#SpotlightInterview | Entrepreneur and Author of ‘Overcoming Depression’ Ernest Kouassi

We shine the light on inspirational males who possess the capacity to inspire and empower our readers. So you can imagine our excitement at being given the opportunity to interview entrepreneur and author of the book ‘Overcoming Depression’ Ernest Kouassi. Anyone who can fight back from mental health and create success needs to be celebrated but more so, Kouassi’s story is that more empowering because this is a dynamic individual who not only dropped out of college, was kicked out school and could have easily become yet another statistic.

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#SpotlightInterview| America’s #1 Opportunity Trainer J.J. Birden

Born in Portland Oregon, JJ went to the University of Oregon where he was an outstanding Track & Field star who was destined for the 1988 Olympics but an unfortunate injury broke that dream. He was one of the first prototype track stars to successfully “walk on” and excel at football for the Oregon Ducks. Despite being the 216th pick in the 1988 NFL draft with a size of 5’10 157 lbs., and plenty of doubters,  JJ’s still went on to played 9 productive years in the NFL. (JJ’s NFL highlight film )

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Olga Levancuka Colourful Radio

#Interviews| Colourful Radio Presenter Sasha Shantel Meets Olga Levancuka

Colourful Radio presenter and award-winning model, Sasha Shantel, introduces international best-selling author, Olga Levancuka, into the studio to discuss the inspiration behind successful novel ‘How To Be Selfish‘, high-profile appearances on ITV daytime television hit show ‘Loose Women‘, accompanied with the insightful Latvia-born life coach sharing highly motivational words of wisdom for listeners.

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Superman Mark Eisenhart In-spire LS Magazine

September 2013, Spotlight Interviews Comments Off on Spotlight Interviews| Transformational Speaker, Athlete and Actor Mark Eisenhart |

Spotlight Interviews| Transformational Speaker, Athlete and Actor Mark Eisenhart

I really don’t frequent Facebook as much as I used to. Perhaps it is because I have become one of the millions who have become increasingly engrossed with TWITTER and INSTAGRAM. However, a number of months ago, I received a message from the inspirational figure that is Mark Eisenhart. Mark is a man who came from the brink of ruins to transform his life, take charge of his health, career and overall well-being. Talking with Mark and learning more about his empowering journey, helped me to begin to make changes in my own life and to look at implementing a catalyst for positive and influential change. Read on to find out more about his journey to health, read on how the death of his father was the awakening he needed to transform his life forever and more vitally learn how you to can take the necessary steps to move your life in the right direction. Be In-spired!

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Spotlight Interview| World Renowned Life Coach Tony Gaskins

You may not know who Tony Gaskins is if you reside within the United Kingdom and if you do; you may not know many people who share your understanding of his work to date. Whether you know or don’t, believe me when I tell you that Tony is what ‘Supermen’ are made of.  From humble beginnings, Tony has changed his life and has become the voice of reason for thousands of people all over the world. An accomplished author, life/relationship coach, motivational speaker and film maker, Gaskins life could have taken quite a different path, after he stumbled onto a negative road. However, he took a new insight from these life changing events and made a pact with himself to instill a positive change. Read on to find out how he managed to change a positive into negative, learn how his time as a guest on both the Oprah Winfrey and Tyra shows catapulted him to stardom and gain more insight into how he manages his numerous commitments. Tony Gaskins, we salute you!

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In-spireLS Interviews: Author and Former Rapper Lyndon Hayes

It is 2011’s hottest day so far and I am in London’s Piccadilly Circus to discuss This Functional Family: From the Inner City to Centre Stage the debut book from former rapper Lyndon Hayes. This story is really Lyndon’s. It’s an autobiographical account of his life from modest beginnings in Tottenham, North London through to joining pioneering hip-hop group, Sindecut, one of the first in the UK to sign with a major record label. As Lyndon and I begin to talk shop, I realise that his slight frame and soft voice belies the colourful journey that life has taken him on in a mere 42 years. He has been on what seems like a rollercoaster journey, which includes childhood acting, playground bullying, international touring and a lifelong struggle with Sickle Cell Anaemia. Sitting before me today, however, is a published author who knocked down barriers to be able to tell his story.

Your book, This Functional Family: From Inner City to Centre Stage came out on 30 June, tell me about it?

Basically, it’s my life story. I wanted to write something to show people what it was like growing up in the seventies and eighties, in a single parent family in Tottenham, which was and still is quite a rough area; what our family life was like and all the interesting characters that came in and out of our lives.

A major part of This Functional Family is that I have Sickle Cell as well, so I wanted to give people an understanding of what it was like dealing with that as a young boy and going through school. Throughout my early teens I was quite successful as a child actor, so I wrote about what it was like to be the only black child in an acting agency and dealing with some of the prejudices that came and explaining what that experience was like.

Then the story moves onto my teenage life and falling in love with hip-hop music! Going to America and coming back and being completely sold on this new phenomenon, which in 1985 or 86 was just coming out. Some friends and I got together and we became a crew called The Sindecut, which became one of the first hip-hop crews back in 1990 to be signed to a major label, Virgin. It’s about the whole musical experience of starting from nothing and attaining something and the industry, the politics and what it was like to be on a major label at that time – the highs and the lows of it.

Why did you write This Functional Family? Who was your audience?

The audience that I wrote it for was anybody that’s out there and trying to achieve something and keeps getting told that they can’t. I came through a lot of adversity with my illness and size and I’ve been through the whole bullying and people always telling me I can’t do something and it’s about having that determination to achieve something. Anybody that reads This Functional Family can relate to some aspect of the story.

I also wrote it because there are lot of youngsters getting into the music and entertainment business as a whole. There’s a lot of bad management and I’d say ignorance in terms of the business side of it. I wanted to expose a little bit of what I and the group went through, being young boys from an inner city area who didn’t have somebody to guide them properly on the big business decisions. I think that it’s important that anybody that reads the book understands that you have to have a good team behind you to succeed and there’s a lot of people out there that’s going to take advantage of you. If people read my story and can see that one minute you can be up there and that the next minute the room is empty, it may give them a better understanding of what they need to do if they really want to go down that road.

Tell me about the period when you formed the group. How did that come about?

The group steamed from a guy in my school who is in the book, DJ Fingers. He used to walk around with this big boom box thing on his shoulder. When hip-hop first came out, I was really into it, listening to every tune that came on the radio and he used to make his own mix tapes. This was back in 84, 85! He was the founder of the group called Sindecut. He became a DJ and played at house parties and at little, local and events. I was just followed him and followed the music because I knew that anywhere he went it was going to be the music that I wanted to hear. I was caught up in everything about it – the fashion, the dancing… DJ Fingers joined with other rappers and singers, including Crazy Noddy and another guy called Ron Tom who let us use his studio. As the Sindecut they released stuff independently and their name started to get out there within London and they started to do shows in Paris and Italy and all these places.


They really started to get big and they always saw me as part of the group even though I wasn’t actually doing anything. I was just following them around! Like a little groupie! But we were friends and we all shared that love of the music. In about 88, 89 they started saying that I should rap and at first I thought no, but when I saw what they were doing I wanted to get up there too. Through Ron Tom’s studio we met a few more people who we started working with. We had a lot of interest from Jazzie B and his Funky Dread Label and then Virgin came and said that they wanted to sign us. It all happened from there! We signed to Virgin, got big money for it, thought that we were on top of the world and started doing all these big tours and show and putting an album together. This lasted from about 1989 until 1991.


The book gives an in depth view of how people acted throughout the whole process. It’s real. It’s actual people and how they acted. It’s the same old thing. There have probably been artists out there who have had bad management and people around them who just wanted to exploit them and make money and when push comes to shove they were nowhere to be seen. It’s also about ego and how tight circles can be infiltrated to create divisions. It’s nobody’s fault, just the situation. We were young. I was 20 or 21, so wet behind the ears, just enjoying the moment.

Do you expect there to be any kind of backlash from people who you have written about or the situations that you have talked about in This Functional Family?


I don’t think there’ll be issues because the book is through my eyes, it’s my opinion and I haven’t degraded or slandered anybody. It may be a little controversial. There may be some things in there that the person might read and think, “I never did that,” but that’s up to them to challenge that. I can’t write a pretty picture, if it wasn’t one. Characters weren’t all happy and nice and if they were it wouldn’t be that interesting!


Can you tell me more about how your illness affected you?

I mention this in the book but back in 1970s, when I was 5 or 6, the awareness of what Sickle Cell was back then was really miniscule, nobody really knew. At school, people thought that they were going to catch it off me. I used to tell people that I had asthma, because it sounded cool and it was more acceptable.  I didn’t even really understand what it was! All I knew was that I was in pain a lot of the time and had colds and niggly illnesses all the time. I’m a slim guy and I was a lot weaker than the other guys at school. I wasn’t allowed to partake in a lot of the sports. Even cross country running the teachers would separate me and say “You just run that little bit and the others can do the rest” (Lyndon chuckles at the memory). I was always told, “You can’t do this,” and “You can’t do that.” I felt like people were trying to victimise me, like I wasn’t normal and I wouldn’t be able to do the things that normal people did and again that just made me think that I would do it. I might have been physically weaker, but mentally I wasn’t. Even travelling there was always some sort of issue. If someone tells you that you shouldn’t fly, you might be sitting there wondering if you’re going to die, but it’s a risk you have to take because if you make it to the other side you think, “I’ve done it!“


Also the anger. I was angry with my parents a lot of the time. I thought, “If you knew this, then why didn’t you do something about it?” but the more I grew up and considered it I thought that they probably didn’t even know. The awareness and research at that time wasn’t as good as it is today, but when you’re young you don’t know what other emotion to emote. All you know is anger and happiness. It’s not as complex as now, when were adults.


Do you have other works in the pipeline that have been published or that you might publish?


Yes! A lot! I’m writing everyday. If I wasn’t with you today I’d be going to the library straight after work to write. I am really driven by it because I’ve always got ideas popping into my head. I’ve got a collection of short stories. I would call them sort of dramas or thrillers, but they’re all fiction. They’re kind of mini movies. When I write I see it as a movie. I want people to turn the page and be able to see what’s happening.

With all of the challenges that you’ve faced throughout your life, what is it that motivates and inspires you?

It’s because I feel that I always have something to offer. I think that for somebody like myself, who is quite creative I always think that there’s something that I could put out there that other people could relate to and say, “Well if he can do it, I can do it.” I’m still like that with a lot of people that I look up to today. A lot of people doubted me when I started writing and it just drives me on to say, “Well I’m gonna do it and show you!” It’s that self-motivation, just knowing that everything’s possible. If you really want it, you can go for it, but you got to put the work in, you got to be disciplined and don’t let anybody knock your dreams. Basically, just keep going.

My mum too, I always big her up and I tell her that I wrote the book for her because she is my inspiration. She’s a strong woman. As well as bringing up me and my brothers she achieved outside of that and became a college lecturer. For me, growing up and seeing the work ethic that she put in is where my strength comes from. I tell myself “She done it on her own, so what’s holding you back?”

What advice would you give to people starting in the entertainment industry, specifically music?

I still do music and I have a management and consultancy company where I speak to a lot of young artists about contracts or other issues. Nowadays the Internet is a big phenomenon with YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, which I didn’t have in 1990. A lot of the things that artist are doing to today are DIY. They’re making their own CDs, their own covers and videos and it’s instant. They’ll put it up on YouTube and get a little following and it builds from there. I think that they still need to be aware of the business side of it in terms of publishing contracts, or where your money goes. I don’t think that people think about it enough and there are not enough people around to guide them in the right way. You always get sharks that circle when they see fresh meat.

The advice I would give is to get a good team behind them; a team that believes in them as much as they believe in themselves. Always have your accountant checking your accountant if you know what I mean! It’s hard to pick and chose, but you really need to select a good team. Just being an artist is not enough, you have to have several different hats.

What advice would you give to aspiring or budding writers?

Keep writing! Just believe in what you’re writing and keep writing. The more you write the better you’ll get. Let people read it and get feedback. I was always really quite exclusive. I didn’t want anyone to read my stuff, but once I put it out there I was getting some constructive feedback and you’re only going to get that if you put it out there. I also sent short stories to a few blogs and got feedback. You have to keep writing, get your style down, know what you want to write about and get a lot of feedback and guidance. If it’s your path just follow it. I’m still a rookie. I’m still learning!




W| Interview by Claudine Thornhill

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Spotlight Interview|J.C Johnson

In-spireLS love interviewing authors. Words are a powerful tool and showcasing authors who know how to use them creates an even bigger buzz. The wonderful Delicious PR, brought to my attention the work of Life coach and Behaviour consultant JC Johnson who recently released his groundbreaking and explosive expose on men, relationships, sex and the implications felt by the women on the other end. It only seemed fair that I speak to the man himself and find out why he decided to write this book to benefit women and to learn more about his life and the events that saw him evolve into the successful man he is today.

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