Friday, June 12, 2015

From Pain To Purpose: The Testimony Of James "Jayreed" Fleetwood

About The From Pain To Purpose Series

I started this series to show how God can use anyone and turn their lives around. I also want to show how everything that we go through is for a higher purpose.

About James "Jayreed" Fleetwood

James "Jayreed" Fleetwood also known as Jayreed or Jayeed4Jesus is a Christian Rapper, a model, and an actor. 

How Did James "Jayreed" Fleetwood Go From Pain To Purpose?

While growing up, James struggled with his self esteem. James felt that he wasn't getting enough attention from his father and that feeling eventually lead him to feeling like he didn't have a voice. James began feeling like nobody listened or even cared about what he had to say. At the age of 13, James was inspired by Hip Hop Legend LL Cool J, in which there would be no coincidence that his real name happens to be James as well right? While I do not believe in coincidences, I do believe that everything happens for a reason, for a God-given reason. Hip hop music gave a James a voice, he paid attention to how music was a form of communication,  how many people could relate to music, and most importantly how many people actually listened to the message that was being sent through certain music. 

It was then that James decided that he would make music as well. He felt like everything that he wanted to say could be said through music and so that's exactly what he did. James began to develop a local fan base as he started to perform in local clubs and venues. As you may notice, I mentioned that James is a Christian rapper, but at that point in his life, he was not. James made what some call secular music. During my interview with James, he recalled a time when he had just finished performing at a club and he was drunk and high. James was 24 at the time and this same night, James had to be a work and despite the condition that he was in, he still went. It was that night at work, that would be the start of something new. 

That night at work James was rapping for some of his co-workers and he began to draw a crowd. It was at that moment that one of the janitors there pulled James to the side and began to speak to him about God and how he(James) could use his gift of music to give God glory. James remembered the janitor asking him "why are you working for the devil"? Although James took what the janitor said to heart, he still did not feel it in his heart because he did not see anything wrong with what he was doing. In fact,  James said that he thought that he was doing Gods work when he performed his music.  

James continued to  make the kind of music that he wanted to make , but again there came a time that would lead to a change. James ended up going to church with one of his neighbors and at that church visit, he gave his life to Christ. After giving his life to Christ, James decided that he no longer wanted to make music at all and he put it in the back of his mind until one day, God sent someone to remind him of the music that he should be doing. 

While James was in the navy, one of the shift yard workers asked him where something was on the ship and James directed him on where to go. James thought nothing of his interaction with the man, but the man ended up coming back and telling James that God told him to tell him to not forgot about his music. It was then that James began to write again. At first James struggled with the concept of Christian rap, he thought that it would actually take away from the glory of God because the focus would be on the artist. 

James would turn to a page in the Bible and write a rap based off what he read. As James reflected back on that, he remembers that rap as the worst that he had ever wrote. It was then that he started to doubt that Christian rap was for him, but God spoke to him and told him that when he reads and writes from his heart then things would start to come together. It was then that James wrote his first song entitled "Everlasting Life". He started letting people hear what he wrote and was given the opportunity to perform on the ship. During his performance, a man ran out of the crowd, crying, asking how he could be saved and James began to pray for him. Once he turned around, he saw a line of people waiting to speak with him. It was then that James knew what his calling was and that God would use his music to minister to people. 

Since then, James has had the opportunity to meet and share the stage with some phenomenal Christian artist and God is definitely using him to inspire others. 

What is James Message To The World?

While interviewing James, I asked him if he had a message to share with those who may be going through a similar experience or experiences such as the ones that he went through and what that message would be. James said that his message to the world would be:

'With all the struggles, problems, and issues that people have, it all comes with being an human being. All of that in one particular point in life can cease if there is hope and that hope is something that can only come from Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. He walked the  earth so that we could live. He carried all of our faults and pains on his shoulders to the cross. God had a problem with us and we have to realize that there is an issue with us. God is good and we are not and in God's eyes we do evil. The good thing is that Jesus died for our sins, He paid the price for us so that we can live . We no longer have to pay the price of death if we believe in Jesus and we have hope. God says that his burden is light and his yoke is easy(Matthew 11:30). Believing in God does not mean that everything will be easy. Our situations may not change, but our perspective will. If we continue to hold on  to our pains and all of the things that we have done wrong, then we will always feel like the world is crashing on us. Instead of living life thinking you are going to die anyway, live life to go to Heaven. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life(Proverbs 13:12). "

What Can You Expect Next From James "Jayreed" Fleetwood?

Well James will certainlty continue to make music, in fact he is working on an album that is expected to be released before this year is over. James is also doing some modeling and acting, so be on the look out for him! If you have never heard any of James music, then I would suggest you visit his website, you can also download one or all of his mixtapes on, I have embedded one of his mixtapes 'Less of Me, More of You" so that you can listen.

You can also find James on these sites:

Monday, June 8, 2015

From Pain To Purpose: The Testimony Of LaTarsha Holden

About The From Pain To Purpose Series

I started this series to show how God can use anyone and turn their lives around. I also want to show how everything that we go through is for a higher purpose.

About LaTarsha Holden

LaTarsha Holder is a single mother of 6, a domestic violence survivor, a minister, and a motivational speaker. 

How Did LaTarsha Holden Go From Pain To Purpose?

Not every person has the same challenges and not every person deals with pain the same, but every person does have challenges and every person does experience some form of pain. From this testimony that you are about to read of Ms. Latarsha Holden, I know that no matter what you have or are experiencing in your life, you will be encouraged by this. There are some stories that you hear and read that can touch many and this I believe and know is one of them. 

LaTarsha Holden is a powerful woman of God that knew she had a purpose at an early age. LaTarsha was always so curious and able to emphasize with others and for a while she did not know why. What LaTarsha did know is that God was calling her and she did finally receive and answer the call on her life, but not after some trials and tribulations. 

After dropping out of high school in the 10th grade, being in more than one abusive relationship,  being a single mother , and being "the joke" of the family, Latarsha found herself lost and wondering if God had forgotten about her. LaTarsha did not give up on God though. LaTarsha also knew that she had children that needed her and that were looking up to her. At a point where LaTarsha and her children were homeless, living in an abandoned boarded up home, sometimes even living in her car or living in shelters, LaTarsha still decided to enroll in school. 

Not only did LaTarsha decide to enroll in school, but she also decided that even though she herself was not in the best situation, she still wanted to be able to help others.  Latarsha begin to help the homeless even while she was homeless herself. As Latarsha puts it "I started doing ministry when I did not know what ministry was". LaTarsha states that she wanted to help the homeless because she wanted to instill something in her children and that was "to be a service to others". At this point, LaTarsha did not know what was going to happen in her life, so she tried her best to instill values and teach morals to her children.

In 2004, Latarsha really needed to hear from God, she prayed for God to send her a "burning bush" sign. LaTarsha said that a burning bush sign is the sign that God gave to moses, God came to speak to moses in a burning bush, except the bush was not burning even though it was on fire. That is how Moses knew that it was God. If you want to know more about that story, Latarsha states that it is in the Book of Exodus, Chapter 3.  After LaTarsha prayed that prayer, she saw that she had a missed call from an unrecognized number. When she called the number back, it was someone from jail, it happened to be a ex of hers who was now in jail. He told her that he had seen her on TV and that he was proud of her and it was then that LaTarsha received her confirmation. 

Latarsha knew that phone called she received was her burning bush sign because the show that her ex seen had aired 3 months prior to that phone call and was no longer suppose to be airing. It was then that LaTarsha knew for sure that her calling was to be a minister. Although she knew what her calling was, it still was not until 2009, that LaTarsha actually was ordained to be a minister. LaTarsha stated that "sometimes when people receive their calling, they think that it is suppose to happen at that particular time, but  that is not always the case".  Latarsha went on to explain that God had to prepare her for her calling. 

Today, Latarsha and her kids are better and stronger than ever. Not only is Latarsha a minister and a motivational speaker, but she is now an author and also has graduated with her MBA. God completely changed her life in a total of 8 years.

What is LaTarsha's Message To The World?

I asked LaTarsha that if she had a message to the world or to those who may be experiencing what she has experienced, what that message would be. LaTarsha stated that her message to the world is "To keep praying, because its not going to rain always. There was no way that she could went through what she went through without God. Keep pressing towards the mark (Philippians 3:14)  because nobody is going to fight for you, but you! "

What Can You Expect Next From LaTarsha?

If you would like to book LaTarsha for a speaking engagament at your church or event, here are some ways that you can contact her :

Also, LaTarsha's book "I'm Free To Be Me" is available on Amazon-

Friday, June 5, 2015

From Pain To Purpose: The Testimony of Charles Clark

About The Pain From Purpose Series

I started this series to show how God can use anyone and turn their lives around. I also want to show how everything that we go through is for a higher purpose.

About Charles Clark

Charles Clark is a motivational speaker, a radio personality, youth leader, an advocate, and a spiritual leader. Charles is also the Founder and CEO of the Take Over the World Peace Movement AKA “The One Love Peace Tour”, where his vision is to restore lives all over the world with positive reinforcement, spiritual enhancement and  empowerment.

How did Charles Clark Go From Pain to Purpose?
At an early age, Mr. Clark learned and felt what pain truly was. He lost his father at the age of 6 and on the day that his parents were suppose to get married, Charles and his family ended up attending his father's funeral instead. Not only did Charles learn what pain was, but he also learned to hear the voice of God as well. At the tender of age of 7, Charles first began to hear God speaking to him and although he may not have understood or followed the voice of God, he always kept God's message in his heart. 

As Charles got older, he begin to travel down a different path. By the age of 14 Charles was already involved with gangs and selling drugs. To Charles, the gang was his family and his way of life and there was no turning back. Despite his lifestyle, deep down, he could still hear God speaking to him and this time, he heard a very specific message. At the age of 18, God told Charles that one of two things would happen if he didn't turn his life around, either someone would kill him out of fear or he would get locked up and receive the death penalty. But still yet, Charles continued to live the same lifestyle.

A couple of years later, something happened that would change his life forever. At the age of 21, Charles was arrested and locked up. By the grace of God, he did not get the death penalty, but he did serve 8 years of his life in prison. Charles believes that God used those 8 years to protect him from dying in the streets and also to help him grow spiritually. It was during those 8 years that Charles received his calling, God prepared him for his calling, and that he began to walk in his calling. Charles would began to deliver sermons in prison and even the wardens would come and hear him speak. Charles had already began to save lives while in prison, but he had no idea that kind of impact that he would have on others once he got out of prison. 

In 2009, Charles began his "reentry"(as they call it) into the world and since then he has shared his testimony with millions of people, he has met celebrities, he even has a radio show segment "Real Talk 30" On Joyce White's  Radio Show "Faith Walk" on the SRN Network hosted by Joyce White , and may possibly be a new intern at the White House.  Recently, Charles along with Pastor Patrick Lewis and Prophetess Tashina Cheney of New Vision of Eden Ministries, Prophetess Sharon Jones, and Jay keyz  went to Baltimore to speak.  R&B Artist Ty Juan was so touched by Charles efforts in Baltimore, that he wrote a song entitled "B-More Aware of Love". Charles also touched by his own experience in Baltimore, decided to make a video, in which Demonica Murphy helped put together for him. 

What is Charles Message To The World?

While interviewing Charles, I asked him if he had a message to share with those who may be going through a similar experience or experiences such as the ones that he went through and what that message would be. Charles said that his message would be "Be true to yourself, then you are true to God and when you are true to God, then people will see the truth in you". Charles went on to say that a person does not have to look or dress a certain way in order to receive a word from God. Charles is comfortable being himself, whether he is wearing a do-rag and dressed causal or wearing a suit. Charles purpose in life is to make others comfortable coming to God. Charles is the Spiritual Superman and God uses him to save and change lives. 

What Can You Expect Next From Charles?

Well, Charles has a book coming out entitled "Chain Breaker", he will also be making a big announcement soon(so make sure to stay tuned in to this blog and social media outlets for that) and as stated previously, he is awaiting news from the White House to see if he will be there newest intern. Until then, you can learn more about Charles by visiting his Facebook Page 
or by visiting his YouTube Channel (CClarkinspire)

To hear more of Charles story, you can listen to below to this interview of him with Ronda Stacey Andrews of Speak Life Radio. 

Check Out Motivation Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Speak Life Radio by Ronda S Andrews on BlogTalkRadio

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Biggest Factor in Negotiating: Knowing Your Worth!

When it comes to negotiating, there are many factors that come into play. How you negotiate determines the outcome. Knowing how to effectively negotiate is crucial because most times, you are negotiating something that could possible affect your life. While talking to Coach Philip Wallace, who happens to be a high school track coach in one of the Chicago Public Schools, he said that knowing your worth is important when negotiating. From time to time, Coach Wallace helps students that are going on to college negotiate contracts that will benefit them. So out of all things why might this be important?
Let’s say that you are offered a deal somewhere and it is a very good deal but there is something missing. What is missing? The value that you add to the team or company that you are negotiating with! The value that you add to a team or a company can be the changing factor in a negotiating. This applies to any situation in life where there is a deal that needs to be made.
When negotiating, it is really about what the two parties bring to the table and how it will be mutually benefiting for both parties to agree on the terms. Maybe the party that you are negotiating with has overlooked something that you can bring to the table. Therefore you can bring that into the negotiation and so that they can take that into consideration.
Its also important to stand firm when negotiating because they are some times when you may just want to give in but you have to think about how this deal could impact your life. Sometimes you may have to say if we cannot agree to these terms, then I cannot sign this contract. You may find that sometimes that is all the party that you are negotiating with is really looking for.
Sometimes people just want to see if you will stand up for yourself or how well you can stand on your own. These are good things to keep in mind because the entertainment industry is a tough industry that is strictly business! It is all about the best deal and the right person for the deal.
Just like most artists make different amounts of money, many athletes make different amounts of money as well, even if they are on the same team. You will find that the bigger artists such as Jay-z, Sean “puffy” Combs, etc. are the ones that have been able to negotiate better because they understand that it is business. Not only that, they know what they are capable of and what they can bring to the table.
Always make sure that a contract is in your best interest! You do not want to sign anything without carefully reading it over first. Independent Artist JNan “IAm Chicago”, who has had much success in the entertainment industry says that he sends all contracts to a lawyer but he still does not sign it without looking it over at least 3 times.  Jnan also says that you have to be able to market yourself and again it all goes back to what you can bring to the table.
So always remember to know your worth! Never settle for less, no matter how promising the situation seems but also be able to compromise. Make sure the compromise benefits you though. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Putting Together and Financing Your Own Concert

Financing one’s own concert is a topic that interests me. I thought this would be encouraging, informative, and intriguing for an independent or unsigned artist. For some independent or unsigned artist, having a concert would probably be the last thing or their “to do” list.  I realize that most are focused on simply making music, putting their music out there, and getting people’s support. I also understand that some independent or unsigned artist may feel like they do not have the funds to do something like this. Of course, they may be looking from the stance of an artist that is already signed.

When I think about signed artist that have concerts, I see the big sold out shows; Ticketmaster is always a company that comes to mind. I even see the not so big shows but still the venue is sold out. That may discourage an artist, who is not signed, but I am here to tell you that you can do what they do. I mean you have to start somewhere, might as well give it a try but be smart about it. One may be wondering who am I to give advice on a subject such as this? Well I am definitely no expert but research and passion can take you a long way. I have a love/hate relationship with the entertainment field and therefore I am determined to bring a more positive and encourage note to it in the future. I have had some small events and I have also research and studied event planning but of course nothing to big, but at the same time I am not talking about big right now. I am just talking about making a concert happen!

So what would be the best steps to work towards financing your own concert (in my opinion)? First, I would say getting an idea of exactly what kind of concert you want it to be. You could have a benefit concert, a fundraiser, you could have a concert with different artist or you can simply just have a concert featuring YOU (how great would that be right?) So after you decided that what is the next step? Well the next step would be to develop some kind of budget, figure out what you are willing to spend because that’s normally how the event is going to take place. Start researching venues (which is the next step) that are in your price range and of course get people to help you. You can also ask for businesses support, it never hurts to ask. Some other things that are important to consider are how many hours the concert is going to be, how many people you expect and would like to show up, if you are charging figure out the amount that you are going to charge, and figure out how you are going to advertise and promote.

So now you may be saying that sounds like a lot but if you actually plan things out it really wont seem like a lot. Of course there is going to be hard work, when you are pursing your dreams you have to work hard but you will LOVE doing it and it will be rewarding in the end. I recommend planning at least 6 months to a year in advance. I believe that is a good time frame to prepare, plan, and execute the plan. So you many be saying is it really that important to have a concert and I will tell you that yes it is and here is why! Having a concert, especially for an independent or unsigned artist, builds support.
Yes you may already have the support of your family and friends but what about the people in your community? Do they know about you? What about the people in your state? This is an opportunity to invite people in your life and allow them to get to know you and what you are doing. Because if you ever get signed, there will be no invitations into your life, people will just bulldoze their way in and it may not always be positive.

Think about shows like American Idol and X Factor, they give the contestants a chance to go home and visit but not only that, once they get there they have a concert in their hometown. The thing about this is once they have been on the show for a while and they come home they have wayyy more support than they did before they left, they have people coming to their concert that they do not even know. Now it is easy to say ok Nicole, these people have been on television though BUT it’s the same thing! Most of these people were just like you and me, they were sitting at home saying man I want sing, I want to rap, etc and they decided to go try out for a show and they made it.

Now you may be one that says I don’t need to go on a show so there you go then, the only difference is that you didn’t go on the show but you can still have a concert and you can still gain the support of your community as well. You have to let people know that you exist and having a concert is a great way. So you may not be able to have it at a big expensive venue well maybe try a park district, a community center, your old high school, an arts center, there are plenty of places that you can use. You just have to do your research.

So maybe you want to sell tickets and you say well, I can’t do Ticketmaster (which actually you could do Ticketmaster for a fee) but there are many other great low budget systems just like Ticketmaster that you can use. You might be wondering how I know? Well, I have tried them for myself, check out sites such as Event Brite , Show Clix or Ticket Leap , they are great sites that you can use for FREE to sell tickets.Of course you can sell tickets offline as well. If your low on funds you can use social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter to promote, you just have to know how to use them!

Of course you know I wouldn’t leave you without sharing what other people had to say on this subject. I did come across three articles that I found useful, How To Set Up And Organize A Small Outdoor Concert, Organizing Concerts, and How Concert Tours Work. Feel free to check them out! I hope that someone was encouraged by this, remember you can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens you. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Be Creative With What You Have or Can Afford

Since I have recently started my “entertainment business finance” class, I wanted to write something that dealt with that while at the same time staying true to the tone of my blog as well as the readers. So I was trying to find something, Entertainment Business Finance is a new subject for me, so I cannot say that I actually can relate yet. Sometimes we look so much that we tend to overlook and sometimes well most times, when you stop looking you end up finding what you were looking for. So once I stopped searching, I log onto my school and I saw an article titled “ You don’t have to break the bank to make a hit”.

This article was written by one of the associate course directors (John Haupert) at my school, Full Sail University but it made a lot of since. Basically he was saying that long gone are the days where you have to spend a lot of money in order to have a studio. These days with the technology advancements that have surfaced, all you need is the right equipment. So what is the right equipment? Well for starters, a laptop, most people prefer a MacBook, the right recording programs: Logic Pro, Pro Tools, etc. Mr. Haupert gives examples of people who have had hit records and even won Grammies from just having the right the equipment.

One example that John used was RedOne who is a two time Grammy award winner, he is a producer and a songwriter. He is best known for producing Lady Gaga’s hit song “Poker Face”. Redone says that the only equipment he uses is a  MacBook, Logic, an Oxygen 8 keyboard, and an Apogee Duet audio interface”. I thought to myself how inspiring is that! I think that would inspire most artist, producers, etc to know that these days you do not have to have a big fancy studio to get things done! In fact, John states that you really only need a studio for tracking vocals, which I believe is true.

John also used examples of the producers such as StarGate (a group of producers) who has produced artists such as Katy Perry and Rihanna and Dr. Luke who has produced for artists such as Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Ke$ha and Pink. Stargate mentions that they use Pro Tools and that all you really need is a laptop and a small keyboard.  Dr. Luke says that he uses a Yamaha Keyboard but that he made his number 1 hit with a 20-dollar keyboard! So that goes to show you that it is not really how much you pay for the equipment but it is about how well you use what you have.

I decided to do a little research and reach out to the Independent Artists that I knew and see what they use to record their songs. I thought that would be interested to see how it compared to the article that I read by John Haupert. I reached out to my classmate and business partner Mr. T’Andre Harris from Fort Wayne, Indiana also known as Phenom!  When asked about the equipment that is used, he stated that he uses “Pro Tools software on the mac book pro, a digi design mini m box, a condenser microphone and two sound monitors”.

Next I went to Mr. Salter also know as Moze Ella hailing from Aurora, IL, says that he uses Samplitude or Pro Tools depending on where he is at. Anthony "Atlaz" Swoope from Chicago, IL stated that he uses Logic Pro for recording and also Cubase, which is good for rock and singers. He also mentioned that he uses Pro Tools and his brother uses FL studios (fruity loops) for producing beats and he said that Adobe Audition is good as well. Lastly Mr. Darious "Church' Lyles also hailing from Chicago, IL stated that he uses FL studios, Logic Pro and Pro Tools.

So there you have it! As you can see most of the artists that I spoke with are in fact using some of the same equipment that Mr. Haubert talked about in his article. So where can you find these products at? I am sure that there are many places but you are for sure to find them at or Best Buy. You may even be able to find them cheaper floating around the Internet somewhere!  So to the all the aspiring artist out there, I say to you as usually BE ENCOURAGED! Things may not happen over night but they will happen. Take time to plan and just make use of what you have and can afford right now and be creative!