Who Is Lady Flava? My Story…

 

1935609_10208454522389388_5690901501325703222_nAfter realizing that  several people do not know who I really am nor what I do in the arts and entertainment community…I decided that I should write a blog to help get people up to speed with who I am and my background in the arts and entertainment industry.  So this is a shorty version of my story…

 

Several people want me on their team but I don’t think they even know why past realizing that I will put in the work in promoting what I am apart of and believe in.

My conception as Lady Flava took place in North Seattle at my coffee house, Flava Coffee House.  I knew what I wanted Flava to look like, eclectic and inviting to the diversity that lived in our community of Lake City/North Seattle.  The walls were colorful with tall windows and a perfect area for a small stage.  Slowly the people came for the coffee and stayed for the welcoming feeling.  This all started in 2003, the passion for my community, diversity and the arts was very clear but even I had no clue what direction this journey was going to take me.  I played local music talents on my cd player through the day along with other indie musicians that I became introduced to through MySpace ( the social media that was popular back in the day)  soon I became the first non-African American book reviewer for an all African American book review team based out of Philadelphia but spread across the United States with an amazing group of women reading an reviewing a variety of African American Literature.  This was one of the best experiences of my life as an avid book reader. Not all of my experiences were the best, but I was forced to look outside of my readers box and also learned that I was not the head…lol  I had to write reviews from a template style that was established the founder and not from my voice and soul.  It was good to learn this and I became better for this experience.  Soon the authors sent me their book directly to the coffee house for me to read for review, Flava Coffee House reviews where I would give 1-10 snaps depending on my whole experience of the book from cover, to layout and then substance to lastly who it read and errors.

Lady Flava was birthed and my passion for the Arts was off and running.  Soon I was selling books, jewelry, graphics, paintings, rap cd’s and spoken word cd’s.  I hosted my first event with 3 others…A jazz cruise on the Spirit of Puget Sound here in Seattle which on face value was amazing but the behind the scenes experience was my first experience in the chaos that can place between 4 strong minded people with a lot on the line to make an event a success.  That was the first and last event we did together…but many will tell you it was awesome!

Flava Nights of Expression was founded in 2005-2006 an amazing open mic. We could have 10 people to full capacity with standing room only every Friday night.  These nights were special from professional creative souls gracing the mic to those of us that were novice at what we loved…we received so much love from the professionals and audience.  This is when I was hooked and knew that I was meant to support independent creative souls from the Pacific Northwest to around the world.

In 2008 I hosted a national literary conference in Seattle with a collective known as Wagfest.  It was something I took great pride and and suffered great heartache behind. But again I walked away knowing I had pulled it off receiving an arts grant from the city to further branding myself and my capabilities.  The summer of 2008 I decided to close the doors of Flava Coffee House for good.  I was blessed to have a committee that helped me make this decision and as much as I miss her, I am glad that I did close after 5 years being a struggling business own.  I lost so much and then I gain so much knowledge and exposure as an artist cheerleader.

Flava Coffee House helped me appreciate my passion for the arts, understand my power as a supporter of Indie Artists and I took of as a public figure in support of creative souls.  I continued reading books for review, supporting artist online on MySpace to then creating a page on Facebook, not understanding this site nor what it would come to mean to me in the future.

2009 I took on a business partner with my online business called, Flava News.  This is when I was introduced to Seattle’s Hip Hop Scene and came to work with  The Hip Hop/Soul group, known as Black Stax.  I was never a fan of Hip Hop and did not come up embracing it…but through Black Stax, Yiddim Seck and JaRue…I feel in love with this conscious and free style of expression.  I found it so challenging, exciting and peaked my interest in researching and education myself on this new found art form. Soon I found out that much of what I come to call Rap I did not like and didn’t understand the strong difference between socially conscious art to disrespectful and degrading lyrics which tore down the sense of value for self, women, family and life.   During this same year I came on the air as a radio show host with my business partner at that time, LA and also hosted my second event and first hip hop show.  The planning and implementing was on point but we only had a handful of people in attendance and I lost so much money on the venue.  I also lost relationships with the artist and collective that was involved.  More of the beginning of hard lessons I would learn, as I further became involved locally and nationally with a variety of art forms and genres.

During these years my father came to live with us and slowly I moved into a role of being his caretaker as he aged.  But he and I would had amazing conversations about Flava News over a meal at IHop on Madison as I took him to doctors appointments on pill hill.  He would review my business plan and proposals, documents I was creating for my business along with contracts.  He was my adviser  and my biggest cheerleader. At this time in my life I was working for an agency in Kirkland, that provided housing to act risk homeless youth…I loved it but also was allowed a sense of freedom to be Lady Flava and to do a Saturday radio show from work.  My kids at work that it was cool that I was Lady Flava and I believe to this day, that this helped them feel comfortable with me to the point of sharing freely of their life and how that saw things to even sharing their creativity with me in impromptu open mics in the office.

2012 I resigned from working at the youth agency to now becoming my father’s full time caretaker and being Lady Flava full time.  I was beginning to also have health issues with high blood pressure and severe arthritis in my legs. Being Lady Flava was my lifeline and it helped me through the pain that lived with and seriousness and sadness in seeing my father’s health beginning to decline.  I kept up with my radio shows, local projects with Black Stax, now I was involved with Marc VanClaggett and Marlex Records, continuing to work behind the scenes with Lamont Carey and of course always supporting my big brother, Author Alvin L.A. Horn.  My skills grew along with my knowledge and connects in the arts and entertainment industry not only locally, but spreading across the United States and even going global.

I posted up thought provoking posts for artist and for people in general to make them think about there they were at in life and their careers as a creative soul to hosting artist round table discussion on my radio show.  I would encourage artist to step their game up, be professional and to prefect their skills as they identify the tools needed to walk through any open door that was presenting a potential opportunity.  As a consultant and coach to indie artists, I learned up front about where an artists believes they are in their career at the present and where they want to be.  And if hired to coach them, I help the identify what they need to tweak or create to step their game up when seeking an audience from an industry professional.  I love the challenge in being connected to these creative souls as we together figured out what they needed.   I create press releases, artist bios, EPKs, websties and more.  I have come to realize that there are were and are professionals that follow me and after months of watching my work, my work ethics and commitment to artist, many have reached out to me, in wanting me to come on board with their projects.  At time this is flattering and other times it just doesn’t feel right.

I am a sucker for charm and charisma.  I believe in doing research on people and will take the time to watch people and their following but today I know that is not a full proof approach to getting to know a person online.  So I have gotten involved in projects that I learned a lot from in good and bad experiences.  In recognizing the need for me to understand the industry I choose to be apart of…I embraced the pain of the end of a few relationships.

My Daddy has been my cheerleader my whole life and especially in his final days as I struggled to care for him as I ran a home base business.  He is was so full of life experiences and knowledge that I loved sitting and sharing Flava with him in all aspects to receive his feedback and critique.  Now that he passed this past February 2016…I miss him and I know he is watching over me and waiting to see what I do with my new life, my new beginning without his physical presence.

So today, I am back to working on projects with my core; Lamont Carey, Black Stax, Marc VanClagget and Marlex Records, Alvin L.A. Horn along with my newest colleague, Dariolemechele Gordy.  I am learning that less is more and now I can honestly say, beware of what you think something is, be cautious because  you might come up very disappointed.  You do not want to block your blessings in being involved with the wrong person or people.

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So let me introduce myself to you TODAY in March of 2016…My name is Susan Koshi but in the arts and entertainment industry I am known and am branded as “Lady Flava”  Today I am proud to say, I am a Radio Show Host that supports Indie Artists,  I am a Artist Coach and Consultant.  I am the VP of Marlex Records and have a compilation CD project that I will be putting out called, Flava’s Lounge along with releasing projects headed by Marc VanClaggett; CEO of Marlex Records.  I also am a partner of Unity Through Arts Exchange (UTAE) with Jace ECAj of Black Stax with a organization group that is fundraising and finding tangible ways to bring real support to Indie Artists with their projects and or participating in showcases we provide to showcase their talents from near and far.  We will be hosting local shows in  hosting an out of state artist with a local talent in hopes to take this program out of state to do the same in return.  We seek to work with all the elements that would benefit in such show to create a successful team guaranteeing that artist get the right exposure and leave with money in their pockets.

I have had some great opportunities come my way and I have not jumped onto them all and am glad for that.  Communication is key to keeping my interest and some lacked doing that with me, to the point that I let their projects disappear from my schedule.  As you can see, I have a lot on my plate with just my core and that works for me.

I am back on the airways, I will be starting back my coaching and consultant business next week and rewriting the business plan and proposals on the projects that I shelved.

Welcome to new chapter in my life!  Come follow my journey and maybe you might become a part of it!

Susan “Lady Flava” Koshi

“Flava’s Story, The Life of An Artist Cheerleader” by Lady Flava

Flava News

www.fmarlexconsulting.com

www.blogtalkradio.com/fch206radio 

www.gofundme.com/flavamarlex

www.marlexrecords.com

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Robert W Scott Jr
    Jun 30, 2016 @ 22:58:32

    Bravo!!!! It is a pleasure to say I know you!!!

    Like

    Reply

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