Monday, 12 December 2016

The Genius of XFactor- and Matt Terry singing One Day I'll Fly Away

The XFactor grabbed the world’s attention many years ago and whilst its popularity appears to wain at times, sufficient millions continue to follow this show every year, securing its future.

The XFactor has become an institution of hope for many would be pop stars and provides the best tuition and experience possible; fast tracking a potential career with regular input, feedback and encouragement from the best in the industry. Every year genuine talent appears to be overlooked and excellent singers quickly fall by the wayside. We know there are very strict rules, regulations and commitments contestants need to adhere to, therefore they may have difficult decisions to make before they undertake the full process- and of course, many people believe it is rigged!

What I find interesting is that the finals always have outstanding contestants regardless of their starting points, which can appear fairly average. I think this reinforces our understanding that if you want something badly enough and are committed to it, it will happen. The nurturing I have already mentioned, coupled with self-belief enables the judges to produce first class singers on a regular basis. The same applies to all types of talent shows, including Britain’s Got Talent, where there is less mentoring as the show runs for a shorter period. Sometimes we wonder what happened with contestants from this particular show. What we can learn is that our determination enables us to tap into our desires and train up our genius until we attain a level that others notice and may even envy- you just have to find the platform that suits you.

The XFactor is genius, whether you love it or hate it, successfully taking talent shows to a whole new level by entering the international league. Everyday people are eagerly accepted especially when they are chronic singers and can make us laugh or cringe. This is why the show is so appealing and partly why The Voice cannot compete. The length of the show enables us to get to know the contestants and really embrace their journeys. We have been given an app to download so can judge for ourselves- and we all know that the man in the street is an expert! Public opinion has forced the judges to keep contestants that they had just rejected, with the wild card allowing judges time to reflect upon their own decisions.

This year Nicole Scherzinger showed her brilliance with her choice of songs for Matt Terry- possibly a joint effort. Purple Rain was a pretty genius move this year as were the Bond movie hit song by Sam Smith and the use of, ‘One Day I’ll Fly Away.’ This song has spearheaded John Lewis’s Christmas advertising campaign which is undeniably one of the best advertisements ever. Once Matt’s songs started to roll you knew he had won despite awesome competition from Saara Aalto and 5 after Midnight.

I think there are many more years left in the Xfactor and the return of Sharon Osborne and Louis Welsh was a great game move. It will be interesting to see how ITV develop The Voice now they have taken over the rights for the show, after all, it’s time the XFactor benefits from some real competition.

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician Contact:

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Whatever you Believe you will Receive- But there's not necessarily a time scale!

We are currently living in a time during which the human race has acquired general knowledge of the law of attraction; secrets previously in the domain of the world's richest people and those who naturally stumbled into that way of thinking- leaving the majority of us to believe in 'The System.'

'The Secret,' as it has become known is simply an explanation of another natural law, the law of attraction, which is as fundamental as the law of gravity. From a human perspective the law of attraction is much harder to understand than the law of gravity. If you are standing on a ladder and let go of your paintbrush it will fall; apples drop from the tree; and we understand that gravity does not work in outer space- after all we have seen this on our TV's. A key point for consideration is that we walk down the road because of gravity and it doesn't matter whether we understand it or not, gravity happens.

The law of attraction is exactly the same. Whether we understand it or not the law of attraction is operating at all times. It is not selective, but programmed to tune into our thoughts and do their bidding. Once we realise this we do not need the proverbial genie to grant our wishes because we have the power to change our lives and our destiny. If on the other hand we choose to focus on our woes we will lead pretty miserable lives.

On paper this sounds great! We want it, we think about it long and hard and eventually it happens- right? Not exactly because nothing happens without action. If you sit in a room without any external contact you cannot survive, but if someone brings you food, drink etc you could lead an exceptionally quiet existence. Most of our dreams exceed the very basic levels of desire as we tend to want relationships, nice homes, good jobs, holidays and so forth. Some of these are within our means and others require a huge stretch of the imagination and leap of faith to acquire. We need to learn how to work with the law of attraction and maintain our faith in it. The more attention we give to something the more the universe will deliver. If you think of yourself as poor you are not very likely to become rich. If you don't have much money but place value on other aspects of life and be grateful, your circumstance may well change. This is why it's good to focus on what we enjoy.

One of the things I have learnt during my recent journey is that the universe can't be hurried. It has taken me three years before being granted the dream of my own home once again. Like many people, I found it more than challenging leaving a long term relationship and family home to start over. Life in one room was such a contrast and learning to live by myself and to work out who I am was incredibly difficult. There were many times during that period when I could have lost faith and become extremely depressed but that would have been a huge backwards step. Obviously there were many stumbling points and frustrations but that is where I had to practice changing my mood and thoughts. Extremely difficult but we have a choice within every moment and can usually find something to focus on that's a slight improvement. Music is therapy, talk can be too provided you move on from the misery! Sometimes just putting on the TV and making an effort to focus on a programme can help. As time went by I came to realise that you can get back on track quite quickly when you let go of anger, frustration and worry. Things really do have a way of sorting themselves.

My present move resulted in around a year of stress with 6 months dedicated to purchasing my new flat and there were struggles every inch of the way; new dilema's presenting themselves constantly including a last minute fuss by the vendor when I was due to collect the keys. The interesting part about all of this is that had life moved more quickly I would have remained in the renting sector, so patience and timing have proved to be blessings. I truly believe that universal timing is highly tuned to a frequency beyond our knowing. These two factors- patience and timing have been the core lessons I have learnt during the past three years. Allowing is the third and I'm still working on it!

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician Contact:

Monday, 14 November 2016

Gloria Gaynor -- I Will Survive [[ Official Video ]] HD

Gloria Gaynor's song, 'I Will Survive' strikes at the heart of our fears. When we have been in a relationship for an extended period it can be difficult to imagine our lives alone. The lyrics in this song are particularly powerful- As long as I know how to love I know I'll stay alive! This is a highly spirited line that unleashes our inner power and embraces that well known phrase, 'love conquers all.'

How do we survive life's traumas? Usually by going through a grieving process during which our minds process the relationship- we can gauge where we are according to the thoughts that surface. Many break ups ride on the back of bad feeling and we may have to deal with a torrent of issues before we are able to face another relationship. So often people find strengths they did not know they possessed, or skills and capabilities that have been subdued as they were no longer exercised; this might include dealing with finance for example. Occasionally we gain new skills once we are single and need to sort out our lives ourselves. You might become better organised or even more sociable as your life-style changes.

Music is important in life and something we turn to equally in times of happiness or our worst moments. It helps us to express ourselves therefore has qualities that may be easier to relate to than in other art forms such as dance or paintings.

There are many excellent songs out there but 'I Will Survive,' is special. It has become an anthem that will stand through time immemorial. We have all had occasion to sing it. If you are in a vulnerable situation you can really draw strength from this song and hopefully re-kindle self belief. I think many of us have been thankful for the way it raises a bitter or sad spirit, awarding Gloria Gaynor notoriety as possibly the undisputed karaoke queeen!

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician Contact:

Saturday, 5 November 2016

African Fashion & Culture Extravaganza 2016- Photo Blog

I loved this event and really wish to share the latest fashion that reaches our shores from the Hebrew/African community in Israel. Featured designers have chosen to build upon their heritage and culture as opposed to incorporating Western fashion ideas into their garments. The outfits are stunning and one noticeable difference in the public presentation is the lack of accessories and high heels! Models undertaking the African 'Lioness Walk' do so far more naturally, exchanging inner pride for the commercial swag of our more familiar 'Catwalks.'

With designer Irit Gordon
Late October, award winning designers Irit Gordon and Heletiyah Mercer recently flew to London from Israel along with fellow designers Zahaveya, Autura and Sureyah. It is evident that these gifted young people have transformed African fashion into a product that, in my view, is internationally appealing.

Simply stylish in beautiful turquoise

All of the collections are founded on traditional African fabrics to suit purpose, and cultural traits are combined with exciting forward looking concepts creating everyday designs and special occasion wear. Menswear is generally slick and frequently embellished with quality details. Women's wear is far more flambouyant and colourful.

I have to say that it was very refreshing to see both designers and everyday people modelling the clothing as opposed to specially chosen models. This fitted in well with the ethical style of the whole event, the aim of which was to share fashion and educate people in the Afro-Israeli community's holistic approach to life; We watched a video outlining the importance of African hair and the progression of natural hair designs from slavery, following through with popular afro's and leading on to intricate plaits and designs. We were also informed about the need for natural fabric underwear- yes I get it but am not a convert!

Family Time!
Most cultures enjoy dressing mother and daughter alike however this is a great tradition within the Worldwide African community, especially at weddings when selected reams of material are used by the entire family, being styled individually. Above, we have a very feminine, modern look whereby mother and daughter have little half skirts adding a cute touch to their outfits. Once again the material is simply gorgeous.

Now it's the guys turn to strike a pose! First up we have the mature men who come with flair and experience-
Sheer Elegance!

Sports Outfit- intricately grand
This particular sports outfit is definitely best displayed by the more robust model, enabling us to appreciate the complexity of the design.

As beautiful as a butterfly! This dress has great appeal- a beautifully detailed bodice and very full skirt displaying an eye-catching geometric design set against a soft russet shade. Definitely adore this garment and one for the wardrobe.

Cheeky angel!
We were informed that white is a very popular colour and, as in the West, it is often used for special occasions. Whereas the second design is more classically oriented, the top design receives kudo's for invetiveness- who would have expected a pop  out African woman on a trouser leg! Fabulous fabric and fashion concept.

With award winning designer Heletiyah Mercer 
We'll progress to a few more ladies wear designs, definitely elegant and stunningly beautiful. Some great occasion wear here and Irit looks amazing modelling here evening wear design, set to flatter tall, shapely women.


And to finish off with, some male detail which will appeal to many of my Facebook friends! When you are speaking status, Africa and Lions are a must. Here we have two outfits designed to make an absolute staement and create impact. Simple from the front, but once their backs are turned you know the models enjoyed harbouring that element of surprise!

I really hope you have enjoyed viewing these designs through my less than brilliant camera lens, and this occasion was definitely a great addition to the British Black History Month. In fact, the African Fashion Show and Cultural extravaganza was listed amongst the top 50 events to attend at Black History Month this year! I hope that the work of these talented designers will make its mark on the ethnic fashion scene and beyond. You can find more of the designers work here: Irit Gordon Designs

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician Contact:

Friday, 14 October 2016

Malcolm Benson speaking about his award winning film RETURN OF THE DON! (Interview- Part 2)

Right, on to Return Of The Don. How gangster are you Malcolm? Zero. I’m not a gangster at all but I feel that in films you have to solve social issues. You have to look at why you are making the film. You have to think why people would even bother to look at the film- what issue are you trying to address; is it having any impact or are you just trying to make an impact for no particular reason? To me, I have followed the issue of gun crime and gang issues of young people in this country and if this is the only way I can shed a bit of light on it without glamourizing the gang, then so be it. To me, it’s saying these are the issues our politicians and the government are not really addressing properly. The only time we hear about gangs and gun crime is when another young person is shot dead and it comes on TV, we hear about it and after that it ends; nothing else happens. You see young people who are tagged as bad people but what have you done for them to help them get out of crime? They are being used as criminals to facilitate criminal acts and they are vulnerable because they have nothing better to do. What can the government do to change their way of life? Even if what they are doing is there it’s not good enough to solve the issues. With film you can actually shed some light and leave it to those young people to use their intelligence to say, ‘those are the likely consequences of my actions and I might be able to learn one or two things from this.’ To me, I’m more or less trying to highlight the issue of domestic violence. We need to make films that address issues like that which people are not fully aware of. We see people everyday but we are not aware of what they are going through at home. With film we’re not going to change the world but we are going to expose some of those things so people can get some kind of help through the film.

MA Benson & Aida Emeliya Nova
I think the film is proper gangster! You can imagine the Cray Twins or something like that. What sort of research did you have to do to recreate the authentic gangster feel?  I have researched and watched other gangster films. In the beginning I was watching just as entertainment but when it comes to actually making my film I watched those films again to see the meaning of why things happen, the under-pinning rationale behind some of the actions the characters took. I was looking at it as if it was a documentary, as a learning process rather than just watching a film. If someone is watching a film just to entertain themselves and someone brings out a gun they can sit there saying, 'Kill him, kill him,' because they are into the film and not interested in the moralities of who is being victimised or whatever. But when you’re trying to address an issue you’ve got to read between the lines and try to understand. I have researched films like The Godfather, Wolf of New York and a few more from Hollywood and the UK. There was a documentary I saw with Trevor McDonald where he did some good grass roots research into gangsters on ITV and the way he explored really helped my research as he was telling what happens and why they do what they do. Those are the people who have been gangsters for a long time and have come out of it and are telling their story of why and what they did and what it means to them now that they are no longer gangsters. That helped me a lot. I’m not really into gangster films but I looked at them for the purpose of what I want to achieve.

Return of the Don has a very intriguing story line and is unpredictable. Is that how your mind is? Do you keep on squirreling with ideas? My mind is very reflective. I know I’m serving a purpose and with the way the film’s gone so far what’s come back to me is what I put out there… what it’s going to do and the potential it has. I feel its self-actualisation has been established where you have something in your mind, your goal in life and you feel you have done it. It hasn’t been very easy at all but you are able to do it. I kind of sit back and enjoy all the things that come with the film- all the thoughts, the reflections,  the learning curves and  the people I’m  meeting through the film; the generic overall, so I’m sitting back reflecting and it helps me to face any challenge I will come across.
Steve McTigue and Paul Van Beaumont
Right, you have your script together and you’re about to cast. What kinds of things are you looking for in your actors? I always believe and look for genuine actors who are natural. People that understand what a character is all about; not just performers. These are different things. Performers are just performing but they do not understand the under pinning rationale behind how that character was created. It’s not about you as a person, it’s about the character. Are you able to be that character and bring that character to life? If a character is supposed to be a psychopath, you might not be a psychopath yourself as an individual, but you need to understand that when you become that character you have to become a psychopath. You cannot be a normal human being pretending to become a psychopath, it’s two different things- pretending to be something and being something. The person that played my psychopath was Aida Emeliya Nova and she’s Eastern European. When you see a character, especially when you have written or are directing the film, a character that hits the button- I kind of feel that this is a talent I have. I have a good eye for picking characters and it just comes very naturally to me. I see a script, read it, see the development of the characters then I see a person wanting to be that character and you can easily tell if they can do it. I could have been a casting director as I have cast my few films really well. I have had help from casting directors but they haven’t taken over and I have always picked good actors. My film, Ortega and His Enemies won best actor and best actress in Beverley Hills Film Awards, Darrell Las Quevas, Ortega and Adi Alfa who played Sarah have both done very well in other projects.

Amanda Lara Kay
Did the actors take the characters in slightly different directions to the way you had anticipated? Yes, again it’s about give and take in production where the director gives the actor and the actor gives the director ideas in return. It’s where the actor understands what the director is trying to achieve and not what the actor wants to achieve. My actors, I really love them to bits because they come in with a lot of great ideas but they want to know, what do you want? So they give you options and do not come and say, ‘this is how I see this character.’ It’s not how you see it, it’s how the director sees it so basically my actors came on and for example one of the mafia wives, Amanda Lara Kay, she played Dana Ackerman, she came in and said, ‘what accent do you want?’ She gave me different options  and she’s English and I just wanted to keep it that way but at least she was able to offer different accents and it’s great that she’s thinking outside the box. What really thrilled me is how Steve McTigue was able to become this Jack Ackerman to the full potential of what Jack’s supposed to be. The voice  he brought in- I didn’t tell him anything about that voice but he gave me the way Jack sounded and that was his original creation so I very happily embraced it. He nailed that and he was able to keep it going, not forgetting how the voice sounded, and he was able to come back tomorrow or next week and speak like Jack Ackerman. When it comes to looks I wanted Jack to wear a hat and dress in suits so he’s more the part which he did and it was really well delivered.

You opened up with a helicopter. Where did the inspiration for that come from? Well at the end of the day we have to recognise that this is a film entertainment industry. We have to entertain as well as tell the story. You don’t just go, you give people something to catch their imagination from that opening sequence. If it’s ten seconds, or fifteen minutes- whatever, the opening has to have something to get their attention or you’ll probably lose your audience. We need to come in in a big way and make an impact. That’s getting the commercial value for the film. When you are flying in a helicopter people will know you’re not just broke detectives. When you’re looking at gangsters that are controlling the city you want to come in air, land and sea. They’re coming in on a helicopter because they’ve got to survey the area, make sure it’s safe and that no one’s hiding somewhere and then you land. It shows the commercial element so the audience takes your film seriously. That was the rationale behind the original script and we had to embed it in.

Return Of The Don is doing well with twenty two award nominations isn’t it. Yes, twenty two and counting at the moment; it’s been amazing. I’ve got the Canada International Film Festival Awards exceptional merit. I have the Hollywood International Moving Pictures award and I actually won them, not just nominations, and I won accolades. Some producers and directors who have won accolades have actually gone on to win Oscars, so I kind of feel Okay, perhaps it’s an indication that one day, just one day I might win an Oscar. Never say never. I have to think big and dream big- who knows. Depth of Field Film International Awards, LA and it just goes on. The whole list are on my website. London Independent Film Festival awards, Festival International, Cannes- I went to Cannes twice to premier the film. It’s still rolling and I’ll be heading to L.A. and am expecting something out of it. The nominations just keep coming; what can I say?

Amey StCyr Paul Van Beaumont Aida Emeliya Nova Lucien Morgan

So what’s your plan for Return Of The Don? You’ve had your premier at the Imax Cinema Waterloo so what are the next moves? Return Of The Don, I do have a distributor for the U.K. and we are looking to distribute from October, that’s the plan. This is for the cinema and we’re finalising everything we need. We have a strategy for distribution and it’s more like limited theatrical that we have planned for now to kick off with before we go full scale, depending on how the limited one goes. I’ve got another screening booked for 12th November at the Genesis Cinema, Mile End. That will be a very special release for those who didn’t see the actual premier at the BFI Imax. People can book straight away so tickets don’t run out like they did at the BFI one; they can go online and book that one. We have distribution for Japan and Hong Kong at the moment and that is for video on demand. We are also targeting the United States. I had an invitation by the New World Cinemas to premiere the film in New York and we’re still talking about that to see how realistically it will pan out. But my main focus at the moment is to get the film out there and to really get enough eyeballs to see the film. That’s the whole idea. I’m more interested in mass distribution, bearing in mind that I got number 23 in the UK box office for the opening weekend. It would have been great to keep that momentum going but based on the advice I had it was decided to delay the distribution till October so that we can gather some energy while we get the plans put together. I’m always open to advice when working with other people. It’s all about teamwork, yeah.

When you’re saying you’re 23 at the box office is that up against all of the big blockbuster movies as well? Absolutely, that is absolutely correct. We were up against all the films that were screened in the UK that weekend. The entire film figures were reported to Box Office Mojo and other figures were reported through agencies, so Return Of The Don is there on record- number 23 UK Box Office, and is accessible for Friday 17th June on Box Office Mojo, for that weekend.

How did you feel when you saw that your film had reached number 23 on the billboard? It was an amazing moment and I couldn’t quite believe it. You never know what the figures are like with the others and always assume that all these big blockbuster films will be on top and you’re gonna be right at the bottom. So when I looked at the films I saw Return Of The Don had passed I was thinking, with all of the money they pour into these films how can this happen? Obviously I was thrilled and at the same time encouraged because my film that had no known actors whatsoever could get in the record books because at the end of the day it’s always referenceable. Anyone can flag it up, it’s not deletable. What was at number one? I don’t remember! And has it been done before? It might well have but I would have to do deeper research to see, but I was very excited.

Your final words Malcolm? Making a film is not rocket science, all it takes is enthusiasm.

Big thanks to Malcolm and we wish him much continued success with Return Of The Don and his film making career!

Link to part 1: My Reality

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician Contact:

'The MVisa V.I.P Experience Contest 2016'~ Enter Wayne Marshall's Contest to WIN your experience HERE!!!

Heritage Music Artist Host 2nd Competition To Highlight 10th Year MVisa Award Ceremony.
The MVisa V.I.P Experience Contest 2016

To celebrate his performance at the forthcoming 10th Anniversary MVisa Awards Ceremony. R&B/Soul Singer Wayne Marshall is launching another amazing competition where the winner will be treated like a celebrity for one night. This is part of a series of competitions with some amazing prizes up for grabs, to create opportunities for business and create experiences for the community.

Wayne Marshall wants to give a lucky person and guest the chance to be given celebrity status for one whole night, straight through until the morning.  In order to achieve this, the singer is running a special competition that culminates on 29th October 2016 at the ICC Arena in Birmingham where the winner and their guest will be given the ultimate red carpet treatment.

The winner & a guest will win;
·      VIP entry into the event with exclusive access to the VIP area where they will mingle with the stars and celebrities.
·      Seating in a prime location within the event
·      3 Course 3 star Michelin inspired menu
·      Champagne and waiter table service
·      Tickets to the exclusive star studded after party

A Wayne Marshall Goodie Bag which will contain a Chocolate Hamper from Paul Wayne Gregory Chocolates Ltd and a Rum Package from Morant Bay Distillery Ltd.  More prizes will be announced.

Fan of celebrities and music fans are already calling this a “fantastic competition”.  Managing Editor of Essex Magazine Lorna Onabanjo said “It’s an amazing opportunity for someone from the public, to experience how celebrities are treated at events”.

Entering the contest is as easy as [a-b-c,] Logon to: Wayne Marshall Contest Facebook Page:  Select the correct answer from a simple multiple choice question:

·      Which TV Program has Will Johnson or Fiona Wade not appeared in?
·      Select your correct answer
·      Press Enter
·      That’s it, you are entered  and the winner will be chosen randomly by a computer program
·      The winners will be announced 23rd Oct
·      You’ll also be encouraged to like the MVisa Facebook Page and Wayne Marshall Contest Facebook Page.  This will only be a suggestion not a contest requirement

One Click Links:
WM Contest Link         
PWG Chocolates           
Morant Bay Rum             
Essex Magazine/TV       


Mark Galloway
PR & Communications
Wayne Marshall Marketing
Tel: 07774666060

Address: 101, Stratford Workshops, Burford Road, London E15 2SP, United Kingdom

To share your event contact:

Friday, 7 October 2016

Tama Ra Soiree - Celebrate Black History Month in True Style!!!


TAMA RA SOIREE ~ THE PLACE to be this October where you will celebrate Black History to the full! Guests will be welcomed in traditional style with a Rum Punch Reception, ambience created by Metronomes Steel Orchestra.

Your host for the night is Lady Paulette, and popular D.J’s Daddy Ernie, DJ Piper, Zommer D, DJ Boots and Bumpy G – will be adding some spice to the evening's entertainment.

Events will kick off with the launch of Reuben P Joseph's Pride of the Motherland fashion showcase, "Black is Beautiful." Next you will be treated to a tasty 3 course Caribbean Buffet, accompanied by exciting African drumming and awesome acrobatic display from multi- talented Emanuel the Magnificent. 

Excitement will be in the air as the winners of "New Face of Pink" competition are revealed by Luster Products Inc, leading straight into an historical musical journey exploring the genres Jazz, Reggae and Soul; courtesy of the Gary Crosby Trio who will entertain you with popular songs from popular artists!

Sat 15 Oct 2016, 19:00 –
Sun 16 Oct 2016, 01:00
Holiday Inn London - Kensington Forum
97 Cromwell Road

NEXT MOVES>>> If you’re out and about on London’s Streets keep your eyes open for the Face of Pink Taxi Cab- if you speak with the driver you will win yourself a free ticket! Alternatively you can book on line via Eventbrite   Video Info relating to the Cab.

For more information call: 0203 654 2074 or check out the following links. PREVIEW VIDEO
Social Media:  Tamara Events    Twitter   Facebook   Pinterest

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician    Email:

Thursday, 6 October 2016

My Reality! ~Malcolm Benson Award Winning Film Maker tells his story.

Malcolm at The Nollywood Actors Guild by Jermaine Sanwoolu
Back in June I was fortunate to attend the film premiere ‘Return Of The Don,’ having been invited by lead actor Paul Van Beaumont who plays villain Charlie Reid. This proved to be an excellent film and has since won awards with more nominations in the pot. Malcolm Benson wrote and directed this gem of a film in which he explores the horrors that can occur when gang life goes drastically wrong. Rather than just discussing the film I also wanted to tap into Malcolm’s passions and motivation to reveal a little of his personality; this interview will be presented in two parts. Today part one reveals a little of Malcolm’s personality and how he projects his personal feelings, particularly towards traffic restrictions, into film! Part two is mainly related to the execution of  ‘Return of the Don,’ and its impact..

How did you become interested in film making? For me, film making was something that always looked fascinating to do. I’ve always envied producers and directors; the likes of Spike Lee and Denzel Washington. I followed these people and I kind of felt that if I’m not acting in it I should be making it. I’ve always enjoyed going to cinemas and seen myself as someone who would end up in the film making industry. For me the passion has always been there and eventually I felt to thank God that he has really given me the edge to step up and live my dream.

Have you had to undertake a lot of learning in order to create your films? Yes, when I started I went on a few academies. I went on Robert McKee’s Storylogue and basically Robert McKee is the one that pushed the likes of Quentin Tarantino. I found that he was coming to London to run a storylogue for a week and that was an inspiration so I thought yes, let me start with that because to make a film if you don’t have the story right there’s no point doing anything. To me, a good story that  has all the subliminal symbolisms within it tells you the work is half done. So I went on his course and then went to do a few projects at Raindance and the rest of them. There are other film producers that always come here to do seminars and courses on films. What I didn’t do was to go into full scale academy and do an MA in film making. I was always thinking no, that would take me too much time so I did what I had to do to get enough experience to be able to decide yes, ok let me go and film. In which year did you start going to courses? It was about eight years ago when I started with Robert McKee

What was your first film? My first film was, ‘Phantom of Fury.’ It was a short film, ten minutes, about a young man who is basically struggling to abide by the law; because I find in this society we are always rebellious about the rules and regulations and try to look for ways to get off the hook and basically do things our own way, so we feel that the rules and regulations are there to be broken. We do what we have to do sometimes even if it’s not necessary.

Having said that, I’m going to ask you, what rules and regulations do you feel like breaking? Laugh-parking rules, especially where you have to get somewhere and there are no provisions for you to park your car. You find that they just put all these double yellow lines everywhere. Sometimes it’s just so un-necessary and you are thinking, 'WHY and HOW' are these people expecting you to access? I know they’re trying to control the area to make sure people don’t block up everywhere but sometimes there is no provision and some of the routes are just so ridiculous to be honest. Especially the operational hours when they say, don’t park until 6.30 or 8.30- leaving you thinking, why not from 5? It’s just so different in different streets or on different routes and so you have to read and read to actually understand it. As soon as you make one mistake you come back to a massive fine on your windscreen. It’s just unbelievable! So would you rather be a rebel and pay the fine or not be a rebel? I always pay the fine but I pay it gradually because the penalties are just overwhelming. If it’s just £20 I pay it quick but some are as high as £100 for a simple mistake and they don’t have a proper procedure for appealing against it. It’s just a racquet- they do it to make money without any proper explanation to account for what they are using the money for.

At Benalex Studio
You mentioned that you have made four films, what where the others before Return of the Don? They are, ‘Forget The Pact,’ (starring Mo George,) a 10 minute short film. Basically it’s about three friends who made a pact not to get romantically involved with each other. You know what happens when you break the pact that you’ve made- it’s gonna turn nasty! The next one was Ortega and His Enemies.’ It’s like an extended story telling emanating from my initial first film Phantom of Fury. Basically the idea was to develop that film and get into full phasure. It’s really about a young man who has issues with his anger management who is basically trying to get into a relationship, but obviously with the issues he has trying to manage his anger and with his family, in the end he had to fight the system and run out the country.

What drew you to the subject and where does your experience come from? For Ortega and his enemies the inspiration came from my personal experience which I mentioned earlier. The subtext itself actually depicted most of the issues I’ve had with parking attendants. When you see the film you see how Ortega ended up from a normal life to the point his fiancée was ticketed. It wasn’t her fault- basically she went to get a parking ticket but the machine wasn’t working and she had already put her money in. Before she could come back they had basically clamped her and given her a penalty. Ortega then takes on the issue to resolve but cannot resolve it because of his anger issues. It’s more reflective of my personal experience because I’ve been bailed a number of times for parking somewhere  I’m not supposed to. It’s not what I have done but I was thinking it!

Benalex media Part two, RETURN OF THE DON to follow shortly!

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician     Email:

Sunday, 25 September 2016

I AM THE SUN- Poem by Jaz McKenzie


I am the sun shining brightly in your orbit, life-giving light
I am the raindrops falling to earth, mingling with the dust and dirt
creating hope in barren land
I am the wind rousing you from sleep in the dead of night awakening your senses
and at first light, I am the dawn chorus setting a beautiful tone for a perfect day
I am the power, within... and without my power there is nothing
Everything is Everything
The life force flowing freely from whence it came
in constant evolution embracing imperfection within perfect harmony
I am the sun. You are the sun.
Light and life will forever vibrate hand in hand
Granting wisdom, knowledge and understanding of eternal truth.
Jaz McKenzie ©2016

A friend and I were speaking about enlightenment last week. It was dark and he challenged me: 'Jaz, can you see the sun?' I said no so he told me I'm not enlightened yet. Fact is, sometimes we are not really thinking beyond the obvious. I thought about it later and considered the teachings, for want of a better word, that I have been studying the last couple of years. The major thing I have learnt is that everything is related because everything is a vibration and we all ultimately come from one source. This is my take and I know many of you will not agree. What we do know is that we all have our version of the truth and we are all here celebrating or commiserating life on this planet.

I believe each of us has more power than we were born to believe and are capable of achieving great things. Whether these are outcomes to be noted by friends and family or worldwide achievements remains to be seen, but we were born to do something. I like the idea that I am the sun- therefore I shine eternally, brilliant thought!

Have to say the picture contains great memories of zooming across East Anglian last month- wonderful summer memories to add to the vibe.

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician Contact:

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Long Time - Arrow

Play and listen time! This is a song that has such a joyful vibe it's just great to listen to as the summer is slowly ebbing away making way for Autumn, well that's what's happening here in the UK. Life is about enjoying yourself and just recently I find I keep starting the day with this old time party tune. Soca music is sooo good for lifting your spirits and makes a nice reprieve from daily tasks- especially if you've been stuck in front of the computer. This particular tune brings back memories for me and I will dedicate it to a family friend who recently passed on from this life.

Let's Jam Jam, have fun and maintain a joyful vibe so that we are constantly in a good place where we will be more inclined to make better decisions and treat people well. Arrow produce fantastic party music and that is something to give thanks for. Of course, there are many different types of music that lift our spirits, especially from hot countries such as those in the Caribbean, Latin America or even Spain- salsa, flamenco and all associated dances so there is no excuse to sit around feeling miserable. Party time or serious times, music always fits the bill. I'm sure my friend Norman is happily jamming elsewhere and maybe I'll add this to my final playlist!

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician  email:

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Tonnero - Street Code (Official Music Video)

Tony Tonnero has been one of my Facebook friends for quite some time and I believe I shared one of Tony's songs on Its Braap a long way back. His latest recording 'Street Code,' is a proper Dancehall anthem designed to involve you in nurturing the belief that Better Must Come. I love everything about this up-lifting tune from its energy to Tony's all consuming message. The video accompanyiny his song is very interesting and I really hope this single takes Tony's career to a new level. As you can see, Tony has merchandised his project which is more of a campaign than simply a song.

Last year we saw huge success for artist Nesbeth Greg whose song ''My Dream' received international acclaim even receiving airplay on both BBC1 Xtra and Capital Xtra radio stations. If Tony manages to promote this track to the max I imagine it could impact the international music stage.
Interview with Nesbeth

Play, Join in and Share! Be your own inspiration and create your own destiny.

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician Email:

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Lazy Bones Don't Live Here! Quick poem for Sunday chilling ha haa!


From here to infinity and beyond
We got no time for lazy bones
Coz life's worth living when you've got it going on
And we're not up for entering dead beat zones
Dead beat's dead
Can't work for me
Coz I'm flying high and I'm flying free
Gotta go reach for infinity
Life's to be lived so live free!

You just can’t live life in doom n gloom
Down the same ole proverbial drain
Set your spirit on fire and release your song
Coz sun dries the hell outta rain
Open your eyes
Before time’s done
Attack each battle ‘til the war is won
Infinity watch out … here I come
Zooming up high in my plane!

Jaz McKenzie ©2016

A little fun and hope you're all enjoying a relaxed Sunday!

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician Email:

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Ghetto Songbird speaks music and life!

This is an interview I did some while ago with Samantha Hollins, AKA Ghetto Songbird.~ Possibly the most awesome female rocker around today! Ghetto Songbird speaks about her experiences and how they have motivated her to more forward with a vengance! Includes original and extended interview.

Hello- This is Ghetto Songbird, singer, songwriter, Rock n Roll guitarist.
I started at the age of twelve writing poetry and soon evolved into writing songs. I wanted my songs to be heard so I decided that I needed to start doing talent shows and go out and sing. I would use beats like hip hop beats and add my own words because I didn’t have my own music at the time. Eventually I started playing the guitar around 2001, just for fun. I didn’t have any thoughts of going out and playing the guitar in public, but my brother set me up with my first gig when I was just one month into playing the guitar with a local poet from Philly, Terrell Allen. Next thing I know, I got my first gig and it spiralled from there.  I was still reluctant to play my guitar in public so I added a guitarist to play shows with me around the Philadelphia area as well as the New York area and eventually I came into my own. I started playing my own songs on my guitar and singing all over the United States at famous clubs such as the CBGB’s, The Bitter End, Whiskey A Go Go. I’ve played at the Apollo Theatre, I’ve played on BT 106 and Park- a cable music show that played videos, and am the first and probably only rocker on that show. Now I’m just trying to spread my wings and take flight to different countries and playing down here in London.

As a black woman from the ghetto, what drew you to rock music? My mother’s record collection drew me to rock music. In my household there were no genres just good music. She had me listening to Prince, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Santana, Mandrill, P-Funk, The Bar-Kay's & If Black Sabbath came on the radio she did not turn. My mom dressed like a hippy punk rocker. From her fashion to her album collection I soaked it all up drenching myself in diversity. My mom hung with a lot of legendary bands living up the street from the Uptown Theater in Philadelphia.
I mean her story of seeing Jimi Hendrix live replayed in my head and I remembered when she was getting all glammed up to go to see Prince live for the Purple Rain tour. She definitely implanted rock-n-roll in my soul.

Who do you admire who’s made it through in the music world? Jimmy Hendrix of course, Prince, Nina Simone, B Funk...

Can you describe in greater detail why you admire Hendrix, Prince, Simone & P-Funk: I admire and respect the doors that these artist opened for me. With the things I go through today sometimes I have to tell myself shut up it's not that bad compared to what they went through. My hope is to make them proud by not emulating them, but by being true to the artist I am. Their innovative styles link, uplifting song stories and truth to who they are is what drew me to their work. My admiration is full of gratitude.

How do you view Tina Turner? Tina Turner is mentioned in one of my songs entitled "Electricladybyrd" because her strength and boldness to be as tough as the guys yet a sultry woman on and off stage is like a jewel of motivation I carry with me.

What type of material do you write? I find myself writing more sorts of social conscious music because I grew up in North Philly which was pretty much the ghetto of Philadelphia and I would look out my window and see so much drama going on. I kinda absorbed it through writing my songs and playing my guitar as a Rock N Roll singer/songwriter guitarist.

What has been the most challenging thing in your career so far? The hardest thing is a simple thing, being a woman doing rock music and being a black woman doing rock music. The genre is not truly open to us and it’s a struggle trying to get ahead and not being sabotaged, not being turned down and told that I can’t do it.

What personal qualities have you had to work on to undertake this challenging career? The personal qualities I have to work on daily is patience, endurance and tough skin. With all the rejection I get on a regular basis, even with a solid 15 years of experience with a professional résumé, sometimes I just need a break. It becomes too much with the constant sexism and racism that means people do not want to book me for what I know I'm qualified for. Honestly I use to doubt myself with all the no's I would get while other bands were moving forward and getting booked. My band would get rave reviews, standing ovations and still not get bigger gigs. After a while I saw what it was and didn't want to do music anymore. I was getting hate emails for being a woman/black woman playing an electric guitar upon the genre of rock music. I would even get my sound tampered with to make me sound horrible.

How comes you changed your mind and kept going? Just when I decided to let music go it called me back, it always calls me back. I had to re-evaluate why I love writing, singing, playing instruments and entertaining. I had to learn how to take this gift as it comes. I had to be inventive by carving my own space. Traveling has helped me find my audience. From 2005-2008 I produced a music & arts festival called ‘Wingdom Fest,’ for artists that were underdogs like myself. Now I have many creative outlets, but there is nothing like Rockin' with my Roxsploitation band (Ronin Ali on drums & Chris Nelson on double keys). My band has been a profound source of strength. They have been through so much with me and still bless me with their wings of support. I have a few mentors including Cazzé, a phenomenal Philly poet who was the first to take my under his wings and show me tough love while helping me grow as an artist. Docta Shock came into my life early on in my career giving me so much wisdom about being in the music business. He's also a wonderful photographer who taught me how to present myself during photo shoots. Rosa Lee Brooks summoned me at a time when I needed someone to push my musicianship. Jamming with her brother who I call Uncle James and so many established musicians who played with legends was like college and boot camp all in one. The fact that she wrote and recorded with Jimi Hendrix blew my mind, but she was the star before him and she has the knack that help cultivate me into an entertainer. She also helped me record my first EP "Alley Of The Earth" 2002 in Los Angeles, CA. These three mentors kept it real with me and help the layers of my skin become immune to the B.S!

How have you acquired such a positive approach to life? I was never the popular girl in school. I was the quiet and shy girl that most people couldn't understand. I didn't have many friends growing up so I got used to being alone and going within myself. That's how I learned to play piano and guitar by ear. I love tapping into that peaceful sanctuary inside myself. It allows me to be creative without the loud disruptions of competition. When in that place it's about pure self-healing through the arts.

Can you speak a little more about your motivation? When I got into my local music industry in Philadelphia once again I faced being on the outside looking in. At the time I was the only black girl with an electric guitar Rockin' out. I was too soulful for the rock scene and too rocked out for the soul scene. No matter how many open mics I played having the audience on their feet, I had to come to the realization that I was not going to be booked for the progressive gigs. It hurt at first, but it sent me back inside myself like that little girl from North Philly who didn't quite fit in. I was lucky to have met amazingly talented women who would invite me to perform at their events. I learned how to be grateful for any opportunity I was able to acquire and looking at the positive side of each situation. I don't care if I have to play in intimate cafes for the rest of my career, no one is going to stop me from doing what I love. I look forward to mentoring young girls to hold tight to their dreams no matter what.

You seem to have a love of children. Please speak more about this. Working with children along this journey has taught me how to just enjoy what I do and not take it so serious. Children are so free spirited and I got that energy back. Even if I only connect with one person sharing my message of peace, love, perseverance and light, that keeps me humble and grounded.

How do you manage to balance family and career? Being the mother of three children under the age of six has also given me the balance I need as a, ‘career driven stay at home mom.’ Before family I woke up thinking about me, my music, and shows like there was nothing else. Now when I'm not out gigging I'm able to channel that creative force into their talents to help cultivate someone else's dreams besides mine. I love mentoring children for that reason. It would drive me insane to wake up every day focused on just myself. I love exchanging artsy vibes with others. That is also the beauty of being married to my drummer/percussionist- he's a solo artist as well. Sometimes I need a break from myself, so I get lost in his music as his support system.

So music is one of the cornerstones of your family? We are all writers, musicians, singers, artist and entertainers from my youngest to us the parents. Home life keeps me inspired even when I'm not doing music business. I could never get jaded with that type of aura flowing around me, even on days when I don't have much time for myself. It's a huge sacrifice that is the ying and yang I need to feed my journey. It quiets my soul like meditation. I have to keep my Wingdom sacred so I can recharge like healing stones each time I fly back to my music business.

Finally, what’s your ultimate ambition? It used to be to be a signed artist, but now it’s just to get in my mode wherever and whenever, just delivering the message that was sent to me.

Performance an Album Review

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician! Contact:

Sunday, 14 August 2016


Just come across this fantastic event next Sunday from 3-11pm location: Holloway Road. If you book over the next three days it's only £7. From Wednesday, full price= £10 and even then you're getting great value for money- Kicking myself that I'm away that weekend!

Nambucca wall of fame

Here's a direct link to the NX ZIBIT site so that you can grab your tickets. So much to do on the day- live bands and DJ's, magic table... mmmmm interesting, food and drink and yes you guessed it- networking. I think it will be fantastic so I'm looking forward to the next one!

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician  Email:

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