Robert Kraft: Former President of Music, 20th Century Fox Film

Extraordinary Ordinary People by Andy Kushner Robert Kraft
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Robert Kraft’s list of accomplishments is nothing short of incredible. He was the President of 20th Century Fox Music for 18 years, supervising the music and film scores for blockbusters like Titanic, Avatar, and Slumdog Millionaire as well as for hit television shows like The X-Files and The Simpsons. Under his leadership, Fox Music garnered numerous Academy Award nominations and awards, Emmys, Golden Globes, and Grammys. He is also an award-winning songwriter, film composer, recording artist, and record producer. His talent is multifaceted and far-reaching, as is evident in today’s interview.

Andy and Robert delve into the journey he went on to achieve these great moments in his career, starting with his love of all things musical as a young child. Robert’s story is all about jumping at the chance to try something you’ve never done before, and knowing that your own passion and determination will inform the task ahead of you. The pair also discuss how his role at 20th Century Fox fit him like a glove, what the process is like to supervise the music on a big budget movie, and Robert’s interesting view on how music and movies intertwine.  And with his current venture Kraftbox Entertainment, he’s not slowing down anytime soon. Anyone looking to hear about the inner workings of music production and how the cogs of a Hollywood film work will find today’s Extraordinary Ordinary People episode deeply enjoyable.

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Paul Cloutier: Master of Collography

Extraordinary Ordinary People by Andy Kushner Paul Cloutier: Master of Collography
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Paul Cloutier is considered to be one of the great masters of callography, an art form that involves materials being placed onto a printing plate, then varnished so it can be painted with acrylics, and then later pressed onto paper to produce a print. His technique and skill is both as intricate and detailed as it is fascinating to see the final product. Paul grew up in Quebec City with a particular inclination for the arts. His great love of classical music and painting were on display from a young age, and helped define his techniques in collography later in life. Today, he works and lives in his Montreal studio doing what he loves six days a week. Paul’s story of taking his passion to amazing heights is one full of inspiration and wisdom.

In this week’s Extraordinary Ordinary People episode, Paul and Andy discuss the technical and creative process of his callography work, and the challenges he faces working within such a niche medium. The two also delve into what a typical day for Paul looks like, the struggles he and many other artists continue to face, and how his life as a younger artist compares to life nowadays. The full interview is available now.

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Brie Salzman: Cheesemonger Extraordinaire

Extraordinary Ordinary People by Andy Kushner Brie Salzman: Cheesemonger Extraordinaire
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When you hear the name Brie, do you conjure up images of delicious cheeses spread over a board, paired with meats and wine? That’s exactly what Brie is all about. Now a Certified Cheese Professional recognized by the American Cheese Society, Brie had humble beginnings the same as all of us. His upbringing in New York City was a tumultuous one, filled with fond memories as well as some bitter ones with his parents. He decided to get away and move to Barcelona after he finished college, where his love for all things related to food and cheese were realized.

In this week’s interview, Andy and Brie share an all-encompassing chat about his passion and devotion to the art of cheese. The two also discuss how family has played a role in shaping Brie’s profession, the various kinds of cheeses he might recommend depending on the situation, and how Brie enjoys some of the greatest pleasures in life. Listen to the full interview right here.

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Marty Dread: Hawaii’s Reggae Ambassador

Extraordinary Ordinary People by Andy Kushner Marty Dread: Hawaii's Reggae Ambassador
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Being Hawaii’s “Reggae Ambassador” is a title Marty Dread takes pretty seriously. The singer songwriter grew up on the island of Maui from the time he was eight years old, and always had a creative soul. In high school he was at a crossroads in life, when he thought he might want to pursue his aspiring career as a watercolor artist, after his mother. But a pinnacle moment unfolded that opened Marty’s eyes to the power of music, and showed him just how influential this medium could be.

Marty and Andy have a jovial chat about his long and accomplished songwriting and recording career. The two share stories about their most inspiring singers and performers like Stevie Wonder, Willie Nelson, Bob Marley, Michael McDonald, and others. You can also hear about how Marty writes lyrics centered on social issues and change, how he became the gateway for reggae artists to become mainstream on Maui, and even hear a few of his original songs performed live during the interview. Listen to it all right here.

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Fred Spanjaard: Bringing Live Aid to Life

Extraordinary Ordinary People by Andy Kushner Fred Spanjaard: Bringing Live Aid to Life
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Back in 1985, before the time of countless celebrity charities and philanthropic foundations, the largest charity concert ever held was put on. Our guest this week, Fred Spanjaard remembers Live Aid like it was yesterday, because he was the Operations Producer of the Philadelphia live performance. Almost 2 billion viewers tuned in to see this 17 hour performance, both in London and in Philadelphia, where performers and celebrities of all genres came together to raise millions of dollars for Ethiopian hunger relief. The show is considered one of the most important moments in music history, and helped changed the context for how the collective public views and takes action to help causes like world hunger.

Fred’s recollections of his time producing Live Aid are nothing short of amazing. Fred discusses some of his favorite behind the scenes stories about performers like Madonna, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and other super stars, and how he and the Live Aid team pulled off the benefit concert of a lifetime.

Nowadays Fred’s busy with his business Global Media Productions, where he still produces and promote events of all sizes and magnitudes. Some of his most notable recent clients include Deepak Chopra, Ram Das, the late Wayne Dyer, Eckhart Tolle, and others. Listen to the full interview to hear what putting together a show like Live Aid was really like.

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David Muckenhirn: Designing Aspen’s Breathtaking Homes

Extraordinary Ordinary People by Andy Kushner David Muckenhirn: Designing Aspen’s Breathtaking Homes
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Going from Stanford graduate to designer and builder of multi-million dollar homes was a serendipitous chain of events for David Muckenhirn. David studied electrical engineering and got his first job out of school working for Sylvania Electronics Systems, but wasn’t completely satisfied with the work-life balance. After a multitude of miscellaneous jobs, he eventually landed himself in the home building business in Aspen, Colorado, first assisting, and soon running the show. It was only a matter of time before David started designing and building his own spec houses that sold for millions of dollars.

Nowadays you can find David at his beautiful oceanfront home in Maui enjoying the views. But he hasn’t lost his love for home building, as he’s still got one last passion project in the works back in Aspen.

David’s story is one of following your heart and knowing that success will follow. David and Andy share stories about how David learned his craft, where he finds the most joy in work and in life, and some of David’s favorite builds he’s ever done. Check out the entire interview now.

Lew “Blue Mountain” Abrams: Creating a Sanctuary of Peace & Eco-Farming

Extraordinary Ordinary People by Andy Kushner Lew “Blue Mountain” Abrams: Creating a Sanctuary of Peace & Eco-Farming
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Starting an interview with the soothing sounds of a Tibetan singing bowl is not how we typically do things on the Extraordinary Ordinary People Show. But with a guest like Lew “Blue Mountain” Abrams, it feels right. Formerly a practicing psychologist in Seattle, Dr. Abrams now resides in the lush greenery of Maui, where he and his family have created a sanctuary for those seeking a place for creativity, expression, and spirituality, free from judgement of faith denomination, ego, or other emotional baggage we might be carrying.

Blue Mountain came to Maui 19 years ago when the rainy weather of Seattle became too much for his family. After some time on the island, he and his wife decided they wanted to make their vision of building a sanctuary by the sea a reality. They found the land where Ahisma Sanctuary Farm now lives, and built around it a world unlike anything else. Dr. Abram and his family practice eco-farming and experiment with new ways to grow food without pesticides or chemicals. Along with that, they offer their beautiful farm and dwellings for seminars, yoga retreats, community events, and even a few weddings. Their main goal for the sanctuary is to create a safe place in the community that encourages creativity, expression, and connections with those around you.

In this fascinating interview, Andy and Blue Mountain talk about balancing spiritual peace and the everyday realities of owning a business, how Blue Mountain got his name, and the future of Ahimsa Sanctuary Farm becoming a pilgrimage for those seeking a beautiful judgement-free space in the world. Listen now!

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Toni Menage: The Path to Musical Freedom

Extraordinary Ordinary People by Andy Kushner Toni Menage: The Path to Musical Freedom
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Toni Menage has a career most aspiring singers envy. She’s toured the world with Lisa-Lisa Cult Jam, sang with and was produced by the legendary Stevie Wonder, and performed on legendary television shows including Soul Train, The Grammy’s The Arsenio Hall Show, and many others. But her path to get there was not as full of rainbows as you might think.

Andy and Toni discuss what it’s like to grow up as an up and coming singer in the projects of Harlem, and how she first got noticed by a producer when she was in just 7th grade and had a hit song on the radio! For Toni, there were plenty of big star-struck moments, as well as a few regrettable ones too, as she recollects in this week’s podcast.

Listen to the full interview to hear about Toni’s upbringing in the music business, what she wishes she knew then that she knows now, how her consulting business gives other up and coming singers all the tools to succeed in the industry, and who her true inspirations are. Check it out now.

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Josh Ross: Taking a Leap to Pursue a Dream

Extraordinary Ordinary People by Andy Kushner Josh Ross: Taking a Leap to Pursue a Dream
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From web developer to Hawaii photographer, Josh Ross did what many of us often daydream about. He picked up his life and moved to the small Hawaiian island of Maui. But as Josh tells in his interview with Andy, it’s often easier said than done.

Living in the Bay Area of California, Josh had a comfortable salary as a manager for a team of web developers. He bought a house out in the countryside, and it seemed like his life was mapped out for him. But as time went on, he realized that maybe this corporate slog of stressful days wasn’t the life he wanted for himself after all. After a vacation to Maui, his feeling for moving became more resolute, and he started planning his big change of scenery.

Fast forward to 2017. Josh, having lived on the island for less than 2 years, is pursuing his passion of photography as his full time career. Josh and Andy discuss the pros and cons of moving to a small island, what it means to pursue your passions, and how embracing island time can be restorative for the mind and soul. Check out their full interview now.

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