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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


Bearcloud: Painting Earth Visions

Extraordinary Ordinary People by Andy Kushner Bearcloud: Painting Earth Visions
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Born on a reservation in Oklahoma, Bearcloud was surrounded by his ancestral culture every day. It wasn’t until the age of 7 that he moved to a suburban area of Amarillo, Texas, and experienced some real culture shock.

His creative outlet was painting and drawing, and he never stopped pursuing this passion. Bearcloud notes that he was always drawn to the beautiful raw nature of Sedona, even before he had ever been to visit. And as luck or fate would have it, he would later move there to open his gallery, showcasing his original works of art.

Bearcloud and Andy discuss how the Indian culture and ceremonies of his childhood influence and inspire him to create the paintings that are so profound. From the beat of the drums to the visions he sees during meditations and vision quests, Bearcloud’s talent is truly a gift to all who see his work. In this podcast, you’ll hear fascinating stories about how Bearcloud once refused to sell a painting for $50,000, how he keeps himself humbled, and what his paintings truly reveal to those who view them. You can listen to the full interview here.


Bearcloud [Prologue]

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

Yogi Blair Darby: Vortex Yoga Hiking

Extraordinary Ordinary People by Andy Kushner Yogi Blair Darby: Vortex Yoga Hiking
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Yogi Blair Darby is not your typical yoga enthusiast. Though well practiced in a variety of yoga methods, both in modern and traditional practices, his success lies in his ability to help others see Sedona, Arizona through a whole new lens.

After spending his entire life in the beach town of Venice, California, Blair, his girlfriend, and son packed up and moved to the beautiful red rock adorned area of Sedona, where his passion for energies and yoga would reach new and unexpected heights. His love for yoga was ignited in the late eighties, when he met “the most amazing yoga teacher” he’d ever known. He was eclectic, passionate, and brought a charismatic multi-modality experience to all of his students. As Yogi Blair puts it, he could take you there.

After the move to Sedona, Yogi thought he would have enough in savings and investments to allow him a year to explore and enjoy the area before returning to work. But with the financial crisis of 2009 looming, he decided he needed to start working much sooner than he anticipated. While he still enjoyed yoga, he wanted to take it to a different place and incorporate new practices and teachings, including hiking, integrating color and sound therapy, and utilizing crystal photonic light therapy’s beneficial healing properties.

Yogi Blair has become a true traveler’s must-do activity in Sedona. Most of his clientele are out-of-towners looking to get more in touch with nature, themselves, and the mysterious energies that Sedona has to offer. He attributes his success to word of mouth, his meticulous attention to detail in his tours, and a great web presence on Yelp and Tripadvisor.

During his interview with Andy, the two take a hike together and practice some yoga and breathing exercises, where Andy expresses feeling and seeing everything with a noticeable new clarity. Yogi Blair helped him be in the moment and allowed him to experience heightened feelings, even something as simple as the wind blowing by. Yogi Blair’s dedication to the craft of connecting with the earth, healing within nature, and experiencing Sedona’s many energies is ever apparent to all who tour with him.


Yogi Blair Darby [Prologue]

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