#MUSICMONDAY feat. Patrick Smith
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"There are so many bands and songs that influence me heavily, so narrowing this playlist down was tough! Rock and Roll!! 🤘"

Since Patrick was little, he was fascinated with music. He recorded songs off the radio since he was 7 or 8 years old. When he turned 17, he played drums for a few months and then got hooked on the guitar. He played guitar for 5 years, writing and forming many different bands that never got off the ground. Finally in 2010, he switched to bass. Within a few months, he started getting offers to play bass with other people and he decided that he was going to go all in. He has been playing, teaching, and recording music full time for a living since 2011. He's traveled around the U.S. and a little bit around Europe. He currently plays with BJ Stricker & The Kings, Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat, SuperNova Remnant, Ryan Berg & The Velvet Ears, Nick Snyder & The Real Deal, Holy Roller Baby, and BadKid. 

The CultureHype Collective: Meet Jen Kanne
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What is your favorite perk of being in the graphic design business?

I get paid to do something that I’m so passionate about which is super rare.

If you had to choose three words to describe yourself, what would they be?

Driven. Passionate. Pop-Cultured.

What is your random special talent?

I’ve just recently realized that I’m quite good at hearing the first note of a song or just the instrumental & knowing the name of the song & the artist. I play a game with my husband where he plays the New Music Friday playlist & I guess who the artist is based on the music & voice.

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If you had to pick one album to listen to for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I have like three that are my go-to: "Lady Wood" by Tove Lo, "X" by Ed Sheeran & "When It’s Dark Outside" by G-Eazy

Who is your celebrity crush?

Probably Andrew Garfield because I think he looks like my husband & he’s British.

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Welcome to a little something called The CultureHype Collective. What is that? One could call it a dream team, our crew of preferred vendors who are killing it in the Big D & beyond. Meet The Collective.

Meet Jen Kanne, she's a badass Art Director at the Marketing Arm. On the Lays account currently, this graphic savvy designer has experience working with household names like JetBlue, Indeed, Hyatt & i360. For us, she's our go-to for professional, yet creative album art for local artists like BJ Stricker. She also happens to be the new bride of Michael Kanne of local pop group Northern National.

When you find yourself in a creative rut, where do you seek inspiration?

I’m constantly finding inspiration in fashion, music & architecture. If I ever feel like I can’t figure something out, I put in my headphones and go for a walk.

What is your biggest goal/dream for your career?

The dream would be to do something in sports advertising or to work with Marshawn Lynch doing ANYTHING, I adore that man.

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What is your go-to karaoke song?

I’m terrified of karaoke! Singing in front of people is not my thing! But when I’m in the car pretty much anything Sam Smith or Astrid S.

What is your favorite piece of clothing in your closet?

My black leather jacket.

How did you come about being involved in the business you’re in? When did you know that’s what you wanted to do?

I started out as fashion merchandising & quickly realized I didn't want to work retail hours. I kind of stumbled upon advertising/graphic design in college & became instantly addicted.

Tattoos?

Five & counting...don’t tell my mom

#MUSICMONDAY feat. Milan Merlo

CultureHype intern, Milan Merlo, is the girl that spent her youth plopped in front of the T.V. watching E! News and liberally applying Jergens at home gradual tanner. Milan obsessed about the day she would grow up and be the career girl fashion icon behind a big name fashion magazine. Milan is a PR student at the University of North Texas and is a Texas girl born and raised. Her free time is spent drinking copious amounts of coffee, blogging and vacuuming after her always-shedding beagle, Moose. Check out her amazing lifestyle blog, Milan Darling, here

"This is my mecca of playlists with all my favorite songs and artists in one. They're all a little more laid-back picks I like to listen to when I'm driving, working or just in the mood to listen to something chill with a good beat."

The CultureHype Collective: Meet Shabby Talebi
SHABBYYYYY Culture Hype Collective
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EVERY FRIDAY we'll be rolling out a little something called The CultureHype Collective. What is that? One could call it a dream team, our crew of preferred vendors who are killing it in the Big D & beyond. Meet The Collective.

Meet Shabby Talebi, another badass boss-babe that makes up the team here at CultureHype. Account Executive Shabby is here for the music and passionate about everything on the scene. Shabby started as an intern in the spring as a graduate from the University of Texas at Dallas and has blossomed into a PR maven. Making friends with everyone along the way, Shabby is dynamic, creative and one-of-a-kind.

What is your favorite perk of being in the music/pr business?

My favorite part would probably have to be getting to listen to music and go to shows for a living.

If you had to choose three words to describe yourself, what would they be?

I think three words would probably be kind, loyal, and odd...

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What is your biggest goal/dream for your career?

My biggest goal has always been to help others get their music out there. Watching artists grow is truly so inspiring.

What is your random special talent?

I’m actually a pretty good cook but also I can put my hair up without a hair tie… is that a talent?

If you had to pick one album to listen to for the rest of your life, what would it be?

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This is probably the most difficult question I have ever been asked. I feel like it would probably have to be Ed Sheeran…. Probably 

Who is your celebrity crush?

Probably either Liam Payne or Nick Jonas.  

What is your go-to karaoke song?

Burning Up by the Jonas Brothers

What is your favorite piece of clothing in your closet?

One of my flannel shirts

How did you come about being involved in the business you’re in? When did you know that’s what you wanted to do?

My whole life I wanted to work in music but that was often shut down to the point where I accepted it wasn’t going to happen and pursued being a teacher. When I turned 21, I realized I wanted to work in music and it WAS going to happen. I began researching jobs I could get into when I realized I have a close family friend working at Sony Music. I reached out, got a job as a College Marketing Rep. and flew out to New York that October for annual meetings. That trip was life-changing. That’s when I knew there was nothing else I wanted to do than work in the music industry and help artist get their music out there.

Who is your fashion icon?

I don’t really have one. I’m not really that into fashion to be honest.

Tattoos?

Workin’ on it

What is unique to you about living/working in Dallas?

I think Dallas isn’t often considered a creative scene but that is changing and watching it change is really cool.

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Amber LaFrance
#MUSICMONDAY feat. David Wilson

David picked up the guitar here and there from age 10 to 13 but it wasn't until 16 when he started playing seriously. Now he plays with several bands across the metroplex: BJ Stricker & The Kings, Electrik Ants, Badkid, Skruff, Sister Grove, ACB, and JDM Trio. Each project has a different style so he enjoys having that variety. 

On top of that, David works full-time at Nokia as an Information Security Analyst and will graduate from the University of North Texas in December. He has spent many nights playing out late and having to work at 6 a.m. the next morning. It takes hard work to be successful and he doesn't plan on stopping anytime soon. 

Come see David play at the BJ Stricker & The Kings Album Release Party at Deep Ellum Art Co. on December 8th at 9 p.m. Purchase tickets to the event here

"This playlist is a combination of songs I've really been digging lately as well as songs that I keep returning to over the years. Had to include one of the singles with BJ Stricker and a track from one my previous bands, King for President." 

#MUSICMONDAY feat. Jane Kim
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Jane grew up in Chicago and moved to Dallas four years ago after graduating college. She recently decided to take the plunge and pursue a career in music. Now, Jane earned her spot on #TeamHype working in artist booking/relations for CultureHype. In addition, she interns at Margin Walker and is an ambassador for Sofar Sounds.

"I love songs that are groovy, vibey, sultry, sexy, jazzy, and funky. All the songs on this playlist represent these qualities in their own way and I can't seem to sit still when I listen to them." 

The CultureHype Collective: Meet Kali Ah Yuen
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EVERY FRIDAY we'll be rolling out a little something called The CultureHype Collective. What is that? One could call it a dream team, our crew of preferred vendors who are killing it in the Big D & beyond. Meet The Collective.

Kali Ah Yuen is a senior PR Executive here on the Culture Hype team. Starting as an intern while attending the University of North Texas, Kali has graduated & grown into a pitching maven. She is artistically rounded with a background in writing, singing, dancing, design & fashion. The music scene is where she thrives. 

What is your biggest goal/dream for your career?

It was to own my own public relations firm or at least make it to work for People’s Revolution, which is a huge fashion PR firm in New York/LA/Paris. However, getting my music going to the point where I can inspire & motivate others around the world would be amazing.

What is your random special talent?

I’m a singer-songwriter, but I’m not sure if that’s very random. If we’re talking more along the lines of a party trick...then I can mimick Lil Jon’s infamous “yay yeah” to a T.

What is your favorite perk of being in the PR business?

Gaining more knowledge & a unique experience that I wouldn’t get doing anything else. I really love learning the ‘behind-the-scenes’ work that goes into a project. You also get to meet a lot of cool people along the way.

If you had to choose three words to  describe yourself, what would they be?

Intellectual, free spirit.

When you find yourself in a creative rut, where do you seek inspiration?

Anything compositional. I’ll go to a scenic area, listen to some good tunes & let my mind wander. It usually sparks something inside & gets my creative juices flowing.

If you had to pick one album to listen to for the rest of your life, what would it be?

As an avid music enthusiast, this is tough. It’s a tie between “Dangerous Woman” by Ariana Grande & “In The Lonely Hour” by Sam Smith.

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What do you bring to the DFW creative scene? Why are you proud of it?

Being from Hawaii, I think I bring the island vibes to Dallas’ creative scene. I’m all about supporting artistry & just hanging loose. I think sometimes it’s hard to be in the entertainment industry, but being kind & friendly never hurts.

What is your go-to karaoke song?

Any Beyoncé song.

Who is your celebrity crush?

As heartbreaking as it is, Paul Walker was my biggest celebrity crush. So, I’m gonna go with Justin Bieber.

What is your favorite piece of clothing in your closet?

My distressed jeans jacket because it goes with everything.

What is unique to you about living/working in Dallas?

Just like the West & East coast, Dallas has it’s own creative scene & I’m here for it. The city is full of amazing talent & a little something everyone can take away from.

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How did you come about being involved in the business you’re in? When did youknow that’s what you wanted to do?

I watched this reality show on MTV when I was growing up called ‘The Hills’ & loved Lauren Conrad’s lifestyle. So, when it was time to go to college I looked up what she majored in & went with what was closest: Public Relations. I graduated from UNT & ended up getting a job at the place I interned for. Now, two years later I’m officially in Dallas’ creative scene!

Who is your fashion icon?

Rihanna. I also  tend to look around for fashion inspiration everywhere from the streets to Instagram.

Tattoos?

One right now, but more to come. It says ‘faith’ on my forearm to always remind me to stay strong throughout this journey.

 

The CultureHype Collective: Meet Julie McCullough
THE CULTUREHYPE COLLECTIVE: MEET JULIE MCCULLOUGH

EVERY FRIDAY we'll be rolling out a little something called The CultureHype Collective. What is that? One could call it a dream team, our crew of preferred vendors who are killing it in the Big D & beyond. Meet The Collective.

Julie McCullough, founder of The Pin Show, is a fashion connoisseur & entrepreneur woman about Dallas. McCullough is not only the fashion designer behind Folksie but she is also the founder of the Make + Made Studio in downtown Elmwood. The Michigan native studied Marketing & PR at Columbia College in Chicago before heading to Texas in hope to experience something new & different. If you need a creative, out-of-the-box event, she's your gal! Read more about her story here.

What is your favorite perk of being in the fashion business?

"I always say that because I make my own clothes, I get to invest all my money in shoes."

When you find yourself in a creative rut, where do you seek inspiration?

"When I first started working for myself I found pride in the endless work hours spent grinding away at the creative process.  I am much older & wiser now & have discovered how important rejuvenation is for my creative output.  For the past 6 years, I have built frequent travel into my life & it has made all the difference in my workflow."

THE CULTUREHYPE COLLECTIVE: MEET JULIE MCCULLOUGH

How did you come about being involved in the business you’re in?

"I didn’t know at all this is what I wanted to do, it really just happened.  In 2005 I opened Make, a modern sewing studio, mostly for classes.  I guess I started creating clothing because of a natural progression & then creating clothing that mattered & spoke to women & our bodies.  I still don’t know what I want to do, but right now, I am loving this!"

Who is your fashion icon?

"My fashion icons are all the slow fashion pioneers that are changing the way we view our makers & our supply chains and who are a part of the solution of mass consumer waste, by creating a product that lasts."

What is unique to you about living/working in Dallas?

"Dallas has really changed over the past 10 years. I moved here 16 years ago from Chicago on a whim & really fell in love with this city when I moved to Oak Cliff.  When I first started The Pin Show in 2007, designers (& models) felt they had to move to New York or Los Angeles to continue their career in fashion, but now, you see them planting their roots here, opening beautiful studios, creating jobs & still selling nationwide.  Dallas has really begun to open up to its creatives, & it’s pretty affordable to start a business & live here as well (which means more travel!)."

Eclectic & homey, Julie’s design aesthetic mixes elements of modern industrial with bohemian.
— DFW Style Daily
THE CULTUREHYPE COLLECTIVE: MEET JULIE MCCULLOUGH

What is your biggest goal/dream for your career?

"To connect people with their clothes, help them feel absolutely incredible every time they get dressed & to have this work have a positive impact on every member of our team. Ok, & to run away to Tulum & sell dresses on the beach."

If you had to pick one album to listen to for the rest of your life, what would it be?  

"Fleetwood Mac - 'Rumors'"

Who is your celebrity crush?

"I don’t really have celebrity crushes, but I sure do have a strong group of female friends (Marisa Dukowitz, Whitney Barlow, XXX ) that boss their lives & are total celebrities in my life. I crush on them pretty hard!"

What is your go-to karaoke song?

"'SOLD' by John Michael Montgomery...best sang with Erica Felicella at Barbara's Pavillion."

THE CULTUREHYPE COLLECTIVE: MEET JULIE MCCULLOUGH

Photos courtesy of the Dallas Observer and Folksie. 

#MUSICMONDAY feat. Evan McAlister
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Evan is a public relations senior at the University of North Texas set to graduate in December. A fellow #TeamHype intern, she manages social media & provides the comic relief when everyone’s Snapchat is out. Her passion for music, travel & all things quirky has lead her to discover the world through new channels. When she's not at CultureHype, Evan can be found drinking a Shiner at her favorite bar or being an old lady, asleep at 8 p.m.

“I choose these songs because they remind me of growing up. It also shows my personal progression from childhood, my first love (The 1975), who was my first concert, & Hippo Campus."

#MUSICMONDAY feat. Nicollette Mollet
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"Music is this mystery that has a way of swaying our moods & emotions & it can even harbor memories. With the right kind of playlist, my subjects feel they can be whoever they desire to be in front of my camera."

Graduating from The Art Institute of Dallas in 2013 with a BFA in Photography, Nicollette Mollet has continued to build her successful photography business from the ground up in Dallas, TX.

Mollet specializes in fashion and beauty portraiture, balancing commercial work as well as her high school senior portrait photography business, SENIORS by Nicollette. 

With ambitions to continue growing & learning, she finds it personally fulfilling to help people see themselves in a new light and to create lasting, tangible memories for people to cherish throughout their years. Over the years, we've done some amazing shoots with Nicollette - she's our go-to for high-fashion, creative photography. 

Check out her website, Twitter, and Facebook for more information.  

#MUSICMONDAY feat. Artist Uprising
Photo by: David Porcheddu

Photo by: David Porcheddu

"An autumnal mix with some slight hints of halloween from your ArtUp team"

Artist Uprising intends on finding undiscovered and emerging talent from all types of creative and entertainment fields. After that, they introduce them to you in a way that is authentic to the heart of the artist. 

By combining storytelling with traditional print media, their goal is to become the most trusted source for presenting the freshest talent in every creative industry. The dream team sets out to encourage, promote and create opportunities for emerging talent to hit a "tipping point" in their career. 

Artist Uprising just released a limited edition merchandise line with a mission to abolish "starving artistry." Click the link to pre-order: here

The CultureHype Collective: Hand Drawn Pressing
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EVERY FRIDAY we'll be rolling out a little something called The CultureHype Collective. What is that? One could call it a dream team, our crew of preferred vendors who are killing it in the Big D & beyond. Meet The Collective.

If you didn't notice vinyl was back, you might be living under a rock. After a HUGE resurgence in the market, good ol' vinyl record sales are at an all-time high & we're lucky enough to work with the most high-tech vinyl pressing plant in the world - plus,  it's right here in North Texas. Say hello to Hand Drawn Pressing, the manufacturing arm of Hand Drawn Records, focused exclusively on vinyl record pressing. Get to know label co-founder/CCO Dustin Blocker below!

What is your favorite perk of being in the music business?

Finding NEW music, at the very heart of it, I'm a huge music fan, so a lot of fun to find new acts daily!

What is your biggest goal/dream for your career?

To continue to grow this business into something my kids can one day run for me. I'm ready to retire & go on vacation!

If you had to pick one album to listen to for the rest of your life, what would it be?

No way. Unanswerable.

What is your favorite piece of clothing in your closet?

Black t-shirt.

How did you come about being involved in the business you’re in?

I've never not been in it, singing since I was a kid, and my love of singing has driven me into places no one could have predicted!

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#MUSICMONDAY feat. Ashley Kumah

"I'm naturally a mix of gospel & ghetto; my playlist reflects that."

Ashley is our newest #TeamHype intern! She is an aspiring PR professional with interests in editorial editing, writing, blogging & all things creative. She moved from London to Texas to attend the University of North Texas & further her experience of the world before graduating this December. Outside of class, you will find her taking pictures, editing or watching Netflix. 

Amber LaFrance
The CultureHype collective: Meet Nick Melita & Jake Ryan Hull of Cinderblock
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EVERY FRIDAY we'll be rolling out a little something called The CultureHype Collective. What is that? One could call it a dream team, our crew of preferred vendors who are killing it in the Big D & beyond. Meet The Collective.

Cinderblock began as a creative outlet for two filmmakers, Jake Ryan Hull & Nick Melita & has grown into a full service film production agency. They've worked with  80+ artists/musicians as well as expanded their clientele to include corporate, commercial, & non profits. 

"Jake Ryan Hull and Nick Melita have mastered the art of the intimate performance." -The Dallas Observer
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What do you bring to the DFW creative scene? Why are you proud of it?

Nick: I'd like to think Cinderblock's work with musicians has helped some of them advance their careers. Even if it's as small as booking one extra show because they had a quality video. I'm proud that Cinderblock has built a reputation as music curators. One of our greatest passions is finding, promoting & collaborating with talented individuals.

Jake: My team & I at Cinderblock bring something special for musicians & music lovers. When we started in 2014, there were not any locally owned companies supporting musicians with video content as frequently as we did. We saw a need and we filled it. We built a community around us that mutually benefited all parties that chose to be a part of it. Over the last 3 years, several large companies have changed their business models to not support the artists as much while our boutique company has held steadfast doing the same thing we originally set off to do: Give our time & talents to help artists that deserve to be recognized. 

What is your favorite perk of being in the entertainment business?

Nick: Free Tickets. 


Jake: It’s great when your profession allows you to call going to concerts “work.” I never went to many shows growing up so I am making it up now by going to as many shows as possible. Networking is just a bonus. 

If you had to choose three words to describe yourself, what would they be?

Nick: Short Jake Gyllenhaal

Jake: 1. Jake. Ryan. Hull.
2. Dreamer. Neurotic. Starter. 

What is your random special talent?

Nick: I popped the buttons on three different pairs of pants this year.  

What is your go-to karaoke song?

Jake: Go The Distance from Disney’s Hercules

Tattoos?

Nick: I have three: (1) dumb tattoo. (1) John Mayer lyric. (1) video game reference. (so 3 dumb tattoos)

What is your favorite piece of clothing in your closet?

Jake: One of my 10+ suits. 

If you had to pick one album to listen to for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Nick: Born and Raised - John Mayer

Jake: Definitely Bon Iver’s album 21, A Million . It takes me through every feeling while continuously hyping me up to take on life. 

What is unique to you about living/working in Dallas?

Nick: The cost of living in Dallas is low enough to allow young creatives to function while being just broke enough to get by when they first start out. I don't think Cinderblock would have been able to grow at the rate it did if we had gotten our start in another city. We would've had to hold at least 2 other jobs just to live.

When you find yourself in a creative rut, where do you seek inspiration?

Jake: I find inspiration in other people's success. Whether in business or creative. It sparks ideas & creativity out me like nothing else. It’s competitive but not in a mean spirited way. Competition is important for me to push myself. 

 

How did you come about being involved in the business you’re in? When did you know that’s what you wanted to do?

Nick: I was fired from a job I hated. One week later, I met a guy at a bar that produced TV commercials and asked him for a job. From there I started freelancing on TV commercials & began to learn the film business from the bottom up. In that time, Jake & I began working together and created Cinderblock Sessions because we wanted to work with other creatives. It didn't take long to realize that we could take that project and turn it into a full-time music video production company. Its been almost 3 years since the first Cinderblock Session & we're busier than ever & creating more interesting and meaningful work than ever before!

Jake: I always thought I would go to college & get a degree (get a job, get married, & then die) but soon realized that I hated school so I dropped out & found myself working in the entertainment industry for the Dallas Cowboys and then Disney in different capacities. It was those experiences that led me to having enough confidence to start working for myself & pairing up with my business partner, Nick, to start the Cinderblock Sessions. Music had become a huge part of my life after school so I found that combining a passion with work would be the easiest way to start a fun project that I could experiment with. After doing 5 or 6 sessions, I had a moment during a show that I thought, “this is could be a career.” The music and arts scene just fell in my lap after that. 

 

Amber LaFrance
#MUSICMONDAY feat. Julie McCullough
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Some of these songs pull me through, some remind me of beautiful times & people in my life; some take me back. Nonetheless, all of these songs transport me, even if for just a minute.

Julie McCullough is one of Dallas' top multi-hyphenates. This badass lady is not only the mind behind Folksie, a clothing line she launched in 2011, but also The Pin Show, a one-night event combining the best up-and-coming fashion designers & music acts on the runway.

Her path to maker, fashion designer, seamstress & producer was paved with grit, determination & a dedication to thoughtful design & collaboration. She aspires to be a champion for those who enjoy the process of hand-made goods while emboldening artists & entrepreneurs with her success as a passionate, self-made creator, designer & event producer.

 

The CultureHype Collective: Meet Jayson LaFrance
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If you had to choose three words to describe yourself, what would they be?

Creative. Technical. Analytical.

When you find yourself in a creative rut, where do you seek inspiration?

Travel really clears the mind & opens up opportunities for creative thinking.

Who is your fashion icon?

Benedict Cumberbatch. Scarves are the best male fashion accessory.

Tattoos?

None yet.

What is unique to you about Dallas?

I feel like there is still a lot of opportunity for growth & collaboration in the creative community here.

EVERY FRIDAY we'll be rolling out a little something called The CultureHype Collective. What is that? One could call it a dream team, our crew of preferred vendors who are killing it in the Big D & beyond. Meet The Collective.

Jayson is more than just a web & design specialist, he sees the big picture. His forte is creating unique & strikingly functional experiences for clients & kick-ass branding initiatives. Analytical & creative, Jayson is also the man behind the brand new Longhorn Ballroom, CultureHype & BJ Stricker websites - & a part of the LaFrance family, the owners who've renovated the historic space.

If you had to pick one album to listen to for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Magic Sword's "Legend" EP

What is your go-to karaoke song?

Anything from N'SYNC or Backstreet Boys.

What is your favorite piece of clothing in your closet?

Probably my 'Space Cat' T-shirt

Jayson LaFrance

What is your biggest goal/dream for your career? Being able to work completely remote so I can travel for extended periods

How did you come about being involved in the business you’re in?// When did you know that’s what you wanted to do? Building websites require a mixture of both creative and technical skills that I love.

 

#MUSICMONDAY feat. M33CA

“A few good songs about self preservation & love”

Photo credit: Fela Raymond

Photo credit: Fela Raymond

M33CA is one-of-a-kind, a true artist. Inspired by great hip-hop artists such as Andre 3000, Lauryn Hill, Left Eye & Prince, she strives to create a safe haven for the world through the sounds she creates with her soulful voice. An art student at UNT, M3CCA sings, performs & creates visual art with the mission to celebrate life, spread love, peace, unity & fruitful knowledge of self-awareness to her friends & fans.

“Creation & art is the light that carries the world,” & this fresh young artist is a shining light for the world to see.

Intergalactic realms she travels to & comes back bearing plenty gifts of love, empowerment & creativity. 

Catch her onstage Thursday, Nov. 2 at Deep Ellum Art Co. for her #FRUITTAPE album release party feat. Sudie & DJ Christy Ray.

The CultureHype Collective: Meet Said Abusaud
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Said Abusaud is an Arab-American photographer focusing on conceptual portraiture & fashion. The mastermind behind Afterglow Gallery, Abusaud is a visual artist, creative conceptualist, storyteller & published fashion photographer in Dallas.

What is your favorite perk of being in the photography business? 

The people. It’ll always be the people that I’ve been blessed to meet since this started back in 2013. I went to a show in Fort Worth at the end of 2014 to see the Burning Hotels perform, & by chance, Taylor Rea AKA ZHORA, was opening for them. At the end of the night, all my friends were talking about the Hotels and here I was still mesmerized by the performance of ZHORA I will always credit her beautiful soul for giving me a chance to collaborate with her, connecting me with incredible musicians/likeminded folks such as LEV, Ronnie Heart, Sudie, NITE& many more.

Tattoos?

Surprisingly, no. I’ve always wanted some and if I do ever get some, it would definitely be in Arabic text.

What is your random special talent? 

When I was younger, all I ever wanted to be was an actor. The feeling knowing you can get up there on stage & put on a performance to move people brought so much excitement in my life. It was when I watched Mrs. Doubtfire for the first time that I realized I could mimic people. 

What is unique to you about living/working in Dallas? 

I was born & raised in Dallas. Seeing its growth over the years, especially in the art scene, has definitely been moving. 

If you had to choose three words to describe yourself, what would they be? 

Intelligent. Controversial. Raw

When you find yourself in a creative rut, where do you seek inspiration? 

David Bowie, The Smiths, Prince & Lenny Kravitz are the biggest inspirations in my life. The visual presentation & reinvention of these musicians, that has spanned over five decades, gives me plenty of material to get inspiration from. 

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How did you know you wanted to be a photographer?

I had just finished a long stint in the acting world. I had no idea what life my direction was going in. I knew I had the talent, I just didn’t know what I wanted to do. I remember seeing an ad from Best Buy offering a camera kit for $500. I had no idea how to use a camera but thought it would be cool to try it out. After practicing and studying, I decided to offer my services to people and an old friend from my past, Ashlee Gonzalez, reached out to me to work on a conceptual shoot. She’s been my art wife & makeup gal since day one. Amy Bellinger, my assistant tech has also been there as well from day one to help create the scenes & visuals. My pride & joy are my members-only team of the most talented artists in DFW including: Gezebel AliceaAmanda ArcheyMegan Visitacion, Ekaterina KouznetsovaZach BushCarine Rice, Kenneth Smith, Logan Neumann, Jacqueline Prieto & more. This is how Afterglow Gallery was created & without them, it would have never existed.

What is your biggest goal/dream for your career?

To constantly always be learning & leave people with questions. I always get people ask me “What does your work mean to you? What are you trying to say?” Art, to me, is a question. It should never have an answer. I also want to do work for Harper’s Bazaar for a little bit, travel the Middle East with my cameras to show the United States the beauty of the Middle Eastern culture (specifically that not all Arabs are terrorists) & for my team (Afterglow Gallery) to achieve their dreams.

If you had to pick one album to listen to for the rest of your life, what would it be? 

David Bowie’s 2013 release “The Next Day” The whole album is a stunning, resonant piece of expression. I listen to it daily.

Who is your fashion icon? 

Audrey Hepburn. For those that know my work, she's everything to me. 

Culture Hype Collective Said Abusaud
#MUSICMONDAY feat. Jayson LaFrance

Jayson is more than just a web & design specialist, he sees the big picture. His forte is creating unique & strikingly functional experiences for clients & kick-ass branding initiatives. Analytical & creative, Jayson is also the man behind the brand new Longhorn Ballroom website - & a part of the LaFrance family, the owners who've renovated the historic space.

"While there was a lot of country music over the years at the Longhorn Ballroom, I wanted to show the diversity of music that was performed there!"

Click to listen to Jayson's eclectic #LonghornBallroom playlist featuring his fav artists who've performed on its legendary stage in the last 67 years. 

Introducing The CultureHype Collective: Meet Jeremy Biggers & Sam Lao
Photo credit: Glass Optical

Photo credit: Glass Optical

Starting today & EVERY FRIDAY we'll be rolling out a little something called The CultureHype Collective. What is that? One could call it a dream team, our crew of preferred vendors who are killing it in the Big D & beyond. Meet The Collective.

Jeremy Biggers & Sam Lao: Visionary and hip-hop lyricist. AKA two creative geniuses, the dynamic duo who is the epitome of #couplegoals! Together, they create beyond amazing music, videos, visual art, graphic design & more. What Sam brings to Jeremy's unreal visuals for music videos is an artistic direction behind the scenes, storyboarding and creative vision like nothing we've ever seen. 

When their powers combine, the sheer creative talent that gets put on display is borderline obnoxious.
— Central Track

What is your favorite perk of being in the music business? 

Photo credit: Jeremy Biggers

Photo credit: Jeremy Biggers

Sam: "Seeing people identify with my music & fall just as in love with it as I am. Also, the look of elation on my parents faces every time I bring them a newspaper or magazine with my name in it."

If you had to choose three words to describe yourself, what would they be?

Jeremy: "Passionate. Driven. Funny."

What is your random special talent?

Sam: "I make a killer cheesecake. Like, so good fights have broken out over it."

When you find yourself in a creative rut, where do you seek inspiration?

Jeremy: "I try not to let myself get to a point of being in a rut, but when I am, I just do a lot more research & try and learn something new in hopes it sparks something."

What is your biggest goal/dream for your career?

Sam: "Ideally I would like to take my music career as far and as high as I can go. Maybe even do a few movies."

Photo credit: Jeremy Biggers (video still)

Photo credit: Jeremy Biggers (video still)

How did you come about being involved in the business you’re in?When did you know that’s what you wanted to do?

Sam: "Depression led me to music. It started as a healing project & became something that just clicked & felt right. When I realized making music was something I couldn't go without doing or being a part of I knew it was something I was going to stick with."

What do you love most about Dallas?

Jeremy: "Dallas is an awesome place with lots of world-class talent. The cost of living makes it more manageable to live here versus East or West Coast."

Tattoos?

Sam: "I have the symbol for Mercury on my wrist. Mercury is the ruling planet of Gemini & a symbol for communication & creativity."

If you had to pick one album to listen to for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Jeremy: "Music is such a huge part of what I do on every level. I pick music based on my mood so it's really tough to say. If I had to pick though... I would probably say... Lupe Fiasco's 'Food and Liquor.'"

What is your favorite piece of clothing in your closet?

Sam: "A leather jacket with some of my lyrics hand painted on it." 

What do you bring to the DFW creative scene? Why are you proud of it?

Jeremy: "I bring a unique voice to the DFW creative scene & prove that you can do a number of things at a high level. I love that Dallas is finally embracing its creatives. We have A LONG way to go... but at least the process has begun."

What is your go-to karaoke song?

Sam: "'Something Like That' by Tim McGraw! I like singing country at karaoke not just because I enjoy it but because the look on peoples faces is priceless."

Click to watch "Grenade" by Sam Lao (directed by Jeremy Biggers).