Interviews

Tre Nesbit: Rap-Poet

Music is poetry, no doubt about it. Meeting an artist like Tre was such an inspirational experience. Rapping at open mics and other events, Tre Nesbit has a the unique capability to capture an audience with his music. I’m telling you, he’s gonna get big.

I met Tre at an open mic, the lyrics in his verses are what drew me towards him. Talking about personal topics, love, social issues, and so on, Tre was a perfect canidate to interview for the Define Love Project.

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Hi Tre! How are you?

What is your artistic medium?

Predominantly music, but really within that it’s the lyric. In my medium it especially is the lyric. It’s poetry, story-telling, and couple that with rap verses, of course, beats, music, melody, choruses. I used to be a scrap artist. I used to make cards, scrapbook, and little paper peices of layered papers and images. That kind of bled over into when I started doing music, theres an element of putting a lot of different elements together. This little thing here, this little sound there, and kind of mixing that all up. 

 

So what made you start turning your writing into music? 

Well, it was right here at The Night Owl. The first time I did it was in high school. I’ve always been a poet, I’ve been a poet since, like, 3rd grade doing kid shit, my whole life. In high school I started writing rhymes, and I was too nervous about what people would think. So I put it on the back burner and forgot about it. What really made me start to focus on it was when I was passing by Night Owl, leaving downtown Fullerton, and I saw my friend Doris, she was in line. I was like, “Aye! Yo! What are you in line for?” And she was like, “Oh, I’m signing up for the open mic!” And I was like, oh hell yeah! I’m signing up! At that point, every now and then, I would just do spoken word. Just read a poem. So, that night I did a poem, and Arthur, who was the host at the time, let me do it but he told me, ” Hey Tuesday nights is only music, so if you come back you have to have a song.” So, the next week I had a song. Every week after that I tried to have a new song, or a new verse. That’s when it really catapulted. Just over a year ago, really honing in on it and deciding this is what I’m gonna do… This is what I HAVE to do to feel good, to heal and feel great. 

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What’s your inspiration? What motivates your art? 

It can come from a number of places, a lot of times it’s when I feel like I have to. The expressions in there, a lot of the time I feel like a song is in my brain. It’s just like tapping, and it goes “I need to be written!” They have their own personalities! They’re in there and they’re like WRITE ME! IT’S TIME. I get inspired by the smallest things. It could be the smallest things. I love talking to new people. I love just making great coversations, because certain verbage and topics, certain objectcs or nouns, just phrases, will just work their way into the raps. I never would have expected or anticipated, I didn’t pinpoint that from the conversation. I didn’t say “Oh, I’m gonna put that in a rap!” I just start rapping and then that word I just happend to learn in a coversation from the day before finds its way in. Definitely inspired by love. I write a lot about love, sex, and relationships. Although, lately I’ve been turning away from that and going inward and writing about inner demons and the overcoming of the self. Looking at yourself in the mirror, and just dealing with yourself. It really could be the biggest thing or the smallest thing, but mostly, like, the need to. The main motivation is the inner peace that comes after I finish a song, and the healing that comes from it. I think I had to find that as the movtivater. The main motivation. Before it was attached with ego, with chasing some dream of being an artist, or the ego of performing and the applause! It’s fine to like all those things, but now it really comes down for healing, healing for others, and just sharing. 

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When it comes to loving yourself, how do you practice that?

Forgiveness. I practice loving myself in a number of ways. I would say the first is forgiveness. Having the strength to not beat yourself up over bad decisions and mistakes. Like, kind of looking at yourself in the mirror and being like, “Hey, you fucked up, its okay. All you can choose to do from here on out is to choose be better, and choose to live in a different way or make better decisions. So, definitely forgiving myself. Self love, making time for myself. Really owning alone time, and honoring alone time. That means, cutting off social media, putting my phone on airplane mode and really letting myself get into my thoughts. Going somewhere alone, going to the movies alone, going to the park alone, and just really getting in touch with whats going on. And celebrating! Like, I celebrate myself! I feel like theres nothing wrong with celebrating youself! I look at my accomplishments, and theres a level of staying humble. You look at what you’ve done, and you’re like “Hey! That was a great song!” or “that was a great peice of work!” Be empowered. A couple months ago I thought, I’m gonna start celebrating myself with jewelry! I hadn’t worn jewelry, I hadn’t worn anything. It was time to adorn myself. So I showed myself self love by, they were pretty cheap, getting myself a few rings, popped in some earrings! And, I don’t know, theres was something about rings, like it ws time to decorate myself again. So therewas self love in decorating myself and adorning myself. Telling myself I’m worthy of these nice little jewelry peices. And then, of course, by loving others. When you love someone else. I’ve learned the most this past year in my friendships and my relationships that I have in my life, definitely, there is an element of loving yourself from loving others. You give and give and give, then someones gonna give something back to you that you didn’t know you needed. That just heals a part of you, and you just learn something, but, yeah, self love by loving others. Showing true love to others, and also demanding respect for yourself is a way of showing self love. Kind of putting boudaries of what you will accept as a person, thats a form of self love. I could go on and on!

Where do you find love outside of yourself?

Definitely in my friends. I find it in strangers! Just being outwardly kind, and recieving kindness back. That’s love! That’s fullfilling. I find it in nature. I think people underestimate the love you can find in nature. Love the earth and the earth will love you. In any one and any thing. Love can pop up anywhere, you have to actively be putting love in your environment and then it will find you! I think I’ve learned that. I think it comes to me all the time! In unexpected ways, from people I don’t even know or didn’t expect. I think it depends on how you define love, when you’re open to more forms of it there are subtle ways people show it. You really appreciate those subtle moments. 

How do you define love?

I have this thing where I kind of like to reverse sentences or questions, and find the truth in that. At the risk of sounding so pretentious, I would say that I let love define me. I let it find me, and I really let it define ME in how I choose to give and show love, who I give love to, and the type of love I accept. With love I like to couple the word respect. Love and respect. Even the way people love you might not be in a respectful way. So I would say I am defined by the love I give and the love I recieve, and the love I allow myself to give and recieve. How and who I give it to, and how and who I recieve it from. It changed my morals and my temperment. Its almost like when you hear and AMAZING song, and there’s one part that really ramps you up. You can’t put your finger on why it makes you feel that way, it just makes you feel great! Thats love. There’s no exact word for it. 

 

Thank you so much to Tre for letting us do the interview! Right after the last question, we got into talking about how AMAZING the album Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is. I’m glad someone gets me.

You can check out Tre’s soundcloud here and his Instagram here ! Make sure you give him a look, he’s such a talent rapper and will DEFINITELY be changing up the game soon!

I hope you enjoyed this interview! Thanks for checking it out! 🙂

Peace & Love,

Clariza 🙂

About the Cutie behind Caramel Cult

Meet Persephone (Isn’t that name just so beautiful?). A cutie from England, film and music enthusiast, and the voice behind the awesome new podcast Caramel Cult ! She talks about her favorite music, shows, poetry, and feminism, creating an awesome place for girls to talk about art!  Here, we talk to her about Caramel Cult, as well as some personal things about the angel herself, and, of course, about love!

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How old are you?

19.

 

What is Caramel Cult and why did you start it?

Caramel Cult is a podcast that I started because I wanted an excuse to talk about movies, books, music, poetry, feminism, or whatever was on my mind at the time. I often describe it as ‘the cult podcast for arty girls’, but I feel as if that’s not actually the best definition. Basically, it’s a space for anybody who wants to share their art and thoughts with a collective of creative people.

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What are you going to school for? Why?

I’m going to university to study English Literature and Film – which is basically the ideal degree for me! At first I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to study English Lit or Film because they’re both so important to me, but then I realised that choosing one over the other seemed wrong somehow. So I decided to study them both!

 

What was your internship about?

I worked as a blogger and social media intern at a wedding directory / magazine / online planner. Most of my time was spent running their social media accounts and writing for the blog, but I also spent lots of time creating Pinterest boards and Instagramming pretty photos.

 

What is your inspiration? How do you stay motivated?

I’m inspired by strong women. I grew up surrounded by women, so nothing makes me feel more capable than seeing a totally empowered woman living her life however she chooses and rejecting the expectations that men laid out for her. When it comes to staying motivated, I make sure I’m surrounded by art and writing that I love. If I’m ever stuck in a creative rut, all I have to do is see a great film or read a great sentence and I know I’ll feel that drive to start creating things again.

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What are you passionate about and why? 

I’m passionate about anything that helps me make sense of the world a little bit more. For me, I usually find this in films and writing, but it can be any form of creative expression. I decided a while ago that the reason I’m so drawn to art is because it’s the only way that I can really exist in the world. I need to immerse myself in other universes to be able to see reality clearly and understand it. I think that’s why film and literature speak to me so much. But, in a less superficial sense, I’m passionate about fairness. Nothing hurts me more than injustice. That’s what really keeps me up at night.

 

Where do you find love in your life?

I find love in my family, my friends and in animals. More and more these days, I find a lot of love within myself.

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How do you practice self-love?

To be honest I often find it difficult to practice self-love. We’re taught from such an early age that it’s more acceptable to hate yourself than love yourself, and to notice your flaws instead of your strengths. This has definitely had a negative effect on me, just like it has for girls all over the world. I try to overcome this every day and counter any negative thoughts about myself with kindness. Whether it’s eating a healthy meal or going for a walk in the countryside, I try to practice self love by nurturing myself.

 

How do you define love?

For me, love is freedom and truth.

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A big thank you to Persephone for letting us do the interview! We had a lot about fun getting to know her! You can check out her podcast here and her instagram here !

We hope you enjoyed this interview as much as we did! Stay tuned, cause we have some more awesome friends about love with!

Peace & Love,

Clariza

Zariya Allen: Actress, Poet, & Singer/Songwriter

Zariya Allen: Actress, Poet, & Singer/Songwriter

 

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Zariya Allen is a young artist from LA, known for her poetry, music, and being an amazing soul. She has been in many competitions and showcases for her slam poetry with Urban Word LA, Get Lit, and even on The Queen Latifa Show. She is now represented by Clear Talent Group for T.V. and film.  Her inspiring words as a young artist, woman, person of color, and musician are inspiring and raw. She strives to encourage self-affirmation and confidence, and her words are proof of it. Zariya speaks with wisdom and confidence in a way that shows us a peek at her soul. We are excited to say we had the opportunity to interview Zariya about her art, love, and even her fashion.

 

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Hi Zaryia!

So tell us, how old are you?

17… 18 in December (finally)

 

What are your artistic mediums?

I’m an actress, poet, and singer/songwriter.

 

What message are you trying to present in your art?

Through my poetry/music, I want to encourage self-affirmation, self-awareness. I struggled for a long time to find my voice. I don’t allow anyone else to define me, my desires, or my opinions.

 

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What is your inspiration?

Failure. Messing up makes me want to try again.

 

 

How/When did you start writing?

I’m not exactly sure when I started writing music, but my earliest poem I can remember was in 6th grade. I always had an internal struggle with my emotions, and difficulty trusting people or finding people who I felt really cared about my feelings at all. Writing was a release for me, as well as a way to help myself understand how I felt.

 

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You have an amazing style, what is your fashion inspiration?

I dress how I feel! I’m never afraid of a look. I like wearing things that are unique, but also classic…but also still me. I’m constantly evolving, though. So, one day, I’ll be in a school girl skirt, and the next day its wide-legged red linen pants.

 

Which one of your slam poems is your favorite?

I wrote a poem two years ago called “Questions” about the college application process as a black teen, and it’s still my favorite so far.

(a link to an instagram post with an excerpt of the poem:)

 

How do you exercise self-love? What advice would you give to others who struggle with loving themselves?

To exercise self-love, I remind myself of my strengths, and do my best to remind myself that everyone has faults. There’s no recipe for instant self-love, because the journey to self-love and acceptance is long and complicated. I think the most important thing to recognize is that everyone has insecurities, no matter how public they choose to be about them. There’s no use in comparing yourself to someone else, because you come from different circumstances, different backgrounds. Beauty is so subjective. Loving yourself is a choice.

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Share a story about a time you really witnessed or felt love.

I can’t think of some life-changing scenario. I think I feel love everyday- with my sister, my friends, and my boyfriend. My sister defending me when my parents are mad at me, my friends paying the difference on a movie ticket if I’m a few bucks short, my boyfriend holding me and letting me vent about my day. Love is in all the little things around me and it’s exhilarating to take it all in.

How do you define love?

Love is acceptance- embracing one another, the good parts and the bad ones, too. Love allows you to see the world, but also yourself in a whole new light; fear without inhibition.

 

Here are some video links to Zariya’s slam poems that she has performed or written:

(All pictures courtesy of Zariya Allen)

Still Trying to Find Love.

 

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So, today was my first day busking. If you don’t know what busking is, it’s pretty much just playing music out in public for tips. I have a regular Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf that I go to, so I thought I would try to busk for the first time on the steps near it before I went inside. I played for about five minutes, people ignored me and walked by awkwardly, but one lady was watching me from a distance. I saw her from the corner of my eye as I played the Israel Kamakawiwo’ole “Somewhere over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” mash up. She walked towards me and asked if she could listen to me play, I nodded yes to her and I saw her smile brighten as she listened to me play and sing. I was honestly almost moved to tears.

When my song had come to a close, she said, “Can I take you to Jamba Juice? You remind me of how I was when I was young!” I was moved, she was so sweet to make the offer. We walked towards Jamba Juice, got our orders, and sat down outside on the patio. We talked about our lives, her name was Lan, she used to play the mandolin in Vietnam when she was younger. That’s what drew her to me. She told me that my music made her depression go away, it made her happier to hear me play and sing.

I proceeded to tell her about the Define Love Project, and for once in this project… she asked me what I thought love was first. (But that’s for another time) Before she answered the question, she asked,

“Is it okay if I am really honest about it?”

I said yes, and assured her that it would all be okay if she did.

This is what she said….

“Honestly, even though I am fifty-four years old right now I really don’t know what love is. Because, I never really had love since I was born. I was born unwanted, and my mom tried to kill me in her womb. When I was born I existed in a family where I was totally rejected. I had no father love, no mother love, no brother or sister love. So I grew up in an environment where I don’t know what love is. And, like you, I’m just trying to figure out what love is. And one day, when I was 16 or 17 years old, one of my friends came up to me and she hugged me. That was the first real hug I have felt in my life. She hugged me and she said, ‘Do you know that God loves you?’ I was moved, because nobody ever said “I love you” to me before. So the first time my friend came up to me and said, ‘Do you know that God loves you?’ I almost cried. I asked ‘Really, God loves me?’ she said ‘Yes, God loves you no matter how you are or what you are. And she took me to church and the preacher talked about paradise, heaven. Where you don’t suffer and you don’t have to cry every day, because back then I cried every day. And, there, you will be loved by God and his son Jesus Christ and your brothers and sisters in heaven. So I cried for that place, when I was only 16 years old. From then, I’ve been through a lot, and I have not found love within Christian Communities. I don’t see it. So, I still wonder what love is. I met a Vietnamese man and I thought he loved me, he took care of me, took care of my health, gave me food, cooked for me, he was always with me when I was sick or depressed. But, he didn’t want me to go to Church, he didn’t want me to do anything for God because I believed God loved me. He controlled me in his love, so I got out of his love. I only moved here about 8 month ago. The pastor who asked me to move here, he’s like my father. He helped me a lot when I went through depression and when my first husband passed away. The pastor asked me to leave the man and move here and he will find a place for me to live. He said he would help me and support me. But, when the church congregation and his wife found out that he cared for me a lot, I don’t know maybe they were jealous, they begin to talk bad about my relationship with my pastor. My pastor had to protect his reputation, and people started to talk bad about me and say stuff about my pastor. He slowly started to stay away, until he stayed away for good and rejected me. And I don’t see love, even in Christian community. Then, I didn’t want to be in Vietnamese community, I moved to an American church. I hoped American church is better, but I am still hated. Some people love me, but not all. So, if you ask me to define what love means. For me love is only found in Jesus, and in Him I really found peace, love, protection, and care. I don’t see love in human beings.”

Love is

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On Tuesday, July 26th, I had the most amazing opportunity to attend to a workshop held by School Of Doodle. An indescribable group/organization/women empowerment group/safe place/artists movement that I have come to love and be inspired by. This workshop had panels about topics like “Turning your Passion into Profession” and “Girl on Girl Hate”, it was amazing to see all of the strong and independent women, men, nonbinary, and genderqueer teens/young adults speaking so freely and being inspired by each other. In the very first panel, we were introduced to the beautiful, loving soul La Shonda Coleman.

La Shonda Coleman is the director of a Rape Treatment center, advocate for black woman and men, activist, and pretty much just an overall amazing woman. Her thoughts on love were just as amazing as she is.

“I define love in action. What I mean by that is, love is so comprehensive that even now I probably can’t name every facet of love. But what it is, in this moment now, love is this time of us standing here together and giving time to one another. To even have this conversation: ‘What is Love?’ Love is seeing someone, and really, truly, seeing them and valuing them as a human being living life on the planet. Love is a kind word. Love is an embrace. Love is sitting still. Love is just around us right now, when I think of the air and the trees. Love is this boundless entity to me. Love is God. Just my faith, as a Christian, love is Christ. That love is manifested into me, and into all of us. Love is gratitude. Again, there’s no way I could name every bit of it. But love is… it is. Love is, and it’s almost like fill-in-the-blank. I like the question so much, because I think we can be distracted and focused on things opposite of love. Love is greater. Love is great. Love is the greatest. And love is what gives me life.”

I remember being in this moment with her, listening to her words and looking into her eyes. She is a really loving person, and I am so happy I was able to listen and be inspired by her.

 

Love Yourself, Love the Vibe

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There’s something about live music that always captures my attention. People playing music, making art together right in front of me. I will automatically gravitate towards them, and that’s exactly what I did. After doing a bit of writing at The Night Owl Café, I walked outside to hear the beautiful sound of voices singing ad libs to some really gnarly guitar playing. I approached them, and ended up hanging out with them all night. My heart felt warm when they accepted me so quickly, and I soon came to learn that they had all pretty much just met as well. It was a very lovely night, with some very lovely people. We played music and talked about our lives like we had known each other forever. I was inspired by one of them in particular, so I took her to the side and asked her my favorite question,

 

“So, how do you define love?”

It took her a moment, but she was willing to share her wisdom with me. After learning a bit about her, I knew that something good was coming.

So, my name is Justine. I define myself as an artist. My medium is music, words, and writing. I define love, as I’m thinking about it now, as, that moment when you look into the mirror at yourself, and you’re alone, and you’re happy with what you see. However long it takes, however many times you looked into the mirror throughout your entire life. I feel like that love is that time in your life when you are able to see that person and love that person with all the imperfections, and be able to smile back at your reflection because you love yourself. You love yourself in a humble way, where that love manifests when you walk away from the mirror and you go about your life. That love that you saw in your reflection is manifested in everyone around you, in a way that you treat others based off of how you feel within yourself. It’s how you treat others with kindness, respect, dignity, empathy, and compassion. You understand that with love, and having love for yourself, you know what pain is. You know that other human beings feel that pain in their own way. Why would I ever want to put that pain upon somebody, when I myself know what pain is. It is not something that I would want as an intention, even though I have pain and struggle, but I love myself enough to not dwell in pain. Love to me is loving yourself, and letting that manifest through your family, the people that you care about, and even strangers.”

                “So you love yourself in order to love others?”

                “I believe that true love starts with loving yourself. I believe that I’m not alone, and that the universe, or God, is there. I’m not alone in this journey, something beyond me loves me and believes that I am special, and that I do have something to offer. I believe that loving myself makes me more with God and the universe. I do believe it’s connected, and that things are always happening for a reason. I feel like I have to meet it half way, when I have a feeling to do something I have to love myself enough to go do that. To say that I deserve to go there. We’ll just go home and go to bed, we go through this routine. I feel like I met halfway just by putting myself here in this environment. I came here to the Night Owl because I wanted to come play guitar and I wanted to sing. This gentleman over here came up to me and told me ‘Hey you did a great job at open mic’ and I said thank you and we started hanging out. Everything happens for a reason, I put myself in these open mics for a reason. To meet other musicians, to perform, and share what I have been spending so much time creating. If I didn’t put myself in that open mic, we all wouldn’t have met. “

 

Love in a Coffee Shop

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The past couple of days I have been going to a new coffee shop each day. Even now, at 9pm, I am writing in a coffee shop about going to a coffee shop. Places like cafes have a lot of foot traffic, people coming in to write, read, drink coffee with friends, or even just zipping through to get their caffeine fix. The possibilities of people that you will meet are endless…but sometimes you’d be surprised what little things can bring the right people together.

I decided to go visit a café that I have never been to before called The Gypsy Den. The amazing vibe of this coffee shop cannot be compared to any other. There are a lot of different kinds of people that go through this place, it’s inside an “anti-mall” so there are many people from different walks of life coming through. As I sat down and got my laptop out, I couldn’t help but hear the man and woman next to me speaking so vibrantly in a different language. I was curious to know what they were speaking, but I kept my thoughts to myself in fear that I may offend them by asking.

They left for a second, and the woman asked politely if I could watch her things while she went somewhere. I happily said yes and continued to do my work on my laptop. She asked me again a few times, and I always said yes. Once it was my turn to leave, my curiosity took hold of me and I asked

  “What language were you speaking earlier? I’m sorry, I’m just so curious!”

She replied that the language was Farsi, I complimented her and we talked about how animated different languages are. And just like that, I had made a new friend.

Her smile was so vibrant and happy, I felt so comfortable talking to her. She told me that they were looking at poems by Rumi, an old poet that love to talk about love. This intrigued me, so I told her about the Define Love Project… and asked her opinion about love.

She would then become my first interview for the Define Love Project…

   “So, how do you define love?”

     “I think love… love is something- actually, love is everything. It means, actually, oneness, and passion, and unity. We only need love in this world. We don’t have it right now, and if we try to be united and feel each other’s feelings, and what we think- We can accept each other. I think this is very important: we accept each other’s opinions, each other’s religion, and each other’s beliefs. This is very important. If we do this, love will appear in this world.”

    “In the Tao Te Ching it says that ‘love is greater than fear’, what do you think about that?”

     “I think love is not opposite of hate, love is opposite of fear. If we have fear, there is no love. Fear is something that follows ego, when we follow our ego we follow fear. This is the opposite of love. This is something that, unfortunately, is in the world. It is spreading in our world right now. There is fear everywhere, and when fear is everywhere there is no love. We have to understand this, we have to understand our fears and where they come from, and then stop it. Don’t listen to it. Then love will appear in our lives.”