Artists, muscians, actors, writers, photographers, animators, and other creative types are often driven by passion, desire, joy and an undeniable need to unleash our creative spirits to the world. We want to and often do succeed,  despite,  and often as a result of the big and small obstacles thrown into our paths along the way. It’s just the nature of who we are.  Those of us lucky enough to be a part of this creative community, often find a special kinship and a common bond with our fellow inspired colleagues. We rejoice in their successes. We console in their disappointments. We encourage their journeys.  And we stand together when their artistic expressions are thwarted. Their struggles become collectively, OUR STRUGGLES.

Amanda Zelina - The ₵oppertone - Living Passionately and Enthusiastically for Life!

Amanda Zelina – The ₵oppertone – Living Passionately and Enthusiastically for Life!

There are many, well-intentioned, and well-meaning agents, managers, promoters and others who help creative people find success. At the same time, there is no shortage of horror stories where an artist, a band, an author, an animator or other kindred spirit is used and abused while someone else reaps the financial rewards and benefits of their success.  This happens often absent of malice, in a transaction where one side, the creative dreamer, is young, naive, uninformed and under-represented.  And to the other party, it’s just business.  The Media Pro highlights people who are living enthusiastically and passionately for life and we’ve chosen Canadian Singer/Songwriter, Amanda Zelina  AKA The ₵oppertone to feature in this installment of LEAPforLife for her resilience, integrity and her unwavering belief that her passions are going to see her through a rough patch.

Amanda Zelina AKA The ₵oppertone

She’s on a mission to end a contract she signed, but now understands it leaves her without the creative freedom to do what she wants with her music career.  It’s a burden she’s not willing to live with, but it comes at a high price — $20,000! That’s what it will take for the sultry singer to buy back her past material, as well as retain ownership of all new songs/demos for her next album and future ones. “I chose to terminate the contract early knowing full well that there would be repercussions,” Zelina said, “I am not one to sit back and feel sorry for myself or accept my current situation, if it is unfavorable. I believe in pro-activity and progression, so with my integrity in hand, I chose to leave.”

She’s launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise the funds to buy out her contract called  Help Free The ₵oppertone – Claim Yourself

“This campaign was a way to help me pro-actively move forward in my career faster than I could on my own. It also was a way that I could aggressively raise awareness to my fellow industry [musicians] that we all need to be more educated and more cautious when signing contracts. Additionally, if you are being taken advantage of in any industry, you can change your circumstance and you should speak up for yourself. Claim Yourself is about being accountable, taking responsibility for yourself and living authentically; Claiming your worth.”

Zelina says that the campaign pushes a greater message about integrity and beliefs. “Once you claim your worth, your whole life will act accordingly. You will attract situations, people and circumstances that match that worth. If you are in an unfavorable situation that you got yourself into, there is a way out no matter how bad or how big the risk of getting out is. Never give up on who you are.”

If she reaches the $20K goal,  she says “I am going into to record the best album I have ever written. I have the most incredible people around me now, and I am doing the most remarkable things. I am just so excited to share all of it! The last time I released a  full length album was close to three years ago. I have grown so much as a woman and as a musician. I have the right people around me and I am educated in my industry to make the right move and shop this record properly. Once I find a contract that honors my art and my worth, I look forward to signing it and forging ahead in my career.”

And if she doesn’t raise the funds, well she’s pretty grounded on that, too. “One way or another I will get the money to pay off this debt. I have no doubt in my mind that within the next few months I will be free and clear of this debt and moving on with my life and my career.” {Note: The Claim Yourself campaign ended July 3, 2013. And I am pleased to announce that the Claim Yourself campaign raised $22,150. Amanda Zelina, AKA The ₵oppertone, is well on her way to getting her material back and is happily working on releasing her next album.}

When asked what she’s given up to follow her passion, Zelina laughed. “What haven’t I? she asked, “Everything, I think. The good and the bad. Now, I am at a place in my life where I know what I will sacrifice and what I won’t. That is truly the answer, the gift.”

Zelina says being able to inspire others is one of the greatest rewards The Coppertone on Fears

she’s received from following her passions. She was first inspired musically by John Lee Hooker.  Today, her muse is life itself. “I wake up and I have learned to find inspiration in just that. Being able to wake up and the ability to hold my head high knowing I like the woman I’m becoming. I am inspired by everything – colors, the breeze, the country, the way my boyfriend smiles at me with a look behind his eyes that lets me know he loves me, books, old soul and blues music, a great documentary, an animal I see walking down the street or sitting on a tree in my backyard. I am so blessed with so much around me to be grateful for, that inspires me.”

The ₵oppertone – Copper, the name her sister gave her because of her hair and her slide and Tone for her music and sound – urges everyone to dream big. “Life is meaningless without dreams. The fire that burns within us to fight to achieve them should feel like a means to survival – a hunger to survive. Our passions, when ignited are the nourishment to our bones and the work to achieve them are what make them grow.”

She knows following your heart and your dreams can be hard at times, but worth the struggle. “No, if our dreams and passions were easy to follow, we would have no reason to pursue them. Without the fight, they become inactive. If they were easy, they wouldn’t be big enough; bright enough; bold enough; exciting enough; and inspiring at all. Inspiration comes from the magic of achieving something or pursuing something so grand it brings bliss to your heart and tears to your eyes.”

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When you hear the word rockstar, a lot of images pop into your mind– some good, some bad. In the case of Beaux Foy, founder of the independent rock band, Airiel Down, he’s a rockstar who’s really going places, literally and figuratively. With his megawatt smile, his electric personality, and his amazing joie de vivre, Beaux Foy is inspiring others to dream big, live big and leave the world a better place  than it was when we got here.  There’s no question that Beaux Foy, our latest LEAPforLife honoree,  is Living Enthusiastically and Passionately for Life!

I got the pleasure of meeting and working with Beaux when I worked with Breakiron Animation&Design to create  Airiel Down’s Animated Music Video GorillaWhat I’ve learned since then is that there’s absolutely no stopping Beaux and if you want to catch up with him, you better run fast because he’s not one to be idle — ever! He’s one of the most passionate people I know. But that’s just the tip of who Beaux is. He’s inspiring, he’s creative and he’s humble. But at the same time, Beaux isn’t afraid to go after what he wants and to ask for and often get what he needs to make the next project succeed.

“Never take yourself too seriously, but take what you are doing very serious,” said Beaux Foy, “I like to look at life from a positive perspective even when things are tough. Live, love, laugh for sure, but when it’s time to get serious and bear down, get serious, but always enjoy the ride!”

Beaux Foy surfing the crowd at an Airiel Down concert for the military

Beaux Foy surfing the crowd at an Airiel Down concert for the military
(Photo by Hunter Lee Elliot)

Enjoy the ride, indeeed. Sometimes you’ll find Beaux surfing the crowd at an Airiel Down concert…

Beaux Foy Snowboarding in Whistler, BC

Beaux Foy Snowboarding in Whistler, BC (Photo by Hunter Lee Elliott)

Sometimes you’ll find him snowboarding the highest peaks…

 

Beaux is a Level 3 Certified, Freestyle Accredited, Children’s Accredited and Trainers Accredited Snowboard Coach.  He was asked to go to Vail this past winter to train and prepare instructors for their AASI Certification exams. In case you’re not up on your snowboarding certifications, that means that Beaux is able to snowboard at the highest level in all terrain. Not bad for someone raised in the South.

But, you’ll always find Beaux choosing to embody a joyful spirit. “My childhood was a bit miserable at times,” Beaux confesses, “I made a pact with myself that I was going to be happy in my adult life and I was not going to do something that I was miserable doing. You can’t control a lot when you are a kid but you have complete control as an adult with the choices you make. I was going to make damn sure I chose a path that was the essence of my soul. And that’s why it’s real!”

Music definitely feeds Beaux’s soul, but it provides him many connections, too. “I’m a people person. I really am,” said Beaux, “When I started writing music, it was to share with people. Otherwise, I would have just sat in my living room and sang my songs for the pictures on the wall. I always wanted to be more than just a musician, so I strive to find a way to make a positive impact on people whether it’s by direct connection or through the music. It is a powerful force. I think everyone is drawn to it in one way or another. It transcends language, culture, gender… I try to follow it’s lead and find common ground to develop something positive, no matter how small, with just about everyone.  Not everyone digs Rock and Roll. But we have found that mostly everyone reacts to positive energy. And that is natural for us. High octane rock and roll that isn’t negative. It’s what brings us all together.”

The 37-year-old rocker is extremely driven. “I’m not interested in mediocrity. I don’t necessarily compete with other people. I compete against myself. I’m trying to get the best out of me everyday and I’m my own worst enemy, if I allow it. I have to keep pushing myself to be the best I possibly can. I won’t be a mediocre me. I will be the exceptional me. Ordinary or extraordinary? Decide.”

Beaux Foy at Dian Fossey International Gorilla Fund, Bisate, Rwanda Africa

Beaux Foy at Dian Fossey International Gorilla Fund, Bisate, Rwanda Africa (Photo by Hunter Lee Elliott)

Recently, Beaux’s been traveling the world for causes he believes in like the Dian Fossey International Gorilla Fund, where he met with the Trackers who are doing all they can to catch gorilla poachers and protect the Silverback Gorilla in its habitat.

Another cause Beaux believes in is the TOMS Shoes, One for One campaign that gives shoes to children around the world who need them.

Beaux Foy in Yida Village, China

Beaux Foy in Yida Village, China
(Photo by Peggy Jiao)

This past year, Beaux spent time in Rwanda and China meeting with the kids who received some of those shoes. ”I share the objective of every organization I partner with,” Beaux said, “That is how I decide to be apart of the campaign or not. However, I also enjoy smashing the stereotype that people in Rock and Roll are all lazy, into drugs, abuse alcohol and condone other negative shit. I never thought any of that was cool. Rock and Roll to me is an attitude, and I have bucket fulls of that.”

Beaux Foy at a Rwanda School

Beaux Foy at a Rwanda School
(Photo by Hunter Lee Elliott)

Beaux often goes against stereotype around the world and in his home state of North Carolina. On every tour, Beaux schedules time to meet with aspiring musicians, or sets up talks at local high schools, universities and community colleges. He inspires students by encouraging them to stay in school and strive to be their best at whatever they want to do.

 

And how many rockstars do you know actually promote reading? Beaux is helping to promote North Carolina libaries with the NC Smartest Card Campaign.  

“A diesel mechanic once told me, ‘Keep living your dream no matter what!’ It seems like such an elementary statement but I found it so profound and impactful,” Beaux said, “No matter what! That’s gold to me man. Don’t let ANYTHING stop you. No matter what!”

Fans of the NHL Carolina Hurricanes are familiar with Beaux and Airiel Down’s music, even if they don’t realize it. Airiel Down’s Hurricane Warning is one of the team’s anthem’s.

In 2011, the USO of North Carolina honored Beaux for its first ever Heart of a Patriot award. When asked about Foy’s award, USO of North Carolina President, John Falkenbury, says, “Beaux is determined, passionate, has an understanding of community and is committed to giving back. While his passion is music, his mission is to serve and give back to those that sacrifice for our freedom.” USO chapters across the nation annually recognize recipients with awards, but only two other entertainers, actor Gary Sinese and actress Karrie Turner have been recognized with the Heart of a Patriot award.

“Just as crippling as fear is doubt. Don’t be afraid of anything and never doubt yourself. Prepare diligently for whatever challenge you will undertake and then confront it head on” said Beaux Foy, “You will never fail, if you never quit. You’ll win! I know it. We are all together in this thing called life. If we take and never give anything back, how can this earth or race survive? We all have to put something back in the pot. It’s like Paul McCartney and The Beatles said, ‘In the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.’ The life of a musician is not a glamorous one, but one of service. We are here to entertain people and bring people together to share a moment. If you understand that, your head will never get too big, even with all of the so-called accolades.”

Beaux Foy at Great Wall of China

Beaux Foy at Great Wall of China
(Photo by Phil Arntz)

Beaux has advice for others about living enthusiastically and passionately for life. “I believe the impossible is possible,” he said, “From day one I knew the dream was going to be a hard line, but never impossible. Remember, it’s not enough to just chase your dreams, you have to catch them.  And if you do that with a resilient passion and enthusiasm, nothing is impossible. Nothing! I encourage people to learn more about themselves. Push yourself beyond what you ever thought was possible. You think you know your limitations but the fact of the matter is, there aren’t any!”

Beaux is currently working on developing a documentary series designed around his diligent work ethic to accomplish the seemingly impossible. He hopes to inspire others through stories of motivation,  persistence, sacrifice, and aspirations for excellence.

 

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Tara just after Scott outside the salon

There are all types of passions that can fuel our souls and give us a boost. But when I talk to people living passionately and enthusiastically for life, I often find that these people are most inspired when their passions help others or make a difference in someone’s life. When your passion is about making connections and building up confidences in others, you can see some amazing results both personnally and professionally. Just look at what happened when Professional Hair Designer Scott Musgrave embraced his passion for curly hair.

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When I started talking to my friends about my new blog, I was surprised at how many people said to me, “I have no idea what my passion is,” or “I wouldn’t know where to start to figure out how to find my passion.”

That got me to thinking deeply about how I could help people identify their passions.
Passion isn’t just something that happens overnight. Generally, it develops over time. Here are some ways to start thinking about what drives you.

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Bruckner Chase

I have always been drawn to the ocean. To me, it is breathtaking, magical, mysterious, ever-changing, and awe-inspiring. I have seen the ocean be as calm as if the earth stood still. I’ve also been nearly consumed by it during a ferocious hurricane. I’ve frolicked in the ocean with my nephew, Garrett, whose squeals of delight filled the air with each churning wave while his small hand held mine in a vice-like grip. I’ve witnessed many GOD moments at the ocean, like the time my parents and I strolled along the beach when a dolphin leaped completely out of the depths just a few feet off shore us. WOW! Each time I go to the ocean, I am reminded how small I am in this universe and how much I cherish every experience I have with the ocean.

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I was hesitant about starting a blog for many reasons. I wondered if anyone would care to read what I wrote. I wondered if I had the time to devote to the task. I wondered if I could make a difference. I decided that I should take the chance and start a blog devoted to encouraging people to live passionately. I want to show people how passionate living can change the world and make a difference in people’s lives. I plan to promote people who are doing just that. I discovered my passion for Special Olympics in 1991 when I was working overnights at a Minneapolis-St. Paul TV station.

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