I woke up this morning giddy as a catholic schoolgirl on her first day of school (I don’t care if that is a sick pun here, just go with it) wanting to email my buddy Dan Reilly over at AOL about a new venture I was hopeful about publishing for Spinner. We had just gotten acquainted a little while back and I was really looking forward to writing with them as I had been for their hip-hop and sister site, The Boombox. Then I got the bounce back email. Then I read all over the news that AOL Music had been shut down, and the rumors and whatnot spread like rapid fire. I was beyond shell shocked and honestly saddened by this whole thing but at the same time it did put some perspective into my brain on how amazing this experience has been with them.
As someone who started doing blogging three years ago really as a means to fill time while looking for a job in this fucked up economy, I started to grow and really come to love what I was doing and decided to change that from hobby to a side gig to something hopefully full time. My first real moment was when I got asked to cover and interview Drake last summer at Jones Beach, until that whole Drake-Chris Brown bottle throwing fight happened in NYC (just another reason to hate Chris). Even though I was saddened by it, I was proud of myself that little old me emailed a bajillion people to get the correct contact and get in to meet one of the biggest hip hop stars in the world.
Two or three months later, I got asked to interview T-Pain for my original site that I worked on, Examiner. That was when a light bulb went off in my head that I was really onto something here. It ultimately gave me the idea to approach bigger outlets and see if what I was doing was something they liked and wanted to try out. To be honest, as much as I liked Examiner the rules and regulations became a bit much and I wanted to do something where I had the freedom to write more than factual information, give my take on things and ask questions that others would be afraid to ask.
I emailed someone that I knew at AOL Music asking if they had freelance gigs available. I was then forwarded to the editor of AOL Music, Sarah Chazan. Sarah took a look at my stuff and said she would get back to me. As confident as I was, I still had the thought process of “Who am I, she won’t care, this isn’t good enough, why bother”. Then ubiquity happened, or at least my own personal ubiquity- she called me in for an interview for an even bigger position. As someone who has had a dream since he was 10 years old to write for a huge publication or website, this was destiny meets fate meets any of that other stupid crap we call times infinity.
Sarah was kind, warm and just like me, a lover of music. I really enjoyed her friendly demeanor and it made the nerves that were ravaging through my body calm down and I really just took it as a great conversation with a fellow music aficionado. The role went to someone else, but she stated some very warm things in that email about my talent and creativity as a writer, which boosted my confidence completely and said I would have the possibility of writing for their site.
Little over a month later, that happened. I did my first interview for AOL’s”The Boombox” featuring fellow Long Islander and up and coming hip-hop star Hoodie Allen. Before starting with that, I was introduced to Paul Cantor, who was the editor. Within our first couple of interactions, I got from Paul that he was serious, smart and pushed me to go outside the basic Q&A that I usually did and really ask the questions that I should. And since then, it has been pretty freaking awesome. I was able to do five interviews with the site, ranging from Fat Joe, Tamar Braxton and one of my hip-hop heroes, LL Cool J. The coolness factor in all of this has shot to a billion percent in my books and the short experience I had with them really is a highlight of my professional life. Hell, even Clive Davis tweeted my article that I did on Anthony DeCurtis, a Rolling Stone writing legend who co-penned Clive’s Book. I almost fell of the bed when that happened, and ultimately I owe it to Paul and Sarah for leading the path and getting me there.
Really, this is just a thank you blog I am writing for Paul, Sarah and Dan. I don’t think any of you will truly realize what you have done for me since I started writing for you and my eternal gratitude I have for you all is full of abundance. I hope that you continue on this amazing path you have set for yourself and be the amazing editors and writers that you already are. Thanks again guys, from the bottom of my heart.