Q & A with The Industry Blogger

The fourth addition to my Blogger’s Rundown is Malika Muhammad, founder of The Industry Blogger. I had a joyous time meeting this bright young woman. While taking the time to get to know her, I’ve learn how much drive she has to become a well renown journalist in the very near future. At our little meeting, we discussed her interest in writing a print based blog, her goals within the next 5 years, who’s her inspiration, and what local artists she supports in Baltimore. I also learned we share lots of common interest. I can’t tell you how cool it is to meet another person who shares that same passion as me. I get excited about it. Ha-Ha! Both of us are inspired journalist seeking to go far with our blogs. I know that if Malika keeps striving while doing what she does best, she’ll absolutely reach her dreams. I look forward to doing some collaboration with her in the future.

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Doc: Tell us the story behind your blog, The Industry Blogger?

Malika: So it all started last year, July of 2013. So I’m really new at this. I looked at the Baltimore scene and was like, “It’s so many talented people out here.” But nobody would know that because we all have this stereotype of Baltimore artists or people in Baltimore, period. I was like, “I’ma be the one who lets everybody know that we’re not just talking about weed or being in the hood.” I want people to know that we can actually play instruments and put together well-formed lyrics, something that’s with a message. I met a whole bunch of bloggers on the way. So I realized I wasn’t alone in this. After that, I was like, “Oh, man!” (Laughs)

Doc: (Laughs)

Malika: But then I thought it was a great thing. I’ll just unite with them and we can bring Baltimore up together. It’s better to do it with a team anyway.

Doc: Alright, that’s cool. So where did you get your name from?

Malika: I did so much brainstorming. I thought of doing something simple because I was thinking about it too much because I had a cupcake business, too. So I was thinking of some names for that, also.

Doc: You still have that?

Malika: Umm, it’s like on the side. (Laughs)

Doc: (laughs)

Malika: If someone wants cupcakes, I’ll say, “I’ll make em for you,” but not really. (Laughs) But for the Industry Blogger, I was listening to Kendrick Lamar. You know the song where he’s like, “I’m effing the industry hard?” (Referring to Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe)

Doc: Yeah, I know what song you talking about.

Malika: I was listening to that. I just love that word. I like the word Industry. It’s powerful to me. Then I chose to name my blog Industry Blogger. When I put it together, I wanted it to happen fast. But I’ve been brainstorming for months before July for my blog. But I just needed a name so I decided the Industry Blogger and I would market myself with it. That’s how it came about.

Doc: Oh, wow. Would you consider your blog kind of like a print journalistic type of blog? Because I know of multiple blogs that have video or just post a song? What would you consider yours to be?

Malika:  I want to say it’s a mixture. But I mainly want it to be print journalism. I don’t want people to say that I’m just a blogger. I think people lose credibility being label as that because they may think they can blog about anything like they gossip. I don’t want to be labeled as a gossiper. I want everything I post to be truthful and honest. So I would say it is more print journalistic.

Doc: I agree with you. That’s how I want people to view my blog. A lot of people do think of bloggers as gossipers. Is there anyone that you draw inspiration from, like a famous reporter?

Malika: Yes, first it was Sherrie Johnson. She was on ABC2 News. She’s been promoted doing other things now. But that’s on a local basis. Karen Civil is another one. She’s like the main person I look up to. I’m always on her page. I just love her. I’m always on her Instagram or her website trying to see her next move. I’m not trying to mimic everything that she’s doing. I’m just really inspired by her because she meditates. She’s spiritual. She’s a woman. That’s why I want to be kind of different from her. I want to angle myself off her but not so much as people saying that’s another Karen Civil.

Doc: Right! She’s like a model to you. You want to do your own twist. Originality! So I read your blog about supporting Baltimore artist and I loved what you said about it. You know as far as people supporting people, and it inspired me to write a blog myself.

Malika: Oh really? Thank you. I’ll have to check that out. (Laughs)

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Doc: Yeah. (Laughs) You talked about artist that lacked originality and they’re always copying other people who are already in the Industry. Would you say that there’s at least five artists here you would support?

Malika: Yup. I definitely would say Chris Bivins. He’s from Howard County. I like Jayverse. I put him on my blog. Umm, Solution. He’s with Teamwage. He just went solo. Blizz. I don’t know. I have so many people. (Laughs) I like Gillateen and Lonnie Moore. I should have named him (Lonnie) after Solutions.

Doc: Oh! That’s good that you’ve named five. Are you open to collaborating with other bloggers in the DMV/Baltimore region?

Malika: I am. I didn’t think of that at first. Remember, I thought I was the only one because I didn’t see it at first. But of course, I must didn’t do enough research then. But I do. We can write together or umm…

Doc: Guest blog on each other’s posts.

Malika: Right! I would love to do that. I actually quoted something about that for people to submit articles to my page. If you’re smart, everyone knows that takes more work off of you.

Doc: Exactly! So do you know anybody in particular that you would want to write for? Any local blog sites?

Malika: Umm, the only two blogs that I’ve become really acquainted with is TruDat and Vivid Visions. So we can do something together. That would be cool. But I haven’t research many bloggers. I just had seen Ryan tweet bloggers. So that helped me a lot.

Doc: Yeah, I know! That helped me out, too.

Malika: (Laughs) I was like, “Okay, I’ll look at all of these.” But those two. If I could do all of them, I would. I think that’s the problem. We need to keep supporting each other and stop being against each other.  At the end, we are all competitors. But still.

Doc: But still, it would help each other out.

Malika: We’ll all be getting our name out there.

Doc: Exactly! What would you like for your blog to be remembered as?

Malika: Hmm, that’s a great question. I just want people to see that for me I wanted to start at the base of hip-hop. I want people to know that it’s not just on the surface, where we’re just posting videos or links to music. I want people to get in deeper into it. I want them to experience what hip-hop actually is. I don’t want people to say that I’m just a blogger that blogs about music because I like it. You have to actually be hip-hop. You have to study it.

Doc: Like actually go to the events; support the people who you’re posting about.

Malika: Yeah, I definitely want to be seen as a person who supports local music, someone who’ll tell you the history of it on the spot. I just want to be known as someone who’s really in tuned with the culture all together.

Doc: So where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

Malika: Awe man that question. (Laughs)

Doc: (Laughs)

Malika: Five years from now, I would still want to do this blog. I want it to be bigger than what it is now. I want it to lead to bigger opportunities. So if that means leading to being a personality on TV or radio, and I’ve actually tried radio before…

Doc: Did you like it?

Malika: It was okay. (Laughs)

Doc: (Laughs)

Malika: I would say I like TV better. People think that’s odd. But I like TV better. I would like to do radio, TV, and writing in the future. I want to be a person who’s multifaceted. I want to do a little bit of everything. I want my own business. In five years, I don’t want to be working for anyone but myself. I’m just putting that out there.

Doc: Okay, I get you. So do you take submissions from hip-hop artist?

Malika: Yes, I do. That’s how I get most of my content. I’ll post my email on one of my social media sites or I have them submit on my submissions page on my actual blog. I’ll take anything, mixtapes, songs, if you want a bio written. I do it. Some people even text me because I put my number out there all the time or some will email me. All of that is on my blog.

Doc: But you prefer people to submit on your form on the site?

Malika: Yes, because it’s much easier. It’s better organized.

Doc: So they’ll just go to your website and they’ll submit.

Malika: Yup.

Doc: Okay, that’s it. That was the last question. Thank you for being a part of this.

Malika: Thank you.

To read articles by Malika Muhammad, visit her blog site at theindustryblogger.com.

Q & A with Vivid Visions

I had the pleasure of meeting up with the founder of Vivid Visions, Ryan Chance, this week. We had an exchange of interviews, meaning he interviewed me and I interviewed him for our corresponding sites. I’d say it was a very productive night. In my interview with Ryan, we covered Vivid Visions’ start-up, who’s involved with the behind the scenes aspect, what to look forward to from this striving business, and much, much more. I enjoyed the time spent getting to know more about Vivid Visions. Readers can definitely look forward toward a collaboration with this young genius in the near future. In the meantime, please read the Q & A with Ryan Chance below.

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Doc: What made you start Vivid Visions? What was your inspiration?

Ryan: Umm, I think what really inspired me was the fact that I’m a fan of art. I’m a huge music fan. I like paintings, and shit like that. I’m just a fan of the culture and a fan of the art. What motivated me was when I actually came up with the idea, I was in Atlantic City, and I think it just hit me one day. I was like ‘You know what? I think I can get a team together that has different types of passions in different arts.’ For me, writing is my passion. George’s passion is photography. Dre is like a graphic designer. So us three, granted off of that, kind of motivated us to come together to bring Vivid Visions.

Doc: What’s your motto you standby or your motivation to continue to do Vivid Visions?

Ryan: Uhh, I don’t think I have a motto. The thing that motivates me is our first go around. The mistakes and the lessons we’ve learned over that process has motivated me to push forward in a new direction. Especially with me being more consistent and I’m just finding new ways to build my confidence because I’m real self-conscious and shit, especially towards my art. So basically going off of that, that whole first run around really gave me the platform of knowing what to do now. I tweeted yesterday, “The only person I’m competing with is the old me.”

Doc: Oh yes, I go by that, too. (Laughs)

Ryan: (Laughs)

Doc: How many members currently are involved with Vivid Visions?

Ryan: Currently, there are four. We’re claiming another one, low-key, and we’re actually looking for another person but we can’t find her right now. Long story short, it was a girl we had before. Her name is Riva and she was going to do interviews for us. She was new to the idea. Her first real interview, she didn’t know what she was doing. But the fact that she did it so naturally was very motivating for me and George to see something like it. We wanted to keep her. But we are still trying to figure out where the hell she is? (Laughs)

Doc: (Laughs)

Ryan: Right now, as far as what you see, there are four; myself, George, Danielle, and Dre. Of course for me, I do all the blogging. I pretty much post everything that’s on the site. Everyone else is kind of behind the scenes. But I try to give them as much credit as possible. So even if you don’t see them on any of the interviews or stuff like that, this is George, Danielle, Dre, and me. This is Vivid Visions.

Doc: Cool. So how did y’all actually round-up the team? Y’all were just talking one day?

Ryan: See the first go round wasn’t smart. Mainly, we were in Atlantic City. The first two people I actually contacted were George and a girl named Destiny, a graphic artist, as well. It was going to be those two. But then Dre got into graphic design. He went to school for that online. I was like, “Okay, let’s bring him on. It’s going to be the four of us.” Look how it is now. Then I was talking to a few friends. They were trying to join and I was trying to give them the benefit of the doubt. But it didn’t work. Of course, this time around, the only person I was really thinking about continuing with was George. But I saw a lot of stuff that Dre did and I liked it. Danielle, she’s my best friend away from this. She wanted to get into management so I told her just work with us so she’ll have that experience. That takes pressure from me for handling business. I won’t have to worry about having to get business cards or handling certain emails. I have her. This time around I’m building with whoever makes sense. The first time, everyone didn’t click that much.

Doc: Okay, so that goes into my next question. Did y’all have any disputes that caused y’all to break up?

Ryan: I wouldn’t say disputes. I feel like it was just the vibes. When you put certain people in a room together and you experiment, you start to see who can vibe off of whom. There were different personalities of six or seven different people. (Chuckles) It can get a little funny. I don’t think we had any disputes. Shit, we don’t have disputes now. We have slight disagreements but they’re smart disagreements. Somebody might have a better idea for how to do something. There might be times where George might have an idea and I’m like, “Nah, I’m just gonna run with this,” or he might have an idea and he’ll run with his idea. But it brings out the best of us.

Doc: Okay, I’m aware that Vivid Visions’ downfall in 2013 may have been inconsistency with updating the site on a frequent basis. What is your plan to help the team stay motivated?

Ryan: I think the motivation is the love for the art. I love writing and interviewing. I’m still learning the camera process but it’s the motivation of doing what you love. Everybody has their individual art. For the sake of their art, on their portion (of Vivid Visions), and if they really love what they do, they’ll stay motivated.

Doc: So you’re going to keep in touch with them? Are you going to have a weekly meeting?

Ryan: I text them almost like every night. (Laughs)

Doc: I know that’s right. I stay on point with my people, too.

Ryan: Yeah, every other day, I come across new stuff. I might have new ideas, they might have new ideas, or we may have something planned.  They might send me a text like, “Yo, we still on for this time?” “Are we doing this?” “Are we doing that?” They make sure I stay on point with the business aspect as much as I stay on point with the creative aspect, even though some days it might get on my nerves.

Doc: I’m aware that you’re open to collabs with artist of all types and genre. But are you open to collaborations with other bloggers?

Ryan: Yup. Definitely, I’m willing to collaborate with other bloggers. It shows that within a city, as much as we put into our blogs individually, we support each other and build bigger for the artist. If we do things like that, we’ll have different ideas and we all have different approaches. Like our blog is more digital, and still has that print/journalistic feel while yours has a print/journalism approach to it. Briana (of RebelliousRebel), she has a real fashionable idea. When you have that, there is a good balance. Using the different approaches that we have, it can turn out to be something great.  I do feel music wise, or in general, there is a lack of support in Baltimore. If we all supported each other and became aware that there is competition, it steps up the level of content. So for me, yeah, I’m always down.

Doc: Do you have any ideas of how you will work with others yet?

Ryan: Nah, I really haven’t thought about the ideas. I do have a few people in mind, like Doc’s, Briana’s RebelliousRebel, or Patisdope out in DC. I would definitely love to meet him (referring to Patisdope).  Nah, I really haven’t had any ideas. I’ve just been focused on Vivid Visions, and trying to build our brand some more.  We’ve been doing very well leading up to the relaunch, along with the relaunch, too. The support has definitely been great. I’m going to start to develop some ideas.

Doc: Great. Where do you see Vivid Visions going? What’s the ultimate goal for your site?

Ryan: The goal is to make sure that each artist, no matter which genre of art, knows that Vivid Visions is one of the go to blogs for support. We want them to know that we support our artist. Or course we have our own agenda on the side to be on a higher level. But mainly, our agenda is supporting the arts. We have a lot of talent in the city, or in the state, rather. It all comes down to the support. Like you see Los Angeles with the whole Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, and Nipsey Hussel, they have a system that supports each other. They’re friends. That’s what makes that city well-known now. Musically, it’s kind of a takeover. We have southern states, New York, and we have a few people who have their disputes and whatnot. But you know those areas for sure! In Maryland, we could be very great. There are a lot of talented people here.

Doc: Yeah, it could be the same or even greater.

Ryan: Yeah, even greater. It’s a lot of talented people. Our agenda is to make sure that the artist gets their shine and as we show them support, we expect them to do us the same.

Doc: Yeah, that’s how I am, too. Lastly, how do people contact you for exposure or a feature?

Ryan: Honestly, I go looking for it. Social media has been a big help so far; Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I’ll see someone retweet other people’s music and I’ll usually check it out. If it’s good, we post it and keep in contact with them. Outside of that, for music submissions, they can contact me at ryan.chance611@gmail.com. Or for interviews and other business inquiries, they can contact Danielle, our manager, at visionsvivid@gmail.com.

Doc: Alright, thank you! That’s wonderful and concludes this interview.

Please make sure to check out Vivid Visions at visionsvivid.blogspot.com.