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Meet Rising Actor Shakeil Kanish



Shakeil Kanish

Actor and writer Shakeil Kanish is making his dreams as a prominent mainstream actor come true right before his eyes. Coming from humble beginnings being born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, he relocated his life to Los Angeles, California and enrolled in the Lee Strasberg School of Acting. As he is on his rise to stardom, I had the pleasure of speaking with him about his aspirations in entertainment, moving to Los Angeles and what led him to this career path. Check it out below.

Shakeil Kanish Interview

Who is Shakeil Kanish?

Shak: This is always a hard question! I have a new quote for this I started using. “I am just a small boy looking at a big screen hoping to one day be on it!” I am a guy who loves this business. I want to show up and give 150% percent every time I go out there. Not just for my co stars but for everyone around me. I’m always first to show up, and last to leave (unless they kick me out). I’m a BIG people pleaser for better or for worse, and I always want everyone to have a good time, or to be smiling when I’m around. I am a proud gay man who is excited to create amazing characters, tell stories, and hopefully one day tell stories I have written as well! I am a huge nerd! If anyone knows any good DnD groups or wants to talk about My Hero Academia for hours I’m down! Plus Ultra!

How did you get your start in acting?

Shak: I got started at a young age. I think about 5 or 6 I was doing plays for my church and I ended up loving them so much that I couldn’t stop! I eventually started doing musicals. My first one was Into the Woods. I played the character Jack. I am pretty sure I only got it because my voice was so high pitched ( although not much has changed). The more I did, the more I realized that nothing made me happier than being on stage and feeling that energy. Now I am trying to transition over to my new love of television and film.

What made you decide to move to LA to pursue acting full time?

Shak: I made the decision once about 7-8 years ago. I had just graduated college, and was tired of my 9-5 job, which prompted me to go live the dream! So I moved out to LA and it was a disaster. At the time, I thought that I had failed. I thought that my dream was over for me and that there was nothing left for me in the entertainment space. So I joined the military thinking maybe I would at least get to see the world and find something I enjoyed better. While that experience was good, I think it just further proved that there’s nothing in my life that makes me happy like acting does.

Describe your experience at the Lee Strasburg acting school?

Shak: So far it’s been amazing! I was recently the first student that was allowed to curate and completely fund my own event! We managed to pack the entire theater. It was great. I think being at this school has shown me that I can do more than I thought was possible. It also was the best way to make friends living in a new city! There are so many students from all around the world that I get to surround myself with daily. Everyone is incredibly talented and hilarious, which makes me want to work harder and constantly get better by watching the people around me. I am hoping that after 3 semesters, that I have elevated into the actor I know I can be.

What are some ways you stay motivated to become the best actor you can be?

Shak: Staying motivated is one of my hardest things ever. I am so all over the place all the time. Recently I made a manifestation board and by having it in a place where I can wake up and see it all the time, has been helpful. Reminding myself about what I want, and the reason why I’m here is important. I also try to make sure everything I do pushes me towards my goal! One thing that did start implementing into my life is speed reading and memory retention classes. This allows me to learn my lines much faster! I also started learning sign language and that has been a really exciting journey. I want to learn as many skills as I can to stay relevant in the space I am in.

Who are some of your favorite actors/actresses and your favorite films?

Shak: I really love Paul Pescal, Daisy Edgar Jones, Dacre Montgomery, and Nico Greetham. I think I just love how authentically and naturally they can sink into their roles. When I watch them, I feel like I can just see what they are thinking, and they all seem to have fun with whatever it is that they are doing. That is something I never wanna lose you know? I never want to stop having fun doing this. I think if I do, that will be the time I step back and be like what just happened?

Who do you look up to in the film industry?

Shak: Honestly my whole life I don’t think I have had an actor or actress that I have looked up to. I think since moving here, all I have done is work behind the scenes as a PA so if I look up to anyone it’s the people working behind the scenes. It is the people who show up early, work hard, stay late, and clean up afterwards. It is the writers, editors, sound, directors, and production assistants who none of this would be possible without. It always humbles me and just makes me love this industry more knowing that I love EVERY aspect of it. So it sounds cliche but those are my heroes.

What is up next for Shak?

Shak: What’s next for me? I want to start auditioning for more TV and Film roles! Things have been a little slow this year but that has given me time to get everything together. My resume, my headshots, and my training is coming along. I am really trying to take advantage of this time I have been given and I want to hit the ground running as soon as these doors start opening! So I am ready for the opportunities and I am just kind of riding the wave. Also as I mentioned before, I am taking classes and workshops outside of my Lee Strasberg Training. I just finished Killian’s Workshop which was absolutely incredible.

To Follow Shak’s rise to fame in Hollywood, follow him on Instagram @shakkanish.

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Dream Collaborations and Future Goals: Inside E2911’s Mind



The Blending of Cultures and Genres

E2911 exemplifies a fascinating blend of diverse cultural influences and musical genres, representing an eclectic mix that sets her apart in today’s music industry. Born in the Turks and Caicos Islands with Haitian heritage, and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, E2911’s background is a tapestry of rich cultural narratives.

In the interview with Shah Cypha, E2911 states, “Well, I do… well, I’m very eclectic. So I do Afro, I do pretty much afrobeats, r and b. People say I rap, but I sing rap. I do some. I do some of everything, honestly. Like, I don’t limit myself.” This multifaceted approach not only showcases her versatility but also appeals to a broad audience. The integration of Afrobeat and R\&B, alongside spoken word and poetry, allows her music to resonate on different levels, capturing the spirit of multiple musical traditions.

The implications are profound: as more artists like E2911 rise, they challenge the industry to diversify its soundscape. Music is becoming a global melting pot, moving beyond regional limitations and blending various cultural influences.

Empowerment through Personal Experience and Faith

An undercurrent of spirituality and personal history drives E2911’s work, adding depth and authenticity to her music. Her stage name, E2911, is derived from Jeremiah 20:11—a testament to her belief that “God has a purpose and plan for my life.” This faith is not just a personal belief but a guiding force in her career and artistry.

Discussing her upbringing and its impact on her music, she mentions, “I was bullied pretty much majority of my life. I’ve always been a quiet kid. I was being a weird kid. Now I’m saying. So then, as I grew up in Florida, saying, though, it kind of like, it kind of like, make you, make you tough because you have no choice but to be tough, right?” This resilience translates into her work, influencing her narrative and ensuring that her music speaks to her journey and struggles.

Such narratives are crucial in the music industry for promoting relatable and genuine content. E2911’s ability to channel her personal encounters and faith into music offers listeners more than entertainment; it provides a shared human experience and motivates others facing similar adversities.

The Importance of Authenticity and Personal Branding

Authenticity stands at the heart of E2911’s music and brand. Unlike many artists who may conform to industry pressures, E2911 remains true to her distinct voice. She attributes her success to being herself, as noted in her revelations during the interview: “The secret behind that is pretty much. I want to say it’s a secret. It’s just being who I am, for real.”

E2911 also highlights the pressures within the industry to fit a particular mold: “I feel like every artist has their own branding. If you’re saying if you listen closer to certain artists, you can tell that that’s not who they really are.” This observation brings to light a broader discussion within the music industry regarding the authenticity of artists and the need for genuine self-expression over fabricated personas.

The broader implications are clear: authentic personal branding can lead to sustainable success. Artists who cling to genuine self-expression may find longevity and a more dedicated fan base than those who adopt contrived images.

Recap of Meaningful Insights

E2911’s conversation with Shah Cypha reveals a profound depth to an artist who brings cultural diversity, personal resilience, and authenticity to her craft. By blending Afrobeat, R\&B, and poetry, she creates a unique sound that resonates globally. Her spiritual and personal narrative enriches her artistry with genuine emotion and insight, challenging the industry norms regarding artist authenticity and self-expression.

Artists like E2911 are not just contributors to the music industry; they are shaping its future. As the industry evolves, the need for diverse, authentic voices becomes more significant. An environment that nurtures real-life narratives and genuine artistry will likely see the emergence of more pioneering artists who challenge the status quo.

By sticking to her roots and staying true to her personal narrative, E2911 offers a blueprint for aspiring artists: embrace cultural heritage, leverage personal experiences, and prioritize authenticity. This is the Grynd — a relentless pursuit of one’s true artistic voice and identity amidst industry pressures.

Her journey, as encapsulated in this interview, is not just a tale of personal triumph but an inspiring testament to what the music industry needs more: authenticity, diversity, and genuine artistry. The world should indeed take note.

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Creative Alchemy: Turning Daydreams into Films



Discovering Filmmaking: From Comics to the Camera

The Unplanned Journey to Filmmaking

The essence of a powerful narrative often lies in unexpected journeys. For Ethan Irwin, a 21-year-old filmmaker, his entry into the cinematic world was far from a calculated career move. Living in the small town of Richmond, Utah, he discovered his passion quite serendipitously during his time at a high school called Fast Forward.

“At the beginning, I didn’t think of being a filmmaker. In fact, I came in here actually to become a comic book writer.”

But life had other plans. Ethan’s initial foray into doodling quickly transformed when he stumbled upon a filmmaking elective. This seemingly inconsequential choice turned Ethan’s daydreams into tangible vision through films, as he started aligning his storytelling talent with cinematic techniques.

He acknowledges the mentorship of his teacher, Andy Lormer, who bestowed practical insights from the world of documentary-making, and his peer, Devin, who helped hone his skills in editing and directing. These experiences solidified Ethan’s confidence in his newfound passion.

“\[Andy] just showed me, like, how to use the tools and how to work with directors, actors, certain things like that.”

The transition from comic book aspirations to filmmaking underscores an essential lesson for creative minds: be open to exploring different mediums. Ethan’s story is a testament to how unforeseen pathways can lead to fulfilling careers.

Crafting Stories Through Film

Ethan’s Storytelling Approach

Film, at its core, is about storytelling. For Ethan, his childhood love for creating imaginative tales seamlessly translated into his filmmaking approach. He emphasizes that his ability to tell compelling stories is his most potent asset.

“I’ve always been a storyteller since I was a kid… My most powerful thing on filming and I do is my storytelling.”

Ethan’s films span various genres, including comedies, horrors, dramas, and even romances. His versatility in storytelling is evident. One of his more interesting projects featured a satirical infomercial inspired by the 1980s, where a magical bottle becomes the centerpiece of humor as it makes people fall in love.

“…we did it in such a funny 1980s style… it was very motivating, I guess.”

By adeptly switching between genres, Ethan demonstrates that the key to resonance lies not just in the story itself but how it’s told and adapted to engage different audiences. As he puts it, his daydreams become vehicles for inviting people into new perspectives.

Ethan’s approach also highlights the importance of relatability. He aims to document human experiences authentically, invoking emotions like laughter, surprise, and even love. This dynamic and inclusive storytelling style is a major hallmark of his work.

Building a Supportive Community

The Role of Friends, Family, and Mentorship

In the world of filmmaking, no one succeeds alone. The backbone of Ethan’s career growth has been the unwavering support from his friends, family, and mentors. This network has not only provided him with financial resources but also emotional and practical support, catalyzing his cinematic ambitions.

Ethan’s close friends often step into various roles in his films, from acting to assisting with direction. This camaraderie fosters a robust creative environment where ideas can flourish, and projects come to life successfully. He speaks warmly of his friend Devin, a recurring contributor to many of his projects.

“One of my best friends, Devin… he’s been in every single project I’ve been.”

Moreover, the Utah Film Association’s Facebook group has proven instrumental in connecting Ethan with additional cast and crew when needed. This highlights how built-in communities can be crucial in filling gaps and alleviating the creative burden on independent filmmakers.

Mentorship plays a pivotal role as well. Ethan continually consults with his former teacher, Andy, for advice on everything from camera techniques to story development. This ongoing mentorship ensures that Ethan’s filmmaking skills are continually honed and refined.

“Without him, this, the foundation of filmmaking for me wouldn’t have been discovered.”

This collective effort underscores the power of a supportive network in creative industries. It’s a reminder that while individual talent is essential, collaborative effort amplifies success and enriches the creative process.

Broadening Horizons and Maintaining Engagement

Expanding Outreach: From YouTube to Twitch

As Ethan continues to evolve in his career, he remains aware of the importance of engaging with his audience. Initially, YouTube served as his primary platform for showcasing his work, but he soon realized the need for greater interaction with his followers.

“I realized when I’m making YouTube and I just premiere it, I don’t get to engage with my audience.”

To counter this, Ethan is exploring other platforms like Twitch. This shift allows for live interactions and instant feedback, which not only helps in understanding audience reactions but also builds a more personal connection between the filmmaker and his viewers. This move highlights the importance of adapting to new technologies and platforms to stay relevant and engaged with one’s audience.

Moreover, Ethan’s strategic use of social media and his openness to critique further bolster his growth. By utilizing Instagram and other channels, he ensures that his work reaches diverse and broader audiences, contributing to his brand’s visibility and accessibility.

“My Instagram DM’s are open, so if you want to talk to me and talk to me, I’m also, I’m always available.”

Ethan’s ability to leverage these platforms effectively underscores a critical aspect of modern filmmaking: the necessity of maintaining a dynamic and engaging online presence.

Visualizing Dreams and Sharing Stories

In reflecting on Ethan Erwin’s cinematic journey, several key elements stand out. From discovering a passion unexpectedly to honing storytelling prowess, and building a resilient support network, his story is one of talent, community, and persistent exploration.

Ethan’s emphasis on the power of storytelling in filmmaking resonates profoundly with audiences, demonstrating how daydreams and narratives can be transformed into compelling visual experiences. His adaptive approach to engaging with his audience and leveraging new platforms exemplifies the evolving nature of the film industry.

In essence, Ethan’s journey offers a model for aspiring filmmakers: remain open to unexpected paths, nurture your storytelling abilities, and build a supportive community that will help bring your creative visions to life.

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Navigating the Music Industry: Annie Nan’s Journey



Pursuing Dreams: From Beijing to New York

In a world where dreams often seem too grand to chase, Annie Liang’s journey from Beijing to New York City stands out as a beacon of passion and grit. “When you see me, you see dope people,” as Shah Cypha aptly puts it, is not just a mantra but a lifestyle for individuals like Annie who embody the spirit of relentless pursuit. With her roots in Beijing and a heart set on making a mark in the New York music scene, Annie’s path is as inspiring as it is challenging.

The Symbiosis of Music and Dance

Annie’s Artistic Journey and Inspirations

Annie Liang’s love affair with music began at a tender age. “I always liked music, and I started to play piano when I was very young,” she shares. The transformative power of melodies took center stage in her life when she decided to transition from Beijing to New York to pursue music professionally. This journey was catalyzed by pivotal meetings, such as her encounter with her manager at a music convention in Los Angeles. This crucial step led her to collaborate with Alex, a “super talented producer,” and the rest, as they say, is history.

Annie’s influences span a wide range of contemporary icons. “I like Billie Eilish. Who doesn’t like Billie Eilish? Olivia Rodrigo. And I like Madonna. I like Britney Spears,” she states, reflecting a mosaic of musical inspirations from different eras. The amalgamation of these influences is evident in her work as she strives to create something unique and genuinely hers.

Integrating Dance with Music

For Annie, dance is more than just a form of expression; it’s a vital extension of her musical identity. “Music is always in my heart. I think dance and music, they go hand in hand,” she asserts. The synergy between dance and music is something she leverages to create dynamic, multi-dimensional performances. “Dance is the visualization of the music,” she explains, highlighting how her dance routines add depth to her musical presentations.

An intensive schedule will see her juggling both dance and music. “I have dance classes. I have music. I have lots of things going on,” she reveals. This relentless dedication to both arts showcases her commitment to growing and excelling in her craft. By continuously honing her skills in both domains, Annie ensures that her performances are a holistic representation of her artistry.

Crafting Unique Musical Narratives

The Creative Process

Annie’s methodical approach to songwriting and production is a testament to her dedication. “For me, concepts always come first before the full song is developed,” she emphasizes. This structured creative process involves envisioning the soundscape and story before diving into the nitty-gritty of chord progressions and lyrics. This thorough preparation ensures that each song is a well-rounded piece of art.

The creation of a single can take weeks, reflecting Annie’s meticulous nature. “It might take weeks… because for me, concepts always come first,” she reiterates. This approach allows her to develop rich, layered compositions that resonate with her listeners. Her latest project, a song titled “Silly Girl,” is a prime example of her detailed craftsmanship. “Silly Girl is about a love story… there are lots of interesting sounds,” she describes, showcasing the thought and effort behind each track.

Virtual Collaborations and Live Performances

Annie’s journey also highlights the evolving nature of music production and collaboration in a digital age. Much of her work with production is done remotely. “We communicate pretty well. Before I fly from New York to Los Angeles and record in a professional studio,” she mentions, drawing attention to the seamless integration of virtual and in-person collaborations. This flexibility is crucial in today’s interconnected world, allowing artists to collaborate across geographical boundaries without compromising on quality.

Live performances remain an integral part of her artistic expression, providing an opportunity to connect directly with her audience. Although she acknowledges the logistical and financial challenges, the desire to perform with a full band and dancers demonstrates her commitment to delivering immersive, live experiences.

Resilience and Community Support

Navigating Challenges and Embracing Resilience

Annie’s journey is not without its challenges. The pursuit of an artistic career is fraught with uncertainties and setbacks. However, her outlook on these challenges is a lesson in resilience. “It’s okay to be a little scary. Life itself is a little scary anyway,” she advises. The recognition that fear is a natural part of growth allows her to face each obstacle with courage and determination.

Her advice to aspiring artists is simple yet profound: “You can want to give up, but you cannot give up.” This perspective underscores the importance of persistence and the need to continually push past moments of doubt and frustration. Annie’s commitment to her craft and her ability to maintain a balance between personal and professional life serve as a blueprint for others navigating similar paths.

Support Systems and Cultural Representation

A robust support system is instrumental in Annie’s journey. Her manager, producer, and family play crucial roles in her development. “My manager is so helpful… my family is really supportive,” she shares, highlighting the significance of having a reliable network. Their encouragement and belief in her potential provide the necessary foundation for her to explore and grow.

Annie’s journey also underscores the importance of cultural representation in the music industry. As an Asian artist, she aims to carve out space in a predominantly Western pop landscape. “I want to be the one that can soar, that can live my thing out,” she expresses, reflecting her aspiration to inspire others and pave the way for greater diversity in the industry. Her presence not only broadens the representation but also enriches the cultural tapestry of contemporary music.

Annie Nan’s story is a powerful reminder of the resilience and passion required to pursue one’s dreams. From her early days in Beijing to her current pursuits in New York, her journey is marked by a relentless drive to integrate her love for music and dance into a cohesive and compelling narrative. Supported by a dedicated team and a robust personal resolve, Annie continues to inspire and lead by example.

As she succinctly puts it, “Listen to my song, come to my dance performances.” Her call to action reflects the confidence and enthusiasm of an artist truly committed to her craft. Her journey is far from over, and with each step, she sets the stage for an inspiring future in the performing arts.

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