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13th Edition of Artists Spotlight

This week, we are beyond ecstatic to announce a very special issue of Artist Spotlight featuring our favorite passages and moments of past interviews to celebrate our 13th edition!

The Artist Spotlight series aims to create a space for discovery of new, budding global talent, while simultaneously offering you an exclusive glimpse into their creative process.

Our Team has interviewed many incredible, emerging artists and changemakers since its inception and we want to take a moment to reflect and appreciate the knowledge, wisdom, and honesty these creators were generous enough to share with us!

THANK YOU to the featured artists and global advocates who have allowed us these precious glimpses into your creative processes and inspirations every Friday. THANK YOU for trusting us with your personal stories and for allowing us to use them to empower the next generation.

Lastly, THANK YOU to the very people who serve as the very crux of our platform, our wonderful audience! THANK YOU for the endless support and warmth you’ve extended to the artists we’ve introduced you to, as well as to the content we’ve released. We look forward to a bright future of discovering new artists with you.

"Being a woman in the music world can be pretty tough, too, especially as an instrumentalist. I understand that there’s a certain assumption that comes with walking into an audition as a girl with an acoustic guitar. And it’s nobody’s fault for assuming anything. Especially since I sing a lot, it makes sense that people would think I’m a vocalist primarily. But when I’m like, “Hey, I actually play guitar,” and then I start passing you instrumental sheet music, you should believe me. It’s the doubt that drives me crazy. People are like, “really?” as if I’m gonna say not really, and I just carry my guitar around as a fashion accessory.”

“Music can to help change the lives of the people around me. Thereʼs been too many challenges in my life to name. I enjoyed all of them though. In 2016, I moved to Ohio where I only knew one person. I lived out there and the challenge was to survive. I slept in a car for a while or at someone’s house. Friends of mine know I love challenges so I kinda find them daily. The easiest is challenging myself.”

“I like how music can make people aware. It’s a busy world, I feel there are issues all the time that go over our heads; so sometimes it takes where we get our entertainment to remind us of what’s going on around us. For example, Haiti is an area that still needs attention. My family has always done charity work for Haiti and that experience opened my eyes to how one act might not be enough. It takes consistent and frequent effort to make change. I want to bring more attention to the relief efforts down there. The cameras may not roll on them as much; but there’s still a lot to be done down there.”

“My advice for future musicians is to never forget the reason you started making music in the first place. I’ve gone through many periods of time where I lose touch with the 11 year old who fell in love with performing and writing songs and start to resent having the life of a musician, because it can be really damn hard. But the moment I get back up on stage, all of those feelings melt away and I remember that there’s nothing else in the world I would rather be doing.”

“Looking back, I think I had been using music as a self-medicating tool for many years, since I struggled with undiagnosed depression and anxiety for so long due to my ignorance of mental illness coinciding with a lack of proper attention and support. Writing and performing music at this time was less of a conscious choice than it was an essential ingredient to my survival, and remains less of an active choice than a calling. There have been an infinite amount of challenges that I have worked to overcome, and continue to work to overcome on a daily basis in pursuit of an artist career and lifestyle. Some have been unveiled and some will be unveiled in due time.”

“My advice to anyone who wants to be a schoolstriker or an activist is to be brave and to always remember that you are never too small to make a difference. You all have a green heart. Don’t lose it. You should always keep going.”

“I identify strongly as a Black Woman and I saw ways in which both of those communities I identify with were not being supported. I asked myself how I could contribute how I could be apart of the solution instead of being unsatisfied with the issue at hand. That began my writing and my journey back to music. I realized I had backed away from music because I felt I didn't fit the narrative that was being told to me. I realized the change I wanted began with me, with the limitations I had set upon myself. So I began to write and have the bravery to tell my story as a Black Woman knowing that it would and could look and sound different and be just as valid and beautiful.”

“I have always been insecure and have fought my own emotional and mental battles concerning my body image. However, I think we all need to become more aware around this topic, educate ourselves and show people that everyone’s unique beauty is valid and our differences and peculiarities are what make us special. I try to represent diversity through my paintings and I honestly hope they help someone in some way. If my illustrations can help just one person in one small way, all the struggles I’ve endured to get here have been worth it.”

‘Acting isn’t like any other job. You make it what it is. As a creative, curious person who deeply values education, the nature of an acting career has been challenging in all aspects. Acting isn't just a sprint, it’s an Ironman  Triathlon!’” - Lavon Wageman (Youtube, Twitter)

Thank you for your continuous support and love,

Lots of love,

#Team IVA


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