In a sense, songstress and writer Nykita Garnett is a touching demonstration of a neo- soul singer with an essential sound as smooth as silk or velvet.While Liberian music followers continue to tune their ears to music that makes them want to dance, this talented young woman through simplicity, she says, hopes to connect with more fans through the affection that flows in her songs.“By saying that I’m a lover, because that’s the frame [through] which I see everything. I’m a lover, lover of everything, I think the foundation of love is in me. And when I speak of love I’m speaking of light, positivity and not just romantic love, which is what we always think of when we think of love. I try to approach everything in my life from a really positive prospective, and that seems to work out pretty well.”Music with emotion, with soul and sparkle, has been at the heart of Nykita’s life since she was a child, listening to soul artists like Anita Baker and Sade.“I think when I started holding my own musical taste, there were a few things that stuck with me. Foundational artists of my taste I would say include Sade and Anita Baker. I learned how to sing on Anita Baker, her Rapture album was like a class that I took. Every run on that CD I could sing and used to practice all through my teenage years. As much as I loved soulful women, I also love diversity like Gwen Stefani, who was a huge inspiration for me,” Nykita added.As a child in Atlanta, GA (USA), Nykita and her three sisters formed a musical group called “Mosaic”, a collage of different shades of teenage girls from dark skin, chocolaty brown, all the way to super fair skin.”It was a mixture of every color and personality in this group. We did that for a while and performed around Atlanta, where I lived when I was in the States, until everyone decided they wanted to do different things. One went on to be a doctor, another played soccer in college and they all said that I’m the youngest and had passion, it ended up being me by myself just doing music from then on.”Practically from that moment, Nykita says she knew music was her calling. She pursued it into her 20’s, when she landed her first solo hit track “Liberian Girl” and numerous live performances that have earned her a medal in her singing career.From 2013-2014 Nykita has earned a steady reputation as an extraordinary singer, and spoke with LIB Life about her start-up into neo-soul music, up to how far she has come.LIB Life: Did you grow up in a musical family?Nykita: What’s the heart of my talent is, I come from a very musical family. It goes all the way back to my maternal grandmother, Thelma Goll from Harrisburg. She was always a praying woman and we always had music around us. A lot of it was praise and hymns; Thursday nights we’d have prayer sessions where my family would just get together and sing harmonies and hymns. I think the foundation of my passion for music and expressing myself in that way came from her in that way. Both of my parents sang in church, or recreational choirs. My mom grew up in England; she would introduce me to the Beetles and different kinds of music. My father grew up here in Liberia and had that pan-African kind of thinking and he would tell me about Cape Verde, Morocco. I always had an eclectic amount of music around me from the time I was young. From the moment I can remember talking, there was music around me. I was talking and singing at the same time.LIB Life: You say you are a travel-holic, does that have anything to do with your love for music and having to tour around?Nykita: Travel is something that came by accident to my life, and for many people who were refugees by the Liberian experience, it’s kind of a similar situation for me. Since the age of three, I’ve been living between Liberia and America, and a lil’ sprinkle of Ivory Coast. There’s this passion in me to travel to learn about new cultures and customs and meet new people. Somewhere in the mist of my art in terms of writing, writing music and performing music, travel is a big part of finding that inspiration and being in different scenarios that make me want to say something in terms of the article that I write and the music that I sing.LIB Life: When did you start singing neo-soul music?Nykita: Neo-Soul is a type of music that many people don’t know about. While kind of playing around in all of those things, the group with my sisters and listening to my favorite artists, I stumbled across neo-Soul; I think it was Eryka Badu that kind of brought me into neo-Soul, and that’s because of my sister Tania who is the hip one (I perform with her around town, and she’s permanently here in Liberia). She introduced me to Eryka. It was something that felt like Anita but was kind of different. It was young, and fresh and still growing and developing and that’s how I fell into neo-Soul. I’m just attracted to Soul in general, a lot of people will say my music is soulful, I do a lot of genres of music, some very Reggae, a bit African, and R&B. But one element that remains the same is that its “soulful”. That’s what I love about neo-soul; you can’t interpret it.LIB Life: what is neo-Soul in your own expression?Nykita: I think it’s about honesty, vulnerability and expressing your feelings. It comes from the gut, that heavy singing that heavy tone, it comes from the emotion, and from the honesty in that emotion. That’s what I consider soulful: honest, vulnerable and passionate kind of singing. If you can put that element on any kind of track, it always reads through.LIB Life: Listening to your music, one of the first things that comes to mind is, you are probably one of the first neo-soul singers in Liberia, that’s awesome.Nykita: Many years ago when I was in Atlanta and very American standard, performing to get a record deal, it didn’t work out for me, it wasn’t a free environment that I could adjust to. I remember one of the producers I was working with at the time told me that for people like me it’s not a choice, it’s ingrained in me, it’s a part of who I am. It sounded ridiculous at the time, but now I get it. Doing music is not a choice for me, it’s something that is so natural. Music is one element of who I am. I’m a song writer and a writer of articles. At the essence of me I’m really a writer; songs are just one way that I express myself. I think if you build it, it will come. I think if people can see honest, quality music there will be a nature of Liberians who will be enthusiastic about it.LIB Life: Before I leave you, tell me a little about the challenges of being an artist.Nykita: When you are a creative person, it’s also hard to be a structured person. Finding that healthy balance between being creative and having that space and also being business minded, and being functional because you do have to eat; you can’t eat your songs. Finding ways to turn your passion into profit, in this new environment that I’m in, I’m still trying to figure out how to turn all of my passions into profit, and I think that is one of my challenges I’ve had here. We don’t have any major money that goes towards arts and recreation, fine arts and things like that, and culturally we don’t really respect it as much. I’m just really excited to be home, I’ve been back two years and now the possibilities seem endless.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Managing oneself well isn’t easy.One CEO I know and work with keeps a small clock in front of him and the person he is meeting with at all times. If he is having a one-hour meeting, the meeting lasts for exactly one hour. This CEO is polite. He is professional. He is disciplined. He is structured. And he is rigid when it comes to his time. He is also overworked and under enough stress that his health suffers from time to time.I know another CEO, who is perpetually late. Not only does he show up late for meetings that he called, but he also misses meetings that other people have scheduled with him. He exercises little control over his calendar, and less control over himself. He is also overworked and stressed out.Too Much To ControlThe first CEO is doing too much. It feels to him like he has everything under control. But control is an illusion. His grip is too tight, and what slips through his fingers is often his health.What this CEO needs more than anything is margin. He needs to loosen up the control and give himself space to breathe. That space is not wasted; it’s room to reflect and be creative. It’s room to meditate, renew and recharge.Neither the mind or the body is like an engine that can run endlessly. Too much is a recipe for burnout.Too Little ControlLiving in a reactive mode is no better. Not only can you end up doing too much, but you can also end up doing too much poorly. Worse still, you can end up doing work that you shouldn’t be doing it all.The problem with living in a reactive mode is that by exercising too little control, you never invest enough time in the most important, most strategic, and most meaningful work that you should be doing.Without control, you miss commitments, and you damage relationships.BalanceOne of the keys to getting things done is to have a careful balance between controlling your calendar and your work while leaving room for yourself and other people.It might feel like the blank spaces on your calendar should all be filled with something, but that would crowd out the time you need to recharge, renew, and respond to people who need your help.Managing oneself well isn’t about too much control or too little control. It’s about making strategic decisions to do some things and not to do others.
John Papas owns a beer and wine store in Calgary’s southeast and says the escalator tax being used by the Liberal government is impacting his bottom line. The federal government’s escalator tax on beer was introduced last year in the 2017 budget. Finance Minister Bill Morneau implemented the tax last year to match inflation, after there was no increase in the country for thirty years. Beer Canada is calling on Canadians to sign their petition in an effort to scrap the tax. He says this is affecting the bottom line of his membership and cost beer lovers nearly $15 million last year. “This year, on April the first, with this escalator tax going up automatically, they’ll take another $10.5 million dollars out of the pockets of Canadians,” said Harford. It means taxes on Canada’s favourite suds increased by about 2 per cent and it will continue to increase on an annual basis. “You might think one or two per cent isn’t a lot but, over a period of time along with the provincial taxes that continue to increase, it has dramatically increased the price of like a regular six pack on the shelf,” said Papas. Thousands have already signed Beer Canada’s petition and according to the organization Canada has one of the highest taxation rates on alcohol in the world. President Luke Harford calls it runaway taxation adding that taxes on a bottle of beer are already 47 per cent.
Maurice Clarett, the former Ohio State running back who was jailed for robbery, paints a picture of living in opulence — including cash, drugs and women — during his colleges years as a Buckeye.Deadspin obtained copies of the book, “4th and Goal: One Man’s Quest to Recapture His Dream” – a biography of former UFL coach Joe Moglia. The author, Monte Burke of Forbes, was present when Clarett spoke to the team about his life.A running back for the Omaha Nighthawks of the UFL, Clarett is quoted in the book as saying football was the focus of his early life, but he quickly found trouble and had a stint in a juvenile detention for breaking and entering. He overcame that to elevate to a star who attended Ohio State.In his first game as a Buckeye in 2002, Clarett gained 175 yards and had three touchdowns and helped lead the Buckeyes to the national championship. At the same time, he was living the high life.“I took golf, fishing, and softball as classes,” Clarett said, according to the excerpt. “Away from class, anything you can think of, I did in my 13 months at Ohio State.“I was living the NFL life in college,” he said in the book. “I got paid more in college than I do now in the UFL.”His off-field issues eventually derailed his playing career, as Clarett was suspended for receiving improper benefits, then filing a phony police report claiming $10,000 in goods had been stolen from him. He tried to flee to the NFL, but league rules prevented him from entering the draft after just one year in college. He sued, but lost.That’s when drugs and alcohol kicked in. “I would ride around in my car carrying life sentences, with pounds of weed and bricks of cocaine,” he said, according to the excerpt on Deadspin.Nonetheless, he was drafted by the Broncos in 2005. Partying too much at night, he was cut before the end of training camp. Back in Columbus, Ohio, he says: “I was popping pills and getting paranoid. I was robbing everyone I knew.”He was arrested in 2006 for allegedly robbing a man at gunpoint. He tried to pay the man off, but it didn’t work. He was headed to trial and faced time in prison.A desperate Clarett drank half a bottle of vodka one night, according to the book excerpt, put on a bulletproof vest, grabbed a loaded assault rifle and three handguns and headed off to the man’s house. He didn’t make it there. A missed exit and U-turn resulted in his arrest and a seven-year prison sentence.Clarett said that prison turned his life around. “I cleared my head, away from the drugs and drinking,” he said, according to the excerpt on Deadspin. “Suffering causes you to mature.”