Saturday, 10 March 2012

#FindOutFriday with EricaSharlette

  ...ME, the ES in the P!

I don't know what I was thinking.

Let me tell you how all of this came about...It was 4:14 last Friday morning. A last-minute change to this feature's schedule meant I needed to replace the talented person booked for today's mini-milestone (It's the tenth since #FindOutFriday returned, insert bells and whistles HERE). A rejigging of the line up could have been done, but not without issue, then a light bulb went on.

I now recognise it was just my bedside lamp, but at the time, I would have sworn on my existence it was illumination of a GENIUS ( was just the lamp). I always get threats of retaliation for the difficulty of some of my questions, so to celebrate reaching double figures, "Why don't I do it?" Questioned my un-righted mind - and so the plot began to form...

I needed to think of a way to continue the precedent (I hope) I have set and throw in a twist! That's where things got...Interesting. Quite convinced that there was nothing interesting about me answering my own questions, I asked 10 friends to submit a question and...well, by the time I realised the madness, 3 hours had passed and I already had my first that one plus nine, in the culmination of this week's hair-brained scheme!

1. Sophie Horne, (one half of) DoubleM Entertainment. One of the most successful up and coming Event and Artist Management companies on the UK Scene, Soph is a friend and business woman that I find highly inspirational. Read my recent #FOF interview with both halves of an unstoppable whole:

"If you were an Artist, what would your stagename be?"

It would be exactly what it is now! The woman I met in the birthing Suite once upon a Moon had fanciful notions of naming 'Erica', because it means 'Everstrong, Ever Ruler'. She wanted a name that people couldn't shorten and thought that as the black daughter of a Single Mum, I would need all strength I could find in life. It's also a flower (which, from someone who only likes looking at Botanics through a screen, further proves your confusion with yourself, Mother Dear...). I never ever never liked my first name - phonetically, I don't think it fits 'me' at all, but I LOVE my middle one. Even now, I have a host of abbreviations and nicknames that most people use instead of it.
'School Daze...' Stoke Newington School, 199*ahem*...
I actually went through a phase in Secondary School where I stopped answering to 'Erica' altogether and tried to force my classmates to call me 'Sharlette' lasted the best part of a day before they stopped bothering to speak to me, period. As someone who physically can't not talk, that didn't really work for my existence so I gave up... Be.Grudg.Ing.Ly!

Anna and Emma with Artist, RoxXxan
2. Anna Newbury & Emma Berry, Bloggers. I first met Anna and Emma at January's Musicalize where they adopted a Solo me and all three of us have been gabbing away ever since! Check out their wonderful works for the House of Hoxshore :)

Photography by
Charli-Anne Shirley for Jelli Ltd.
"If you could have one extra limb, what would you chose, where would you put it and why?"

Ha! Gotta love the randomness! I think I'd have to say an extra arm, that way I could do more on my 'To-Do' list! I'm not quite sure where exactly I would put it, but as the most accident-prone person known to Man, I think it's best I put it somewhere on my torso for proportion and balance!

Drassick and Luz
3. Luz Paguyo, Business Support, ESP. The loveliest PA in the Whole Wide World, Luz is Family in more ways than one. In addition to joining the team in January of this year and helping to sort me out, she's also otherwise known as Mrs Drassick DIGITAL:

"If you weren't into PR, Marketing and every other single thing you do, where and what do you think you would be? And where do you see yourself in 5 years?"

At the 'Female DJ Takeover' Launch,
Avalon, February 2011
That's a hard one and the honest answer is I don't rightly know! My background is as an Events PA across quite a few different sectors. I've always loved putting shows together, but never had a real love for any of the Industries I worked in; that was always the down side for me. My last 9-5 was as a Business Development PA for a Children's Charity Network. Because I love Bubbas (as you know being Mummy to two of my nieces), I thought the kid's aspect would appeal to me, but it so happened that was never really involved in the role and I absolutely hated it otherwise! So when I was made redundant, the only thing that really broke my heart was the loss of a steady paycheque! ESP was starting to take on a life of it's own, so the freedom made me feel like I could breathe again. In 5 year's time...I honestly don't like to think that far ahead unless I'm sketching workplans for the fam! If there's one thing I swear by, it's that life is unpredictable. One unexpected thing can happen and the best laid plans turn into petals on those fluffy, cotton wool-like flowers that you blow on...All I can say is what I want to happen. I want a chain of Deer Oh Deer boutiques all over the world, I want Drassick and Lekhem to be cemented household names and for me? I just want to come along for the ride if they haven't put restraining orders on me by then! :)

The One and Only
DJ Melody 'MellyMel'  Kane
4. DJ Melody Kane, Full Time International Club / Radio / Event DJ; Official SB:TV DJ, Female DJ Takeover Pioneer. She's 'Melody' to you but to me, she will forever be MellyMel! One of the first people to take a chance on an unknown, Melody gave me a chance with absolutely no just cause and for that I will be forever indebted.

"What do you find the most interesting and the most frustrating about working in this industry?"

Photography by Charli-Anne Shirley for Jelli Ltd. 
I would be outright lying if I said I wasn't over the MOON that someone asked me this! I think the two are one and the same, in that I. Love. TALENT! I cannot stress that enough! I'm an Art fan first and find the beauty in a lot of things that most people wouldn't, especially music. I love honest expression, no matter the form. When it comes to music, I think it also makes me a proud snob, I'm really not ashamed to admit that! So whilst there is SO much talent breaking through and I'm really happy to see that in those that deserve it, I'm far more frustrated to see the wealth that is overlooked. I knew there was a 'pool'; but I think it's only since starting ESP and expanding my network that I really now understand it's more of an Ocean. I'm Blessed to work with A+mazing Artists because people like you gave me the opportunity. It's beyond frustrating to see how rare those shots are for those who earn it, when it seems to be so easy for those who do not.

5. Drassick aka DIGITAL, Artist and Lyricist. This HUGELY talented MC is a one-off that still surprises me daily. Not just with his talent, but with his mindset as a young family man who stands apart from the typical mode of thinking commonly associated with his peers. Most recently releasing his second mixtape 'RiseNGrind' hosted by DJ Ames, keep your eyes peeled for this one because he's on his 'Grind Daily':

"What made you start ES Promotions Ltd. and how did you go about it?"

Five syllables: Charli-Anne Shirley. One Sunday afternoon in September of 2010, I saw a tweet from someone I would run into occasionally (usually whenever Mariah Carey was in town). She was a Fashion and Jewellery Designer who was also juggling a Web and Graphic Design company. It said: "I need an assistant! Someone help me organise my life!" In desperate need of something to distract me from some personal dramatics at the time, I replied. We had an email conversation where we talked over what both of us was looking for, met up 4 days later and we've been together ever since! After telling my closest friend Ms. Sherii ven Dyer about what I was planning with Char, she asked me to do some music promo for her too. I loved the diversity of it all and kept coming up with new promotional ideas for both. 
With the Big Sis who's half my size,
Super Singer-Songwriter - Sherii ven Dyer
It took a LOT of encouragement and convincing, but by November Char had the idea that I could do this for a living firmly implanted in my mind. The end of December saw me joining DJ Melody Kane's 'Female DJ Takeover' movement after bonding via Twitter, over the phone and one Skype chat! Then Niji Magazine invited me onboard a few days later. Through my 'trial by fire' with the latter, Lekhem got in touch in mid-January. Like with you, we hit it off from our very first conversation and went to work within a week. By April, your adorable self reached out. All of this happened whilst I was still doing 3-days a week at the Children's Charity Network I mentioned earlier and also juggling part-time Carer's duties for my Mum, so everything I did was squeezed into my non-9-to-5 days.
Photography by Charli-Anne Shirley for Jelli Ltd.
I can't give any 'advice' about how to get started because to be honest, I still consider myself a newbie. All I can say is you can't do this if you don't truly love and believe in what you do. You have to give up too much of yourself. You need to be prepared to say Goodbye to every spare moment; in some cases, your sanity! In terms of what I personally did...I registered with 'Getting British Businesses Online (GBBO)' in November of 2010 to get my web domain amongst some other bits and bobs. It wasn't until the middle of last year that things really started moving on the 'official' front though. I joined the East London Small Business Centre in the Summer, where I was assigned a lovely Adviser who patiently explains the (many) logistics that baffle me. I finally registered ESP as a Ltd. Company in 2011 Q4; after doing a Small Business Start Up course with the ELSBC. I now see my Adviser for regular sessions where he tells me off for missing my project submission deadlines! On the upside, he always tells me how much he loves what we do and this blog. I think he was actually our first '#SundaySauce' subscriber! So thank you for everything El Capitan Jim P, my homework is coming I swear...!

6. Lisa Ella, Singer-Songwriter. Lisa and I were recently introduced through DoubleM Entertainment. A huge talent, with a beautiful sound, look out for a LOT more from this Mancs-native soon:

"If you had to have a night on a desert island with Someone who would it be?"

I considered this my 'Great Debate'! But since it's only one night I'm going to say my future second husband Brian Casey, of Jagged Edge fame. Yes second. After Shemar Moore and I officially call it quits. I think the perfect 'Mr. Me' needs to be a 'Creative'. The idea of anyone producing something based on emotions that I evoke, is beyond anything I can imagine. To deliver it in voice of someone like Brian, who I've been head over heels in love with for roughly 12 years? *Fans oneself* Yeah, I can definitely say that's a night I'd enjoy...! ;o)

My ALL-TIME FAVE Jagged Edge track - 'I Don't Wanna'

7. Lekhem, Producer, Artist, Musician. If you're familiar with me, then you'll know about my 'Jamerican' Nemesis! My favourite Country cocktail from America and Jamaica, by way of West London, released his third project 'KrateDiggin - The Instrumentals Mixtape' earlier this week, and has far more to come. Make sure you walk with him down 'LekLane':

"As someone who's been given a few intriguing facts from time to time, one of the things I want to know about is your musical exploits back in the day. Give us all a breakdown of your discography."

'Spot the Extra'...On-set,
'Uncle Jack & The Dark Side of The Moon'
BBC Elstree Studios (1992)
Biggest claim to 'Stage Fame'
Appearing in Simon Callow's
Production of Carmen Jones (1991)
No. Next question!

Since 'The EVIL One' has exposed me, I will confess...Not too many people know that I grew up on the other side of the spotlight. I trained in Acrobatics until the age of 10 when my Mum and I moved from South, to North of the River and I changed Stage Schools. I trained in Dance (Tap, Jazz, Ballet), from the age of 5, earning a few Grade certificates until health problems finally got the better of me and I changed to an Academic Secondary School in North London at 14. I also did Drama and Music throughout, until I left College at 17. I mainly performed on Stage and TV so most of  my credits are pre-YouTube, gosh darn it! I have seen one or two old recordings that I was going to post here...Oddly enough, the links have been flagged for content - SUCH a shame. Can't imagine why anyone would do such a thing...? As far as Musical recordings go, unfortunately most of those were (Stage) school  & GCSE projects and demos that are not in the public domain. Sorrrryyyy! :)...I mean :(.

8. DJ Fearney, DeJa Vu Radio DJ/Presenter and Interviewer. I first came across Fearney's SICK skills at a Rock The Belles club night at East Village. Since then, we've run into each other at a host of different events and I just love what she does on those decks! The fact that she's down to Earth, approachable and a bandit on those decks only add to her appeal!

"You seem to have your finger in all the pies, PR being one of your attributes and a notoriously difficult job. Tell me what is the most relative book you have read in this field which was maybe a huge eye-opener or the most informative for you?"

I would be lying if I said I had a great big reading list of 'How To's'.  It's more one of those 'One day, when I've got five minutes I'd like to' lists! I can guiltily admit that I started reading David Ogilvy's 'Confessions of an Advertising Man', after picking up a copy in WH Smith's at Heathrow, while stocking up on my holiday reading. He's completely sexist, but he's upfront and admits that in later years plus the fundamentals still rang true. So that aside, I was really enjoying it, up to where I'd gotten! I also grabbed a copy of 'What You Need to Know About Project Management' by Fergus O'Connell to help me round out the Operations side of things. I'm ashamed to say I haven't gotten round to finishing either (cringe), but I do read 'Waxing UnLyrical' - the daily PR and Comms alerts from Marketing Guru, Shonali Burke. I also really like the ideas from 'Make It Happen Mum', Michelle Holmes. Whilst I'm not a Mum, I am someone who cares for someone else, whilst juggling my own Start Up and a chronic illness of my own - all from home. So I feel that a lot of what Michelle talks about applies to me also.

9. Dominy Roe, Creative Writer, Youth Development Worker, Presenter, Radio DJ. I have had the pleasure of knowing Dom for the best part of a year now and she's one of the sweetest people I know! A great live show host and Writer, Dominy was one of my Champions for starting my own blog, so for that I have to thank her! Keep up to date with all things Dominizle via her blog:

"If you could make a difference to this World, what would you do and how?"

Wow this was a really hard one! There are SO many things that I would love to stamp out. I think I would take on bullying because that's something that's personal to me, I have a lot of experience in that subject. I remember the effects of what I dealt with to this very moment in time and that was all pre-Internet, so I have so much sympathy for the abuse I see online, on a daily basis. As corny as it sounds, I think the only way you will ever be able to combat harassment is to put an antagonist in the place of their victim. Let them know how it really feels, walk a mile in their shoes and all  of that...In a parallel Universe, I would connect every bully with their victim telepathically so that their words and actions would be like mental double-edged swords. For every ounce of pain caused, they would feel the effect in equal measure. We'd soon see if causing another person pain was still fun.

10. Charli-Anne Shirley, Web, Graphic, Fashion and Jewellery Designer. Who else was I going to end with?! Charli-Anne's path is so similar to mine, it's no wonder that I always look to her for a blueprint. Working on a million and one Jelli Ltd. projects in addition to designing Deer Oh Deer's upcoming  Spring Summer 12 collection entitled 'Carnivale', she knows a thing or two about how to juggle commitments:

"What would you do if you had a time machine?"

I would go back to the 24th August, 1998. I was supposed to visit my Gran for her 82nd birthday, but I'd recently had an accident and damaged my leg. I had cab fare to get back to South London but in all honesty, I was just feeling lazy on crutches and as a moody teen during Summer, couldn't really be bothered to try to get down there on my own. Three days later, we woke up to the call she had passed and instead of my last memory being spending time on her birthday, it's a lesson about not letting the people who mean the most to you leave this Earth without knowing their worth in your eyes. I never imagined the World without her, so always took our next visit for granted.

My Gran was the strongest, most inspirational woman that I have ever met. After a lifetime of pain, she still had a bigger heartkinder word and more compassionate Soul than anyone. If I had a time machine, I would go back to the day her youngest grandchild was supposed to visit and let her know that her influence and her life lessons set the bar I try to meet everyday. More than anything, I'd just let her know that I love her.

So that's me folks! Hope I didn't bore you too much! I want to say a massive Thank You once again to everyone who took part and put me through my paces! You know where to find me on Twitter and  that news on the entire ESP Family always comes thick and fast through the Official ESP account!

Have a great week!
ES ;)