This past weekend’s exciting “Summit Saturdays” launch in anticipation for the 2020 REVOLT Summit x AT&T included engaging conversations featuring some of the industry’s most noteworthy figures including famed recording artist Ne-Yo, style icons and DJs Coco & Breezy; Raja Kumari, and social media experts Lala Milan and Besidone Amoruwa.
The various speakers dove into the topics surrounding content creations, tricks, and strategies needed to dominate the digital space. Viewers also got a first-hand look at the creative process from Grammy Award-winner Ne-Yo. The songwriter gave his personal start to finish guide to writing a hit song, and it’s everything you thought it would be and then some. Indian-American rapper Raja Kumari sat down for a candid conversation about her humble beginnings growing up in California, and twin sisters Coco and Breezy discussed going from being bullied to bosses. Check out some of the highlights from the conversations below.
Lala sat down with Instagram’s Strategic Partnership Manager Besidone to discuss how to dominate the world of social media and the challenges they faced along the way. Lala, who, after finding fame on the internet later landed acting gigs on television shows, said that she credited most of her creative success to being consistent.
“I started a while ago just creating videos, and the thing is, I never stopped,” she explained. “A lot of people are like ‘I’m not that good’ or ‘I’m not great at what I do,’ and it truthfully doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, I feel like consistency, and hard work will get your further than having something just for the moment.”
The two women later discussed what it took to stand out, and Besidone offered some advice, stating that in her field, she would be looking for someone who had “the secret sauce” that separated them from the rest. She also emphasized not being afraid to fail, engage, and build a community. The Instagram guru says that community becomes your brand and ultimately becomes your business.
But, of course, the path to success is never smooth. The ladies detailed some of the struggles they’ve endured throughout their journeys, and also struggles they’ve faced as Black women in the digital space. The manager encouraged creators to stay safe on their platforms by using safety tools like comment limitations and restrictions. She also reminded creatives about the importance of keeping a balance between creating and self-care to avoid burning out.
Next up, singer/songwriter/producer Ne-Yo gave a crash course on his creative process for writing hits. According to the star, there are no right or wrong ways to create a song — or to create anything for that matter. As long as the finished product is quality based, it doesn’t matter how you get there.
The artist, who’s behind many of today’s biggest hits, said that “your comfort zone has to be in your head.” Ne-Yo explained that you never start a project with a set game plan because more times than none, it never works out the way you imagined.
Finding your inspiration is also a key component in the creative process. The star revealed that during a time where music was very misogynistic, he knew he didn’t want to add to that and reflected about the strong women figures in his life. That move ultimately inspired him to write his 2009 hit “Miss Independent.” The song later earned him two Grammys for Best R&B Song and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.
Ne-Yo also championed taking risks. “There are some rules, but they are meant to be broken,” he explained. “They’re there for you to break them. They’re there for you to learn what you need to learn, take what you need from them, and then break them completely. That’s what the rules are for.”
The “Good Man” singer also emphasized identifying when a project is or isn’t for you. In the art of songwriting, for example, Ne-Yo said, “There has to be something about this record that makes me feel like no one is going to deliver this record like me.”
He tied up his creative breakdown by explaining when to know the creative process was complete to which he said it was virtually up to the creator. However, be mindful of when you’ve come to that moment and try not to dwell on it for fear you may over critic your work and end up disliking your creation altogether.
Lastly, rapper Raja Kumari spoke on her humble beginnings growing up as an Indian-American in Claremont, California. The 34-year-old recalled the moment in her childhood when she realized she was different from her peers. The rapper said that instant is what inspired her music, fashion, and even her views on the world. “I always knew I was going to be onstage. We have every type of doctor in the family, but I think I’ve always been — not the black sheep — but the shining star,” the artist explained. Raja says while her family supported her learning traditional Indian styles of dancing, when it came to her rap career, “that did not go as smoothly.” However, she said being “caught between two worlds” is what drives her art.
As for fashion icons and DJs Coco and Breezy, they consider themselves renaissance women. Although born in Indiana, at the age of two, the identical twins did some moving around and ultimately landed in Minnesota, where they dealt with racism, amongst other things. Due to constant teasing from bullies, the two stuck together during their time in school. But, thanks to two very supportive parents, they were able to discover their eclectic style, which has gained them notoriety and success with their Coco & Breezy sunglasses line.