Business Spotlight: Above & Beyond Management, Pete Kolo

Above & Beyond Management (A&BM) is a management firm that specializes in artist development and promotion, offering an abundance of services all under one roof. Specializing in music, video, production, engineering, concerts, clothing, contracts, consulting, event coordination, DJ services and more, Above & Beyond is your one-stop entertainment company. Pete Kolo, Chief Operating Officer of A&BM tells FYI Houston more about himself and how you can get connected with the company here.

Kolo, a native of Lagos, Nigeria, has been in Houston for 18 years. During this time, he was able to find his passion for music and has been working to cultivate it ever since. Influenced by his family’s love for music, Kolo wrote his first song in 6th grade. He is also an extremely talented musician, fluent in piano, flute, drums, and saxophone. He combines all of his talents to reach one goal: Determined to be the best…and that determination sparked the birth of Above & Beyond Management. We must add that some of his entrepreneurial motivation came when he learned the value of money & wealth and its benefits.

Established in 2010 in Houston, A&BM has been making major strides since its inception. So far they have worked on numerous projects including commercial projects with 97.9 The Box radio station, and are also subcontracted with Universal Record Company. Their range spans from hip-hop and international pop albums to music videos, beats, mixing and mastering records, and event hosting. With its mission to revitalize the music industry with a new and refreshing sound, Above & Beyond Management aims to connect to fans through innovation and positivity.

-Coyo Alexander

Want to be a part of the A&BM team? They are looking for 2 talented and motivated interns NOW! Gain valuable experience in the industry and enhance your current abilities. Show them what you’ve got! #PVAMU #TSU #UH apply now!

Get connected with #TheAnBM:

Facebook: Above & Beyond Management
IG: PeteKolo
Twitter: @petegotbeats #TheAnBM
YouTube: TheAnBM
Tumblr: www.anbmproductions.tumblr.com
www.petekolo.com

“Whatever it is that you want to do one day, just do it! No one can stop you from doing exactly what it is you want to do.” – Ashley Cheatham

Ashley N. Cheatham, 24 years old, California born and Texas raised. As an entertainer, she acts as a reality television personality, as well as a model. She discovered her beauty and entertainer side accidentally during a game of truth or dare with (her) mom, (who) dared (her) to apply for bad girls club.” She carelessly laughed and sent a paragraph email began her beautiful story.

Ashley Cheatham has been modeling since December of 2009 doing her first professional photo shoot during her senior year of college. She has worked on projects such as: reality TV, music videos, magazine features, TV hosting, and hosting at various clubs across the U.S. Her style is simple yet sexy, saying “I don’t like to do ‘too much’ all at once. I love hair, accessories, and all things girly.”

She desires to be the very best her that she can be. She doesn’t live for others expectations. She strives to be the type of person who looks back at my life at 90 years old and says “damn, I did that.”

Ashley’s opinion of beauty is truly in the eyes of the beholder. She has an attraction to beauty inside and out. She can find some sort of beauty in just about everyone. Talents. Great organizer! Great at visually putting others together, ie. makeovers. Aside from that, she’s just that honest to a fault friend that you never want to ask “does this dress make me look fat?”

Her personality depends on her mood and who she’s with. Upon first meeting others, she’s polite and playful. Once becoming friends with someone she’s sarcastic and funny. If she actually likes someone she’s super flirty and caring. Her personality varies but overall she’s a humble spirit.

She graduated from Lamar University with a bachelors in Human Resource/Management. She encourages everyone to conquer their fears and just go out & do it! She says, “Whatever it is that you want to do one day, just do it! No one can stop you from doing exactly what it is you want to do. Nor did anyone say it would be easy. But once you get to that finish line and actually achieve your goal, it’s the best feeling in the world and totally worth it.”

The sky’s the limit, so she loves working in the entertainment industry & having a flexible schedule so she doesn’t see herself veering to far left over the next 5 – 10 years.

-Jacob Isaac

Business Spotlight: A1HipHop.com, Dominic DaBonus

A1HipHop.com (A1HH) is the official go-to music media site for all things underground and mainstream. Want to broaden your audience? Connect with Dominic DaBonus and his team over at A1HH and they will definitely put you in the mix.

Dominic established the site in 2009 along with his business partner, with visions of creating a hub where all of Houston’s music could be showcased and appreciated. With Dominic being an artist at heart, he has a special affection for those following their dreams and grinding to get their music heard. He tells us, “I do it for artists that want to be heard with a spin for the exclusive. “ The team at A1HH pride themselves on their ‘gumbo pot’ method of showcasing music, expressing that the most unique aspect of their business is “That there are no politics. We have everything. We can go from the [darkest] underground artist to the most popping red carpet celebrity. We have been doing that from the start. Most sites can’t do that. People on [our] team are artists at heart so they see their work as art. Not like your average blogger or reporter.”

The site was originally known as backpackrapper.com, and catered to the ‘hipster’ or ‘constant rapper’. Once the new slang ‘A1’ gained popularity in Houston, Dominic changed the website’s name to fit. The idea was ingenious he claims, because the term can so easily be applied to music. The term ‘A1’ means “official”, so when the music is of great quality, it’s considered “A1”. This also allowed the site to broaden its base and expand to all types of music—as long as it’s official.

So if you have the kind of music that deserves to be presented to the public, Dominic and A1HipHop will take care of you. He and his team enjoy helping underground artists shine, as well as keep you informed on the latest news and trends in the industry. A1HipHop has big plans to expand in the near future, so get in the mix now!

-Coyo Alexander

www.a1hiphop.com

Follow him on twitter @dabonus

Kenyada Tatum

“It’s all about championships and rings,” says Kenyada Tatum

Kenyada Tatum, wide receiver and kickoff return star for the Corpus Christi Fury, personifies a man of strong faith and humble beginnings. He first realized his talent for football at the young age of three, when his uncles would give him dollar bills to do push-ups.

Since then, Tatum has been a star on the football field, gaining recognition each time he plays. On the road, his pre-game playlist consists of Tupac & Jay-Z. He stays fueled by a very balanced diet, which consists of plenty protein, carbs and fruit. His basic workout is a full body workout. “You need every muscle on the field, so train hard and endure pain,” says Tatum.

In the off season, he takes a month off from lifting and jogs or cycles to keep his wind. K. Tatum helps with youth activities in the Third Ward Community, and also takes time to help younger athletes develop and perform better on and off the field. Tatum recognizes his daughter, Kenadey Tatum, as his inspiration, and also gratifies his older brothers for being role models to him as a child. After football, he plans to become a personal trainer, helping others achieve goals, and getting more involved in youth football, attempting to better the next generation.

For teen athletes hoping to step into the professional realm, Tatum advises, “Put your grades first and your talent will take care of itself.” In life, Tatum would like to impact as many people, in a positive way, as possible; but when it comes to his football career, he says, “it’s all about championships and rings.”

New Fashion: Vespertine Machine

Who is Vespertine Machine? They are a premium street wear clothing line with designs focused on mischief while engaging in the adventures of the night. “As the Moon rises, society’s grip loosens and many of us transform into mischievous versions of ourselves. If you feel a strong connection to Calvin and Hobbes, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Where the Wild Things Are, then this is the brand for you.”

Vespertine Machine was established in 2012 after the founders watched Layer Cake, a 2004 film directed by Matthew Vaughn. They enjoy the freedom of being entrepreneurs, attributing the birth of the brand to the “divine hand of Bacchus, God of Wine.”

When the sun rises, they return back to the 8th Dimension. Music fuels their engine of creation, so their partnership with several musicians and DJs aligns with their creation process, and we here at FYI Houston definitely support!

You can find Vespertine Machine’s products in their online store www.vespertinemachine.com, at the Karmaloop Kazbah, and on the following social networks:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/vespertinemachine
Twitter: www.twitter.com/vespertinemach
Instagram: www.instagram.com/vespertinemachine

B. Barber, Producer, Sound Mentality Productions

“What makes all of [my] projects special is that I’m being 100% authentic with each of them. Compromising my true sound is something that I don’t do.” – B. Barber, Producer, Sound Mentality Productions

In the currently congested music industry, artists have to do nothing more than simply reach into a bucket and pull out a producer. While this may be a convenient option for an artist looking to make any kind of music, this may not be feasible recourse for the artist who desires to leave a distinct imprint in the industry. Luckily, there are producers who refuse to be placed in said bucket, and stand out amidst the crowd. Brian Barber is that type of producer. Highly skilled in the areas of composition, arrangement, recording, mixing, songwriting and promotion, Brian is a young and ambitious individual whose ultimate passion lies in creating music; period.

Barber describes his music as soulful and gritty; with a unique infusion of soul and funk that creates his special sound. His style too eclectic to be confined to a single genre, Barber’s sound spans across hip-hop, R&B, rock and pop genres. He plans to make a positive and revolutionary impression on the music industry by creating quality music. What’s quality music, you ask? Well, Brian defines this as exceptionally mixed, mastered and arranged sound. He also hopes for his music to affect change in listeners and inspire them to “really feel and examine where they are in life and motivate them to reach and/or exceed their full potential.”

The Dallas born, bred and currently based producer has been working hard to create his own lane in the industry and has had his prints on several projects so far. Having worked with artists such as June Starr, Rickstar, Taylored Rhodes, Josef Pierre and J. Rhodes to name a few, Brian has had many opportunities to collaborate with talented artists and showcase his talent and growth as a producer. He was also recently featured in the iStandard Producers Showcase at the A3C Hip-Hop Festival in October 2012. Barber has tried his hand on the battle scene as well, recently reaching the 2nd round of the A.S.A.P. (All-Star Association of Producers) Battle of the Beats.

Brian’s future plans are to continue work with quality and professional artists and companies to create and promote timeless music. In the coming years Barber aspires to land placements with major artists/labels, film and video game companies, television networks and advertisements on a consistent basis. As long as he continues to focus on creating quality music, we will definitely hear more from him in the future.

-Coyo Alexander

Sydney Colson

Sydney Colson was born and raised in Houston, Texas. Colson attended Texas A&M University where she played as a guard on the schools basketball team and was the team captain for the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 school years. During her senior year at A&M, the team accomplished something that has never been done. They won the first NCAA Women’s Basketball National Championship in the 2010-2011 season. After that explosive finish in her college career, Colson was selected in the 2nd round (16th overall) in the 2011 WNBA Draft by the Connecticut Sun. She was then traded to the New York Liberty. Although Colson plays in the WNBA, she also plays overseas during the off season in Poland. Recently, I was able to catch-up with Ms. Colson to see how life has changed since winning the national championship and entering the professional arena.

Vesti: How did it feel to win the NCAA Women’s Basketball National Championship title when no one thought y’all could do it?

Colson: It was wonderful especially since we were the underdogs coming in. Most of us were seniors and we were at that point where we knew this was the time to conquer and win it all. After we beat Baylor in the tournament, I knew for sure we had it in us to go all the way.

Vesti: Since the win, who have you been able to meet?

Colson: I was able to go to the White House and meet Barak Obama which was amazing. We also met: Robert Gates- Secretary of Defense and George Bush- both senior and junior. But meeting Barak Obama had to be the icing on the cake.

Vesti: On draft day, how did it feel to accomplish something you dreamed about as a little girl playing basketball?

Colson: It was definitely a great experience. It was great to be able to meet players that I’ve played against and getting to know them outside of basketball. Once I’m done playing basketball, I want to be a sports broadcaster. On draft day I was able to meet people and make connections that would help me do so in the future.

Vesti: While playing in Poland twice, what have you been able to do in the community?

Colson: During my first year in Poland, we went to people’s houses that had foster children and brought them presents on Christmas Day; we also stayed for dinner. This past Valentine’s Day, a teammate and I made cupcakes and bought candy and delivered them to the homeless. You never know what someone is going through so to be able to put a smile on their face always makes me happy.

Vesti: In the future, do you see yourself starting your own foundation and/or camp for children?

Colson: I want to eventually create a non-profit camp for under privileged girls. The camp will consist of a Christian basketball camp along with nutrition classes and teach them how to carry themselves as young women.

I want to thank Sydney Colson for taking the time to do this interview. To fans, family, and friends continue to support Ms. Colson on all her endeavors on and off the court.

“I’m a caring person who wants to give back. When you’ve been blessed by God, it changes you and teaches you not to take things for granted.” –Sydney Colson

VestiSports

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Vestina Okeke

Business Spotlight: Sound Mentality Productions

If you are looking for professional quality production services in the Houston, Austin, or College Station

area, you have to check out Sound Mentality Productions. This newly established and innovative music production company offers services in the production of high-end mixing, high-quality recording, marketing packages and much more. The Sound Mentality Team prides itself on delivering excellent production quality in any music genre.

Founded in 2011 by a group of like minded individuals who all dreamed of being a part of the music industry, the Sound Mentality Team combined their knowledge and skill sets to create one cohesive company that could service artists, record labels, and entertainment and marketing companies. Their team of producers, song writers, artists, and management produce a level of professionalism that many in the music industry yearn for. They stress that Sound Mentality is more than just another production company, it’s a movement.

This young company has big dreams to make major waves in the music industry in the coming years. They tell us that they have no limits. They are building the foundation to create a demanding presence in Texas as well as the entire southern region. They are confident in their talents and services, and tell us “We are a new and innovative company on the rise and we don’t want you to miss your chance of getting to know Sound Mentality Productions and all this movement has to offer you.”

-Coyo Alexander

www.soundmentalityproductions.com

“Sling Shot” – Justin Johnson

“Sling Shot” was a grade school nickname that Justin Johnson had to quickly outgrow if he wanted to become a professional basketball player. Johnson was given the nickname by his 7th grade coach after he witnessed Johnson placing the ball behind his head and shooting. The coach couldn’t help but call him “Sling Shot” after that. The coach also told him, “Don’t think about making varsity if you keep shooting like that.” Needless to say, it was a cry for help. Instead of allowing the coach’s comment to discourage him, Johnson used his words as fuel to get better and practiced changing his jump shot. Hard work pays off; not only did he make varsity in high school but he also was never called “SlingShot” again.

Johnson was born and raised in Tyler, Texas and attended Tyler Junior College where he played basketball for two years. He then took his talents to Iowa University. There, during March Madness, Johnson hit eight three-pointers against Ohio State University. After his college career, Johnson played in the D. League for Sioux Falls Skyforce from 2008-2009. In the 2012 D. League Draft, he was selected in the 8th round as pick 15 by the Austin Toros. Currently, Johnson is completing his second year as a professional basketball player overseas in Japan.

During his first year in Japan, he experienced the huge earthquake and tsunami that occurred killing thousands of people. “One minute everything was fine and the next minute you felt the ground shaking. It stopped and then minutes later it continued again. The team manager rushed all the American players to the airport and got us to safety. All I remember is thinking about my teammates that couldn’t come with us and praying for them and their families,” stated Johnson. After having gone through that terrifying experience, he told himself he would never play basketball in Japan again but he found himself playing for his current team, the Fukuoka Rizing. Despite the team preparing for playoffs, I was able reach Johnson in Japan for an interview.

Vesti: Who introduced you to basketball and when did you first realize you had a love for the sport?

Johnson: My mom was the one that introduced me to basketball. It wasn’t until 7th grade when I changed my jump shot, that I realized I had a love for basketball.

Vesti: What was the hardest thing about being a college athlete vs. a professional athlete?

Johnson: In college the hardest thing for me was that your whole day was arranged by the coaches. We were barely able to have a life outside of basketball. The hardest thing with having basketball as a career is making sure you stay employed.

Vesti: What do you like to eat to fuel up for a game and what foods do you try and stay away from? As far as drinks are concerned, do you prefer Gatorade or Poweraid?

Johnson: I’m not really a big nutrition guy. I eat anything. When it comes to drinks, whichever is cheaper when I walk into the gas station is what I purchase.

Vesti: Lol, you’re funny, truthful but funny. If you could create a two-on-two basketball game against anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

Johnson: It would be Kobe, Hakeem, and I vs. Lebron and Shaq.

Vesti: Yeah, you better add a third person on your team because y’all couldn’t win without him, lol. What are some of the things you do off the court for the community?

Johnson: Please, Kobe can beat both Lebron and Shaq with his eyes closed if he wanted to. Off the court, I help out at basketball camps. I also help high school students during the week on fundamental skills and reinsure that if you want to play basketball then you have to be committed to receiving an education as well.

Justin Johnson has also started his own blog which gets published in his hometown’s daily newspaper in Tyler, Texas. I had an amazing time interviewing Mr. Johnson. On the behalf of fyihouston, your fans, and family we wish you luck in the playoffs this month.

“I want to be remembered as a competitor in life that wants to get better as a

person everyday on earth, while also having a positive influence on family, friends, and strangers.” – Justin R. Johnson

VestiSports

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Vestina Okeke“Sling Shot” was a grade school nickname that Justin Johnson had to quickly outgrow if he wanted to become a professional basketball player. Johnson was given the nickname by his 7th grade coach after he witnessed Johnson placing the ball behind his head and shooting. The coach couldn’t help but call him “Sling Shot” after that. The coach also told him, “Don’t think about making varsity if you keep shooting like that.” Needless to say, it was a cry for help. Instead of allowing the coach’s comment to discourage him, Johnson used his words as fuel to get better and practiced changing his jump shot. Hard work pays off; not only did he make varsity in high school but he also was never called “SlingShot” again.

Johnson was born and raised in Tyler, Texas and attended Tyler Junior College where he played basketball for two years. He then took his talents to Iowa University. There, during March Madness, Johnson hit eight three-pointers against Ohio State University. After his college career, Johnson played in the D. League for Sioux Falls Skyforce from 2008-2009. In the 2012 D. League Draft, he was selected in the 8th round as pick 15 by the Austin Toros. Currently, Johnson is completing his second year as a professional basketball player overseas in Japan.

During his first year in Japan, he experienced the huge earthquake and tsunami that occurred killing thousands of people. “One minute everything was fine and the next minute you felt the ground shaking. It stopped and then minutes later it continued again. The team manager rushed all the American players to the airport and got us to safety. All I remember is thinking about my teammates that couldn’t come with us and praying for them and their families,” stated Johnson. After having gone through that terrifying experience, he told himself he would never play basketball in Japan again but he found himself playing for his current team, the Fukuoka Rizing. Despite the team preparing for playoffs, I was able reach Johnson in Japan for an interview.

Vesti: Who introduced you to basketball and when did you first realize you had a love for the sport?

Johnson: My mom was the one that introduced me to basketball. It wasn’t until 7th grade when I changed my jump shot, that I realized I had a love for basketball.

Vesti: What was the hardest thing about being a college athlete vs. a professional athlete?

Johnson: In college the hardest thing for me was that your whole day was arranged by the coaches. We were barely able to have a life outside of basketball. The hardest thing with having basketball as a career is making sure you stay employed.

Vesti: What do you like to eat to fuel up for a game and what foods do you try and stay away from? As far as drinks are concerned, do you prefer Gatorade or Poweraid?

Johnson: I’m not really a big nutrition guy. I eat anything. When it comes to drinks, whichever is cheaper when I walk into the gas station is what I purchase.

Vesti: Lol, you’re funny, truthful but funny. If you could create a two-on-two basketball game against anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

Johnson: It would be Kobe, Hakeem, and I vs. Lebron and Shaq.

Vesti: Yeah, you better add a third person on your team because y’all couldn’t win without him, lol. What are some of the things you do off the court for the community?

Johnson: Please, Kobe can beat both Lebron and Shaq with his eyes closed if he wanted to. Off the court, I help out at basketball camps. I also help high school students during the week on fundamental skills and reinsure that if you want to play basketball then you have to be committed to receiving an education as well.

Justin Johnson has also started his own blog which gets published in his hometown’s daily newspaper in Tyler, Texas. I had an amazing time interviewing Mr. Johnson. On the behalf of fyihouston, your fans, and family we wish you luck in the playoffs this month.

“I want to be remembered as a competitor in life that wants to get better as a

person everyday on earth, while also having a positive influence on family, friends, and strangers.” – Justin R. Johnson

VestiSports

by

Vestina Okeke

Cadillacs in Space

The young talented sing and performer Robyn Troup has been on the rise to stardom since she began singing in her Grandfather’s church as a young girl. Born and raised in Third Ward, Houston, TX—so you know she’s real, Robyn grew up singing in front of her church family at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church and in the Ensemble Theater, and realized her destiny as an entertainer ever since she saw her first movie on the big screen saying, “I just always wanted to be up on that screen.”

During her school years Robyn continued to sing and develop her voice but she really came into her own while attending Jack Yates high school where she decided to step out of her shell and be herself. She recalls “I always used to be extremely shy back in the day when it came to performing in front of people. I knew I wanted to do it, but growing up as the preacher’s grandkid everyone was expecting me to be so much more polite and sweet and unassuming. That really led to a lot of depression and self-loathing throughout my school years. But in high school I overcame that fear by facing it directly. I just started singing to anyone at anytime for any reason.”During high school Robyn joined several girl groups and worked on her own music, growing her confidence each time. Her defining moment came when she went to college at USC and decided to take her dream seriously.

While in Los Angeles Robyn singed with Emblem Music Group under the Warner Bros. label. During that time she joined a rock band called Beverly Kills, wrote a ton of hot rock songs, and toured Los Angeles and San Diego. She also worked on Carlos Santana’s cover of Back in Black with rapper Nas, and Rob Thomas on his album Diamonds. After three successful years with Emblem they parted ways and she started work on her solo project Robyn the Bank. As her solo project evolved, her good friend and fellow singer/songwriter Shy Carter invited Robyn into the studio to collaborate on a track with him and ‘Backwoods’ rapper, Aleon Craft. The rest is history. Robyn tells us, “After the song was finished we realized we had something special and formed this new bomb group called ‘Cadillacs in Space’.” After joining forces they quickly signed with Interscope Records and are getting set to release their music in the coming months (check out their latest music HERE).

Now that Robyn has found her home, she continues to focus on creating timeless music, touring the world, and is also very passionate about infiltrating the fashion scene. Check out her fashion blog www.robynhoodscloset.com. Robyn loves to connect with her fans and makes herself available to them through her numerous social networks and blogs. Judging by ‘Cadillacs in Space’ latest song Overdose, we can surely expect nothing less than greatness from Robyn. She definitely makes Houston proud.

-Coyo Alexander

Cadillacs in Space – Overdose