John Michael Ferrari Graces the cover of Hollywood Weekly

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Celebrating Diversity In The Entertainment Industry


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BEDSIDE READING Books To DEvour LOU BARON New Breed of Homosapiens




elcome readers to a very special issue of Hollywood Weekly Magazine. We are honored to have John Michael Ferrari gracing our cover.

John Michael Ferrari is an award-winning singer songwriter who has written many iconic hits over his career. Many can compare him to the likes of Sammy Davis Jr or a young Bobby Darin. He is described as “crooner with a smooth as silk voice.” In fact, in 2019 he won the award of Outstanding Male Singer Songwriter of the Year by the Producer’s Choice Honors. Aside from being a musical artist, Ferrari is also a songwriter, music arranger, composer, still photographer, public speaker, teacher, and author. He is signed to Pepper Jay Productions. His style of writing is telling swooning stories that entice listeners with his life experiences. Ferrari has also recently assembled his own band called the John Michael Ferrari Band that performs nationally. His genres include Country, Pop, Christian, and Children. Ferrari has an upcoming EP called “Be the Smile on Your Face”, which was based on a personal experience. The EP is being recorded at Larry Beaird Studio in Nashville. We are so proud to have John Michael Ferrari as our Hollywood Weekly Cover Star! As always, readers, we thank you. We are who we are because of YOU. Wishing you all Peace & Happiness!

Anthony Ewart

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JOHN MICHAEL FERRARI Singing Poet Songwriter


New Breed of Homosapiens ND

Exclusive Photos Celebrity Chef

John Michael Ferrari

Dear Studio Executives: I am delighted to announce HW’s new Film Division focusing on developing major film projects. Our slate of hi-concept feature films have projected budgets between 5-15 million dollars. I personally feel, HW’s Film Division presents a great opportunity for any major Hollywood studio seeking a conduit to a broad segment of an largely unrepresented society of people.



We have expanded into an international publication with global print distribution into 16 foreign countries. Future editions of HW will identify stories that can easily be adapted into major films. Below are a few of our current film projects. Please contact me if you are interested.


Currently in Pre-Production with Dream Street Entertainment Producer: Gloria Morrison


GRASS ROOTS: AMERICA’S SECOND PROHIBITION The Underground War in Compton for the Control & Legalization of Marijuana in the 90s Cable/Streaming Original Series written by Anthony Ewart

“America’s Second Prohibition” tells the story of all the men and women who lost their lives or were incarcerated during America’s prohibition of marijuana. The series focuses on ground zero of the resurgence and explosion of marijuana in America: Compton, California in the 90s -- the birthplace of West Coast Hip-Hop and the new fusion of music and marijuana as a lifestyle. But not everyone who sold marijuana in Compton was a drug dealer, and this was The War. Marijuana activists fighting for the legalization of the marijuana they sold to the community against those who sold crack and heroin -- the real drug dealers. And in the midst of this struggle you had the Crips and Bloods killing each other. But the African-American families in Compton found a way to survive these turbulent times. “America’s Second Prohibition” introduces a global audience to the tough, fascinating characters who populated “Compton of the 90s,” and shows the resilient, joyful loving spirit of African-American families who lived through this violent moment in our history.



The screenplay revolves around Isaiah, a smart but troubled, bigoted and hateful young African-American man who is going down the wrong road in life. Despite a religious mother challenging him to become someone great, and a wonderful girlfriend who adores him, his intolerance toward White people based on a lie he was told as a child keeps pulling him in the wrong direction. Marred by a victim mentality and an obsession to get rich, when his last hero Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated, he loses all hope and succumbs to temptations for making fast money as a drug runner and thief. It is at this time he meets Joshua, a quirky, rather innocent young man of Middle-Eastern descent who has just been released from a mental institution, where he was incarcerated for believing he is Jesus Christ. Joshua’s childish innocence compared to the stark harshness of a streetwise conman makes for odd traveling buddies.



In the Garden of Eden two beings of light are tricked into consuming a forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge by a man made of flesh with a sinister smile. Creatures land from the heavens and cast Adam and Eve from paradise. As the millennia go by, their descendants continue to fall further and further from grace. The world is broken into seven different continents. Each is led by an unfortunate soul who has been twisted by one of the seven deadly sins and given dominance over man. Together, they rule as the Seven Continental Alliance.



For a young mulatto woman passing for white in the Carolinas in the 1870s, her dreams of leaving an oppressive black existence are crushed when the white man she plans to marry discovers her true background, forcing her to return to the black world and embrace her true identity.

Email: or Call: (424) 371-9900

John Michael Ferrari



ohn Michael Ferrari is an award-winning singer songwriter who has written many iconic hits over his career. Many can compare him to the likes of Sammy Davis Jr or a young Bobby Darin. He is described as “crooner with a smooth as silk voice.” In fact, in 2019 he won the award of Outstanding Male Singer Songwriter of the Year by the Producer’s Choice Honors. Aside from being a musical artist, Ferrari is also a songwriter, music arranger, composer, still photographer, public speaker, teacher, and author. He is signed to Pepper Jay Productions. His style of writing is telling swooning stories that entice listeners with his life experiences. Ferrari has also recently assembled his own band called the John Michael Ferrari Band that performs nationally. His genres include Country, Pop, Christian, and Children. Ferrari has an upcoming EP called “Be the Smile on Your Face”, which was based on a personal experience. The EP is being recorded at Larry Beaird Studio in Nashville. Ferrari’s sound can be described as “very California”. He grew up in California, but now he currently resides on a ranch in Pahrump, Nevada. Ferrari has been listening to music since the 3rd grade and all the genres he listened to growing up inspired all of his music. He emphasized that the most important aspect in his music is music structure. The way that songs are written are very important a flowing combination of intro, verses, chorus, perhaps a pre chorus, perhaps a bridge. Ferrari explains “if you have something memorable, you have a song”. Ferrari’s career started taking off when he began in earnest to write and perform his own songs. Initially, he performed covers, but he found that audiences con6 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY

nected with him more when he shared his personal life experiences. The title of the EP was inspired when he and another gentleman saw a beautiful woman with a dazzling smile at Trader Joe’s. The gentleman and John both noticed the woman and he told Ferrari “I’d sure like to be the smile on her face” and John agreed. This short encounter inspired the EP’s name and two songs on the EP. All of John’s songs are developed like this. He takes instances and makes them into emotional stories. Pepper Jay helps convey his vision by producing music and creating or securing his album art. Pepper Jay is one of Ferrari’s hugest supporters. Pepper is a music producer, record label owner, actress, teacher, public speaker, and author. She has been Ferrari’s manager for over 30 years. Pepper believes that everything that Ferrari writes is “poetry put to music”. Ferrari has created over 12 singles and his album “My Early Life” throughout his musical career. He also has several unreleased songs that can be found on his Reverbnation page: Recently, he has released the song Bad Dream, which is quite different from his other songs. In this song, he cleverly takes the listener through the experience of his reoccurring nightmares. He explains that it’s about “when you have these bad dreams and you can’t quite figure out what they mean”. It’s also about finding yourself out of a bad dream. One of his most haunting lyrics is that “I missed the sign checkout is at noon, all penalties will apply”. In the song, he makes references to “The Catcher in the Rye,” which is about a young boy trying to find his way in life. The listener is to interpret the song in their own way and, like several of John’s songs, there is a twist at the end of the song.


Along with sharing his own life experiences, Ferrari likes to share experiences from other people’s eyes. One thing he likes to do is share an experience through a child’s eyes. “Let’s Run Away to Alaska” and “Who’s that Girl?” both have childlike themes. “Who’s that Girl” is actually inspired by Ferrari observing a young boy seeing a 14-year-old red head in a square-dancing club. A boy around the same age walks into the club, notices her, and exclaims “Who’s that girl?”. Ferrari observed how the boy wanted to dance with the girl and get to know her, and he adopts his viewpoint into his hit song. Ferrari’s album, Early Life, describes many of his life experiences growing up. The inspiration for this album was Ferrari’s difficult childhood. He solely found refuge 8 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY

by playing his guitar and singing. At a very young age, Ferrari wrote his first song “Wah Do Wah Do”. As a teen, Ferrari often found himself in trouble and trying to escape his spiteful stepfather. Constantly in trouble, a judge believed that Ferrari was “incorrigible” and sentenced him to the Nevada State Children’s Home in Carson City for 2 years at the age of 15. Ferrari believes that this is the best thing that could’ve happened. While in high school, Ferrari also decided to drop out and join the military to serve in the Vietnam War. This also worked in his benefit, because it fruitfully added to many of Ferrari’s life experiences and stories. He wrote the song “Dustoff”, “Run”, “Let’s Run Away to Alaska”, and “When Love Said Goodbye”while serving in the war. In his own words, Ferrari describes the songs in his album:

“Let’s Run Away to Alaska,” fun, child-like let’s run away together theme; “tell the animals, the bear and the deer”. This song was created from a pickup line unsuccessfully used on a girl years ago when he was performing at Mount Charleston Lodge outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. He said, “Let’s run away to Alaska and we’ll tell everyone we moved to Nevada!” “Why’d Momma Lie?” is based loosely on a true story of what happens when love never arrives. Her mother didn’t like her daughter dating John and told her love will come. So, she broke up with John. Years later, John asked her, “Did love come?” “No” she said with tears in her eyes. “Don’t Fall Between the Daylight,” also based on a true story: empathy with teen “cutters” to prevent suicide, “and when you’re bleeding, I’m bleeding too”. “Brand New River,” remembering a past love, “then, again, I’m with you”. John wrote this tune while staying in Lake Tahoe when he completed his Army enlistment time. “When Love Said Good-bye,” is about moving forward in life. “I’ll pick up your dreams, put them away, I’ll save mine away for another day.” “Ain’t No Mistaken:” “no matter how much we play this game like we just don’t care, there’s no mistaken, we’ve been taken with each other.” “Dustoff”, penned by Ferrari in 1966 while serving in the United States Army in Vietnam, honors the military rescue helicopters and their crews, is a favorite among Veterans, including is still honored by the Dustoff Association. “Who Can Blame a Broken Heart?” was created about a girl John lived with before going into the Army. When he returned, they had a fight. She said she wanted to go home. He said ok, I’ll drive you to the bus station never realizing he would never see her again. Ferrari’s personal favorite song is “Be the Smile on Your Face”. He explains that it is one of his best musically structured and memorable songs. He also believes that “Who Can Blame a Broken Heart” and “Peggy Sue’s” are his favorites. They are story songs about his life and hard instances he got through. As stated before, musical structure is very important to making each of Ferrari’s song. His musical process involved him doing a lot of writing and rewriting. He explains that some songs can take 20 minutes to write, HOLLYWOOD MONTHLY• 9

John Michael Ferrari

while others can take much longer. “Everything is trial and error,” he explains that “there is no one set anything when it comes to creativity”. When Ferrari creates new songs, he will perform them in front of the crowd to gauge their reaction. From then, he can revise or switch some things in the song. Experiencing Ferrari in concert is a unique experience for the crowd. He speaks from his heart and will often talk to the audience between his songs. Hearing him live, is not just listening to a disconnected singer on stage that just goes from one song to the next. He interacts with the audience. “I just love seeing people smiling in the audience,” he tells Hollywood Weekly. His performances always bring a strong emotional response to audience members. Some of his performances are so moving that it will bring people to tears. He is very talented at reading the audience and adjusting his set list based on the mood of the crowd.


Ferrari wants all his fans and readers to know that he absolutely loves what he does. Ferrari tells Hollywood Weekly that “it’s nice to be inspired in life and have the ability to write about it”. For readers and fans interested in hearing Ferrari’s music, you can find it on all music streaming platforms and on his website Ferrari’s tour schedule and blog can also be found on his website: www.JohnMichaelFerrari. com. He has upcoming shows in Hollywood, Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans, and on the American Queen Steamboat on the Mississippi River. Ferrari will also be performing at Hollywood Weekly’s Pre-Grammy party. If you are interested in publishing or recording any of his unpublished songs or booking John Michael Ferrari for any upcoming show, please contact Pepper Jay, 310-345-9366.


Empowering PEOPLE Through



e all know music is a universal language. With music you can communicate across cultures and countries. No matter where we come from or who we are, we all relate to the emotions that we hear and feel from the songs we listen to. It doesn’t matter whether that be songs about relationships or songs about culture. There are so many languages that are spoken around the world. Even if you can’t understand the words of a certain song, you’ll be able to understand the emotions from it. We all feel the feelings and it is what makes us human. Therefore, music is so important to us. Music is an inseparable part of our life. The influence of music on the behavior of people is significant and it has powerful effects on their actions, their perception of the world, themselves and their peers. The impact of music is very high on teenagers as it influences every aspect of their lives. So, it’s a big responsibility for Songwriters to make sure their songs do not influence the younger generation in the wrong way. Many songs that are trending with millions of views have explicit lyrics, suicidal thoughts, along with graphics containing destructive themes. In the past, few artists popularized sad and self-harm music by creating songs filled with harmful content. This Style of songs made a comeback in


the past couple of years. Teens emulate their favorite artists’ style and follow the message of their favorite songs. It is not only important for songs to talk about things like depression but also provide helpful solutions for them and help people overcome it. Many of us rely on music to get us through rough patches in our lives. When the music is even more depressing, what’s the point?

Many important people are making this topic known. Music artists are writing songs about being mentally healthy and are putting true emotion into it. It is important to put positive thoughts in people’s minds. After all, we don’t know what it might cause them to do. Popular songs right now are not only talking about self-harm but are also disrespecting groups of people. The language teens use, the way they treat each other, and members of the opposite sex, have changed drastically over the years. Many songs categorize people by their gender, race, or sexuality. Separating people into groups will cause others to judge. It is important that no one feels left behind. In this day and age, we are coming close to accepting people for who they are. Hateful music is slowing down this empowering movement. We need to overcome this rock in our path before it destroys us. Although there are many bad things happening in music, good things are coming out of it too. People are realizing that they don’t want to be part of this trend. Teenagers are going back to music from the 2000s, looking for hopeful content and bright lyrics from that time. The current self-harm music phase is coming to an end, and I’m excited to see where it takes us. My goal is to contribute to the change going on in our world. I would like to INSPIRE people through my music to become better versions of themselves by depending on their own strength. I would like to be seen as an artist who is giving voice to the younger generation. My music will be uplifting, inspirational, and refreshing, with catchy melodies, and captivating themes with a feel-good atmosphere. Let’s motivate everyone with the universal concept known as music and using it let’s bring great joy, peace, growth, maturity into society, self-confidence, inspiration and prepare the youth for a better future. Music is a universal feature of the human experience and has the power to evoke deep feelings. Let us make this world a better place to live with music.




RISQUÉ @ 72? WHY NOT? I have stem cells. I am 32! LOURDES DUQUE BARON, MHA, MSG

RELEASING her 3rd book entitled “NEW BREED OF HOMO SAPIENS” – February 1, 2020 in Hollywood


he human body is a complex biological structure composed of trillions if molecules, cells, tissues, organs and organelles, each one endowed with unique capabilities and performs specific roles and functions but works in harmony with one another. Understanding the human body is as challenging as unlocking the mysteries of the universe, which scientists have been trying to unravel for centuries.

day, scientists believe they have unlocked the mysteries of aging and now hold the key to retard the process, to enable humans to enjoy a longer lifespan free of debilitating disorders and diseases. The answer: STEM CELLS.

Aging is one facet of human existence that has baffled even the greatest minds in the scientific world. A process through which the body undergoes with the passage of time, aging is characterized not only by the decline of the body’s physical make-up but also deceleration of biological processes and diminished body functions.

Could stem cells then be the Holy Grail of medicine? Stem cells offer huge potentials for therapies, which had led to increasing development and scientific knowledge. Not only do they represent an interesting option to understand the dynamics that explain both the persistence and change of diseases in tissues and organisms, but also because of their potential to develop into a broad range of cells, scientists believe that longer and healthier lifespan is no longer a pipe dream.

How do we age? Why do we age? Is there a way to slow down the aging process? Is it possible to reverse it? Or are we condemned to live to our old age suffering from various disorders and diseases that come with aging? Years ago we have accepted the concept that aging is an inevitable and irreversible process – but not anymore! To-

Stem cell therapies hold the promise to treat degenerative diseases and repair damaged tissues for which there are currently none or limited therapeutic options.

In her new book titled, “New Breed of Homo Sapiens”, award-winning and internationally recognized author Lou Baron delves into one of the most innovative and cutting-edge therapies available today: the stem cell-based therapy. HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY• 15

The book, the first of its kind outside the academia, discusses a range of topics that analyze and explain human aging and the various disorders that are associated with this complex natural biological process. The book is the product of long and painstaking hours of research on the Hallmarks of Aging as identified by Carlos Lopez Otin in 2013 and wealth of information and recent discoveries and groundbreaking stem cell-based therapies. While dealing with a highly scientific topic, Lou Baron deviated from scholarly discourse and instead opted to write in clear, easy to understand language presented in a simple, straightforward style. “I want my readers to fully understand and grasp the importance of this medical breakthrough,” she said. “We are talking about the future generations and the new breed of humans, and I want to bring this knowledge to the public’s doorsteps.” Author of two award-winning books, namely “Scripted in Heaven” and “I Called Myself Cassandra”, an actress, filmmaker, director and internationally-recognized recording artist, Lou Baron, at 72 years of age, is an energetic, vibrant and youthful lady who defies her age and still breaking new grounds. She credits all this to stem cells. “I am a living proof that stem cell-based therapy works,” she said, explaining that this was the inspiration that made her decide to write “New Breed of Homo Sapiens”. Ms. Baron stressed that her book aims to inform and educate the people about the benefits of stem cell-based therapies, and eventually be able to help in making these therapies accessible and affordable to most number of people. Visibly youthful, healthy and vibrant even when devoid of make-up, 72-year old Lourdes Duque Baron is indeed a living proof that stem cell treatments can reverse the signs of aging and the possibility of extending life expectancy. Could stem cell-based therapies be the answer to the elusive fountain of youth? Find the answer in Ms. Baron’s book “New Breed of Homo Sapiens”, which is scheduled for launching in February 2020. ***

Excerpts from “New Breed of Homo Sapiens”. Stem Cells Determine Man’s Biological Age Aging is a biological process that affects all living organisms. However, while the questions of why and how we age have baffled scientists for decades, the field of aging and longevity research have stayed in the backburner for many years until not too long ago when it attracted the attention of some of the world’s most serious scientists. Today, medicines and therapies aimed at slowing down the process of aging and targeting age-related diseases are being developed, with some already launched in clinical trials in humans. 16 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY

Aging is associated with decline of all the physical and biological processes and functions over time. With the aim of slowing down the aging process, scientists have turned to studying stem cells for their regenerative abilities. However, while stem cells offer potential solutions to retard or reverse aging process, they also appear to be either the cause or part of the problem that cause aging. Stem cells, which are essential parts of the body’s repair system due to their ability to differentiate into many other cell types, lose their regenerative potency as our body ages. Additionally, their self-renewing ability triggers mutations that affect every cell in the body. And once these mutations accumulate they can lead to diseases. With money and investments continuously pouring in, the field of stem cell biology is still developing. However, focus has veered away from what scientists thought was stem cells’ greatest promise: that is their ability to grow replacement organs and tissues that are damaged due to diseases or injuries. Today, focus has shifted dramatically and researchers are now harnessing stem cells for their potentially powerful uses in modeling disease for drug discovery as well as in targeting treatment for personalized medicine. Using easily accessible cells – such as skin or blood -- from the sick, researchers are reprogramming them into the affected tissue types and using them as models to study the disease and test interventions on major disorders, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer, as well as rare conditions such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In addition, knowledge of stem cell biology is continuously evolving. Previous understanding was that once embryonic stem cells has differentiated into stem cells for muscle, skin, blood, and other tissue, those stem cells maintain their flexibility to further develop into various cells within the tissue, when required. Recent works, however, indicate that this ability may be more limited, with different stem cells possessing different capabilities, and or their capabilities diminished with age. If this were the case, then this would probably explain why aging varies from person to person. But the science of stem cell research is evolving, disease profiles are changing, and the tools and knowledge of physicians are readily at their disposal, more powerful and targeted. It would not be a far-fetched idea that one day the full potential of stem cell science will transform our biological landscape and the way humans develop and grow old. Anti-Aging and Stem Cells A little over two decades ago, Dr. Michael West, stumbled upon a major scientific breakthrough when his lab scientists successfully isolated the active component for the gene that confers immortality to cells: the telomerase. Fast forward to today, when a new field has emerged: the science of longevity and healthspan, when people can live longer free of age-related diseases. Backed with substantial investments from some of the world’s largest companies, numerous pre-clinical researches are developing and various clinical trials are underway, with the aim of developing therapeutics to target human aging and age-related disorders.

While the biggest challenge for the field is the complexity of the aging process, scientists are making great progress in the context of individual aspects of aging with some of the most promising areas of research and discoveries in aging, which we are highlighting below: 1. Pluripotent stem cells have paved the way to manufacture young cells and tissue of any kind. Twenty years after the isolation of the first human embryonic stem cells, there is an explosion of research and applications all aimed at making different cell types of the human body. 2. Early human development could be the key that will unlock the mystery of aging. Cells possess not only the ability to replicate, but to regenerate. There are animals in nature whose regenerative ability is never turned off – like the flatworm, which can grow back its head if it gets cut off, and it doesn’t show signs of aging either. Discovering and understanding how the cells’ regeneration ability gets turned on or off may unlock the mystery of aging. And medical research has the power to unlock this mystery. HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY• 17

1. Companies are pouring in their resources into anti-aging research. Major companies are investing heavily in anti-aging research with the aim of devising interventions to slow down the aging process. Some of these companies are AgeX, a subsidiary of BioTime, Calico, AbbVie Inc., Unity Biotechnology, Samumed, Human Longevity Inc., RestorBio, Rejuvenate Bio, and Juvenescence, among others. 2. The majority of clinical applications will not be happening soon. However, despite the mad rush to develop potentially beneficial interventions, majority of these applications will require years of clinical trials before they can be made available to the populace. 3. There are very few medical interventions that are proven to slow the aging process available today. Because there is a huge marketplace out there, there are companies with claims of stem cell products that will extend your life. However, it is important to understand that they are likely not based on pluripotent stem cell technology or are products which are not approved by the FDA. 4. Ethical issues still hounds this new science. Could genetic engineering be used one day to program longer lifespans by modifying or reprogramming human embryos? Despite advances in technologies, people should take note that there remain major ethical issues regarding interventions aimed to prolong life. Dr. Michael West said that while it is entirely possible to engineer babies, but when you make modifications, it is an experiment, and you put a human life at risk. 5. Interventions in human aging face major cultural challenge. While aging affects all people of all races, we humans have adapted to the fact that death is part and the end of life, which people generally see as inevitable. This precept is anchored on different belief systems based on one’s culture and traditions. 6. Healthy children born today could enjoy a lifespan never before seen in human history. It is highly possible that in the foreseeable future, people will live up to at least 150 years of age. And as more advances and powerful therapies are designed and developed, the prospect of people enjoying longer and healthier lifespan is highly possible.

Photos by Khiem Nguyen 18 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY

*** For more information and to reserve your copy, email:


92 Annual Academy Awards nd





JAMIE BERNADETTE Breaking through ‘the wall’ in “The Furnace”

BY ALEX A. KECSKES An icon in the horror genre with films like “I Spit on Your Grave: Déjà Vu” and “4/20 Massacre,” Jamie Bernadette has been in 20 other horror films including “The 6th Friend,” which was released worldwide in 2019. She received two Best Actress awards from the Freakshow Horror Film Festival and RIP Film Festival. Some of her most recent credits include guest star roles on “NCIS: New Orleans,” “Midnight Texas,” and a series regular on “Ember.” In 2017, The Independent Cinema Foundation & Festival Academy recognized Jamie’s stellar work, naming her Best Actress. That same year, The Lucky Strike Film Festival awarded Jamie the Rising Star Award. In “The Furnace,” Jaime is Mary, a runner determined against all odds to compete in The Furnace, a brutal 150-mile run through the largest wild game reserve in Africa. Directed by Oscar-nominated Darrell Roodt, the film is confirmed to release in 90 countries. For her outstanding performance, Jamie has already received two Best Lead Actress Nominations from the Nice International Film Festival and the Madrid International Film Festival. Thank you for taking the time for this interview. “The Furnace” is a far cry from the horror genre we’re used to seeing you in. What attracted you to this film and the role of Mary? Jamie Bernadette: I love survival type films that pit an individual against nature. They’re among my favorite subgenres. So when producer Sam (Frauenstein) sent me the script for consideration, I thought OMG, I’ve always wanted to do something like this. You appear physically fit. Are you a runner? How did you prepare for this demanding role? Jamie: I do run, but I wouldn’t say I’m a runner who runs like seven miles a day. I do a lot of uphill mountain hiking. When I got the role, I started running more. But nothing could have prepared me to run in this film. We shot entirely on location in Africa. It was a ton of running--sometimes 12 hours a day. One time, they were shooting me from a helicopter and it was take after take of me running. There

were days when I just ran all day long. I was sore and I had to keep running. Usually, when I run, it’s 40 minutes, not 12 hours. I just wasn’t prepared for it. On top of that, there were live animals that could attack you. When I was running, it was usually me and the cameraman, who stood off-frame behind a bush. And I thought, if an animal attacked me, I wouldn’t get much help. I love that picture of you with those beautiful cheetahs. Jamie: Those cheetahs were rescued from an owner who gave them a grilled cheese sandwich or turkey sandwich a day. They were underfed and didn’t develop properly. We used them in the scene where the cheetahs threaten me. The animal handlers teach you to be very quiet around them and to slowly walk in so you don’t startle them. I wasn’t too nervous around the animals--some people were, though. I think cheetahs can sense your fear, so it was good that I wasn’t scared. HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY• 23

Are you an animal person? Jamie: I have a dog. I think I am an animal person. I love animals. I was a vegan for a little while for that reason. In one scene, you looked like you suffered serious sunburn. Did you roast in that 110-degree heat? Jamie: No, that’s our amazing make-up artist, Julene Paton. She’s an award-winning artist who won MAC cosmetics for life. In the film, they made sure I didn’t burn. They had me under an umbrella between takes. They didn’t want me to burn because the next day I had to appear all sickly and pale. How many miles of The Furnace did you run? Jamie: I don’t know. We were in the middle of filming and the producer suggested that I should have worn something on my shoe that logged my miles. The film also speaks to the agony of losing a spouse, what did you draw from to so convincingly portray that loss? Jamie: I pull from whatever I can, whatever is working for me that day to draw out that emotion. I delve into my past. I’ve had some losses in my life and a rough upbringing so there was a lot of material for me to pull from to get there emotionally. I get where I need to be before the camera starts rolling. We did a hostile scene and when we finished, I went into a corner and cried for probably two-straight hours. I just couldn’t stop crying. When I’m in the scene, and the camera starts rolling, I’m thinking how Mary thinks. At that point, I’m already there, because I’ve prepped myself to be her. It’s what you do as an actor.


In the film, Laura Linn personifies the faith that pulls Mary though her devastating loss, as well as her struggle to finish The Furnace. How did you address the faith-based aspect of the story?

Jamie: I feel the film does a good job of not shoving that aspect of the story down peoples’ throats. So people who may not be religious can still relate to it. We didn’t want to be talking about God throughout the film. I’m a big believer in having some faith or spirituality in your life. I love all religions and people of all faiths. I think it’s important to have a moral code you follow, something that guides you in life, gives you hope. There has to be something more than the material world we’re in. I believe we’re spirits in a body. I know there’s a spiritual world. How do you explain things that have happened? Mary’s relationship with Coffin is exceptionally real, congenial, yet bracing at times. How did you two work together to create such authenticity? Jamie: We just bonded right away. Luthuli Dlamini a very real, down-toearth person. I think you either connect with someone or you don’t. We connected and worked together easily. Luthuli is a phenomenal actor, very seasoned. His acting is natural and flawless. He’s a celebrity in South Africa. All the extras knew who he was and wanted photos and autographs. What do you see as the core message in “The Furnace”? Jamie: I think it’s to go on in spite of all the adversities life throws at you. And eventually, things will get better. Even on our darkest days, we may feel like the light will never come. If you just hang in there and stick it out, the light will come and you will pull through. And life can be good again. It appears that your dance card is full for the next year. How do you find time to unwind and relax? Jamie: I’m attached to a lot of projects right now. I’m very particular about what I’m taking. I want to do really good films and work with really good filmmakers. At the beginning of my career, I was focused on quantity rather than quality. Now I look for quality roles that challenge and inspire me. Being selective also gives

me more time between projects. I’m trying to get three features off the ground. One’s a true, real-life drama, another is a horror film, and a third is a domestic abuse drama. What advice would you give young actors just starting their careers? Jamie: Don’t listen to the negativity. A lot of people will tell you things that may have been true for them but it doesn’t have to be true for you. I heard an actor once say that if you haven’t made it by the time you’re 30, you won’t make it. If you hear that and you take it as your truth, you’re likely to manifest that in your universe. It then becomes your reality. I always tell people—don’t agree to the negativity. You can make it at any age. Some will tell say, oh, it’s so hard. Don’t buy into that. Others will say, oh, there’s hardly any work. And I say, what are you talking about? We have more work now than we had 10 years ago—with HULU, Netflix and Amazon. So, I just don’t accept those negative comments. HOLLYWOODWEEKLY WEEKLY•• 25 HOLLYWOOD



HW Magazine threw its annual Pre-Grammy Party on January 25, 2020 at the Penthouse Headquarters of the NFL Los Angeles Chargers. The Penthouse was located inside of the brand new SoFi Stadium Premiere Center in Playa Vista, California. Inside of this highly modern building, attendees were able to get first glimpses of the interactive L.A. Stadium that will be built in Inglewood by Summer 2020. It is said that the Super Bowl LVI in February 2022 will take place in the actual stadium. The LA Stadium also has plans to host the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2028 Summer Olympics. The party itself featured performances from emerging pop sensation HITHA, singer-songwriting legend John Michael Ferrari, Russian pianist Oksana, Krunchtime Productions, and many other incredible acts. HITHA performed her new song, “Got me liking you” along with several other hits. John Michael Ferrari also debuted new music during his performance and overall had a great connection with the crowd. Each performer was supported by a live band and brought incredible energy to the stage. In attendance was Hollywood Weekly VIPs and Grammy stars that performed and/or attended the Grammys the following day. Stars came from all over the world with some travelling as far as from India and Vietnam.

Attendees walked around the Penthouse in awe, looking at the futuristic interactions and displays. There was even a VR experience that showed the vision for the new stadium. After guests walked in the penthouse, they could see a $500,000 piano on display, which was donated by Steinway & sons for the event. As you walked further into the venue, people could see the red carpet. All the celebrities and VIPs walked across the red carpet and photographers and attendees surrounded them and took pictures. Some stars and celebrities that previously were on the cover of Hollywood Weekly Magazine were interviewed on the red carpet and you can find their interviews online. Once people crossed the red carpet, they were greeted by guides that directed guests upstairs. People then went through a grand tour of the penthouse. Guests also had the opportunity to buy season tickets for the new stadium. After the grand tour, guests were free to walk around the enormous penthouse that had an indoor and outdoor area. Inside, guests could grab a bite and they were able to listen to a live DJ while enjoying a large variety of food from Chef Jack. Outside, guests could checkout our vendors, which included Sculptures by Stella and the Charles & CompanyBeverage Services. HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY• 27

The highlight of the night was the food catered by Vietnamese American celebrity chef, Jack Lee, who is famous for catering for A-list celebrities in Hollywood. People in Hollywood and Vietnam fondly refer to him as đầu bếp Hollywood, which translates to the Hollywood Chef. He has experience in catering to large celebrity parties to private catering for celebrities. Some of the celebrities he has catered for includes Angelina Jolie, Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Oprah Winfrey, Patti Labelle, Quincy Jones, and Barbara Streisand. He received his training from the California School of Culinary Arts and the Le Cordon Blue program. His career really started taking off once he received the position as Banquet Chef at the Hotel Bel-Air. Chef Jack has worldly exand has experience cooking in restaurants ealthy.perience Live Happy across the globe. Chef Jack creates a menu to is 1430318 unique to the event he’s catering based on the “personality and appetite” of his clients. For the Hollywood Weekly Pre-Grammy Party, he presented a Asian and French fusion cuisine that consisted of New Year’s Golden Crispy Seafood Roll with Red Caviars, Asian Free Range Chicken Gyoza with Ginger and Sesame Chili ,Korean Short Ribs Taco with Sweet Remoulade Coleslaws, Jumbo Prawn with Honey Soy Glaze & Crispy Coconut Flakes, Grilled Chicken and Roasted Eggplant Quesadilla with Mango Salsa, and Thai Style Wild Mushroom Mini Pizza with Coriander . He was supported by his culinary team consisting of Tino Martinez, Nick Am-

Jack Lee

Angela Lee Instagram:_angeluhh_lee_


brosio, Jason Ambrosio, Patrick Pham, Bill Chow, Angelica Ramos, and Salma Ramirez. There was a pastry team that was run by his daughters, Angela Lee and Liza Abella Lee. Angela Lee is following in the steps of her father in becoming a chef. She baked the pastries with her sister. Angela began baking at the young age of 8 and now at the age of 13, she’s baking for celebrities at our exclusive event. Chef Jack Lee describes his daughter as adventurous and a quick learner. She uses the kitchen as her personal playground, and she specializes in making cakes and cookies. Angela has also experimented in the cooking world by serving the turkey for her family’s Thanksgiving. When she’s not in the kitchen, she enjoys playing volleyball, tennis, and clarinet. Chef Jack Lee is a well-known chef in both the United States and Vietnam. Some of his shows he has been featured in include, MasterChef Junior Vietnam, Celebrity MasterChef Vietnam, Cutthroat Kitchen, and Rachael vs Guy: Kids Cook-off. Chef Jack also has famous food collections, such as Beyond the Seven Seas, My True Colors, Chinoises Tapas, and many more. Chef Jack is also known for his $100 egg roll. His signature dishes include Salmon Napoleon with Sea Urchin Sauce, Jumbo Prawn, Chilean Sea Bass with Orange Marmalade, and Lobster Beignet with Curry Sauce.


THE GLEN CAMPBELL MUSEUM AND RHINESTONE STAGE SET TO OPEN IN NASHVILLE Clearbrook Hospitality, LLC Announces New Museum and Live Music Venue to Honor the Legacy and Life of Music Icon, Glen Campbell Nashville, Tennessee –– Downtown Nashville is now home to The Glen Campbell Museum and Rhinestone Stage, Clearbrook Hospitality, LLC – a subsidiary of Clearbrook Holdings Corp, has announced. Guests will experience a multitude of immersive, interactive displays showcasing different stages of Glen’s life and extraordinary career as a studio musician in The Wrecking Crew (Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, The Beach Boys and others), the singer of many hit records (“Gentle On My Mind,” “By The Time I Get To Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston,” “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Southern Nights”) and as a star of television and film (The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, True Grit, I’ll Be Me). Located at the corner of Broadway and 2nd Avenue, The Glen Campbell Museum will feature more than four thousand square feet of never-before-seen artifacts from his early years on the farm in Arkansas through his climb to super-stardom, including many of Glen’s legendary guitars and instruments, his extensive collection of golf paraphernalia, and intimate family photos as well as stage worn clothing and much more. In the evenings, the museum will transform into The Rhinestone Stage - a live music venue. The Rhinestone Stage will be the gem on lower Broadway where national and local touring acts can host intimate performances in an entirely unique environment. 30 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY

The Glen Campbell Museum and Rhinestone Stage opened to the public Feb 1, 2020 with an official ribbon cutting taking place on Feb 13, 2020. “Glen was bigger than life. His global superstardom left us with such incredible music and experiences that a museum is only the first step in bringing all of what made him special to his many fans and fellow musicians around the world. We are honored to be working closely with the Campbell family to create a museum and entertainment venue that truly honors his amazing voice, musicianship, his humanity and his gift of storytelling.” - Ric Olsen, President Clearbrook Hospitality “I am thrilled that Glen’s musical legacy will be preserved and celebrated in such a beautiful and enduring way. The museum is sure to inspire countless musicians and music lovers while continuing to entertain his lifelong fans and share his amazing gifts with and generations to come. It’s with a big heart and sincere gratitude that we share Glen’s memories and cherished personal possessions with his fans and the world.”- Kim Campbell, Wife of 34 years For more information please visit Photo credit: Courtesy of Capitol Records Archives

ABOUT GLEN CAMPBELL Legendary singer and guitarist Glen Campbell brought country music to the mainstream as the genre’s first crossover star with hits like “Rhinestone Cowboy,” “Wichita Lineman” and “Southern Nights.” In a legendary career that spanned more than six decades and more than 50 million records sold, Campbell, a six-time GRAMMY winner, created an indelible mark on American pop culture as a beloved musician, singer, movie star and television personality. From his time as a groundbreaking guitarist for Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys and many others in the archetypical backing band The Wrecking Crew to his decades atop the charts to the grace he showed as he closed his career while fighting Alzheimer’s disease, there are few artists who have touched as many lives as the Rhinestone Cowboy. Campbell capped off his extraordinary career with Adiós, a studio album released in 2017 shortly before his death.


The official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Glen Campbell Museum and Rhinestone Stage at 2nd & Broadway in downtown Nashville took place on Thursday, February 13, 2020. The new museum and entertainment venue presented by Clearbrook Hospitality celebrates the legacy and life of Glen Campbell. Pictured l to r: Kevin Jones (Clearbrook Hospitality), Ric Olsen (President, Clearbrook Hospitality), Mike Shmerling (CEO, Clearbrook Holdings, Inc), Mayor John Cooper, Kim Campbell, Cal Campbell and Ashley Campbell. (Photo credit: Tom Galloway)

Clearbrook Hospitality, LLC is a subsidiary of Clearbrook Holdings Corp., a diversified management and private investment company. Led by President Ric Olsen, the Clearbrook Hospitality group consists of multiple, and growing, Nashville based initiatives including the Glen Campbell Museum and Rhinestone Stage, group sales, live music, consumer experience events, and transportation services.

Books to Devour by Jane Ubell-Meyer, Founder of Bedside Reading Bedside Reading® places books by the bedside in luxury & lifestyle hotels. As we march towards Spring we are showcasing new thrillers, memoirs, romance novels, and business reads. All of our authors are carefully selected before being placed in our hotels. This month we feature David Crow, author of the memoir The Pale-Faced Lie and Sharon Ann Ziegler, author of the novel, The Association. BOOKS WE RECOMMEND

The Body Double by Emily Beyda A dark, glittering debut novel, The Body Double is the suspenseful story of a young woman who is recruited by a stranger to give up her old life and identity to impersonate a reclusive Hollywood star. A strange man discovers our nameless narrator selling popcorn at a decrepit small-town movie theater and offers her an odd and lucrative position: she will forget her job, her acquaintances, even her name, and move to Los Angeles, where she will become the body double of the famous and troubled celebrity Rosanna Feld.

Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan Read the USA Today bestselling thriller that “keeps the dramatic reveals coming” as Detective Josie Quinn desperately chases a killer hidden within her close-knit town before it’s too late and they claim another victim (Publishers Weekly). The little girl curled into a tiny ball as the chamber grew colder around her. “Please,” she whispered, rocking back and forth. “I want to go home.” When Isabelle Coleman, a blonde, beautiful young girl goes missing, everyone from the small town of Denton joins the search. They can find no trace of the town’s darling, but Detective Josie Quinn finds another girl they didn’t even know was missing. Mute and unresponsive, it’s clear this mysterious girl has been damaged beyond repair. All Josie can get from her is the name of a third girl and a flash of a neon tongue piercing that matches Isabelle’s. The race is on to find Isabelle alive, and Josie fears there may be other girls in terrible danger. When the trail leads her to a cold case labelled a hoax by authorities, Josie begins to wonder is there anyone left she can trust? Someone in this close-knit town is committing unspeakable crimes. Can Josie catch the killer before another victim loses their life?

The Prize by Geoffrey M. Cooper What does it take to win a Nobel Prize? Deceit? Fraud? Maybe even murder? When she finds a drug that has the potential to treat Alzheimer’s disease, Pam Weller is certain she’s made the discovery of a lifetime. But her success threatens the supremacy of Eric Prescott, a leading figure in Alzheimer’s research, who sees his chances at a Nobel Prize slipping through his fingers. His lust for the prize and the accolades that come with it drive him to concoct a plot against Pam that threatens her career, her freedom, and even her life.

The preceding books are carefully vetted and evaluated before placement in the Bedside Reading program. The pages above are an advertorial partnership with Hollywood Weekly. Bedside Reading® is a registered trademark.


The Storm Beyond the Tides by Jonathan Cullen July 1939. War is on the horizon but on Monk Island, Maine life goes on as usual. As the daughter of a lobsterman, Ellie Ames’ future seems limited until a mysterious German couple comes off the ferry with their nineteen-year-old son. From the moment she meets Karl Brink, the two become inseparable and not everyone approves because locals are suspicious of outsiders. Ellie ignores their scorn, however, and the secret she learns about Karl’s family makes her even more determined to be with him. The magical summer ends when the Brinks suddenly have to go home. And although Karl promises to return in the fall, by then Europe is at war. Two years pass and Ellie has all but given up hope when she gets a letter in the mail that will change her life forever. The Storm Beyond The Tides is the story of the unlikely romance between a small-town girl and a German on the eve of the Second World War and explores a frightening time in America’s past—when U-Boats prowled the East Coast and put small, coastal communities on the frontline of a global conflict.

Grace In The Wings by Kari Bovee New York City, 1920. Grace Michelle has everything she wants: a home, a family, and a future career as a costume designer for famed showman Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr.’s Ziegfeld Follies. Pretty good for a girl who once lived on the streets of New York City. But when her sister, Sophia, the star of the show, is murdered, Grace’s safe and protected life is shattered.Battle-scarred by the war and emotionally scarred by his past, Chet Riker has made it a practice to keep his distance from others; love, after all, leads only to pain. But Chet has a problem—a big one: he’s become indebted to mob-boss Joe Marciano in an attempt to save his estranged mother’s life, and Marciano wants him to pay up or else. Desperate to get the money, he contacts former client Florenz Ziegfeld for work.

Challenge Everything by Scott Cullather & Kristina McCoober In Challenge Everything™: The Battle Cry That Blew Sh*t Up and INVNTd Live Brand Storytelling™ Scott Cullather and Kristina McCoobery the husband and wife co-founders of INVNT™, the global live brand storytelling agency™ share their story of launching a scrappy start-up – at the beginning of a global recession – and evolving it into a fully fledged global agency business, discuss the power of live brand storytelling and provide tactics for incorporating it into wider marketing strategies, and reveal the next frontier of business success: predictive analytics. So whether you’re a budding entrepreneur considering going out on your own, a business leader looking to take your company to the next level, or CMO eager to build your brand, this book will help you blow sh*t up and take your projects, partnerships, and performance to the next level.

Bulwark by Brit Lunden Sheriff Clay Finnes has to admit that the fantastical stories, told by an accident victim as well as unusual sightings of wolves, things are getting a bit strange. A visit to the ominous Gingerbread House makes him realize that his life as he knows it will never be the same.

The preceding books are carefully vetted and evaluated before placement in the Bedside Reading program. The pages above are an advertorial partnership with Hollywood Weekly. Bedside Reading® is a registered trademark. HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY• 33

The Changemaker by Deke Copenhaver Leadership is never easy. Almost all leaders deal with both triumph and tragedy, oftentimes in equal measure. The fact of the matter is that leadership insists on constant rejection of the status quo. True leaders demand continuous reflection and improvement of those around them, and even more importantly, of themselves. True leaders are Changemakers. You will learn to become unafraid of doing something different in the service of a good cause and how to spark a movement that others can’t help but rally around. The Changemaker is a roadmap of sorts, designed to deliver comprehensive, common sense leadership strategies to people from all walks of life.

The Golf Course Millionaire by Robin Richter When properly applied, golf has the amazing power to introduce you to interesting and influential people; to establish lasting relationships with movers and shakers; and to help you reach your full potential in your career and in your social circles. In short, golf has the incredible power to improve your life! Robin Richter, former golf pro, has been playing golf for over four decades. She has built her successful promotional products company, Wearable Imaging, Inc., through the many meaningful relationships that were developed on the golf course. In her book, The Golf Course Millionaire, Robin shares how a great hobby can lead to fulfillment both on the course and off; in business and developing lasting friendships and alliances. If you’re an avid golfer, this book will help you to use the sport to improve your life. If you don’t play golf, she provides ways to use golf to connect with influencers too! Get Robin’s book to leverage the amazing power of golf and witness the transformation that will happen to you!

Conversations with our authors DAVID CROW, THE PALEFACED LIE

A heart-wrenching memoir of a childhood that endured unspeakable brutality. David Crow’s life speaks to the enduring belief of the power of the spirit.

Q: Your father had his own code of ethics. What is your code and how is it different from his? A: Most of society’s ills are caused by people with a code of conduct like my father’s, which justifies being dishonest, immoral, narcissistic, cruel, and violent. That is the convict code, and I’m sure every prison is filled with men and women with these characteristics. People like my father are devoid of empathy and sympathy. As a young man, after helping him with one too many of his crimes, I decided to be his exact opposite. I strive to be honest, moral, transparent, kind, and empathetic. For certain, I have not always lived up to those standards, but I work as hard as I can to do so. I learned early on that you can’t attract people with high moral standards if your own morals are lacking. And on the flip side, you become like the people you befriend. Q: The Pale-Faced Lie talks about strength and forgiveness. How did you find the strength to forgive your parents? A: Finding a way to cope with the trauma of my childhood was by far the hardest part of my journey, and I didn’t have any success until I was in my 50s. I knew that facing up to everything that had happened was a must. But how? Selfhelp books and therapy didn’t help.

The preceding books are carefully vetted and evaluated before placement in the Bedside Reading program. The pages above are an advertorial partnership with Hollywood Weekly. Bedside Reading® is a registered trademark.


For decades, most of the memories of what happened in Gallup when I was 10 stayed buried. I remembered little bits, hints, but that was all. Over the years, I returned to my childhood haunts, hoping to recall the details. Nothing. And then I met the owner of the house where I had been living at the time. He invited me in, and being in that space brought it all back. In a matter of hours, I told a kind stranger my life story, remembering everything about the house, myself, my siblings, and my mother and father. Afterward, I called my parents and asked them if they felt any guilt or remorse about how they had treated me. Both of them said I had been a terrible disappointment as a child and adult. I realized that my parents would never change, that they would never think they had done anything wrong. In that moment, I decided to forgive them. Unconditionally. I did it for my benefit, not theirs. After years of feeling angry and guilty, I was somehow ready to let it all go and move on. Forgiveness is what finally worked for me. Other people might have chosen a different path. There’s no right or wrong way.

Sharon Ann Ziegler, THE ASSOCIATION

Back after an extended hiatus, a young female attorney takes on a powerful homeowners association and uncovers fraud, mystery, and murder! Along the way, she must find it within herself to navigate and succeed in a world where grossly confident men grandstand in gold jewelry, private investigators are always listening, and judges are not honorable—a world where people aren’t at all who they seem to be. Q: How did you decide to write a novel, do you have any prior writing experiences or other experiences? A: Over the years I wrote numerous legal briefs and motions and I argued before a number of distinguished courts. I even argued a case before Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito when he was on the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, a few months before he became a Supreme Court Justice. Q: What are some of the issues you wanted to tackle in your novel? A: The book took close to four years to write. I wrote it with a different approach than other legal thrillers I have read. Most legal dramas deal with the big trial and the preparation for it. I wanted to show that there are many more aspects to the profession other than the big legal trial because trials are much more uncommon than what one would expect since most cases settle out of court. So I designed the

book around the other types of court appearances attorneys routinely make i.e. call of the calendar on motion practice days, motions to dismiss, appellate and state supreme court arguments, etc. In addition, I tried to highlight how legal investigations are conducted and I tried to touch on how volatile negotiations between attorneys can become. Overall the practice of law can be very vicious at times. Q: What is particularly sentimental to you about your book? A: On a personal note, my husband designed the cover and he is very proud of it. So proud in fact that I secretly secured for him a copyright on the image and surprised him with it.

The preceding books are carefully vetted and evaluated before placement in the Bedside Reading program. The pages above are an advertorial partnership with Hollywood Weekly. Bedside Reading® is a registered trademark.



Cecily, the Songbird

Love yourself. Embrace your talents.

Cecily makes beautiful sounding soul music that soothes the mind and soul. Click “play” on her debut album, Songs of Love and Freedom, and you will be immediately greeted by the calming of an ocean and a mystical collection of instruments shimmering around her smooth and earnest vocals. “It’s definitely soulful, and in my opinion, timeless. I don’t try to be hip really. I just try to make good, honest music,” she says when speaking about her debut album. Cecily’s career began when she made a phone call to her mother saying that she was going to listen to her heart and give herself to music. She could have pursued many occupations with her Political Science and Black Studies degree from Swarthmore College, but she knew a career in music would give purpose to her life.


Cecily is part of a long tradition of vocalists who write and perform their own lyrics. “I am a vocalist

and a songwriter. My sound is rooted in soul with influences of jazz and folk,” she says. Lyrically, her work “explores self-love, hope, and growth.” A Washington, D.C. native, she refers to D.C. as the “former Chocolate City,” due to its once prominent African-American population that contributed greatly to American culture. Just like many origin stories of talented musicians, Cecily grew up with a vast record collection in her household. These records included works by some of the greatest soul singers of the 70s. Think Minnie Riperton, Gil Scott-Heron, Anita Baker, and Phyllis Hyman. These influences helped build Cecily’s artistic DNA. Cecily has wowed audiences across all walks of life in venues such as the legendary Blues Alley, the Apollo Music Cafe and the Kennedy Center. In 2017, the US Embassy extended an invitation to Cecily and her band to take the stage in Colombia at the VI Annual Mompox Jazz Festival. Cecily was also a part of the Strathmore Artist-in-Residence class of 2018, “a program that honed her performance skills and encouraged genre-defying collaborations.” 2019 is filled with plenty of opportunities for Cecily to allow her music to connect with her devoted fans and gain new ones in the process. She is proud to have received a 2018 Project Grant from the Montgomery County Arts and Humanities Council. “I received the grant to record my next EP and I am working on that now. It’s set to be released in June. I’m also planning another East Coast tour and planning to go to Europe this fall,” she says. Songs of Love and Freedom was picked as one of the best soul albums of 2018 by Bandcamp— the influential platform that has helped indie artists gain proper compensation for their music. To learn more about Cecily, you can follow her on Instagram @cecilyalexa. HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY• 37

oscars’ after party



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