It takes a village to raise a child...
It's impossible for anyone to accomplish greatness alone. I've definitely had some incredible helpers along the way, and I'm thankful every day for these people. Having skill is good, but having good character is just as important, and all of these people happen to have the perfect blend of both.
I owe it to every one of these people to support them in whatever way I can, so It would mean the world to me (and to them) if you took a moment to check out their work -- every single one of them are incredibly gifted at what they do and deserve all of the love and recognition that they can get.
John Hooper (Decoro Images)
Bio: John Hooper chooses to photograph people authentically. He is known for the creativity of his portraits, the humanity of his headshots, and the simple aesthetic of his fashion and portfolio work. His easygoing personality and collaborative style brings out the best in his clients and he has been published six times in magazines including Rebel and Elegant. Having a long-standing appreciation for film photography, John recently added that style to his professional offerings and he looks forward to many rewarding creative projects in the analog world. John makes his home in Winston-Salem, NC, with his wife Delane, working with friends and new clients in his studio and in the surrounding areas.
Brianna's Testimonial: Every dream starts with a vision. When I embarked on my career path with my electric cello, the very first action item I wanted to tackle was getting photos taken; and the photos couldn't simply look "professional" -- they had to tell a story.
After some digging on Instagram, I came across John, and I was blown away by the level of artistry, passion, and care shown in every one of his photos. Furthermore, what struck me was that every single photo caption focused on who the subject was as a person; specifically, these captions always brought out the best in the person, much like John's photos.
It was a no-brainer for me to contact John. Our first session was in late 2019, and I believe that that day was crucial in getting me to where I am today -- not just because of John's stunning photography, but also because of the incredibly supportive friend he's grown to be.
I cannot thank John enough for being a part of my life. If you enjoy any or all of photos and album covers, please do yourself a favor and check out John's work, especially on Instagram. He's seriously the perfect blend of wonderful character and incredible skill.
Bio: Jesse Joy is a mixing and mastering engineer, specializing in orchestral, folk, and acoustic music. Jesse’s worked with composers, producers, and artists from all over the world including Luke Despain, Ardie Son, Lori Pappajohn, Brianna Tam, Julie Blue, Horizon West, Antonio Melendez, Mitchell Dyer, Arthur Brouns, Ellen Tsai and Madeleine Ladore. In addition to engineering, Jesse composes original music on fingerstyle guitar and cello. He uses his musical background and technical knowledge to engineer incredible sounding music for his clients.
Brianna's Testimonial: I love moments when life puts the right people in your life at the right time.
At the close of 2021, I was in need of a new sound engineer, and I knew not of how to find one. I loosely searched online, but none of the engineers I came across spoke to me. I specifically wanted someone who understood the cello on more than just a superficial level.
I decided to let go of the matter altogether. Less than a month into the new year, I received a message from Jesse. He expressed that he was a fan of my music and would be happy to mix/master any projects I was working on -- and the kicker is that he's also a cellist.
The first project Jesse worked on for me was "Bioluminescence," which has clearly captured the hearts of many. Before Jesse worked on it though, I wasn't even sure if I wanted to release it. I was (and still am) a picky client, but Jesse is always incredibly patient and dedicated. With "Bioluminescence," he really took the time to understand my vision for it, and transformed it so beautifully that I teared up the first time I heard his mix.
So if you're a fan of "Bioluminescence," then you can thank Jesse for convincing me (through his work) to release it.
Bio: Elena M Flores is a performing artist & songwriter. Her versatile artistic approach is shaped from years of classical training & experience, combined with a passion for singing music in mainstream genres. While based in North Carolina, she became a prominent performer at venues in & around the Piedmont Triad. She showcases original music & an array of genres that have inspired her style through the years, namely oldies, pop, and jazz.
In addition to performing, Elena is paving her way as a recording artist (Music under the artist name Elena M). She released her debut pop single “Honey” October 2021. Since then her output of new music, both independent & collaborative, remains steady. Each song demonstrates her unique style, dynamic range, & distinctive tone. Elena is dedicated to sharing her vision, & creating effective musical experiences for every audience.
Brianna's Testimonial: The year was 2016. I was watching a rehearsal for soprano's concerto performance with orchestra. This girl walks in with high heels, big bouncy curls, vibrant lipstick, and a whole lot of personality. I wanted nothing to do with her.
Now, she is one of my dearest friends.
Elena is the perfect blend of nurturing, confident, independent, and thoughtful. I cannot even begin to list the number of times she's stepped in as my personal assistant at shows, handling everything from hair and makeup, to content creation, to food catering, and so, so much more; not to mention that she has the ability to revitalize and energize a drab room just with her incredibly positive energy and terrible dad jokes.
And, of course, she's also an incredibly expressive and dynamic singer, using her voice as a stunning instrument in its fullest capacity. I encourage you to treat yourself to her artistry (plus cello-playing from yours truly) in Elena's song, "Rise."
Elena's truly a one-of-a-kind person and artist, and I'm so grateful to have her as a friend.
Peter John (Spearfisher)
Bio: Peter is a classically trained pianist and composer with a Masters from Cleveland Institute of Music and a DMA in Piano and Composition from the University of Minnesota who is passionate about the future of music. His music has been used by major brands such as Nike, Vogue, Ralph Lauren, Safeway, Samsung; in trailers for Chucky and The Prom; in TV shows such as Project Runway, Northern Exposure, Claws, Dead Silent, 20/20 and on MLB and NASCAR.
As a songwriter and producer, Peter has worked with artists such as multi-Grammy-winning producer of “The Fugees” Jerry Wonda, Son Lux, Dan Richards from One Direction, Lissie, Ashley DuBose, Danny Burke and many others. As a composer, Peter's Solo Cello Piece was premiered by Cicely Parnas in The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and received a great review in The Washington Post: “The outer movements were full of assertive and expressive music and elicited real enthusiasm from the audience.” This piece, “from the zodiac” was again performed in Lincoln Center at Merkin Hall as well as in the Gardner Museum in Boston among other concerts across the US.
Brianna's Testimonial: It wasn't until recently that Peter and I officially met, yet, it felt like we had known each other for a lifetime.
I met Peter because I heard his brilliant cello piece, "Aquarius," as a placeholder track in a film I was scoring. To be honest, it's not often that I get genuinely hooked to an artist's catalog, but Peter was the exception.
Not long after, we began collaborating on an upcoming EP together, and my mind was blown every time he sent over his work. I couldn't remember the last time I was so excited by someone else's music.
It wasn't long until he began nagging me (respectfully) to come out to Los Angeles to collaborate in person, and possibly consider moving there. When I finally made the trip out, I was amazed by how easily our friendship fell into place, not to mention that we completed a second EP during that trip.
So although I haven't known Peter for all that long, I've already been so inspired by him and his work, and I'm excited to see where our friendship and collaboration takes us.
Ankida Ridge Vineyards
Winery & Tasting Room
Bio: Ankida Ridge Vineyards: Virginia’s “Little Burgundy.” A family-run, micro-boutique vineyard, farm and winery, Ankida Ridge Vineyards is located in Amherst County at 1800 feet on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains. With their first vintage in 2010, they received international acclaim for their elegant, Burgundian style wines.
Their goal is to maintain balance with nature, their vines and their wines. All vineyard practices are by hand, tended to by a team dedicated to respecting nature and taking pride in their work. With minimal intervention in the cellar, Ankida’s wines can fully express the beautiful land.
Brianna's Testimonial: In Spring of 2022, I was scheduled to perform at Ankida Ridge Vineyards. However, due to a scheduling error, I would've been homeless for a week prior to the performance (I was in the middle of moving). Thankfully, Christine Vrooman, the owner of the winery, graciously offered for me to stay at the cabin on the property during that week.
As I was getting close to Ankida, I noticed my cell service start to worsen, while the mountains around me grew taller. I quickly realized that Ankida was in the middle of no where.
Fortunately, upon my arrival, I was greeted by gorgeous mountain views, a flock of grazing sheep, and a quietness that I had not felt since my trip to the French Alps severl years prior. Not long after arriving, I met Christine, along with her husband Dennis, her events manager Holly, and several of her lovely team members. I happened to be in a tumultuous point in my life at this time, and to be welcomed by these wonderful people and their beautiful property was exactly what I needed.
It was during this time of refuge that I recorded many parts of my album, I AM, including the entirety of the bonus track, "Bonus: Ankida," which was inspired by my experience there.
Christine and her team continue to cheer me on from afar, and their love and support can always be felt. We recently had the release party for I AM on their gorgeous overlook, and it couldn't have been more perfect.
I'll admit -- I'm not much of a wine drinker, but I know that their wine has won the hearts of many Virginians. If you're a fan of wine, I highly encourage you to grab a bottle from their website, and if you're ever in their area, please make the trek out to their magical property. You'll be glad you did.
Hip Hop Artist/Producer
Bio: Producer, writer, and eclectic artist… Wes describes his music as; painting with sound. Wes can usually be found creating in Northeast, FL. He's known for bringing inspirational lyrics with a fresh and creative sound. Inspired by his Dad’s broad vinyl collection, Wes began to fall in love with music at an early age. In 2006 Wes began to fall in love with creating music of his own. This craft quickly began to grow into a passion.
Wes' music can be heard in the Netflix documentary, McGregor Forever, in the trailer for PANAMA (Mel Gibson), as well as in ads for major brands such as RayBan, Billa Bong, Tommy Hilfiger, and Crocs.
Brianna's Testimonial: Several years ago, when I had just started recording and composing, I thought I'd try my hand at offering my services online. I joined Airgigs and SoundBetter with little idea of what to expect.
It wasn't long before I got my first message, which happened to be from Wes. He needed strings for his song, "Ravens," and had a surprising amount of faith in me, even though I was brand new to the website and had zero reviews.
So I completed the job, and I must've done well because it wasn't long before he asked me to work on another song of his titled, "Wide Awake." We also began talking about music business, royalties, and such, and I quickly realized that Wes was to be taken seriously; I had come across many artists who talk-the-talk, but definitely do not walk-the-walk. Wes, however, was obviously well-versed in not only how music business works, but also in how to take care of those around him. One of my favorite lines of his is, "There is no 'unity' without 'u' and 'i'."
On many occasions, he's helped me without hesitation. He educated me in royalties when I was just starting out, he introduced me to Artlist.io (which is a company that has opened so many doors for me), and he came up with a brilliant roll-out plan for I AM when it was close to release.
Wes' giving and positive attitude has obviously paid off. I'm constantly seeing him post about his incredible music placements, including a recent placement in Netflix's McGregor Forever documentary; and I couldn't be happier for him. He really is a beam of light in this world, especially in the hip hop world. His music is incredibly catchy and memorable, yet, it's so uplifting and inspiring, which is not always the case with hip hop.
I have no doubt in my mind that Wes is going to do great things, and I'm so excited to watch his journey continue to unfold.
Richard Cruz. Best friend of over 11 years. We consistently challenge each other to be better, and I love it. Also, mayonnaise is not an instrument.
Amel Samuels. Owner of Earth & Bone Studio in Tampa, FL. Graphic designer for I AM album artwork.
James Woodall. Shop owner of Ronald Sachs Violins in Johns Creek, GA. Provides excellent service on my cellos and bows.
Southend Brewing Co. Brewery and restaurant in Greensboro, NC. First place I ever performed a paid solo set.
Jay Benjamin. Saw me perform my first ever open mic (first ever public performance). He was the first person who ever made me feel like a superstar.
Cameron Hagy. Former manager. Taught me a lot about music business, as well as about myself.
Mom. She's had faith in me since I was born.