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Peggy Still Johnson

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Peggy Still Johnson

Creative and Business Strategist, Fundraiser and Nonprofit Professional, Producer, Artist, Composer and Arts Advocate Leader

Peggy is the Chief External Affairs Officer for The Center for Working Families Inc.  The Mission of TCWFI is to advance economic success for hard-working families and their children through workforce development, economic support and asset building.

Peggy is the Production Advisor for Roadshow Equity Partners – raising a series of $25 million funds to invest in a Slate (10-12) of independent Georgia-produced entertainment. Empowering producers and great scripts while protecting investors and generating significant returns.

Peggy was the Executive Director for Callanwolde Fine Arts Center. The Callanwolde team under Peggy’s direction transformed the center in less than 5 years (Press Release Link – Peggy Still Johnson Retiring from Callanwolde Fine Arts Center). In 2017, Peggy was asked to speak about fundraising and capital campaigns in Washington D.C. at the National Building Museums Symposium.

Peggy was the Fort Mac Redevelopment Arts and Philanthropy Director focusing on and overseeing the creative arts and community outreach direction for the redevelopment of 145 acres of Fort McPherson working for Macauley with the Fort Mac LRA and The Prince’s Foundation. Peggy also served on the Fort Mac Public Arts Advisory Council.

Peggy serves on the Advisory Board for Georgia State University School of Music, Georgia Music Partners, Atlanta Film Festival, has served for 5 years on the Board of Governors (Composer Seat) for The Recording Academy (Grammy Organization.) She is an alumna of Leadership Atlanta (class of 2013) and Leadership DeKalb (class of 2014).

Peggy released her avant garde CD Footsteps and later a single (“Pie Jesu”) she wrote for the award-winning film Requiem for Herstory on iTunes, CD Baby, and Amazon. “Pie Jesu” was on the ballot for the 54th Grammy Awards and nominated for an Indie Award for Best Classical and Orchestral Song (Independent Label Music Award.) Peggy worked with Stephen King, John Mellencamp, T Bone Burnett and Andy York on their musical production Ghost Brothers of Darkland County as the vocal coach and copyist (working on the musical score.)

Peggy has performed all over the world as a soloist and in bands and also performed in Maui for former President George and Barbara Bush along with singing as a soloist the “National Anthem” at Turner Field (Atlanta Braves Game) and Philips Arena (Atlanta Hawks Game.) Peggy founded the Peggy Still School of Music in 1988 which grew to three locations, 600 students and 45 teachers. Peggy successfully sold the Peggy Still School of Music in 2011.  She also founded Peggy Johnson Productions & Talent where she worked as a music supervisor, casting agent, coached/developed talent, and a composer/arranger of music for film. She has worked on such films and television shows (coaching, casting, composing, music supervision): Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Parental Guidance, Bessie, Requiem for Herstory, GreenleafAmerican IdolAmerica’s Got Talent, and more.  Peggy composed music for the Points of Light video presentation at the Kennedy Center and arranged, performed, & recorded music for the Dedication of the Atlanta Temple for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

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Long bio: Peggy Still Johnson attended Brigham Young University and Georgia State University and received a B.M. Degree (Magna Cum Laude.) She was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Kappa Lambda (Music Honor’s Society,) Phi Kappa Phi, and Golden Key National Honor’s Society. She is the recipient of the Champion Award from the Entrepreneur Network at Georgia State University and the See Green Award from CeeLo Green and Shedonna Alexander of The GreenHouse Foundation.

Film Advisor: Peggy is the Production Advisor for Roadshow Equity Partners – raising a series of $25 million funds to invest in a Slate (10-12) of independent Georgia-produced entertainment. Empowering producers and great scripts while protecting investors and generating significant returns.

Nonprofit Professional: Peggy is the Chief External Affairs Officer for The Center for Working Families Inc. in Atlanta. The Mission of TCWFI is to advance economic success for hard-working families and their children through workforce development, economic support and asset building.

Peggy was the Executive Director for Callanwolde Fine Arts Center  for 5 years. The Callanwolde team under Peggy’s direction transformed the center in less than 5 years (Press Release Link – Peggy Still Johnson Retiring from Callanwolde Fine Arts

Peggy was the Fort Mac Redevelopment Arts and Philanthropy Director focusing on and overseeing the creative arts and community outreach direction for the redevelopment of 145 acres of Fort McPherson working for Macauley with the Fort Mac LRA and The Prince’s Foundation. Peggy also served on the Fort Mac Public Arts Advisory Council.

Peggy worked with the Dallas Austin Foundation. She has also been chosen as a member of the prestigious Leadership Atlanta (class of 2013) and Leadership DeKalb (class of 2014). Peggy has served on the Fulton County Arts Council Literary-Media Grant Approval Panel and has also worked with the Buckhead Club serving on their Membership Committee.

Peggy performed with the GSU University Singers at Lincoln Center in New York and has also performed professionally since 1982 in San Diego, Salt Lake City, Dallas, Atlanta, Montego Bay (Jamaica,) Maui (Hawaii,) Colombia-South America, Washington D.C., Las Vegas and throughout the southeast. Peggy was the keyboardist and vocalist for Atlanta’s most popular Dance/Party Band – formerly known as “The Celebrity Rock Band” – now known as “BandX”. She performed with BandX at The Grand Wailea for President George and Barbara Bush in Maui and performed with Mickey Thomas (Starship/Jefferson Starship), Jeff Carlisi (38 Special), and Jenny McCarthy at The Palms Resort and Brian Howe (Bad Company) at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas. Peggy sang (soprano) in a 30 voice gospel choir in 2017 for a Christmas television special backing up legends Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson, Patti LaBelle and Yolanda Adams.

Peggy was featured in Urban Lux Magazine – “People on the Move”. Peggy has also sung the “National Anthem” as a soloist at Turner Field for the Atlanta Braves, Philips Arena for the Atlanta Hawks, and the Kaiser Permanente 5K Run in Atlanta (18,ooo runners.) Peggy re-released her avant garde recording entitled Footsteps in 2010. Footsteps was sold on Amazon, CD Baby, and iTunes. In 2009 Peggy was hired by Scott Houston (5 time Emmy Award Winner – known as “The Piano Guy”) to speak at his National Seminar in Indiana for his “Play Piano in a Flash” teaching program. In 2006, Peggy was hired by Paramount Pictures to train actress Edith Ivey on piano for her role as the piano teacher (Mrs. Maples) in the 2008 blockbuster movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett.). The film was nominated for 13 Academy Awards, winner of 3 Academy Awards. In 2010, Peggy received composing, casting, and coaching credit for her work in the Independent Film Requiem for Herstory which was nominated for Best Short Film in the Toronto Female Eye Film Festival.

The film was also screened at the NewFilmmakers Summer Festival in New York City and has received praise from the faculty of Columbia University Film Dept. Jade Films released the theme song (composed by Peggy) “Pie Jesu” on CD Baby, Amazon and iTunes. “Pie Jesu” was on the ballot for the 54th Grammy Awards and nominated for an Indie Award for Best Classical and Orchestral Song (Independent Label Music Award.)In 2010, Peggy received sound management and mixing credit for her work in the Independent Film Like Sugar on the Tip of My Lips. The film was shown at Cannes Film Festival, Women’s International Film Festival, and received 3rd place prize of Director’s cut for the Black Maria Film + Video Festival. Peggy also received sound and music management credit for the Independent Film Life.Less.  In 2010, Peggy helped with piano casting and coaching for Big Momma’s House 3, casting and coaching (MoNique) in Bessie (HBO film starring Queen Latifah and MoNique), and Peggy also received sound and music management credit and composing credit on the documentary After the Fall. Peggy also worked on casting for the hit TV show America’s Got Talent, American Idol, and casting for Parental Guidance starring Billy Crystal and Bette Midler. Peggy was hired as a coach for the television show Greenleaf.  Peggy worked on the musical Ghost Brothers of Darkland County written by Stephen King and music by John Mellencamp (T Bone Burnett – Musical Director.) Peggy was the vocal coach and copyist (working on the musical score.) The musical was premiered spring of 2012 and is still touring today.

Peggy has worked with Justin Guarini (American Idol), employed hundreds of musicians, and also personally taught hundreds of musicians including national and local celebrities such as Rebecca Lovell and Megan Lovell (Larkin Poe,) Dean Roland (Collective Soul,) Brandon Bush (Sugarland,) Monique, Babi Mac, Rachele Gilmore (Metropolitan Opera,) Brad Shaw-Mike Shaw-Jacob Morrell (The Head), Sonny Mack, Tanner Hendon, Joe Gransden, Sydney Ward, Chelsea Szegidewicz,  Tuk Smith (The Biters), Amy Gerhartz, Joelle, Justin Martin (Lion King, High School Musical 3, The Soloist,) Jon Mero (The Voice), Cristina Quinones (Georgia Music Hall of Fame Horizon Award Recipient,) and more. A great supporter of education, Peggy was an award presenter for the 2011 Televised Shuler Hensley Awards at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Peggy also worked with Tony award winning actor Shuler Hensley in the Ghost Brothers of Darkland County musical.

Peggy has also been an arts advocate speaking to politicians in Washington D.C. and in Georgia about the need for artist tax incentives and protection of artist intellectual property/creator rights. In 2011 Peggy arranged, performed, and recorded music for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints dedication of their Atlanta Temple in which the President of the church, the late President Thomas S. Monson, was in attendance. Peggy arranged 2 choral pieces, 2 five piece instrumental medleys, and recorded most of the piano tracks for the youth choir performing in the Atlanta Civic Center. Peggy also composed the music for the Points of Light presentation at the Kennedy Center.

Peggy founded The Peggy Still School of Music in 1988 and the school grew to 3 locations and an enrollment of over 600 students and 45  instructors. Peggy successfully sold the Peggy Still School of Music in 2011 which today is now known as North Fulton School of  Music. Some of the finest musicians in the southeast have taught at The Peggy Still School of Music. Peggy is proud of the many accomplishments of the staff and students. Many of the students have won college scholarships, contests, auditions, lead roles in plays locally and on Broadway, TV and movies, recording contracts, and have become professional musicians and/or serious music hobbyists.  Peggy has also enjoyed working with the many schools in North Fulton County as the pianist of many choral and drama productions.

Peggy Still Johnson founded the Peggy Johnson Productions and Talent, Inc.  in 2009 and provided services in casting, coaching, composing, and sound design. Peggy and her team developed talent and projects. Peggy Still Johnson also founded a non-profit corporation in 1999 to benefit the community and musicians.

The Peggy Johnson Foundation for the Performing Arts, Inc. was founded to provide the community, community organizations, charities, and community events with performance opportunities and entertainment at minimal or no charge. PJFPA provided the community with diverse styles of musical entertainment to be excellent, educational, wholesome, and artistic.

Personal Mission Statement: “The arts touch lives and souls – the arts can be the glue in our community.” Peggy’s personal mission is to help those in need in our community and support outreach and the arts. “Our community will not be truly successful unless it contains a support of those in need and a support of the arts.” Peggy lives in Atlanta with her husband Scott Johnson – he is the love of her life. Their amazing adult daughter Ashley lives in Atlanta with her son Landen. Left: Peggy sings and performs with Oscar Winner Kevin Kline (Kevin is an accomplished pianist.)

Justin Guarini – Actor and Recording Artist

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Justin Guarini – American Idol star, Singer, Songwriter, Recording Artist, Actor, Film and Broadway star

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“Thank you for all your help, it was invaluable. It was great working with you and Madison Studios.”

Latest Reviews

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Kelly Taylor – Singer, Songwriter, Recording Artist

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“Within just a few lessons, Peggy has transformed my voice, she has prepared me with the tools to open up my sound, while keeping it strong and yet learning how to use control to articulate and soften my delivery when needed. I will definitely continue to see her, I’ve never known a more effective vocal coach.”

 

America’s Got Talent

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Peggy Johnson Productions and Talent was contacted by America’s Got Talent casting directors in Los Angeles to find talent for their show for private auditions.

 

We sent in 12 videos and 3 artists were selected!

 

We wish them all the best in the 2011 season.

What Makes a Video Go Viral

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“What Makes a Video Go Viral?”

by Robert Marshall

What is it exactly that makes a video go viral? More importantly, what does it mean for a video to be “viral” in the first place? As defined by the Oxford online dictionary, “viral” can be defined as: “relating to or involving an image, video, piece of information, etc. that is circulated rapidly from one Internet user to another.” Simple, right? What could be hard about writing Rebecca Black’s “Friday” or catching the next double rainbow on film? Not much, to be sure, but putting your video in a position where it will be seen by thousands of viewers is a bit trickier.

Many companies specialize in taking clients’ videos to 100,000+ views and beyond, but the important question is how this is achieved. The answer is two-fold: production and promotion.

Production

If you are verily vying to get your video to go viral, here are some expert tips (Greenberg, 2007):

  • Keep it short: if it’s a long concept, break it into manageable clips
  • Plan for remixing: the more your video can be incorporated into other content, the better (ie: “Dramatic Hamster”)
  • Make it shocking
  • Fake headlines: make your viewers question reality
  • Pretty ladies

Promotion

The “Most Viewed” Page

Looking for your first views? Make sure they’re from the right sources!

  • Blogs: reach out to individuals who run relevant blogs. If necessary, you may pay these individuals to post/embed your video.
  • Forums: start a conversation (and talk to yourself). When posting on forums, make sure to have multiple accounts to generate whatever size buzz you can muster.
  • Facebook: there are a myriad of ways to move your video to viral status using Facebook.
  1. Share your video with your entire friend list.
  2. Start an event that announces the launch date and invite everyone.
  3. Tag friends in a note about the video.
  4. Post video to Facebook Video, with a link back to the YouTube page.
  • Email Lists: depending on the size of this list, mass emails can be a very effective way to gain easy views.

 

Title Optimization

Your video is much more likely to achieve viral status if it has a pointed and direct title. Fortunately, YouTube video titles can be changed endlessly, so consider including buzzwords like “exclusive,” “behind the scenes,” or “leaked video” to add to your hype.

 

Thumbnail Optimization

YouTube chooses your thumbnail options based on what content is showing at the exact middle of your video. Use this to your advantage when editing. Also, try to include a face or person in your thumbnail. Think of all the swimwear model videos with hundreds of thousands of views. This strategy is obviously not necessary, but it can help.

 

Here are some other tips on getting your video from popular to viral:

  • Comments: have outrageous, heated discussions in your comments section. You can use multiple accounts, stage arguments with friends, or, if you’re lucky, you might find two people who don’t need your help arguing about your video.
  • Releasing Strategy: release all your videos at once. It may seem safe to post one video a day to keep your content fresh, but if a viewer is wild about your video, why make them wait to see more?
  • Strategically Tag: yes, you can use YouTube to create searchable keywords for your video, but you can also use custom tags that only you use to link back to your own videos on the “Related Videos” page.
  • Analytics: add “?video=1” to the end of your URL. This makes it easier to track inbound links with Google Analytics, TubeMogul, VidMetrix, or other metrics tools

 

With 10,000+ video uploads every day, it can be a lot of work to create a worth-watching video on YouTube, and even more work to give your worthy brainchild the exposure it deserves. However, with a little creativity, some tech-savvy-ness, and a little slight of hand, you can turn your video from an under-seen masterpiece into a viral hit!

 

Sources:

http://techcrunch.com/2007/11/22/the-secret-strategies-behind-many-viral-videos/

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/viral?q=viral

5 Quick Tips to Prepare your Voice for Performance

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When you perform on stage, you exercise your voice throughout the full range. In order to make sure you are better prepared, there are five quick tips that vocal teachers at the Peggy Still School of Music recommend:

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1Keep your voice lubricated with water. A dry throat and mouth can be harmful to the voice on the day of a performance. As a rule, try to drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water a day. If you are singing early in the morning, try drinking a glass of hot tea with honey and lemon followed with plenty of water.

2If you are recovering from a cold and have a bit of a “gravelly” feeling in your throat, mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a tablespoon of honey. The vinegar will kill the lingering bacteria and the honey will soothe your throat.

3 Warm up before you sing. Avoid singing too high or loud and soft or low. Keep your warm-ups in the middle range. Be careful not to strain your voice.

4 Watch what you eat. Certain foods can help or harm your voice before a performance. Dairy, pasta, and chocolate will dry your voice out. Apples and soup tend to be recommended because they will lubricate your vocal cords and not dry your mouth and throat. Be sure to not sing on an empty or full stomach. This can alter your ability to sing and breathe effectively. Try to eat healthy foods.

5 Continuously practice before a performance. You will only develop more as a musician if you practice. Try to know your melody, rhythm and lyrics a few weeks in advance of the performance. Grab friends or family and perform your piece for them. This will help you get prepared for an audience.

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You can also email info@peggystill.com or call 770-753-0322 for more information.

12 Performance Secrets Revealed

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  1. Pick songs that fit the gig and also songs that your audience will want to hear. Performing is about your audience – especially if you want them to come back and support you again.
  2. Dress well and dress so you fit in at the venue and gig. Many musicians do not realize how important appearance is. If you are not good with style, then ask a friend who has great style to help you. Professional artists have the complete package.
  3. Preparation is key – know the venue and try to see another performer/group perform there prior to your gig. You might pick up on some things to be aware of with sound, lighting, accompanying musicians, and stage setup.  Also practice, practice, practice…you are what you practice.
  4. Practice in front of the mirror so you can see what you really look like performing. You might be surprised at how good you look or things you might want to change. Watch music videos of other artists and what they do and copy some of their stage presence ideas.
  5. Focus is key – if you have trouble focusing and get nervous – find a focal point somewhere in the room you can look at so the audience thinks you are looking at them and smiling at them – maybe find a couple of focal points so you are looking at more than one place. Make sure the focal point is just above the heads of your audience. This way you will not be distracted by their expression on their faces or things they do.
  6. Know what key you are playing in so you can always have an ending planned with a final chord or cadence in case you blank out. Also never let a mistake show on your face ever – keep going, your audience probably won’t notice the mistake. If you are singing – always have a plan to use words from another verse or chorus in case you have a brain freeze and cannot remember the lyrics. A true professional always has a plan.
  7. Have a bailout plan – if you have problem areas in your performance, have a plan on how to quick change to keep from having a train wreck on stage. If things are going well, then go with the original plan – if things are not going so well, maybe change the high note to a low note or simplify the riff you are singing or playing.
  8. For vocalists – bring ear plugs. If you are having a difficult time hearing yourself, put an earplug in one ear and you will be able to focus on your pitch if you are singing. If you are singing at Turner Field or a large outside stadium, wear 2 earplugs so the delay does not mess you up.  If you are in a band, please note vocalists tend to over-sing and sing too loud. Putting an earplug in one ear helps to keep the volume at a better level so the pitch is correct and your voice will not sound distorted in the microphone. Remember, microphones are not meant to be yelled into. Take a lesson in microphone technique if you do not know much about microphones and sound (your sound engineer will be happier with you.)
  9. Get to the gig early. This will keep you calm – also reliability is just as important as talent especially if you want to get hired again. The venue does not want to hear about your drama on how you tried to get there on time or early.
    If you have promotional materials about yourself and/or a press kit – always bring them with you. Opportunity comes when we least expect it.
  10. Promote, promote, promote! Help the venue make some money and they will invite you back.
  11. Most important- Stay healthy – weeks before your gig and up until your gig, you should get lots of rest and eat right. Don’t stay out all night or go to an amusement park the day/night before your gig.
What more could you do to be better prepared?

Peggy Still Johnson’s Personal Advice & Performance Tips

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On August 25th, 2009 Peggy Still Johnson was invited to sing the National Anthem for the Atlanta Braves! What was more interesting was that the Braves were playing against the San Diego Padres, Peggy’s hometown team. Let’s not get into details as to who won the game; the highlight of the night was most dPeggy-at-Braves-vs-Padresefinitely Peggy’s performance. We got a chance to ask her a few questions about her performance.

Q: First off, were you nervous? Better yet, how nervous were you? PSJ: I was definitely nervous! but knew how important it was to stay focused. The National Anthem is not something you want to mess up – We Americans take our Anthem very seriously. It’s personal for all of us.

Q: What did you do in order to overcome your pre-performance jitters? PSJ: I just made sure I was very prepared both musically and mentally. You hear it all the time but it’s so true, “Practice makes perfect”. I’ve learned the best antidote to nerves is preparation. I also went to a Braves game earlier in the season to get an idea of where to stand, what to do, and just make notes! I also try and make my preparation fun. I wanted to make sure my performance was as perfect as possible.

Q: Do you have any tips for others performers about how to get over any unsettling nerves or pre-misconceptions about performing in front of any size crowd? PSJ: Wherever you perform, whether it’s in a stadium or a living room in front of your family, the first key is to stay focused. Find a focal point on a wall or anywhere you think is best and sing to it. Smile, nod, show emotion as if singing to an audience. That way you as an artist can remain focused on words, pitch, and stage presence. It helps me, and will for you, so much with not being easily distracted. Also practice practice practice! When that big performance day comes you don’t want to be regretting while you’re nervous at the same time. This is meant to be fun. The more prepared you are, the more you’ll be able to enjoy it and the better you’ll do!

Q: I feel many of us think it’s impossible to get to a high level of performing such as the Braves game, what would you say about that? PSJ: Nothing is impossible. If you have the talent, are prepared, and partake in all the opportunities to perform, doors will be opened. You begin to meet the right people and soon if you have a good CD and promotional materials, people will book you for events. Also you cannot give up – keep trying. You have to believe you can do it, and then put that belief into action.

Q: Any other inside performing secrets you are willing to let us in on? PSJ: Of course! These are just a few rules each time I perform. These are what I guess you would call my “secret performing recipe”.

  1. Pick songs that fit the gig and also songs that your audience will want to hear. Performing is about your audience – especially if you want them to come back and support you again.
  2. Dress well and dress so you fit in at the venue and gig. Many musicians do not realize how important appearance is. If you are not good with style, then ask a friend who has great style to help you. Professional artists have the complete package.
  3. Get to the gig early. This will keep you calm – also reliability is just as important as talent especially if you want to get hired again. The venue does not want to hear about your drama on how you tried to get there on time or early.
  4. Promote promote promote! Help the venue make some money and they will invite you back.

So there you have it! Your inside scoop on Peggy Still Johnson’s personal performance tips and secrets.

Fulfil that curiosity now!

Start off with taking lessons at the Peggy Still School of Music for whatever area of music you want. We’ll teach you more than you could ever dream about when it comes to music. Not only that, with The Peggy Still School of Music you get to learn and be shown off at any of our performance events. So put these tips into action now and let us personally help you one on one.

Email info@peggystill.com to receive more information or call 770-753-0322.

Edith Ivey – Actress (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)

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Edith Ivey began her career in New York where she widely worked on radio soap operas, such as The Guiding Light,Whispering Streets, and Our Gal Sunday. Many of these performances were live, Edith’s favorite type or work.

Joelle – Vocalist, Songwriter, Actress & Model

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Joelle is an all-encompassing multi-talented 14 year old British recording artist from London, who was discovered by MTV Networks in L.A. during the fall of 2011 during her first ever trip to America, thereafter being signed for development to indie label Funkasm Records in association with Camboso Urban Music.