Tea Talks with Chris Quality

It's early Saturday morning at the Forager inn DTSJ. I meet up with Bay Area Hip Hop Artist and head of Knockface Entertainment, Chris Quality.  I was able to interview him at Max Muscle, Eastridge's DJ in Center Court event and now he is our CHI Guest! He shares great advice about pursuing the music industry. In the video interview, he delves in songwriting and writer's block. He is definitely an artist you need to connect with if you're interested in collaborating on projects.

The Coffeehouse Invite: Hi Chris, Tell us what you do? What is Knockface Entertainment?

Chris Quality: Thank you for having me, I am an Artist-Songwriter for both Hip Hop and R&B. I’m also an A&R, matching Artist with sounds, and helping develop sounds.

The Coffeehouse Invite: How did you become interested in pursuing music?

Chris Quality: It was Love at first listen, from my earliest memories, I remember Purple Rain and Thriller, remembering being so captivated by the sounds and performance. Then when I came across Hip Hop, that solidified it!

The Coffeehouse Invite: Tell us a hurdle you've had in the music industry and how you handled it?

Chris Quality: I don’t think there’s too many hurdles. Most are self imposed if you ask me. I would say getting my sound to break, staying true to what music I feel best about. If you listen to many radio stations, much music sounds the same, and in acts of desperation many people may just give into the trend not sticking to the music that makes them come alive most.

The Coffeehouse Invite: What three tips would you give someone who would like to pursue music ?

Chris Quality:

1. Figure out whether it’s a hobby or a career, and when you do that, give it your all

2. Go to a music conference, whether it’s local, ASCAP/CD Baby/Revolt, meeting the people there, you get get to meet industry insiders and music veterans, and just the pure fire in the heart of all these musicians makes you feel amazing

3. Be humble, that doesn’t mean be meek and quiet, it means go out and do what needs to be done. I’ve been in studios where I’ve help clean up,

4. Find your A Team, you’re engineer is crucial, they’re the ones who makes your song come alive and control the quality of the mix, make sure you gel well together and if you find a good one, keep there because jumping from engineer to engineer can end up being expensive  and taxing on one's music morale.

The Coffeehouse Invite: Here at CHI, we want to connect you with others. Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with or reach out to?

Chris Quality: Bay Area wise, I want to collaborate with Goapele and Raphael Saadiq. Globally, I feel Adele and I would create something amazingly powerful.

Check out his track "One Night"

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Hello! I'm Lailani Africa. Singer-songwriter, Creator of CHI and Coffeehouse Lover. Let's grab a cup of coffee.

CHI PRESENTS: The Complements EP Celebration at Bazaar Cafe

Earlier this month, I attended The Complements EP Release celebration at Bazaar Café in San Francisco, Ca. Alicia and Gregg make up this dynamic duo. It was a full house at their EP Release! The intimate space was shared with other local artists that included Tommy P and Trace Repeat. A big thank you to The Complements for having me share a couple of my songs at your celebration.

We got a special acoustic set of their EP. The best part of attending these shows is getting to hear the stories that inspire each of their songs. Here's one of my favorite songs from them called "My Place".

We love supporting our local artists! Learn more about these other artists that joined The Complements at Bazaar Cafe.

CHI PRESENTS: Psycho Donuts and CAFN8RX

Starting off your week with something sweet! I stopped by to meet with Justine Durnin of Psycho Donuts in Downtown San Jose. Not only will this place satisfy your sweet tooth, but you can also watch a movie at Camera 3 Cinemas. This shared space combines donuts, movies and art! Check out the interview below.

Here is the second segment of the interview with Melissa Greer of CAFN8RX. It's coffee with PURPOSE! Learn more about CAFN8RX and organizations it serves. Melissa also gives us some advice on following your dreams.

 

Follow @lailaniafrica for a donut and coffee giveaway (Ends July 31st, 2017!) 🍩 😜

Your CHI Host,

Lailani

 

Red Rockin' with Jake Wichman

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The Coffeehouse Invite is back with South Bay Musician, Jake Wichman! He joins me at Red Rock Coffee in Mountain View, Ca and we talk about his influences, goals and his EP release “Ode to Marie”. We sit on the 2nd floor of the cafe as he gives us an inside look on his writing process and shares advice for others who would like to start their career as musicians. Jake is also the host of Red Rock Open Mic every Monday night. Great to see artists like him who are involved in their community. Read on and learn more about Jake.

The Coffeehouse Invite: Hey Jake! Thanks for joining us on CHI. Tell us about what you do.

Jake Wichman: I work as a Barista at Red Rock Coffee in Mountain View. I also host the Open Mic there. When I’m not working, I’m usually working on my music and playing shows every opportunity I get.

The Coffeehouse Invite: In what moment did you decide you wanted to take music further?

Jake Wichman: It was shortly after I started hosting the Open Mic at Red Rock. I was able to connect with so many great local artists, and it really inspired me to step out more with my own music and start performing.

The Coffeehouse Invite: You noted Tegan and Sara as one of your influences. What connects you with their music?

Jake Wichman: Those two are my HEROES! Their music is so freaking catchy, but the lyrics are really raw, emotional and relatable. They are the only artists who have ever made me dance and cry at the same time. Each and every one of their songs that I have listened to I have been able to relate with in some way or another, and that has gotten me through some really tough times. The honesty and vulnerability in their songs makes you feel connected to them, even if you don’t know them personally. To me it’s more than music, it’s also medicine. That’s the kind of artist I want to be.

The Coffeehouse Invite: You’ve released an EP “Ode to Marie”. What do you want people to take away from that album and when can we expect a full length album? :)

Jake Wichman: This particular record is very personal. Again I want to put music out that people can relate to and connect with. My hope for “Ode to Marie” is that it will be entertaining, but also comforting to the people who hear it. I feel the four songs on this EP are ones that deal with things most people have been through in their lives (attraction, love, heartbreak, etc.) and I feel they are songs you can go to and get lost in when experiencing such things.

As for a full length. My hope is to be back in the studio sometime in 2017, and a full length out by early to mid 2018. I’d also like to release a single or two within that time as well.

The Coffeehouse Invite: Sledgehammer is so catchy! Tell us the writing process for this song.

Jake Wichman: It’s funny. “Sledgehammer” was a song that I never intended for anyone else to hear. I was madly in love with a girl that I was close friends with at the time, and I didn’t feel like I could be open with her about my feelings. I had to get it out somehow, so one night I was sitting in my room and I was thinking about some of those old catchy Motown love ballads, and it all just kind of spilled out. I had planned on just keeping it for myself, but… well let’s just say events occurred, the song is no longer for that girl, and I felt that it was a song that a lot of people would enjoy and relate to, and I was right. It’s probably the most popular song from the EP.

The Coffeehouse Invite: I hear you host the Red Rock open mic in Mountain View. Can you tell us how you got involved in hosting this event? Also, any information you would like to share for anyone interested in performing?

Jake Wichman: In July of 2015 I was approached by Nik Bartunek(the booking agent for Red Rock and a life long friend of mine) about taking over the open mic. The previous hosts were leaving and he asked me if I’d be interested in taking over. I had been involved with an open mic while I was living in Australia, and I absolutely loved it. I feel open mics are an amazing way for performers of all ages, experiences, and skill levels to showcase their art, and connect with each other. He asked me to think it over, but I didn’t need to. I accepted right on the spot. Hosting that open mic is one of the greatest honors I’ve ever had and my life has completely changed since taking it over.

Jake Wichman: We have it every Monday night from 7-9:30. Sign ups start at 6:30, but there are times people will line up as early as 5pm, so make sure to get there early if you want to get a spot. It’s at Red Rock Coffee on Castro Street in Mountain View.

The Coffeehouse Invite: What are 3 tips you would give to someone interested in starting a career as a musician?

Jake Wichman: First, you need to believe in yourself. Be confident and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.

Second, Network. Go find people who like your music, and you like theirs. Work with them, learn from each other, and help each other out.

Third, Don’t give up. Being a musician is a lot of fun, but it can also be very hard at times. It takes a lot of work and dedication, and there have been times where it’s taken a toll on me, and I had to dig deep down to find the strength to keep going, and I’m glad I did. It’s hard, but it’s worth it.

The Coffeehouse Invite: Any new projects or shows we can expect from you in the next year?

Jake Wichman: I will continue to play shows whenever I am able to. My goal is to play at least 75 shows in 2017. Also, I’m talking with some people about the possibility of a tour, but right now it’s in the “speculation” phase you could say. I’m also planning to dive into writing in hopes of getting back into the studio and working on a full length album.

The Coffeehouse Invite: At CHI we encourage others to reach out and find people to collaborate with. Are you looking for anyone to work with? If so let, our CHI community know.

Jake Wichman: I am always down to collab and work with people. I’d love to partner up with other songwriters for my future projects.

Hello! I'm Lailani Africa. Singer-songwriter, Creator of CHI and Coffeehouse Lover. Let's grab a cup of coffee.

Hello! I'm Lailani Africa. Singer-songwriter, Creator of CHI and Coffeehouse Lover. Let's grab a cup of coffee.


Devout Coffee with Jackie Bueno from Pinay Aspirations

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It's a beautiful Sunday in Niles (Fremont, Ca). I meet up with our next guest, Jackie Bueno. We enjoy our iced coffee at Devout Coffee, chat about her goals and her involvement with Pinay Aspirations. Pinay Aspirations is an organization that promotes and supports the advancement of Filipinas in the Bay Area. I was able to attend the organization's gala this year and was interested in learning more about their work. Not only do they award scholarships, but provide mentorship program to guide awardees through out the year. Jackie was matched with Maria Luntao as her Mentor. She is currently a Junior at UC Berkeley and majoring in Political Economy. Jackie's positive outlook and focus will no doubt lead her to success. We chat about her values, goals and her experience as a Pinay Aspirations scholarship recipient. CHI opens up it's featured guests to a variety of community members at all stages and walks of life. Read on to learn more about Jackie Bueno.

The Coffeehouse Invite: Hi Jackie! Great to finally meet you here at Devout Coffee. Tell us what you are currently doing. (work, school, life, hobbies...etc…)

Jackie Bueno: I am a junior at UC Berkeley and study Political Economy. I am currently trying to pursue a career in either business or law and am recruiting for my coveted internship now.

The Coffeehouse Invite:  What are your career goals?

Jackie Bueno: My career goals include getting a job in consulting, and then pursuing a career in private equity afterwards.

The Coffeehouse Invite: What helps you stay focused on your goals?

Jackie Bueno: What helps me stay focused on my goals is creating a vision board, and reflecting every week on what worked for me towards working for my goals and what didn't. For instance, I didn't get the first internship opportunity I interviewed for and was really bummed, but now that I have more time to reflect on what I can do, I plan on taking more time to look on Handshake after this weekend, and continue searching for more internships.

The Coffeehouse Invite: How has your Nicaraguan and Filipino background shape you into the person you are today? What are some of the values you learned from your culture?

Jackie Bueno: Firstly, I realized that now that I’m in college, no matter what race or ethnicity a person is, everyone is born with a certain personality, and their ethnicity and cultural upbringing, depending on the levels of acculturation of their parents, shapes their identity. For example, both of my parents are immigrants from Nicaragua and the Philippines. Because they came here in high school, I definitely think this is why they have been so open to me adopting American values while also adopting cultural norms from their cultures in comparison to children whose parents immigrated much later in their adulthood who find it harder to assimilate to American culture. For instance, I feel like I've adopted some of their cultural values such as inclusiveness, family, and compassion into my life, but I've also adopted American values such as prioritizing finding a career in my 20’s over finding a spouse and spending time with family and friends. I’m grateful for the foundation my parents have laid for me and have such an appreciation for both of my cultural backgrounds, but I honestly do struggle with compromising the two cultures and find myself struggling more than ever as of now in a school that celebrates diversity but does not have much of it to celebrate it adequately.

The Coffeehouse Invite:  How has the Pinay Aspirations Scholarship impacted your life?

Jackie Bueno: Pinay Aspirations has impacted my life in ways academically and personally. Being around women who have the same values as I do, prioritizing their careers before finding a spouse and valuing academic achievement, while staying loyal to their Filipino culture, one that appreciates kindness, respect, and giving back to others, has provided a crutch to me when I couldn't find these same values in my own Filipino side of the family due to our differences in socioeconomic and political status. I am forever grateful for meeting these women, and encourage young Filipina women to apply for a scholarship to get the lucky opportunity to meet these women too!

The Coffeehouse Invite:  What is a piece of advice that your mentor, Maria gave, that has stuck with you?

Jackie Bueno: Maria has always given excellent advice, so not sure if this question will be an easy one to answer! But I don't think it was the advice she has given that has been helpful, but rather the way she's made me feel after giving advice. The popular quote, “It’s not what you say but how you make people feel.” definitely applies to the advice Maria gave to me, because she is always able to listen to me objectively and give me advice accordingly whereas most people are unable to do this consistently and correctly.

The Coffeehouse Invite:  You've also given advice on finding a career path. Can you elaborate on how that helped you choose your career path and educational goals in your life?

Jackie Bueno: All my life I always identified as someone who is proud of challenging the close-minded assumptions I hold, so consequently, that mindset motivated me to seek positions of leaderships and careers that hold a lot of responsibility. I honestly don't know if I want a career in either business or politics, but I know I want to do something in either field that will evoke change.

The Coffeehouse Invite:  As a Pinay Aspirations mentee, you mentioned you would like to be involved as a mentor in the future. Any other words of wisdom you would like to shed for others trying to achieve their goal?

Jackie Bueno: Observe what works for you and what doesn’t. Always self reflect and never let your setbacks prevent you from achieving what you want.

The Coffeehouse Invite:  Tell us how you found out about Pinay Aspirations and the application process for those interested in applying.

Jackie Bueno: I found out about Pinay Aspirations from my high school scholarship coordinator. They had an online application, I filled it out, and was emailed to interview with them a couple of weeks later.

The Coffeehouse Invite:  At CHI, we encourage others to reach out and find people to collaborate with. Are you looking for anyone to work with? If so let, our CHI community know.

Jackie Bueno: Yeah, if there's anyone who wants to collaborate in Pinay Aspirations, then let me know! I’m always down to meet someone new and tackle a new project!

Hello! I'm Lailani Africa. Singer-songwriter, Creator of CHI and Coffeehouse Lover. Let's grab a cup of coffee.

Hello! I'm Lailani Africa. Singer-songwriter, Creator of CHI and Coffeehouse Lover. Let's grab a cup of coffee.


STYLE POSTS

Kato Guzman's One Year Update with CHI

It’s The Coffeehouse Invite’s One Year Anniversary this month! We’re kicking off this month by giving you an update on our very first guest, Kato Guzman! We featured his toy photography work one year ago. Now we hear he has a new movie review site called DoubleEnGenre. Kato gives us the scoop on what he’s been doing this past year and what we can expect from him in the future.

Photography by Kato Guzman

Photography by Kato Guzman

The Coffeehouse Invite:  It's been a year since we did your feature! Update us on your Toy Photography. Any cool projects you've been working on?

Kato Guzman: I've stepped away from toy photography for a bit to take care of my life. I recently graduated from college, started working as a copywriter and moved into a new apartment not to mention starting my website. I've also been working on making a ton of toy photography props and dioramas.

The Coffeehouse Invite:  What goals have you accomplished in the past year?

Kato Guzman: In addition to graduating, finding a job, getting articles published and moving out, I started my website and I got to be a guest on the podcast that got me back into action figure collecting and toy photography and they even helped promote my site. They're awesome guys over at the Action Toy Art Podcast for anyone into toys. I also got support from my friends at the Raw, Live and Unedited Podcasting Network.

I also started selling off parts of my collection. I sold about half my toys and a third of my comics to make room and pay off some bills. It hurts to do but right now I gotta do what I gotta do.

The Coffeehouse Invite: Tell us more about your new movie review blog!

Kato Guzman: I grew up in Rhode Island where I had a best friend, Chris Hopkins. When I moved out to California we lost touch for a bit but thanks to Facebook we started talking again a few years ago. Turns out even though we're on opposite sides of the country, we followed similar paths. We both started off going into film but found a calling with journalism. Neither one of us found work as a journalist though so we decided to start a website.

Its called DoubleEnGenre and its a play on words. There's two of us discussing genre films and what makes them great...or in my case what I hate about them. When I was in journalism school it was great because I was the go-to guy for reviews and I loved it and I miss it so this has become my outlet.

At DoubleEnGenre.com we do movie and television reviews and occasional editorials about the industry. I also tend to just hate everything so when a bad movie comes out I love ripping it to shreds. Some people think I force it but like when Anakin turned to the Dark Side, I just let the hate flow through me.

Angry Kato's Suicide Squad Review: A Half Decent Bad Movie

The Coffeehouse Invite: What new projects can we expect in coming year?

I'm looking to get back into photography and really working on building up an audience for my site.

Kato Guzman: One of the big things I'm working on though is a comic book. I have a script and I've had a few artists look at it and got some character designs but I'm having trouble finding someone dedicated. My goal is to get this short script I wrote drawn out and then I'll take it with my treatment to pitch it to comic companies. So if anyone out there is looking to go the distance in the comic book industry let me know!

The Coffeehouse Invite: Looking for anyone to collaborate with?

Kato Guzman: Part of building an audience is working with other people so I'm looking to have guests appear with reviews on my site, I'm looking to write more for others sites once things settle down and I'm also looking for an artist for my comics.

The best way to find me is on Twitter @GuzmanKato or on Instagram @DarthCinnamonBuns

Haven’t checked out Kato’s Toy Photography Feature? Read it here.

Hello! I'm Lailani Africa. Singer-songwriter, Creator of CHI and Coffeehouse Lover. Let's grab a cup of coffee.

Hello! I'm Lailani Africa. Singer-songwriter, Creator of CHI and Coffeehouse Lover. Let's grab a cup of coffee.

More from Kato Guzman

Personal Training Review: 8 Reasons to work out with Pazitive Transformation!

For most of my life I've been active by playing sports, taking hula, other dance classes and yoga. I had times where I would go to the gym everyday then had long months away from the gym. My weight also fluctuated a lot. Through the years I weighed from 100-134 pounds. I'm 5ft. I had my chubbier days during my senior year of high school then lost all the weight during college when I took up cardio kick-boxing and yoga. I was 18 and losing weight was easier back then. That dreaded "Freshman 15" came and the "Happy-weight" kicked in and now I am 27 years old at 130 Lbs.

Usually I'm pretty private about my weight because of insecurities growing up of having to fit the "mold". My weight was always pointed out as a teenager. I would hear comments such as "you should only weigh this much. You're getting so fat."  It gets hurtful at times and sometimes I just ignore it. It's the worst when you're actively working out, feel so good about yourself and someone criticizes your weight. Sometimes the biggest critics are your own family. It's part of the reason why I don't like people to know how much I weigh. But now I don't care! I'm working out eating healthy and feeling more energized. When I was 100 lbs, I had a bad diet and felt really frail. Now at 130 and working out, I feel a lot stronger than I did. I felt like 115 was my happy weight so I still have 15 lbs to shed. I started to train with Andrea from Pazitive Transformation in July this year. I'm glad I did! Here are 8 reasons to work out with Pazitive Transformation.

 

1. Go at your own pace

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Andrea let's you know it's okay to go at your own pace! There is no pressure to exert yourself. During my first session with her, I told myself I was going to fight through the last set of exercises. Big mistake. I threw up in public. Thank goodness for the trash can. haha. But if you really don't feel well be honest! We gradually build our strength and endurance so she let me know it was okay to tell her I can't do anymore...(Those burpees will get you...;D)

 

2. Exercises are tailored to your goals

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I had a trainer who pointed out what areas he thought I needed to work on. That made me feels super insecure and uncomfortable working with him. I canceled my session with him.  Andrea made me feel comfortable with talking about what my fitness goals are. She also checks in with you during the week to see how your exercises are going. It's not a one size fits all. Your work out plan will be tailored to your goals.

 

3. Offers Personal Coaching Sessions as Part of training

She's a great listener and it was nice to have someone who you can relate to! She's easy to open up to. There was one week when I was discouraged because people were commenting on my weight. I was feeling good and working out more and people were saying how much weight I've gained. I know I've gained weight through out the years. My weight fluctuated through out the years. I used to be 100 lbs when I was 18 and now at 27 I am around 130. I felt comfortable opening up to her and it helps having someone to relate to.

 

4. Gives advice on eating habits

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Part of your fitness is also changing your eating habits. Andrea gave me great advice. I usually give in to my cravings, but she reminds you of what your goals are and shares tips on eating habits. She doesn't make you feel like you have to give up a certain food. You can still have foods you like, but in moderation. I still eat what I like, but I won't stuff myself.  

 

5. Great Equipment and Work Out Area (and she has Chickens!!)

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Andrea is equipped with new fitness equipment! She has a great space in her backyard. Newly remodeled with a grass area, TRX straps, weights, and other new equipment. She also has a nice little farm with chickens! It's a fun space and I love working out there. Don't worry they won't be running around you while you work out. :) 

 

6. Provides a variety of different work outs

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I never got bored with the work outs because Andrea always added and tried new things with my work outs. One week we did a stair work out. She added a TRX workout which I loved! I actually purchased my own that I do at home. We also did deadlifting and squats which I've always wanted to do! I was always afraid of hurting myself, but Andrea made sure I had the correct form. She also provides a weekly sheet of the exercises/guide to help you during the week.

7. She'll make you do box jumps and you will have fun

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One of the most challenging, not because it required super strength but I was so scared to jump! Haha. It wasn't too high, but when I was going to jump on it, I started to second guess myself. I thought I was going to trip and fall over. The first jump is always the hardest. The key is to be confident in your jump and you can do it.

 

8. You will feel great!

Before starting my personal training session with her, I felt so stressed out. I was always making excuses not to go to the gym. I'm more aware of what I am eating. I feel a lot stronger. When I first started I couldn't even 1 push up. That's when I knew I was out of shape. In about a month of training with her. I was able to go from 0 push-ups to 20! Within 2 months I was able to do the Pike exercise on the TRX. With consistency and a determined mindset, you can definitely reach your fitness goals.

After taking personal training sessions with Andrea, it has got me to think of fitness as a life-long priority. Honestly, I still have a difficult time balancing fitness and the rest of my life, but it's great to have guidance from someone like Andrea to help achieve your goals! We don't have to do it alone. :)

If you're interested in personal training please check out her website. I hear she may be setting up bootcamp or TRX classes in the future and also be one of our guests on the blog. ;)

 

 

 

 

Have a Cappuccino at 1oz Coffee!

Tucked away in a Santa Clara business plaza is a coffee bar called 1oz. It's a hidden gem with great drinks and pastries! It's an outdoor coffee bar with seating and a patio area. They use coffee beans from Vertigo Coffee located in San Juan Bautista and the pastries come from Alexander’s Patisserie. I highly suggest trying one of the almond croissants. It's flaky, sweet with a nice crunch. Yum. The only downside is the hours are M-F from 8am-2pm, but if you get the chance to stop by, please do!

We were able to hang out behind the coffee bar at 1oz and watch how they create their drinks. One of the barista's, Nu Nguyen, shows CHI a few simple steps on how he creates his specialty cappuccino! Check out our evening at 1oz in the video below.

Big thank you to 1oz and Nu Nguyen for having CHI Taste come after hours to film!

Visit 1 OZ

Hours M-F 8am-2pm

3051 Tasman Dr

Santa Clara, CA 95054

Learn more about 1oz's Coffee and Pastries

Vertigo Coffee - http://vertigocoffee.com/

Alexander Pastisserie - http://www.alexanderspatisserie.com/

Music - RawBars By Perspecktive