Creativity Tips: My Two Cents

Photo Credit: angel35w.deviantart.com
Photo Credit: angel35w.deviantart.com

 

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a fun, interesting post. In this post, I will cover how I stay creative (even when I don’t feel like it), and how I have fun while doing so. As always: If you have anything to contribute, I would like to read about it.

Note: Throughout this post I will refer mainly to writing, but my tips will work well with whatever it is that you’re working on.

I don’t know about you, but you can’t spell creativity without caffeine (go ahead and try). My choices of caffeine are sporadic. A few of my favorites are: energy drinks, soda (Pepsi Max), pre-workout drinks (don’t knock it until you try it), and Starbucks (my girlfriend is a barista, and she surprises me all the time with coffee). I’m aware that some people are sensitive to caffeine and you don’t need it to be successful with being creative, but I like it and I need it, not want it (caffeine people will understand where I’m coming from.)

 

Moving on. Next up to bat on being creative–is music. Music is an integral part of blogging, and it can greatly enhance what you’re trying to convey in a blog post. There are three artists that I must listen to when I’m writing a blog post: Hans Zimmer, Eminem, and Metallica. All three combine to make writing a blast. Sure this a “no brainer” tip, but some people get caught up in their work and forget about this.

Side note: The Dredd soundtrack is fantastic to listen to, and I highly suggest you give it a chance. Listen to it for free on YouTube.

 

Another crucial element to being creative is your environment. While you’re working, you need stuff around you to inspire you. Posters, collectibles, etc. Having this stuff around you will inspire you and it will show in the work that you do. Around me I have magic posters of Criss Angel, David Blaine, and Harry Houdini. Being a comic book geek, I have several of my favorite comics and my favorite books near me as well. It’s nice to have stuff like that around you when you will inevitably go through a creative block. Plus it’s nice to get away from your work, and soak in other creative works done by other people who you admire.

 

Lastly, I’ll touch on supplements. This where I might lose some people, but stick with me. Just like caffeine, supplementation is not needed to fuel creativity, but it sure as hell helps. Here are a few of my recommendations: Alpha Brain by Onnit. It’s a complete based nootropic, and it definitely helps with mental clarity; Bulletproof coffee: who would think that by adding unsalted butter and mct oil to your coffee would give you a productive boost? At first, not me but I tried it out and it does the job. This is not for everybody, but if you like trying new things–I urge you to give this a try. Last on the list is pre-workouts. They’re all pretty much the same, but for those of you who aren’t looking to spend a lot, I would go to Walmart and get one of their pre-workouts that they offer. Pre-workouts are designed to give you energy while you workout, but you don’t need to hit the weights to get the full benefits of this supplement.

 

 

So there you have it. This is just my two cents on creativity, and I hope you liked some of the ideas that I have offered here. If I come across anything else that will aid in being creative, I will write another blog post on it. Until then–have fun, and enjoy your journey into the world of creativity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

America’s Sweetheart: Cami Bradley

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Music has a way of inspiring us, and some musicians come along in our lifetime—and completely blow us away. For Cami Bradley, she inspires people on a nightly basis. You’ve watched her capture America’s heart on America’s Got Talent, and now—you’ll get more insight on this talented woman, and why she will become a huge influence in the music industry.

 

Justin Marroquin: How did you get interested in music?

Cami Bradley: I grew up in a musical family, so music is normal for me. I never knew anything different. I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember, and playing the piano since I was seven. I took lessons for a few months, and hated to practice—so I quit. From that point on, music became a passion; I did it because I loved it, not because I had to. I was a sponge growing up. I learned everything I could from watching, listening, and paying attention.

 

JM: What do you enjoy the most when you’re playing music?

CB: Music is emotional. It can draw tears, laughter, passion, and raw emotion from people. I love to find that in every song I sing. I love how music can make you feel, and so anytime I sing or play, I enjoy getting to portray that.

 

Cami Bradley 5JM: Do you look up to anybody in the music industry?

CB: There are so many artists I find inspiring. New and old. Adele, Mumford and Sons, Ray Charles, Monsters of Men, Etta James, Michael Buble, Coldplay, and the list could go on and on.

 

JM: What made you audition for America’s Got Talent?

CB: Ha ha, oh my. I didn’t want to audition at all. I’ve never been a fan of the spotlight. I was asked to audition, and my initial gut reaction was, “heck no.” But after some encouragement from my husband and family, I knew I needed to step out of my comfort zone. And boy, am I glad I did.

 

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JM: Describe the experience you had while you were on America’s Got Talent?

CB: Unbelievable. It truly was life changing. For obvious reasons of course; being on TV, getting recognition and exposure, etc. But for other reasons too. I was stretched a ton. Forced into timelines and restrictions musically—that I thought would make things difficult, but actually pushed me to think outside of the box, and be even more creative. I got to meet and work with some amazing people (crew and contestants), and beyond that, I learned a lot about myself as a person, and a musician.

 

JM: What is one specific goal you would like to achieve in the music industry?

CB: I don’t care about a certain level or status to reach, I just want to do what I love. I got the exposure, now I hope to capitalize on it, and continue to get my music into the hands of people who truly want to hear it.

 

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JM: How do you deal with criticism and negativity?

CB: Criticism is good. It’s the only way you can grow, learn, and change. I welcome it—if it’s healthy. Negativity, I ignore. I have people in my life who I trust, and if what I’m doing, saying, or singing about is OK in their books, I know I’m on the right track.

 

JM: Besides music, what else are you interested in and passionate about?

CB: I love photography. It’s actually a side business for me camibradleyphotography.com   I also love to ride my motorcycle, play with my pups, and be with my family. I am addicted to coffee and chocolate, and I adore being at home.

 

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JM: Share some advice that has helped you a lot in your life?

CB: My Dad always told me, “never rely on your talent.” It’s something that’s always stuck with me. There are a lot of talented people in this world. Talent doesn’t get you that far. You have to work hard, apply what you’ve been given, and facilitate it wisely. That’s why I say “I’m a sponge.” You’re never done learning and growing.

 

JM: What can we expect from you in the future?

CB: You can expect me to continue to make music—covers, originals, everything. Check out my original music from my album, SEAS on iTunes. I am certainly not done, and can’t wait to tell my fans what’s next for me. Follow me on twitter: @camibradley or Facebook: camibradleymusic to see what’s next for me!

 

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Follow Cami on Twitter: twitter.com/camibradley

Like her page on Facebook: facebook.com/camibradleymusic

Check out her music and her website: camibradley.com

 

 

 

Ignore Impossible #12: Charlie Jacks

Justin Marroquin interviews Charlie Jacks

 

 

 

 

 

 

London pop star, Charlie Jacks, was my guest on the podcast, and she shared some incredible advice and talked about how she got to where she is now.

Follow Charlie on Twitter: twitter.com/charlietoons

Like her page on Facebook: facebook.com/OfficialCharlieJacks

Check out her music on Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/charlie-jacks

 

Backstage Pass: Charlie Jacks

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The music industry is filled with people who have great talent, but there is only a select few that can engage people, and make them feel the music. One of the few people who can do such things is Charlie Jacks. She is a UK music superstar, and has a massive following in Japan (and soon to be US) with six number one albums, and nine singles at the top of the Japanese iTunes charts. Charlie took time out of her busy schedule to tell me about her music career, achieving goals, and what inspires and motivates her.

Justin Marroquin: How did you get interested in music?

Charlie Jacks: I’ve always been a bit of an entertainer. I loved singing in school and my mum noticed how much I danced around the house singing as a kid, so she put me in classical music lessons. I think it really kicked in at a Chinese restaurant. We went for a family meal and there was a performer singing with a piano and mic this particular time. My family managed to persuade me(with a $8 bribe) to go and ask if I could sing. I sung “Ironic” by Alanis Morissette. It was the silence of the room and the applause after that—made me want more. The feeling that you can acquire someone’s emotions with your voice, and impact them just a little really moved me. And that my friends is where it began.

JM: Where do you seek inspiration and motivation to write songs?

CJ: My motivation is simple—literally, life. If it makes me emotionally happy, sad, hurt, angry, I write about it. The same with my friends; if I see something I can relate to, it’s a beautiful thing to be able to capture in words and replay as a song. I find if people can relate to your story, they want to listen.

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JM: What do you enjoy more: writing songs or performing?

CJ: Performing songs I’ve written. It’s a beautiful moment when you see someone join into a song you’ve written.

JM: Do you set goals? If so, describe how you go about doing it.

CJ: This is tricky. My goal when I started music (in Japan) was only ever to release one single, that turned into six and nine albums. Now I have the same goal, but in the UK and US.

JM: How do you handle negativity?

CJ: IGNORE it. How does negativity ever benefit anyone? It doesn’t, so the best option—cut it out.

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JM: Do you have any plans to come to America?

CJ: Yes, I do all of my writing and recording in the states. I’ll be back soon to start the new EP.

JM: What is the best part about the music industry?

CJ: Achieving goals—meeting and working with creative people. Two creative people in the same room is a recipe for magic.

JM: What’s the worst part about the music industry?

CJ: There a huge amount of no’s. You have to be thick-skinned and willing to be turned away a lot to survive the industry. But if you are persistent and believe in yourself enough, you’ll get there.

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JM: How do you want to be remembered?

CJ: I just want to make a little impact on some people’s lives. “That song helped me through hard times” or “That song reminds me of summer” that kinda thing.

JM: What is one piece of advice that has helped you in your life?

CJ: If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.

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Follow Charlie on Twitter: twitter.com/charlietoons

Like her page on Facebook: facebook.com/OfficialCharlieJacks

See her photos on Instagram: instagram.com/charliejacks

Read her Tumblr: charliejacks.tumblr.com

Listen to her music on SoundCloud: soundcloud.com/charlie-jacks

Check out her website: charliejacks.com

Are You Watching Closely?: Andrew Gerard

Photo Credit: Johnny Liu Photography
Photo Credit: Johnny Liu Photography

Do you believe in real magic? If not, I would guarantee you would after watching Andrew Gerard perform. Andrew has come up with some of the most amazing magic over the years. He has worked with magicians and mentalists such as David Blaine, Criss Angel, Keith Barry, and Cyril Takayama. Andrew is also a talented musician, and I had the chance to ask him about his magic and music career. You will come away learning more about magic and music.

Justin Marroquin: How did you get into magic?

Andrew Gerard: Well growing up my father was a magician, in the classic sense, stage magic, illusions etc. I never liked the classic stuff as a child, it looked like a play to me. But my grandfather “Gerard” was quite the inspiration to me. He could second deal cards, taught me to steal a watch and how to look at people differently and study them. I thought he was a pirate, or something growing up LOL. He was actually a very charming guy. I remember he gave roses to all the ladies in the neighborhood one day, and even threw his jacket over a puddle. The police showed up after dinner, because the local library had called them saying someone was stealing the roses from the garden. He even stole the sign that said “Do Not Touch The Roses.” I remember he also talked his way out of a ticket one time, I think he convinced the cop they were related through his last name. I think his idea that having knowledge and understanding people was more important than wearing a tuxedo, and making doves appear.

JM: Do you have a favorite illusion/trick?

AG: I think OOTW (Out Of This World) has the ability to profoundly have an impact on someone when performed at the right time, in the right way. (See Andrew’s version of OOTW on the ProCess DVD).

Note: For those who don’t know, OOTW is considered to be one of the best card tricks of all time.

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JM: What was your best performance in magic?

AG: I don’t think I have ever had a really great one yet. I am extremely rough on myself, and I usually come off stage and ask my sound tech, Wayne how bad was it? But I remember in 2001, I did a bill change for a homeless guy, it was pouring out and I just finished a gig at an upscale Martini bar; He had five bucks in his cup, I changed it into a hundred and let him keep it. He was dead silent for like two minutes and asked me “Is it real?” I could tell he really was questioning reality, and he needed magic at that moment. I saw recently a video of a magician doing this as a promotional thing. It would have been better if he didn’t film it, but then again maybe he would not have done it.

JM: What is your best memory in magic?

AG: I have had so many amazing opportunities in magic, on stage, and off camera. It would be hard to pick just one, but right now a couple of moments come to mind. I landed in New York to work with David Blaine, he knew I rode motorcycles, so he threw me a set of keys to one of his BMW’s and we went riding downtown NYC, it was amazingly so busy. He took me to Harlem and David Blaine pulled over at this old house, we parked and he told me to go up the stairs and read this red plaque. It was Harry Houdini’s house, and we did magic to each other for a couple of hours. After that, we rode home and picked up these two Brazilian girls that didn’t speak English. David told me to double one and he did, too! I had to give her my helmet we were also going the wrong way up a one way street! A cop was directing traffic and blew a whistle at us, I thought we were toast. No helmets, driving the wrong way etc. The cop saw it was David Blaine, and stopped traffic and told us to ride up the sidewalk and through a red light! Now that was magic! David Blaine is like Superman that way; huge star power without the attitude.

I filmed a TV show called “Past Lives” in London, England where I investigated past lives, etc. One of the girls took me to Abbey Road, where the Beatles recorded. I didn’t want to take a picture, it was too special. After we went to a pub for a pint, I read her mind and she asked me if I believe in angels, and heaven, I said yes. I didn’t know it at the time, but she had a brain tumor, and died two weeks after I flew out.

Backstage at Oprah with Criss Angel, we were alone in the dressing room, and both started laughing. We could not believe we were there. Criss was always very polite and respectful with me, I found him to be humble then, very much so.

541870_10151322302684291_1230221587_nJM: How are you able to stay so creative?

AG: I try. I fail. I try again. I think once I get interested in something, I go all the way. It means I dedicate a lot of time to not giving up on ideas. The down side is I can’t tie shoelaces, or throw a football. Thank god for Velcro.

JM: You are also a musician. How did you get into music?

AG: Once again, my father was a classical guitarist, so music was all around me since I was born. I was actually not very good, so I had to practice 10X’s harder than everyone else. Also, I never learned other people’s songs, I just wanted to create my own.

JM: What is a better thrill for you: Performing magic or playing music?

AG: That is difficult to answer. Music is real, and people react for an entire 60 minute show clapping, screaming, dancing, singing along, etc. I have never had anyone ask me after a show “how did you do that?” which is nice. With that said, magic can create very special memories when performed correctly. The difference is someone can learn the invisible deck and go blow someone away that day. You can’t learn guitar in a day, or even a year. In music, you must create your own song and lyrics. I wish magicians took some inspiration from musicians.

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JM: Has magic helped you to be a better musician?

AG: Well in some ways both have helped with each other, they are like cousins. You need to be able to step up and execute the art, and also be the person the audience needs you to be, which is yourself.

JM: Which is harder: Practicing magic or playing music?

AG:I don’t practice either anymore, I perform and I play. I think the best way to get good at anything, is to get stuck into it deep. Live it, breathe it, etc. I always fall asleep and wake up with a deck of cards and a guitar beside my bed, and sometimes in it.

27891_10151290406304291_1536324053_n JM: What is one piece of advice that has helped you in your life?

AG: Don’t try to be like anyone else, that’s weak. Every person reading this has one unique attribute that makes them incredibly special. Most of the time it’s something you take for granted, or that you can’t see yourself. Ask your friends to describe you. You may be blown away at what they have to say; for certain everyone will say one thing about you, that is your starting point. Build off of your strongest attribute.

“Success is knowing you are becoming the person you were meant to be.”

Like Andrew on Facebook: facebook.com/AndrewGerardMindIllusionist

Check out his website: gerardthehypnotist.com

Watch his videos on YouTube: youtube.com/user/GerardTheHypnotist

Listen to the band he plays in: danhaofficial.com

Inspirational Soul: Scheana Marie

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Hollywood. It’s the place where one dreams of being famous, and loved by millions. It takes a special kind of person to make that dream become a reality, and I had the  great pleasure of interviewing her. Meet Scheana Marie. Gorgeous beyond measure, and insanely talented, Scheana Marie will inspire you with her music and presence. Scheana talked to me about music, her life, and success.

Justin Marroquin: How did you get into music?

Scheana Marie: I have always been a huge fan of music since I was a little girl. When I started dating Shay, he introduced me to a new love for music and my soon to be manager Russell Stuart, who is the CEO of Superbox Music. Russ had a song ready for female vocals to be put on it, and the rest is history!

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JM: How do you overcome criticism and negativity?

SM: I am a very strong person and I don’t let little things get to me. If someone wants to criticize me, I feel bad for them that they have nothing better to do with their time than be negative towards me. I just laugh it off. Best medicine!

JM: Do you set goals for yourself? If so, how do you go about doing it?

SM: I do. I try and keep them realistic, but I also set long term goals for things I want to accomplish in life. The best way to go about it is to set your mind to it, and just make it happen—which is why I like to keep my goals realistic, then you’re never disappointed!

“The best way to go about it is to set your mind to it, and just make it happen.”

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JM: Who has been the biggest influence in your life?

SM: My mom!! She has always been my biggest fan and supporter. I would be lost without her. She’s the strongest woman I know and I look up to her, and admire her so much! I can only wish to be half the woman she is one day! Everyone says their mom is the best, but that’s not possible when mine is!

JM: What does success mean to you?

SM: Success to me, means being happy. I was always told to find a job I love and I’ll never work a day in my life.

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JM: Share one piece of advice that has helped you in your life?

SM: My mom always told me to live, laugh, and love. And know that everything happens for a reason, even when it’s difficult to understand.

Follow Scheana Marie on Twitter: twitter.com/scheanamarie

Check out her Instagram: instagram.com/scheanamarie

Listen to her single “What I like” on iTunes.

Catch her on BravoTV: http://www.bravotv.com/vanderpump-rules

Positive Beats: Angelica Caporuscio

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Vocal artist, Techno & House Producer, and inspirational beyond measure. All of the previous mentioned describe the insanely talented, Angelica Caporuscio. I had the great pleasure of talking to Angelica, and getting to know more about her and what she plans to achieve with her music.

Justin Marroquin: How did you get into music?

Angelica Caporuscio: My manager got me going with it. He heard some of my stuff, and encouraged me to do it. I started making music, and haven’t looked back since.

JM: What does it feel like when you create music?

AC: It depends on what I’m going through. Different emotions can affect me in a variety of ways, and how I create music for that day.

JM: Who has influenced you the most in your life?

AC: My dad. He’s always been supportive of me and my dreams and aspirations.

JM: How do you deal with negativity?

AC: I don’t deal with negativity. I kick it out of my life. Life is too short to put up with that.

JM: Give your definition of success?

AC: I believe in little successes. Working on something, and getting better at it each time you try it out.

JM: Do you set goals?

AC: No. I know the end result of what I want, and I work hard to get there.

JM: Where do you seek inspiration?

AC: Everywhere. I’m a huge people watcher, and I listen to everything around me. Inspiration is everywhere.

JM: Any favorite books?

AC: I don’t have a favorite book. I read whatever interests me through the internet.

JM: What do you love most about your music?

AC: That it has the ability to inspire people. It can also help people in a certain situation that they are going through.

JM: What is one piece of advice that has served you well in life?

AC: It was one of my friends. He told me to lose my expectations, and just work hard, keep doing what I’m doing, and let myself be astonished and surprised by life.

Follow Angelica on Twitter: twitter.com/gelicapp

Like her page on Facebook: facebook.com/AngelicaCaporuscio

Check out her music at: reverbnation.com/AngelicaCaporuscio