Bashiri Johnson: Celebrity Percussionist, Producer, Educator

Extraordinary Ordinary People by Andy Kushner Bashiri Johnson: Celebrity Percussionist, Producer, Educator
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Today, Andy talks with the brilliant musician most widely known by chart-topping artists themselves: Bashiri Johnson. Bashiri has recorded and/or performed with artistic legends including Beyonce, Madonna, Whitney Houston, the Rolling Stones, Michael Bolton, Cher, Duran Duran, Eric Clapton, James Taylor, Barry Manilow, and Michael Jackson.

Growing up in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, NY in the 1960s and 70s, Bashiri was a talented risk-taker, self-described as “always in motion, never still.” Since he first started formally playing percussion—as opposed to jamming out on chairs and desks—in his freshman year of high school, Bashiri has played everywhere he could. In fact, Bashiri was so driven to perform, he even snuck backstage at a Miles Davis concert to see Mtume—then asked for percussion lessons. As luck had it, Mtume agreed to hang out with Bashiri, which led to a three year mentorship that served to launch the rest of Bashiri’s nonstop creative lifestyle for decades to come.

Not only does Bashiri explore his near-meditative approach to his “first listens,” but he describes some of his favorite memories at length, including adding a twist while recording “Never Too Much” by Luther Vandroff, recording on a Miles Davis song, performing live with Aretha Franklin at Radio City Music Hall, and working alongside the iconic artist, Michael Jackson. In his characteristic candor, Bashiri reveals the key personality traits that drove him to share what he loves most with the world.

Links

Bashiri Johnson [Prologue]

Extraordinary Ordinary People by Andy Kushner Bashiri Johnson [Prologue]
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(An audio prologue to Andy’s conversation with Bashiri Johnson.)

Greg Lawson: Love Of The Planet Through Photography & Principle

Extraordinary Ordinary People by Andy Kushner Greg Lawson: Love Of The Planet Through Photography & Principle
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In this week’s discussion, photographer Greg Lawson takes Andy through his museum-like gallery in Sedona, Arizona, to explore the fundamentals of his philosophy on human nature.

Our conversation with Greg is unlike any you’d have with a traditional photographer. Although Greg got his first camera when he was 14 and has worked as an artist ever since, he views the physical process behind his work as more of a technicality; a naturalist discoverer at heart, rather than a “photographer’s photographer.” He will leave the country on a whim, for one to four weeks at a time, to simply drive, experience new cultures, and photograph whatever speaks to him. Greg is on a mission to share the positive side of the world with others, and photography helps him achieve that goal.

His latest project, “The Principle Movement,” emerged from the idea that principles—like empathy, integrity, loyalty—are the basis for our positivity. He believes a greater focus on principles would allow for a more just society. More than anything, he highlights the beauty of human nature, and why people at their core are the same.

Links

Greg Lawson [Prologue]

Extraordinary Ordinary People by Andy Kushner Greg Lawson [Prologue]
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(An audio prologue to Andy’s conversation with Greg Lawson.)

Kimi Werner: World-Class Free Diving Spearfisher, Culinary Chef, Speaker

Extraordinary Ordinary People by Andy Kushner Kimi Werner
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In today’s conversation, Andy talks with Kimi Werner, the U.S. National Spearfishing Champion of 2008 who transformed her passion for discovery and the sea to inspire others and travel the world.

Kimi grew up in a family of six, in a small shack in a secluded area of Haiku, Maui, where her best friend was a pig named “Muddy.” She may not have had any close human friends beyond her family before she moved to a more traditional neighborhood at age seven, but Kimi always believed that as long as she could explore the wild natural world she would never feel alone.

When she wasn’t roaming free on land, Kimi was underwater. At age four, Kimi began to watch her father free dive and spearfish for food. Seeing firsthand how fresh food brought her friends and family together, Kimi discovered the joy of cooking creatively at a young age and later attained a degree in Culinary Arts. Throughout her time in Oahu, she actively pursued her love of painting by taking as many art classes as she could and, for nearly four years, became an art teacher.

After quitting her teaching job in her mid-20s, Kimi re-discovered her own passion for spearfishing. The ocean had long been a source of sustenance, inspiration and adventure, and Kimi found herself longing for the life she once knew in nature. During this period of time, she trained on her own, honed her free diving skills, and started to be mentored by and work alongside elite professional spearfishers and free divers. As a result, Kimi can hold her breath for 4:45, and at free-dive to depths of 159 feet.

Only a few years later, she became the U.S. National Spearfishing Champion—and then her art really started to sell. She soon started to win international competitions and gain multiple sponsorships; however, it wasn’t all that much later that Kimi purposely left the professional world of competition and faced one of the biggest challenges of her life.

Kimi still pursues all of her passions, including being a sought-after speaker. Her daily life is a pure fusion of her talents, rooted in sustainability and geared toward a healthy future for our global community.

Links

“Dive Simply,” Kimi’s underwater fun with just one rock:

Photos and more

 

Kimi Werner [Prologue]

Extraordinary Ordinary People by Andy Kushner Kimi Werner [Prologue]
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(An audio prologue to Andy’s conversation with Kimi Werner.)

Beth Marcil & Mariabruna Sirabella: Spiritually-Based Living

Extraordinary Ordinary People by Andy Kushner Beth Marcil & Mariabruna Sirabella: Living From The Heart
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In this week’s epsiode, Andy has a unique and spiritually-focused conversation with two people—one of whom lives and works in Maui, the other who is visiting, and both of whom embody the Maui spirt—Beth Marcil and Mariabruna Sirabella. Check it out and enjoy a dialogue about live freely lived, 2nd senses, and the interconnectedness of everything.

Beth Marcil is a widely-recognized visual artist and creative workshop facilitator. An honor graduate of Ringling College of Art and Design, she’s adept at a wide range of approaches in multiple mediums. From the serenity of Hawaiian taro patches, colorful foreign marketplaces, and traditional landscapes to naive, whimsical works of art, Beth Marcil interprets the essential spirit that brings a people or a place to life.

Mariabruna Sirabella, MS, LMFT, has a Laurea Degree in Communication and Performing Arts from Bologna University, Italy and a Master in Counseling from CSUS, California, and is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist based in California. As the Translation Coordinator and lead Trainer for SoulCollage, she’s found the SoulCollage process to be an enduring source of personal truth, guidance, and a universal bridge she has shared with hundreds of individuals worldwide.

Links

Beth Marcil

Mariabruna Sirabella

Beth Marcil & Mariabruna Sirabella [Prologue]

Extraordinary Ordinary People by Andy Kushner Beth Marcil & Mariabruna Sirabella [Prologue]
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(An audio prologue to Andy’s conversation with Beth Marcil and Mariabruna Sirabella.)