Archive for the ‘Interviews’ category

Ninja Spotlight – Derrick Fury

July 24, 2009

cornerstoneOur resident Lyricist and Ninja MC, Derrick Fury, recently performed at the Cornerstone Music Festival in Chicago, Illinois. With upcoming performances scheduled for Frank-N-Stein’s and Jet Lounge in Houston, TX, now would be a good opportunity for our readers to get to know a little bit about this up-and-coming artist.

For me, the reason I wanted to profile Derrick’s story on this site is because one of his songs influenced me greatly in my own personal life, helping get me through a dark time when I was fighting an up-hill battle, feeling like a victim.

That song, ‘Struggles,’ a rap surely inspired by Fury’s own tribulations, helped me realize that everyone has their own struggles in life and that, by fighting to win these internal battles, you can get through adversity to become a better human in the long-run.

FB&WYou can listen to ‘Struggles’ and a few other select tracks from Derrick Fury by visiting his Myspace Music page. You can also connect with Derrick through Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you Derrick Fury for continuing to put out meaningful music in an age that has increasingly become a vacuum for musical artistry with a true message. You helped me realize that I am not a unique snowflake and that getting through my struggles comes with its own intrinsic reward at the end. In a not-so-small way, you’ve played a part in helping me become a better person. Music does that to people. And for giving me that, I am both a friend and a fan.

Upcoming Performances

Date: August, 16 2009 06:00 PM
Location: Frank N Steins Bar & Grill
Address: 9907 S Highway 6, Sugar Land, Texas 77498 – Free
Details: Performers: Listener, fienix and Derrick Fury.
Cost: Free show, good food and great music.

Date: September, 4 2009 06:30 PM
Location: Jet Lounge
Address: 1515 Pease St, Houston, TX, Texas 77002
Cost: Advance Tickets : $8.00

The Story of Derrick Fury

DSC03776Derrick first began writing lyrics at the age of 13 after a family member gave him a used copy of Kool Moe Dee’s “How Ya Like Me Now” LP. Later, he tested his skills (or lack thereof) in school hallways and neighborhood cipher sessions while living in West Covina, California. Then after a sudden change of scenery, Derrick found himself residing in the lower eastside of Houston, Texas. It was there that he developed his talent at house parties, night clubs, and anywhere else he could find a crowd and a microphone.

After high school, Derrick joined forces with different crews at varies times in his development as an artist and a human being. Wanting to peruse a deeper direction in both music and life, he took what he learned from each experience and began to write new songs as a soloist. Derrick hit the studio and released his first independent LP “No Retreat No Surrender”. He then returned with his sophomore indie release entitled “Stay Alert”. The underground buzz from these two projects gained him the ability to tour the U.S. and parts of Europe, performing in front of small and large crowds alike.

Currently in the studio working on new projects, Derrick draws creative influence from the music of Ben Harper and Stevie Ray Vaughn among others. Stylistically his music has been called a “John Mayer” meets “The Roots” sound, with lyrics that examine the human soul. Reflecting pain and sorrow as well as hope, faith, love, and strong infuses on his journey of spiritual growth. With lyric anyone with the human spirit can identify with – this artist makes music for all people.

Ninja Slipper Spotlight – Karen Dezelle

April 25, 2009


n613080491_2895238_2571I recently caught up with Karen Dezelle, a good friend to us since her days in London schooling with original ninja, Jino Manalo. Karen, an adventurist at heart, has since spent several years hanging with us here in Houston before moving on to San Francisco, where she works in advertising and continues to re-invent herself within her burgeoning music career. Read on to see what Karen has been up in the city by the bay.


Hi Karen. We haven’t seen you since December. What have you been up to?

Hello. I have been getting acquainted with a new city and new job. I love them both. I am currently surrounded by moving boxes because I will be moving into a new apartment this weekend. Lots of changes, and everything is turning out better than i could have imagined. 


You moved to San Francisco from Houston, and you were in London and Trinidad previously. What’s it like being such a globe-trotting jetsetter?

I feel really lucky that I have gotten an opportunity to travel and live in different countries. It’s really wonderful being able to meet such a diverse range of people, and see so many places. Abandoning your comfort zone always requires you to re-evaluate your personal truths and perspectives. Moving that way can bring a feeling of displacement or impermanence, but ultimately it gives you the opportunity to develop a new breed of independence, encourages you to celebrate people’s diversity, and reinforces that life is an adventure. I wouldn’t have it any other way. 


What’s the best thing about your current city by the bay? What’s the worse thing about San Francisco?

San Francisco is a city with many faces! It seems like every nook and cranny of this city has its own deviant, unwavering character. It’s fantastic. I think it has something for everyone. The people are laid back and subscribe to an attitude of anything goes. There is never a boring moment. I live in the Marina, so there are sailboats on the bay just beyond my doorstep. The scenery, architecture, and foot traffic have to be my favourite things about SF. It’s hard to think of the worst thing…I suppose I just wish that I could have brought my friends elsewhere here too. (Note an implicit invitation for house guests!)

You’ve been working in marketing/advertising for a few years now. How did you get your start in that industry?

A good friend of mine (read: the legendary Mike Calimbas) opened that door for me. I wanted a career that allowed me to interact with clients, but also required a lot of analysis and creativity. Designing online marketing campaigns fits that description perfectly. It’s a very interdisciplinary field with infinite possibilities and I can’t get enough. (I recently read a book that compares ‘search’ and Google to the Library of Alexandria – both are the fruit of man’s attempt to put all the world’s knowledge in one place. Ideas like that make me inspired to be a part of something as revolutionary as the internet.)


What’s your true passion? We’ve seen a couple of your videos signing online. Tell us a little about that.

Music is definitely one of my passions. It’s been said before, but it’s so true that music transcends barriers and brings people together. It speaks to us when words fail. It’s a creative medium that allows a form of expression that is often more true to what we are trying to communicate. Its sensory, political, thought-provoking, timeless. It captures the essence of our humanity.  I have always loved to sing. To me, singing is the ultimate act of rejoicing. We have a lot to be joyful about, and I guess that’s why i love to sing. (but…I guess people could say the same about dancing, and I can’t dance at all….;) 

What’s your current dream?

I am still figuring that out. I want to have a family one day- that’s one of my dreams. I would love to do what my parents did. They built a life together and created this wonderful little corner of the world for their children. I can only hope to do the same. Other dreams include writing an album, a novel, travelling, inventing something….but nothing stands out to me more than achieving what my parents did so gracefully. 


What else do you do for fun?

Hmmm…lots of things! Singing and playing guitar, going to yoga and running, being outside, watching the sailboats, writing down letters to no one, making lists, conducting research to assess whether organic food is really worth the extra cash, crosswords, developing a closet obsession with Craigs list, reading all of Paolo Coehlo’s books, happy hours, meeting new people, dressing up, running around town,  bus rides,  going to concerts (next up Kings of Leon), going to the beach, the woods, making plans and resolutions i’ll never stick to, talking to anyone who will listen….hahah…..i could go on…


What’s your idea of a great first date?

Concerts are always a winner. 


Name the most douchebag thing a guy has done to catch your attention.

Showing off his wallet….and proceeding to tell me how his apartment smells of rich mahogony and he has lots of leather bound books and was just overall a really REALLY big deal….. so boring. (…i think i’m paraphrasing from Anchorman..) 


What do you think men need to know?

Nothing matters more than sincerity. That goes for men and women alike. 


What are you doing tonight?


Being fabulous of course….dinner and drinks with friends..should be good. Keep your phone on you, Mike!