the wayside?

    I started the new year on my own. This is because last year was hard having just moved into my flat and the unfamiliarity of it all left me feeling quite down. I was exhausted at the time and didn't choose to party so instead I did the midnight thing and crawled into bed. For that reason and the fact I'm not brilliant with my own company, I decided to have a really good night home alone this yeat! Without going into detail it was brilliant and i felt as if I'd been out partying so that's a pretty good achievement heralding the breakthrough of a psychological barrier- yes, a resolution resolved.

    A question for you: Do you regard the new ywae as a new start or an opportunity to build on your successes of 2017?  Following the holiday festivities this is actually a good time for some of us to reflect before rushing headlong into plans for 2018. If you have a five year plan and are on course, congratulations! If not you may need to tweak some things or possibly take a different approach to your life. You really don't have to start something straight away just because it's a new year. Why give up sweets if the last box of chocolates is looking at you? Everything is about attitude of mind and if we are too strict with ourselves we can attract failure. It is good to allow a little flexibility example being: last year, instead of giving up sweets, I just stopped buying them. This meant I hardly ate any all year and funnily enough I didn't even miss them. Trying to focus more on healthy eating probably helped.. 

    Whatever changes you decide to make, be easy on yourself. You can always start small and build up. Rather than taking out a gym membership straight away you can ease into exercise. Once you do a little something regularly you are more likely to use the gym because you have proved to yourself that you can be consistent.Understand your triggers- when you work well and what makes you tick or is a great motivator. Sometimes we do need to push ourselves in order to achieve and can appreciate the rewards of our efforts.

    We can choose any area of our lives to concentrate on when making resolutions or straight forward goals. Having looked at health and developing talents previously, this year I'm opting for something different so my key focus is to have fun and enjoy life- lighten up a bit and go with the flow. Life is always for living and we make decisions every day- sometimes we do well and at others we deviate slightly but whatever happens, don't be hard on yourself; be forgiving and loving and let the magic happpen.

    Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician 


    Sunday, 17 December 2017

    Quotes to Inspire~ Will Smith


    What's surprising about this quote is its origin. I would not have expected it to have been conceived by highly successful rapper/actor Will Smith. When it comes to success we imagine successful people to be in total control of their emotions however this saying suggests at least one area of vulnerability; which could be on the personal side. Either that or it's the result of an observation or possibly stems from a script!

    Our emotions are so often our downfall. We hear something, feel it, think or speak about it and before we can blink we feel dreadful! Very often the people who 'cause' us to feel bad are more interested in themselves yet we feel compelled to assist them in one or more ways. It could be someone we would like an intimate relationship or someone we really admire and aspire to.

    We need to be of key importance to ourselves and the attitude of others should not take up so much of our head space. This doesn't mean we shouldn't care about other people and their opinions but we should vet them carefully and act accordingly. When we like people we tend to want the same level of interest back from them, which is great when it's returned but sadly this is often not the case. If you have unhappy feelings when dealing with this person then something is out of kilter and you need to redress the balance. The simple thing to do is step back. You don't need to stop dealing with that person but you do need to give them less air time and less attention. This frees up time that can be invested in yourself or people who will make a difference to your life. Sometimes people are just in a different place in their lives and timing hasn't come into its own.

    It is easy to give too much attention to certain people we admire or crave to be with, and once you step back that gives them an opportunity to step forwards or continue in their semi-interested manner. People who go from crisis to crisis can command our attention- every time you speak to them another problem has raised its head. Whatever the category, make no mistake, most of these people usually require your input to feed their ego. Very often people can generate enough interest in you to keep your attention, but not enough genuine interest and support to benefit you in any real way.

    The most important lesson here is to cultivate true awareness. Awareness of our needs and wants and most importantly, how we meet them. We all run off energy and whereas some people and situations boost our energy, others drain it. We need to identify the reality and give our best to those who have our interests at heart. Some people can do a great sales job on us and we find ourselves working hard for their cause- but what is your cause? your passion? You need to put that first because happiness stems from doing the things we love. Working with others towards the same cause is fine when it matches your desire, but if you bend over backwards to please others you deprive yourself of happiness. To be happy you need to create the life you want, so keep your inner eyes open and channel your thoughts, feelings and emotions into the things that make you feel happy and leave all feelings of misdirected guilt at your doorstep!

    Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician  Contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk

    Tuesday, 12 December 2017

    'MOONLIGHT' Lake Bled by Giuseppe Vaccarella


    Beautiful vibrant Lake Bled by moonlight re-created in oil and acrylic colours by talented artist Giuseppe Vaccarella. This is in total contrast to his work previously on display at the Parallax Art Fair, Chelsea not so long ago. I love it and, being instantly inspired, wrote the follow little poem.

    'Moonlight'

    Yellow moon
    Blue sky
    Night falls
    Dreams fly
    Water ripples
    Peace abounds
    Canvas captures
    Still life sounds
    Collectively reworked
    Through the strokes of a brush
    In Giuseppe's caring Hand

    Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician

    Reaction by Giuseppe:  Hello Jaz, this is a really good poetry that perfectly match with the shared painting over here. It s so nice when poetic art and painting art can match together. Thank you, always fantastic descriptions.

    Tuesday, 28 November 2017

    Power To Achieve Andy Harrington Seminar-WOW!!!


     'I went to have a transformational experience. Andy Harrington delivered.' ~ Jaz McKenzie

    On a need to know basis that is all you need to know! At least, a far as my experience goes because this event has consolidated some of my requirements, instilling confidence and re-enforcing a desire to move forwards.

    So let's begin. In business it's always best to start with the end result and work backwards towards your starting point. For me, the end result of the seminar is a more complete sense of self confidence and determination to find ways to power through life's blocks- usually the 'how to's'- how to publish an eBook for instance. For that reason I have booked a place on one of Andy's brilliant courses because momentum needs to flow and I believe his bootcamp will advance my business knowledge in the required areas; building upon existing skills. I love motivational seminars that actually inspire you and on this occasion have received some new intellectual tools which are already in use- I believe in 'use it or lose it!'

    Once again working backwards, we went through different mental and physical processes that were mind altering. On the physical side to my amazement I actually managed to break a square of wood in two with my bare hands! Fantastic way to represent and prove personal power. The processes used clarified my thinking on a highly personal level and helped me to claim my inner power.

    So where was my starting point prior to the seminar? Having spent the last four years re-creating myself, which requires focus and the understanding that we continually take backwards steps, I can honestly say that prior to the weekend I have already acquired a greater level of self knowledge and can easily identify default behavioural patterns. I think this helped maximize my experience. I needed a stronger sense of self believe and to learn techniques that I can pull out of the hat when needed. This is what Andy teaches so well.


    At the seminar: As you can see the auditorium was filled. There were approximately a thousand people in attendance, the vast majority completing all three days of a carefully scheduled programme with plenty of psychological content to help you sort your life out- and physical activities to prevent you becoming glued to the seat- oh yes, we were encouraged to mingle which aids the release of tension and prevents aching muscles. It also creates a great sense of unity. Bending a metal rod with my throat was never on my agenda but has successfully been added to my skill set if not the CV! Speaking of work and therefore finance, a large part of the proceedings were given over to the hard sell. This was an integral part of the weekend and I believe it had great value for many people. We were given advice/opportunities presented by a number of extremely successful business people with a proven track record which of course gives food for thought.


    One key word for the weekend was FUN. I laughed so much it deeply reminded me that I am out of touch with my inner jester (archetypes and shadow selves were discussed in some detail.) It is so important to have fun, something I had already realised and am actively working on- in fact, I was out all last weekend with friends and now prioritise looking for amusement each day.


    See the guy in the red- major heckler! This was part of the belly laugh and as Andy is an expert in turning everything to his advantage we had a wonderful demonstration of stage presence. The level of audience anticipation was well judged and highly engaging. People can pop out of the room whenever they like- a few did, so you can stretch your legs if you are not in the habit of sitting for long periods, and I did think that over-running coffee breaks for the sales pitches was not a good move- the participants needs should have come first and I found my concentration shifted to coffee!

    Bar bending!
    I really enjoyed the seminar and have clearly benefited from it. Some of the things I learned are working through my mind because we need to embed new ideas and this is a process. Interestingly, in the group comments which have been extremely positive, one person focused on how negative the atmosphere was during the re-empowerment process where people mentally faced and erased three situations that caused them pain. I found this interesting. Having already dealt with areas requiring understanding and forgiveness in my life I couldn't think of things to focus on, sp I decided to use the time to tune into positive energy regardless- and I would like to add that it is not a negative experience when people are dealing with a situation to positively achieve change. You do not have to absorb other people's emotions even in the midst of them and it is not a very long process in real terms. Following the reflection you are taken through an erasing or 'cleansing' process and ultimately reach a point of celebration. The whole purpose is to strengthen yourself and prepare to move forwards. Personally I wondered whether the guy had truly dealt with his demons! As I said earlier, you can leave the room at any point so if something isn't for you, use your feet or plug in your music.

    If you seek empowerment or inspiration I definitely recommend attending one of Andy's weekends. Many therapists went along, possibly due to professional curiosity- I sat next to an NLP practitioner who went to all three days and took plenty away with him. Finally, I have attended many seminars of different genres and have to say this is my absolute favourite- an enriching experience which I'm still feeling the buzz from a couple of weeks later.

    Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician Contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk

    Saturday, 4 November 2017

    My Parallax Art Fair Experience~ Jaz


    Lana Okiro

    I really enjoyed my visit to Parallax Art Fair 2017. There are so many stands so I decided to focus only on the art that instantly grabbed my attention- sorry ceramics and jewellery- it wasn't your day!

     

    First up, a totally thrilling and novel concept- 'The Sinking World of Andreas Franke.' Andreas' pictures were haunting and mystical, carefully photographed before being submerged in the depth of the ocean once attached to the designated shipwreck via their special magnetic frames. These paintings were left in-situ for a few months allowing crustaceans to form and add some natural elements to the artwork. The photographs have a romantic or tantalising beauty about them and are of a timeless nature which blends beautifully with the ocean's natural signature, giving life to the nostalgic theme. Each exhibition consists of twelve pictures and the originals, worth thousands, are not on display;instead we viewed carefully prepared copies. The results of this process are stunning and have been viewed by many scuba divers before being removed from their nautical galleries- the Vandenberg, Stavronikita and Mohawk Projects in or off the coasts of Key West, Barbados and Fort Myers respectively. Andreas's work is of huge artistic significance and has graced the walls of castles and galleries worldwide.



    Yelizavyeta is from Berlin and I would describe her as an energy artist. She produces realistic portraits enhanced with abstract art in bold rainbow colours to create her personal style of pop art. This collection of strong women emanates their power and sensuality. These are Queens of the modern world, lively characters who embrace their individuality whilst maintaining a very slight edge of vulnerability. They have a magnetism about them and I would love one in my living room!


    When it comes to emotions Sue Haskel, who has her practice in London, displays an exciting insight into the human mind depicting it with clever use of paper and card butterflies/dragonflies or even fragments of photographs. Sue's collages are intricate and thought provoking, using colours, patterns and layers to project her intellectual life concepts. Sue's work attracted  many questions and she acquired a commission whilst I was studying her work. Sue works with clients to create pictures that reflect their desires and I would love to write a poem and have her express it in the medium of her choice.


    Walking towards the end of an isle my eyes were drawn to a totally stunning self portrait by Melody Amber. Her portrait was an interpretation of inspiration received from the book  L'Ecume Des Jours, by popular French author Boris Vian. Melody connected deeply with the story and produced a series of photographs as part of this project. Without knowing the story I deduced from the touch of the mirror and the fact that Melody was in profile, a sense of conflict and desire to discover her true self which appears painful and slightly beyond her grasp. I have now read a precis of the story which is quite complex, based on love and physical/emotional decline however, from a personal perspective I believe this image can be re-interpreted and see the woman as representative of life's 'givers' who realize at some point that they have been so busy meeting the desires of others that they have neglected to expand themselves. There's a great deal to be said for artistic license and interpretation!


    Giuseppe Vaccarella - whose work was positioned next to Melody Amber's, had a small display area and you can see here, a huge smile! I would categorise Giuseppe's work as, 'challenging contemporary.' His four paintings excited my mind. I mentally joined the dots between them, discovering a direct interpretation of and connection with Giuseppe's intentions. I discovered a definitive take on society from dawn to dusk, challenging man's development and future prospects. Using humanoids as androgynous representations of our population, we are thrown into both the firey atmosphere of the city and somewhat disturbing countryside that are both distinctly uncomfortable and where the future of mankind is ultimately a gamble!


    My final choice of artist is Maggie Davies from the UK, whose 'Adventures in the City' are currently experiencing a rise in attention and popularity- particularly in the USA. Maggie conveys the power of our city both dramatically and in the cold dawning of a new day, following on beautifully from Giuseppe's work, providing an 'in-your-face' statement of the times. Maggie's intentions are fierce and she depicts the Docklands, quite correctly, as a work of art. Her paintings are a true representation of the architects vision, emphasizing lines and angles with the precision of an artists eye; reflecting the attention to detail required in today's somewhat mercenary commercial world. At the same time I have discovered a stillness in her work and true to life, there is a 'spiderweb' featured in one of her pictures that re-iterates the intricacy and highlights the cracks within our very structure. I believe that Maggie's work and use of colour has truly captured the essence of modern London.


    Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician Contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk

    PS: I had to add the pink flamingoes- childhood flights of fancy!






    Tuesday, 31 October 2017

    Ese & The Vooduu People: "Fairytale" - Official Video


    Ese & The Vooduu People: "Fairytale" - Official Video

    Ese and the Vooduu People- this unique and extremely talented Rock band has just released their debut single, 'Fairytale.' - unfortunately blogger is playing up and you need to click the link to view! Is life a Fairytale? If you want to know Ese's point of view you will discover the answer to modern living in layers of clever lyrics grounded somewhere in the divide between fact and fiction. Ultimately life is what we make it and Ese certainly provides food for thought.

    I have yet to see Ese and the Vooduu People live and this is one mind-blowing experience on my to do list- I have seen Ese singing solo which has stayed with me. Musically the song is exciting and skilfully performed; I love the way the track builds and it is very compelling- pure energy in fact.

    Final thoughts- Great name, Great Song & I wish the band a Great Future!

    Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician